School’s of Paleo Thought

by Jun 28, 2017

Paleo, Primal, Ancestral Eating, AIP, Vegan, what the -?

There is a multitude of diets and ways of eating out there but the ‘it’ diet of the moment is definitely Paleo. While the media has mutilated the Paleo framework to appear dangerous, experts in the field of nutrition have also tweaked the diet and created a number of different schools of Paleo, making the diet all the more confusing. With all of this confusion abound, I have decided to simply it for you, explaining each School of Paleo Thought, their curriculum and whether I’d be willing to pay any tuition…

Schools Of Paleo Thought Explained:


At its core, leading experts such as Lauren Cordain, Pete Evans, Brett Hill and Rob Wolfe define Paleo as an ancestral diet strictly eliminating all grains, dairy, legumes, processed sugar and manufactured pre-packaged food stuffs. Sounds simple, right?

Ethical & Environmental Paleo

This Paleo framework follows a commitment to the sourcing and preparation of ethically and sustainably sourced meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Grass fed cattle products including cattle, organic and free range pigs, chickens and eggs and even GRASS fed lamb… (I thought all lamb was grass fed)


Author of ‘The Primal Blueprint’ Mark Sisson advocates for a ‘Primal Diet’, based on the consumption of mostly ‘paleo-friendly’ foods with the addition of nutritionally dense and wholefoods that our ancestral bodies have become adapted to over time. This allows for the inclusion of high quality dairy and ancient grains. Obviously, this acknowledges the remarkable intelligence of the human body and its ability to adapt to the environment – EVOLVE.

Ancestral Eating

Ancestral eating is very similar to Primal eating with more of a focus on the unique ancestral history of each person and choosing foods most commonly consumed by your ancestors. This is a classic example of looking at foods that your parent’s parent’s parents used to eat. The “if your grandma can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it” philosophy. This sits with me beautifully and to a large extent the Blood Type diet from Dr Peter D’Adamo is one of the most accurate investigations into blood typing and evolution. FASCINATING

Auto-Immune Paleo (AIP)

Auto-Immune Paleo Protocols are stricter diets that are based on the Paleo framework with the aim to heal the gut, lessen inflammation in the body and ease or eradicate auto-immune disease symptoms. This diet focuses on the eradication of any potential gut irritating foods such as eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshade vegetables and spices. As an elimination diet to assist with significant autoimmunity control, I like this a lot. So much autoimmune disease is linked to the gut – from rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes and thyroid diseases to skin conditions like psoriasis, SLE and eczema. Healing the gut through identifying a dysfunctional diet is a great place to start.


Perhaps one of the earliest and ultimate forms of Paleolithic eating is Vegan. Probably long before we thought to kill animals for food and eat their produce (eggs and milk for example) we ate vegetables and plant products as they were plentiful. Much of the health benefit that comes from any eating program is due in large to the consumption of plant based meals. Whether it be Paleo, Blood Type, The GI diet, Vegan, vegetarian or even the Food Pyramid – the key is always plant based.

My Thoughts Towards the Paleo Diet

I guess the closest to my curriculum is a combination of the Primal Diet mixed with Blood Type/Ancestral Eating, Mark Sisson and I are probably the two naughty kids sitting at the back of the class talking too much. Like myself though, Mark speaks about the importance of making a diet sustainable; encouraging his followers to ‘see what you can get away with’. Peter D’Adamo illustrates our evolutionary success and the unique adaptability that humans display. Our ability to genetically adapt to our environment is unique across the many species on the planet.

When followed obsessively I have seen the Paleo diet, the Vegan diet and even the Blood Type diet lead to disordered and isolating relationships with food and unless it is absolutely necessary, like in the case of an auto-immune disease for example, I would not recommend anyone follow any diet 100% of the time. However, as a step towards healing and detoxifying the body, I by all means endorse the Paleo style diet, but following this elimination diet, I usually encourage my patients to reintroduce ‘non-paleo’ wholefoods such as dairy, legumes and ancient grains and see how they feel.

If you find that you do well on dairy, then by all means serve your morning Forage with a high quality full-fat yoghurt, or if you’re a high performing athlete that thrives on meal preps with rice then by all means, meal prep away. You might even find that you tolerate some amount of chocolate, or alcohol each week.

I’m a huge advocate for the 80/20 rule: eating nutritionally dense wholefoods 80% of the time and leaving myself a little ‘play room’ of 20% that equates to 3 ‘muck around meals’ a week.

So all in all, you might want to enroll in one of these schools to get you started, but unless absolutely necessary, there is no need to be a lifetime student; you might just find that those best parts of university might still be able to be a part of a balanced 80/20 diet and lifestyle approach.

Damian Kristof

Damian Kristof

Chiropractor | Naturopath | Nutritionist

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