Hi, readers. I’m honored to announce the publication of the latest Primal Blueprint Publishing release, Kitchen Intuition, written by my daughter, Devyn. Much of this post is in the format of a guest Q&A where a worker bee caught up with Devyn to learn all about the book and the journey that led to the finished product. Devyn has been working on this project for several years now, originally as a component of her college coursework for a Master of Spiritual Psychology degree, and eventually expanding the concept into a full-length book.
It’s hard to marginalize this work by calling it just a book. I’ve observed my daughter over the past several years grow and mature in ways that leave me speechless as a parent, and the physical book that arrived recently in the mail (bringing the author and the author’s parents to tears on that occasion!) is a tangible representation of this beautiful journey.
It’s mind-blowing that this little being that I welcomed to the world in 1991 has become the adult creative force that stands before me today—blowing into my kitchen to create more culinary art when I least expect it, or dropping off her golden doodle, Ninja, as she heads out for another bold life adventure.
Kitchen Intuition is a deeply personal and vulnerable account of her journey of healing and enlightenment, inspired by the celebration of cooking and eating. The title conveys how Devyn awakened a greater emotional and spiritual connection to food, in the process peeling away layers of dysfunction and disconnect that most of us have when it comes to food—mindsets, attitudes, and behavior patterns that often spill out into other areas of life. I mean, if you’re too busy to take the time to enjoy a tasty, nourishing meal to fuel your important daily agenda, what does that say about your prioritization skills or even your self-respect?
As I spread my message to “Live Awesome!”, this book captures the spirit of that better than anything I’ve read in a long time. The delicious, whimsical and incredibly creative recipes help you awaken your intuitive side—a refreshing departure from the usual mechanical approach we apply when following recipes verbatim. The short stories that are interspersed throughout the book help you get to know Devyn, but even more importantly encourage you to get to know yourself a little better. It seems we often pay lip service to the concept of intuition these days. I hear athletes talk about it in trying to escape OCD training patterns to no avail. We dream of being creative and adventurous in the kitchen, but we lack the confidence and inspiration, or we tell ourselves that we don’t have enough time. Now you have a guide in Devyn, who will take you to places you’ve never been before in the kitchen—and in your relationship with food and eating overall.
The book has arrived in our warehouse ahead of schedule, and Devyn has agreed to sign 200 copies exclusively for MDA readers through the special promotion described after this Q&A—enjoy!!
The first draft started as a project for my Master of Spiritual Psychology degree and quickly became my worst fear and my greatest accomplishment. I was certain I wanted to create a cookbook (due to my obvious love for cooking and enjoyment of food), but I was blissfully unaware of just how much work it would be or how much it would challenge me. Kitchen Intuition morphed into a project of self-awareness, and the vision soon took over. I wanted to help people by helping myself…by sharing the vulnerability in my relationship with food.
Describe what you think is unique about your book’s message.
I encourage my readers to make mistakes. The kitchen doesn’t have to be something you fear. It can be a scary place for most, but as long as you have some Band-Aids and a fire extinguisher on hand you should be fine. I want people to just get their hands dirty and give things a shot, to realize cooking can be creative, funny, even romantic. It’s all about getting comfortable in the kitchen, and that includes understanding your likes and dislikes as well as the likes and dislikes of those around you. I want people to pay attention to what they’re putting in their bodies by way of connecting with it as it’s being prepared.
What are some examples of the tips and recipes readers will find in Kitchen Intuition?
My favorite tip is Tip #1: Experiment. How do you know what you don’t like if you haven’t tried it? I’ve made some of my best dishes simply trying something out because that’s all that was left in the fridge. Experiment, break the rules, learn from your mistakes. Some of my favorite recipes in the book include a bunch of leftovers that I creatively repurposed.
The waffles are probably my favorite recipe. Some might not call them Primal. I find it so easy for me to eat healthy/Primal all the time, but I feel like I don’t give myself a chance to indulge on things like decadent breakfast items, desserts, or heavy meals. The waffles give me a chance to feel like I can loosen up, join the crowd, and enjoy my food while eating something that is going to positively affect my body and spirit.
