The Primal Diet is a carnivorous, low carbohydrate raw foods diet, pioneered by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. It can also be considered as a Paleolithic diet with the addition of raw milk products. The diet makes high claims on its health benefits; claims that were mostly never scientifically studied, and go against the current scientific understanding. In particular it claims to be successful in reverting serious degenerative conditions, like cancer and osteoporosis. For this reason most of the adherents to this diet are primarily moved by health motives as opposed to the many adherents in the raw food community, who are more often moved by ethical reasons.
The diet was created by Aajonus Vonderplanitz. He died in Thailand on August 28, 2013 after a balcony gave way.
Foods in the Diet
Most of Primal Diet is based on a wide range of raw food: raw eggs and raw meat; raw fat (like unpasteurized butter, avocado or stone pressed olive oil)generally mixed with unheated honey; unpasteurized dairies (raw cheese, raw milk, raw cream, and raw butter); freshly squeezed vegetable juices, and some fruits. Very little water, if any is taken, and possibly naturally sparkling water. Although the food is taken raw it is sometimes heated to room temperature, or up to 41 degrees to avoid cooling down the body.
Primal dietist have a number of claims on health and how food affects the body. Some of which have been accepted by mainstream science, some are being discussed and some are only supported by anecdotal evidence.
Effect of pasteurization
Health benefits from the Diet
Some people feel that Aajonus' method for researching the Primal diet, is less scientific than methods used by nutritionists such as Patrick Holford (meticulously studying thousands of scientific papers on nutrition).
Views in favor of the diet
Misconceptions about the diet
- Aajonus Vonderplanitz: 'We Want to Live', 1997 (reissued as 'We Want to Live: The Primal Diet', 2005)
- Aajonus Vonderplanitz: 'The Recipe for Living Without Disease', 2002
- Dr. Weston A. Price: 'Nutrition and Physical Degeneration'
- Francis Pottenger: 'Pottenger’s Cats'
- Dr. Edward Howell: 'Enzyme Nutrition'
- Vilhjalmur Stefansson: 'Cancer: Disease of civilization? An Anthropological and Historical Study' (Available at the Stefansson Collection, Dartmouth College)
- William Campbell Douglass: 'The Milk of Human Kindness ---is not Pasteurized'
It is mostly comprised of raw animal flesh foods (up to ninety-five percent by caloric intake), raw green vegetable (mostly freshly juiced, pulp discarded), unheated honey, and occasional small amounts of fresh raw fruit. The diet shuns grain products, nuts, root vegetables, and processed and preserved food, including frozen and dried foods. Vonderplanitz postulates that honey, bee pollen and royal jelly should not be heated above 33º Celsius, fats above 35º C, milk products, meats and eggs above 37º C, and other foods above 39º C.
Vonderplanitz explains that the fear of pathogens in such a diet is misplaced, and points to extensive research which shows that bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites in general share a symbiotic relationship with our multifarious bodily processes. He demonstrates that microbes consume necrotic tissue, acting as scavengers, and contribute to the efficacy at which the healing process can proceed, especially when in conjunction with his Primal Diet. This is because the Primal Diet contains all of the nutrients abundant in nature - enzymes, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, co-factors, as well as a myriad of as yet unidentified nutrients - unadulterated by processing techniques, all of which inevitably change the foods' original structures. The hypothesis for this is that, given the proper form of nutrition, the body can nearly always heal itself over time, at least to a certain extent. He contends that many cases of serious food poisoning cases resulting in injury or death, have actually resulted from adverse reactions to the medications and vaccinations used to treat the symptoms of what he views as a necessary uncomfortable, but otherwise generally benign, detoxification process. He cites several examples of healthy primitive populations who would regularly knowingly ingest all sorts of microbe rich sources, from raw milk and rotten fish to water buffalo dung, for their health-promoting properties. Though some may find this distasteful, there is an ever increasing amount of significant scientific evidence of the veracity of his microbial detoxification theory. Dr. Sara Arab at the University of Toronto dissolved cancerous tumours with the use of an injected E. Coli bacterial byproduct, while Dr. K. Brooks Lowe of Yale University had reported that researchers had used salmonella to reverse cancer. These are but some of the emerging studies in this interesting field of research. Also, for centuries now, physicians have used and are still using leeches to expedite wound healing by consuming necrotic tissue, preventing infection, and intestinal worms to relieve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). There is also an ever increasing number of researchers who have explored the health benefits of adding raw animal flesh foods and other raw animal products to a diet which also includes plenty of raw vegetable foods. Among them are Dr. Joseph Mercola, Dr. Ron Schmid N.D., Dr. Tom Cowan, Sally Fallon M.A, Mary Enig Ph.D., Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez, and the late doctors Francis Pottenger and Weston A. Price.
For over thirty years, Vonderplanitz has treated thousands of people with mild to serious illnesses. Many of those treated through his program have experienced complete or partial remission of their symptoms by following through with his mainly dietarily based recommendations.
Aajonus Vonderplanitz has published two books, 'We Want to Live' published in 1997, 'The Recipe for Living Without Disease', published in 2002, and has recently reissued his first book in 2005 as 'We Want to Live: The Primal Diet'.