Asheville entrepreneur seeks $15,000 for paleo-friendly food truck, Fuel

Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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winnecour_2013Josh Winnecour has long sought to do something that can make a difference in people’s lives. Working in recent years as an Outward Bound instructor, a registered nurse and the executive director of a child weight-loss camp, Winnecour always had his eye on helping people. His efforts were always well-intended, but they didn’t always having a lasting effect.

Now the Asheville resident has a new goal, one that he believes can help people make lasting change. Winnecour is planning to open a new food truck, called Fuel, featuring a 100 percent gluten-free menu. Winnecour hopes to serve the gluten-free community, as well as anyone interested in healthy, locally raised foods. He also plans to tap into the community of eaters interested in what’s known as a Paleo diet – the concept of eating whole foods. Winnecour recently launched a Kickstarter campaign, and is asking the public for $15,000 to help him buy a truck.

“I want to do something that is important and can make a change in people’s lives,” Winnecour said. “The answer is simple – it’s food. It makes us who we are, but the way we live our lives today, it can be hard to put quality fuel in our bodies.”

Winnecour has teamed up with Andy Danh, who most recently has been cooking at Doc Chey’s. The two worked up a menu that features everything from sweet potatoes fried in grass-fed beef tallow to chicken marinated in coconut milk. A big hit in catering runs for the two has been meatballs made of beef, lamb and pork, with kale, parsley and other seasonings. He’s got dessert, too: frozen pops made with honey, not sugar, in flavors like lime-banana.

The Fuel team is promising transparency in its menu, so folks can know where the food is coming from, and that it is locally grown and organic.

Winnecour, who is married and has a daughter, said he’s been motivated in part by seeing his mother, who was morbidly obese, die at age 50 in 1997. “That just put the fire under me,” he said, adding that his original idea was to name his business after his late mother. Since then, he’s honed his food truck idea to the one he’s pitching now on Kickstarter.

Another inspiration has been the community of people who work out in local Crossfit gyms. Devotees often adopt a Paleo-friendly diet. The tough workouts, and the food, helped Winnecour drop 60 pounds over the past two and a half years. He plans to have his truck parked at local Crossfit gyms.

Winnecour said he decided to open a food truck because he wanted to provide people easy access to healthy food. He said he found himself spending hours on end in his own kitchen trying to prepare good food, and wanted to share what he’s learned.

“It was a real eye-opener to try to eat the way I wanted to eat and have a life,” he said. “It’s possible, but it’s challenging.”

Winnecour has big goals beyond just opening a food truck. “The food, the fuel, is my passion, but I want an educational component to what I’m doing. I’d like to do some presentations, some book clubs. All of that.”

In short, Winnecour wants to have a lasting impact on people’s lives.


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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  1. FUEL Food Truck and Catering October 25, 2013

    Got a little bit further to go y’all. Please check-out the kickstarter link and consider supporting! If you have additional ?’s feel free to reach-out to me directly on facebook

    or email me at [email protected]

  2. Stewart October 21, 2013


    I suspect that you were eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) before you switched, which means you have greatly improved your diet. My cholesterol level has also plummeted, it was well over 200 when I was in my early 30’s. Now, thirty years later, it is below 150, the result of being on a vegan diet for 25 years.

    I’m glad to see that you have wisely interpreted the Paleo Diet to not be a green light for gorging yourself on bacon, eggs, etc. So many people see it as a license to eat foods that will kill them. The people promoting fad diets like the Paleo Diet, the Atkins Diet, etc., are successful because they encourage people to eat animal products, and that’s what most people want to hear. But it runs contrary to science. Scientists have concluded that eating animal products is harmful to your health. Most of the major “disease charities” and associations of medical professionals now tell us to reduce the consumption of animal foods. And, of course, the less you eat, the better, with the optimal amount being zero. Here’s what the ultraconservative American Dietetic Association has to say on the topic:

    “It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes. A vegetarian diet is defined as one that does not include meat (including fowl) or seafood, or products containing those foods. This article reviews the current data related to key nutrients for vegetarians including protein, n-3 fatty acids, iron, zinc, iodine, calcium, and vitamins D and B-12. A vegetarian diet can meet current recommendations for all of these nutrients. In some cases, supplements or fortified foods can provide useful amounts of important nutrients. An evidence-based review showed that vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. The results of an evidence-based review showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease. Vegetarians also appear to have lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension and type 2 diabetes than nonvegetarians. Furthermore, vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Features of a vegetarian diet that may reduce risk of chronic disease include lower intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol and higher intakes of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, soy products, fiber, and phytochemicals. The variability of dietary practices among vegetarians makes individual assessment of dietary adequacy essential. In addition to assessing dietary adequacy, food and nutrition professionals can also play key roles in educating vegetarians about sources of specific nutrients, food purchase and preparation, and dietary modifications to meet their needs.”

