The 10 Types of Paleo Followers-min

The 10 Types of Paleo Followers

Since I started eating this way and got more involved with the Paleo community, I can’t help but notice several distinct types of Paleo Followers.

 1.       The Ex Vegetarians and Ex Vegans

I am always amazed at how many people fall into this category. To go from a Vegan diet, with all of the legumes and grains that includes; and complete lack of animal products – to the complete opposite; eating all parts of many different animals from head-to-toe and no grains or legumes?

When you think about it further, it isn't really all that surprising. Vegans and Vegetarians tend to be health conscious and chose what, at the time, appeared to be the healthiest course of action. It can’t be easy to make such a radical transformation, particularly as being Vegetarian or Vegan almost becomes an identity.

The 10 Types of Paleo Followers-min

 2.       The “I Want a Bikini Body/ Get a Six Pack in 10 Days” Group

Most of these people don’t hang around for long. They are looking for a magic super food they can eat with their usual meals that will make the fat melt away. Overnight. Paleo sounds like a good option – you can’t argue with bacon and eggs for breakfast and the premise that calorie counting is not required. This falls down because Paleo isn't “a diet”, it’s a lifestyle to follow for the long haul. Without addressing the lifestyle factors like sleep, sunshine, stress and fitness, it’s not going to have the same benefits.

A minority of the weight loss entrants do realise there is more to this lifestyle than vanity. Health problems reduce or disappear, energy levels increase and they realise weight loss is just a positive side effect – the real reason for Paleo is health.

 3.        The Scientists

This is perhaps the most influential and loudest group. We all know who they are! Instead of focusing on common ground, this group like to create and resolve contentious issues. Paleo must follow prescribed macro nutrient ratios. Blood tests and specific supplements are essential. A Very Low Carb Ketogenic diet is optimal. Carbs are essential. Cold water immersion. Safe Starches. Food Reward. Fructose. As soon as one debate dies down, another rises.

I'm happy for them to argue these issues out in the background, so long as it doesn't distract from the 99% of common ground they all share. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, experimenting and exploring which brand of Paleo works for me.

4.       The Antagonists

There are both Antagonists within the Paleo community and those Antagonists alone in their Paleo adventures.

The Antagonists within the community are vocal in their outlandish views – and aren't afraid to call out when they feel someone in the community is not right or just. Provocative yet fun – and essential in keeping those in the community accountable.

Others followers come to Paleo as Antagonists. These people positively enjoying riling their fat-fearing friends, by eating copious amounts of meat. Without cutting the fat off. Or pouring away the excess fat. When their concerned friends and family try to intervene and push margarine on the Antagonist, they will be among the first to challenge their friends to a six-pack-off.

 5.       The Covert Paleo

These are the sneaky converts. They've been watching and mocking you for months. They've shot down everything you've said about nutrition and were the first to tell you what a silly idea this Paleo nonsense is. But you've recently noticed you haven't seen them eating bread for a while – and their skin is looking clearer and brighter? That’s right – they've finally realised you were right all along, but feel a bit too sheepish to admit it to you. Best to invited them round for a hog roast and say no more about it.
The Paleo Recipe Book

 6.       The Athletes

They heard Paleo might increase their performance. Despite being sceptical about avoiding the pre-race pasta party they gave it a try – anything to get an advantage is worth a shot. Amazed at the improvements, the next step is minimalist footwear!

 7.       The Formerly Unwell

There is nothing like being sick to force a change. Many people go from doctor to doctor and drug to drug. The net effect is often side effects from the drugs – rather than improvement of symptoms. Fortunately many people reach a point where they take on the role of detective themselves and question the role of their nutrition and lifestyle in their health and stumble upon Paleo and become avid followers.

 8.       The Parents

They may have had no more than a passing interest in nutrition – until they became Parents. Suddenly the responsibility of another person and desire to be healthy to bring the child up spurs them to find out how they can eat and live to thrive as a family.