Do you have a couple favorite, go-to recipes that you knew had to make it into the book?
I knew I had to include some sort of eggy breakfast muffin. They’re so easy to make, so delicious, and can be made ahead to enjoy at any time of day. They can be fun to experiment with, they require no expertise, and I haven’t met someone who didn’t enjoy them. I also had to include some salads. I feel like salads have a bad reputation for being a “diet food,” but I LOVE a good salad. To me, a salad is just a bowl of goodness with a base of lettuce. You can put anything on lettuce, call it a salad, enjoy the heck out of it, all while getting some good quality nutrition.
How would you describe your personal approach to healthy eating, and what were the most important influences (Primal or non-Primal) in coming to that approach?
There are many things, people and experiences that have informed my eating and lifestyle choices. My personal approach to eating healthy is simple—if I can’t pronounce the ingredients, I usually won’t eat it. I eat as many things as I can that grow from the ground. Occasionally, I eat things that eat off the ground, and I rarely eat things from a package. Obviously, my dad informed my eating habits, but it was not until I studied with The Institute for Integrative Nutrition that I realized WHY I was eating the way I was. It no longer became “because dad does.” My decisions started to feel more like “I choose to.” When people ask if I’m paleo/Primal, I say “yes,” but only because all the things I eat tend to fall in that category of “crap-free.”
What has creating this book meant for your personal journey with eating and cooking?
This book has exposed me, my family, and my friends to the public. Writing and cooking my way through this book allowed me to take a look at my relationship to and with food. I put myself under a microscope for the last few years as I discovered, dissected, ignored, and studied different parts of myself. I fell in and out of love in the kitchen, celebrated, cried, danced, laughed, and learned. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
What surprised you about the process of creating the book?
How much of my social life is surrounded by food. I paid close attention to my relationships and food experiences as I was in the process of writing the book. I was amazed at how often I met up with someone for a smoothie and great conversation, went on a romantic date where we shared food, met my mother for lunch or cooked for tons of people during a celebration.
Many of my interactions and development of new or old friendships revolved around food. The only time I spent with my whole family was for dinner. When I saw old friends, it was over lunch. When I met someone new, it was for coffee. I was amazed at how SOCIAL food is, and how each relationship changed the way the food felt in my body. The experience and conversation dictated how nourished I felt afterward—no matter what I ate.
What’s one of your favorite moments in writing and creating the photos for the book?
Seeing the first photo my photographer Austin and I took (I think it was a cauliflower dish). I have zero experience in food styling, and this was his first cookbook. The picture was nothing like I had imagined, but it looked amazing! I realized in that moment that I would do LIFE with my intuition, not just the cooking part.
What would you like readers to take away from the book for their journeys?
Be curious. Ask yourself questions. Get to know your body. What feels good? What tastes good? What looks good? Pay attention. Become more aware of your relationship to food (healthy or not, we all have one), and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Let your intuition guide you in the kitchen. Before you know it, you’ll notice that intuitive approach start to spill over into other aspects of your life.
Today, per Mark’s Daily Apple tradition, I’ve never been more excited to put together a limited-time offer for Devyn’s book release.
You won’t want to miss Devyn’s creative and inspiring message—and this book’s potential to expand or even redefine your Primal eating. You’ll find more than 75 recipes—from dips and bites to scrumptious sides, savory soups to zesty salads, and plenty of main dishes to fill your Primal appetite.
You’ll find Kitchen Intuitionfor sale on Amazon.com as well starting today. However, this deal only applies to PrimalBlueprint.com purchases and expires when supplies run out or on April 28th at midnight, PDT. One offer per customer. Both domestic (U.S.) and international orders are eligible.
Thanks for stopping by today, everyone, and for sharing the moment. This blog and all that’s grown out of it has certainly changed my life. It’s an amazing experience to see it play a part in my daughter’s life and vision.
Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.