  3. RedFred October 19, 2013

    Stewart, I’ve been eating a Paleo diet for the past 4 years and my doctor’s jaw dropped when she saw my cholesterol screening results. She had never seen numbers as low as mine and was interested to here about my diet. As with all “diets”, or ways of eating, there are a lot of different ways to interpret the basic framework. Bacon is not paleo. Eating lots of vegetables, local and in season when possible, in addition to lean, grass-fed/happy, proteins is paleo. And it’s all about balance. So incorporating some gluten-free grains and legumes is a great idea.

  4. Marc October 19, 2013

    DNA tests aren’t used to determine the diets of ancient humans. Isotopic studies are. It seems paleo detractors take the term paleo a little too literally. It’s well understood, that diet varied widely from region to region. The isotopic studies from fossils of humans and neanderthals in Europe compared similarly to those of foxes.

  5. Stewart October 18, 2013

    Here’s some food for thought, from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine

    “Paleo” Diet Best Left in Caves

    No matter what you call the fad of eating more meat and less grains, beans, and other agricultural products—Paleo, caveman, Stone Age, hunter-gatherer—this diet is not going to support overall, long-term health.

    Here are the facts related to preagricultural-style diets:

    The Paleolithic era was not only a long time ago, ending approximately 10,000 years ago, but it spanned an extremely long period of time, starting more than 2 million years ago. Additionally, populations lived in a wide range of geographical areas throughout this span of time. To pinpoint one diet for such a vast period of time and array of habitats is impossible.

    DNA tests show that humans who lived during the Paleolithic era did consume grains and legumes.

    The plants that were available during the Paleolithic era were much different than the plants available to us now.

    The animals consumed during the Paleolithic era were quite different from what you see on a “Paleo” dieter’s plate today. Game, rodents, and other wild animals were on the menu, not cows and chickens.

    Many hunter-gatherers were smaller and less well-nourished than people today.

    Modern-day hunter-gatherer tribes are less healthy, and infections related to eating raw meat (e.g., hookworms) are common.

    On the upside, “Paleo” diets do discourage processed food products and dairy products. But a couple of steps in the right direction cannot overcome the giant pitfalls that result from eating high-fat, high-cholesterol meat products and avoiding nutrient-dense plant foods like beans and whole grains.

    1. FUEL Food Truck and Catering October 25, 2013

      Hey Stewart! Thanks for your comments and interest in Asheville’s newest and healthiest food truck!

      FUEL’s menu is definitely plant heavy and a vegan friendly. Check-out the menu on our kickstarter page above. And please come down to the truck and introduce yourself and try our sweet-potato hash, cooked in coconut oil with a side of beet slaw and collards.

      It’s true-mainstream grain fed animals are NOT what anyone’s body needs and along with rampant sugar intake are the primary causes for the vast majority of health problems in the modern world. That ain’t us!

      Grass fed and finished animals and pastured pork and poultry (what we serve) work for a lot of us and do closely resemble the fat and protein profile of the game heavy diets of many of our ancestors.

      I’m happy to support your food choices-no need to hate on mine…

      1. chris October 25, 2013

        It should be noted that, apart from what individuals need, our environment is choking under the cloud of the collective emissions (not to mention the effluent) from the billions of animals raised for food each year (billions in the US alone!)

        IMO, whether grass-fed animals are healthier than grain-fed is a secondary or tertiary ethical dilemma to the fact that our basic diet is having a significant impact in our environment and climate.

        1. chris October 27, 2013

          Thinking about this a bit more, I realized that I really didn’t make that argument with the force I think it requires. So, here’s Dr. Patrick Brown, from Stanford University, to make it better:


          “Animal farming is by far the most environmentally destructive identified practice on the planet. Do you believe that? More greenhouse production than all transportation combined. It is also the major single source of water pollution on the planet. It is incredibly destructive. The major reason reefs are dying off and dead zones exist in the ocean—from nutrient run-off. Overwhelmingly it is the largest driving force of deforestation. And the leading cause of biodiversity loss.

          And if you think I’m bullshitting, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN, whose job is to promote agricultural development, published a study, not knowing what they were getting into, looking at the environmental impact of animal farming, and it is a beautiful study! And the bottom line is that it is the most destructive and fastest growing environmental problem.”


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