These are one of the most important groups, with the power to influence the next generation – and the burden of trying to influence the outdated views of the schools and other parents they need to interact with.

9.       The Wannabies

These people love the idea of an ancestral lifestyle and being part of the Paleo community. They’ve even done a Whole30. Apart from at Friday work drinks. And business trips. And family meals. And when they were in a rush to get to work. And when they forgot to go shopping that time.

“Cheats” creep up from rarely, to a daily occurrence. A small amount of good quality dark chocolate occasionally, becomes a daily indulgence in cheap junk chocolate.

They aren't Paleo anymore, but haven’t quite acknowledged it.

10.   Paleo Fanatic

They follow all the key Paleo blogs and are quick to jump in when a friend ponders whether to go for brown or white bread. They find themselves tutting when noticing strangers feeding their children with Neolithic junk and often have to hold themselves back from commenting.

Their bookshelf resembles a who’s who of Paleo authors and they are on first name terms with their local butcher, who knows to put aside chicken feet and heart. Their kitchen is the frequent location for experimental cooking and a scoby isn't a cartoon character.

Which Type of Paleo Follower Are You?

I confess, I was a 2, who was starting to become a 7 – but now I am most definitely a 10 working towards a 6…

Did I miss any groups? Which group do you fall into?

Paleo Cookbooks cavemanfeast paleo-recipe-book
41 replies
  1. Ducky
    Ducky says:

    Would the paleo “evangelist” fit in to any of the above groups? These are the type who want to spread the good news of the primal/paleo lifestyle. They like to tell their paleo conversion story and often seek out new converts among friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers. 🙂

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      Great point Ducky – there are definitely a significant number who like to try to convert others! It’s hard not to sometimes, especially when you can see the damage people often do to themselves with their diet.

  2. Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe
    Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe says:

    Formally unwell. When I embarked on a healthier lifestyle (still healthy CW at the time) I was 186 lb on a 5 foot frame, symptoms of IBS, asthma, and arthritis. At 36. My doc was ready to order tests and medication and I decided now way! Healthier eating and exercise helped me lose the wight and IBS and asthma symptoms; going paleo was the link that cured my arthritis.

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      What a fantastic story Jenna, thank goodness you found Paleo. I’ve also completely lost my asthma symptoms – something I never imagined would be possible. You must feel like a whole new person!

  3. BrendaB
    BrendaB says:

    I’m a 10 with cheats. Not enough to be a Wannabie but not 100% Paleo either. I have accepted that it’s not about the weight loss though. Also like being a 4 especially when someone says “oh I eat good grains and no fat.” 🙂

  4. Elissa
    Elissa says:

    Number 7 for me perhaps cause I was sick to death of feeling like rubbish and wanted to eat healthily and eat cleanly and lose the weight finally and be free from the grips of sugar and processed food.. but also I would add another group, maybe one for those new dabbling in the lifestyle and reading up on primal/paleo eating but NOT quite there, I would say I am fructose free, I eat maybe 2 pieces of fruit daily if I am lucky, I use alot of butter in cooking (love my bacon and eggs) and coconut oil, BUT still I have the odd piece of dairy, so I know its not allowed but I still use the odd bit of full fat cream or milk in coffee (coffee is a no no too but Im not ready to eliminate that yet). Im starting to get a bit like 10, reading a few paleo/primal books and sourcing organic or free range butchers and organic greengrocers etc.. so getting there on the windy road! am enjoying the journey so far.

  5. Suz
    Suz says:

    A lot of people do well with a Lacto-Paleo approach Elissa, using good quality, ideally raw, dairy. It’s definitely a great journey all about working out what works best for you.

  6. Jamee
    Jamee says:

    I don’t know if I was ever a 10, but I would say that is the closest fitting. My diet consits of meat, veggies and some fruit. Avocado and olives for good fats. I struggle with the free range and grass-fed portion. I have not found a reasonably priced source for these items. My BF is not paleo, so that makes it a little harder sell. It’s a balance right? What makes you feel good and happy? I don’t eat grains except for the occasional beer (once a month). I still drink coffee, is that bad? I use coconut milk for creamer and stevia. Does that mean I am not Paleo? My Paleo lifestyle is a FAR cry from the way I used to eat. Is there a right and wrong way to be Paleo?

