Josh Weissman is one of the most accomplished 20-year-olds I have ever met. Josh didn’t take the typical college route like most, but instead, followed his passion for cooking, design, fitness and photography. He has conquered many of his goals and continues to work toward more.

Josh says he has had a love for cooking “since the day he came out of the womb.” However, as Josh grew older, he started developing unhealthy habits and became very overweight. Fed up with bullying and harassment, Josh decided to take his life into his own hands. His love for cooking ignited once more and by age 15 (after a year and a half of hard work), Josh lost more than 100 pounds.

paleo cookbook

Photo Courtesy of Josh Weissman

At age 17, Josh published his first cookbook, Slim Palate, full of Paleo recipes that cooks across the spectrum of experience can enjoy. Josh soon realized the dangers of Orthorexia, and that in order to gain muscle, he needed to significantly increase his caloric intake.

Gradually, he added some food back into his Paleo diet like white rice, fresh raw milk and treats like local Austin eats. I mean, who doesn’t love a good Gourdough’s donut now and then?

Now, Josh mainly focuses on eating real food and gets all his food from a local farmer to understand exactly where his food is coming from. Recently, Josh moved to Austin from LA and I was lucky enough to sit down with him for an interview to gain more insight on his cooking and weight loss journey.

Spoon: So Josh, how did you start cooking?

Josh: I started cooking when I came out of the womb. I slowly started to learn how to cook. I distinctly remember at the age of 3, I was designated the task of the cranberry crusher for the cranberry sauce: the most important job of the Thanksgiving meal, of course. Then, I learned how to cook scrambled eggs. And it went on from there.

Spoon: Wow! You wrote your own cookbook at age 17. What inspired you to write the cookbook? And how long did it take you?

Josh: Well, I started writing the blog to give others advice, share my journey, and have a place to put my collection of recipes. I thought it would be popular at first then just die off like blogs usually do, but instead, it took off. After about seven months, two publishers who wanted to help me create a cookbook contacted me.

paleo cookbook

Photo courtesy of Josh Weissman

Spoon: I see your cookbook is entirely comprised of your original photography, and your Instagram pictures are very impressive. How did you get into food photography?

Josh: When I started sharing my recipes, I needed a way to take capture them. I went out and bought a basic DSLR camera and started experimenting. I just kept on practicing and got better at it.

Spoon: What’s your favorite simple recipe you want to share with our readers?

Josh: It’s so hard for me to choose my favorite recipe, but a simple and delicious one would probably be my chocolate chip cookies with sea salt

paleo cookbook

Photo courtesy of @JoshuaWeissman on Instagram

Spoon: Do you have any advice for people our age trying to start their own health journey?

Josh: My best advice would just be to start cooking. Grab a pan, some oil, toss some veggies in, and there you go – you cooked something. Cooking is much simpler than you think.

Spoon: What are your favorite food spots in Austin?

Josh: Uchi for fine dining. One time, I took myself to dinner there and spent 300 dollars just for my own meal. Banger’s Sausage, Fresa’s for tacos, and Texas French Bread for brunch.

paleo cookbook

Photo courtesy of Josh Weissman

Spoon: Well you have already accomplished so much by age 20. What are you working on now?

Josh: I just finished helping with a documentary and I am currently writing a second cookbook that is focused on eating disorders, mainly orthorexia.

I think the only thing left to say is… wow, #goals. Let’s get my life together. For more about Josh, be sure to look out for his second book and check out his blog, Slim Palate.