    • Suz
      Suz says:

      I don’t think there’s a right and wrong way Jamee, there are so many different ways that people “do” Paleo and it’s all about finding out what works best for you long-term.

  7. Rosemary
    Rosemary says:

    I gotta say, this provided a much needed ‘ouch’ for me. In a good way.

    I guess some underlying motivation for me would be the fact that I have some ‘2’ inside me (doesn’t everyone?), although as I am learning, I think (I hope!) I’m becoming a 10.

    It’s so easy though to start to slip into a 9. It happens slowly. ‘Oooh…I feel like something sweet. Dark chocolate is paleo!’ Half a bar later….

    I suppose if I hadn’t experienced the other benefits, I would have been a true 2 and dropped off by now because the weight loss is just not happening for me yet (it’s been about a month and a half with only about 1 kg gone). But I feel heaps better emotionally and physically, so although the weight aspect is discouraging – well, I’ll be honest; it’s quite discouraging – I’m going to keep going. It’s a steep learning curve, but I’m enjoying the learning. My partner and I are spending more time together now that I’m cooking and we’re eating proper, sit-down means. So I suppose the learning curve rather than losing my own curves is an okay place to be right now. 🙂

  8. Bryan
    Bryan says:

    You missed a type… the political paleo. Our politicians are bought by Big Ag, Big Sugar,and Bid Pharma. The political paleo types are making a statement against all this food, disease and political corruption. This is my main paleo type.

  9. Arthur Haines
    Arthur Haines says:

    This is a great (and light-hearted) look at the Paleo culture. It’s nice to read something that isn’t too polarizing. In some ways, there is only one group of Paleo followers–people who want the benefits of a paleo lifestyle. The real dichotomy comes in how people choose to attain it: (1) those that follow a more paleo lifestyle and (2) those that don’t. Most people (nearly all) fall into the second category. They want the benefits of a paleo lifestyle without actually living said lifestyle. Think about it, for example, working out in a gym under artifical lighting lifting weights and using machines accomplishes only one thing: fitness for the individual (all of which uses energy to drive to the gym, to heat/air condition the gym, to manufacture weights and machines, etc.). Or, you can live a lifestyle that has abundant excercise in it (e.g., walking long distances to forage, fish, etc., carrying heavy containers of sap for making maple syrup, making clothing and fabrics from animal hides [more intense work than you might think], carrying canoes (for fishing, ricing, etc.), and so on; pursuits that can benefit your entire household–bring wild nutrition to the table for everyone while you engage in movement. Understandably, not everyone wants to or is in a location where they can pursue such a lifestyle. But there seems to be no movement toward that end (or toward the aspects people can practice). Clearly, being outside exposed to fresh air and sunlight has advantages to being inside working out (where the air quality is very low due to off-gasing of carpets and upholstry, VOCs in the paint, flame-retardants in various appliances and fabrics, etc.). Most of us focus on the dietary aspects, but even then we acquire plant foods at the supermarket that have been genetically modified (through breeding) and no longer have any similarity to their wild progenitor (which is what Paleolithic People consumed–wild plants, animals, and fungi). This comment isn’t an attempt to be judgmental or negative, but rather to get people to think about other aspects of paleo living that are truly more sustainable (i.e., more green) and in many ways more beneficial to our health that the current, mainstream idea of Paleo. Said another way, no criticism intended for your place on the paleo path, rather hoping to help people see that a higher bar exists. Best wishes to everyone in their pursuit of health.

    • Elly McLean
      Elly McLean says:

      Wow! That is some insight Arthur! I am only just beginning a small trail to Paleo – having been an ovo/lacto vegetarian for some 47 years. I am now eating fish as well due to some health problems. I agree that the outdoor activity is much more beneficial. I do buy my vegies and fruit from the local farmers market, so it is grown by people I talk to. I also buy my fish from the local fish shop which is supplied by local fisherman, so it is a bit more paleo than the supermarket. Unfortunately we do not live in our own house, so a vegie garden is not on the menu here (the owner doesn’t want us digging up the yard), but one day…….. I will go and fish in the rivers and grow my own produce. Thanks for your thoughts on the matter.

  10. Faith
    Faith says:

    What about the Paleo Nazi? Somebody tried to stop me drinking coffee cause it isn’t Paleo AIP? What about the “you can’t eat this on Paleo version X?”

  11. Paul
    Paul says:

    A 7 is the closest for me, I’ve been overweight for a long time, there was an article in “body and soul” back in Aug 2013 with commando Steve who recommended eating Paleo if you were overweight, I’m an endomorph and eating Paleo works for me, I’ve added good organic full fat dairy and white rice with Tamari once or twice a week, that works for me, I’m happy and can maintain this for the rest of my life.


  12. Tony Elkins
    Tony Elkins says:

    What can I say I eat guided by the paleo principals because I like it. I train regularly I did start living the paleo lifestyle when I was trying to loose some weight. I don’t preach paleo I just do it because I like it

  13. Anakei
    Anakei says:

    I’m a bit of a 3 and a bit of a 10 with a little 9 when I fall for the chocolate!
    But the main reason I ended up paleo is from years of yo yo dieting and slavish following of “healthy” eating which was getting harder and harder as I grew older. I definitely think there is a category there! Call it the Lightbulb . Suddenly all became clear………

  14. martin
    martin says:

    Nice fun list! 🙂

    There’s a category missing, which is a combination of 7 & 8: parents whose children suddenly suffer from something grain related. That can turn you into a 3. Maybe they start on GAPS.

    With regard to 1, it seems to be far too generalised. I know it is common to conflate the general with the particular, but it is misleading: being vegetarian or vegan is not a homogenous thing: there are many different kinds (I was never one of either, but know many who are): some are raw (which means no grains and legumes), some are bioregional, some eat only organic, some eat only what they grow themselves or can buy in local markets, and some eat just whatever – the beans on toast vegans. That’s a very wide spectrum and it really makes no sense to lump them into together (unless you want to insult some of them or have an ax to grind).

    The same can be said about all other categories of eaters, including paleo: some eat local and biodynamic, others just avoid grains, but eat industrial food. For some “paleo” is really just another expression of an eating disorder. Generalisation is a dangerous game: it can be misleading and it can upset people, because in every generalisation many particulars are lost from view.

    LIke I said, tho, the list is fun 🙂

  15. Nicole Johns
    Nicole Johns says:

    I’m a 9… I did the 30 and it was so successful however I have struggled to maintain being organised and chocolate and alcohol really have a hold on me… My partner made a comment the other day “You Paleo when it suits you lately” which really hit home… I’m now moving to a 6… Wish me luck 🙂

  16. Bill
    Bill says:

    #11) The Libririan: one who meticulously writes down their meals in their journal and keeps a record of their eating habits to examine their progress.

  17. Andrew
    Andrew says:

    I’m none of the list mentioned.
    I see them all as extremes, which I’m not

    1. never been one
    2 Have one
    3. No
    4. No
    5 No
    6 Not one
    7. Still unwell
    8. Children left the nest 20 years ago
    9 I’ve never been a wannabe in any spehere. Do or don’t do
    10 Not fanatical

    Words become thoughts become things

    I have diabetes … I am not a diabetic
    I am not my disease
    Words Like discoverer, pragmatist, seeker, collaborator are far more inspiring and possibility type words.

    Sorry I’m not one of the labels 😉

  18. Ann
    Ann says:

    I’m a brand new 7. Not even a week yet but seem to feel better already. Possible? Or just wishful thinking? If I can come close to a 6, that will be a miracle. And I’ll shout it from the top of a ladder.


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