Dear Mark: Your Primal Cravings Questions Answered

Primal CravingsThe response to the early release of Primal Cravings: Your Favorite Foods Made Paleo has been incredible. I understand that thousands of you have now received your copies and bonuses in the mail, and from the Facebook comments and emails I’ve received, you’ve made it loud and clear that you’re loving these innovative new Primal recipes. Thank you so much for your feedback.

Some of you have emailed with questions about the book, so I thought I’d use today’s Dear Mark to answer your inquiries. Below you’ll find the Table of Contents, the Index, the Nutrition Index and some words from the authors of this book, Brandon and Megan Keatley, to hopefully give you a better picture of what this book includes and is all about.

Let’s go!

I am very interested in the book, but is there a way to find out what types of ingredients they use? I am almost sugar free (no honey, dates etc, almost no fruit) and nightshade free also. I’d like to find out how many of the recipes I can have without complicated conversions.

Thank you!


As far as added sugar in recipes, some type of fruit or sweetener is used in all of the “Sweets”. We’re proud to have many recipes that use only 100% fruit jam or fruit concentrate to sweeten. Others are typically sweetened with coconut sugar. That said, we estimate there to to be at least 85 remaining recipes that have no added sugar of any kind. These are various recipes from the “Rise-n-shine”, “Meats and Mains”, “Salads and Sides”, and “Snacks” sections. Of those, some will contain nightshades (tomatoes and peppers would be most common). Please see the index below where recipes are listed under said ingredient if they feature in it prominently.

I took a look at the new recipe book and I noted that one of the preview recipes called for heavy cream. Do you know how much of a percentage of the recipes call for milk, cream or cheese? I’ve noticed in the past that a lot of recipes don’t turn out right if you substitute (I’ve had a problem with dairy my entire life).


We do cook with butter in recipes. As noted in the book for substitutions, however, in savory recipes where the butter is used to sautè, any of your favorite primal fats can be substituted. For butter used in baked goods we recommend non-hydrogenated palm shortening be substituted 1 to 1. The flavor and texture should be very similar with this substitution. There are only a handful of recipes including cheese or heavy cream and in all but one case (Cheese Crackers) the dairy is simply a topping that can be easily removed from the recipe. This is why we feel that ALL recipes are “Dairy Optional” except the Cheese Crackers.

Hi Mark,

I’m interested in your new recipes BUT, are all the flour recipes using nut flours? I ask because I can’t use nuts and can only use coconut flour.



We are so excited to have almost completely eliminated nut flours and nut butters from our cooking in this book. We are trying to minimize using huge amounts of almond flour for treats because of their phytate and omega-6 PUFA content…and because it’s so expensive! And we know many others are too. We use a new tapioca and coconut flour mixture in our breads, crusts, biscuits, muffins, and sweets. The only recipes that contain nuts are used as nut pieces or in our peanut butter flavored macadamia nut butter (that contains no peanuts)…and two recipes call for almond butter. All in all we’d estimate less than 10 recipes that contain nuts out of the 125+.

Dear Mark,

Could you publish a Table of Contents for the Primal Cravings book? I’d like to see what kind of recipes are included in it. Thank you!


You got it!

Are there macronutrient figures for the recipes?


Yep. As you’ll see below, the listed recipes get broken down into calories, fat, carbs, protein and fiber.

This is a great idea. Is there a sample recipe we could see before actually buying the book?


Yes. A few, actually. There’s the Gyro Taco Salad & Tzatziki Guacamole and the Hazelnut Coffee Pancakes recipes published here on Mark’s Daily Apple. And if you scroll to the bottom of the book excerpt on this page you’ll find one additional sample recipe: Strawberry Shortcake Waffles.

Will this book be available in eBook/Kindle format?


Yes, you can pre-order the Kindle version of Primal Cravings on It will be released on June 4.

Many thanks to everyone that has already purchased a copy of Primal Cravings. Let me know what you think of the cookbook now that you have a copy in your hands and have, perhaps, had a chance to give some of the recipes a test drive. Grok on!

About the Author

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.

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37 thoughts on “Dear Mark: Your Primal Cravings Questions Answered”

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  1. Well it looks like I’ll have to get my act together and order. I’m dairy free – so your answers above are appreciated. 🙂

    1. I’m dairy free too most of the time. Feel so much better. One of my treat foods is soft serve ice cream in the summer time and I always pay for it after.

      Book looks great, Mark!

      1. You should try the Coconut ice cream recipe from the other cookbook (or various other online sources). Very simple, dairy free, and delicious. With the honey it has an earthy flavor too!

  2. A lot of the recipe names in the table of contents sound reaaaaaally good. Such a wealth of available cookbooks now it’s great to have so many options.

  3. I’m thrilled to see the near elimination of nut flours/nut meals. I believe them to be quite toxic. The paleo/primal community has for so long used nuts meals due to some unfounded fear of carbohydrate, and in the process traded something harmless (starch) for something very toxic (oxidized PUFA). Coconut flour and tapioca/yucca/potato starch are what I consider the “safe flours” (oh yea, and non-GMO masa harina), and while they are empty calories that can quickly add to your waistline with little nutritional benefit, at least they aren’t outright poisonous like almond meal.

      1. Did you just ask me if grinding a nut into a meal, thereby increasing its surface area an order of magnitude and baking it at temperatures 350 degrees and hotter oxidizes the PUFA?

        1. It doesn’t sound like a silly question to me. Obviously, grinding and baking the nuts increases potential for oxidation, and I’m sure some oxidation happens. But how much oxidation occurs, and to what degree is that harmful?

          Oxidation of foods requires the presence of oxygen and a temperature high enough to sustain the reaction over a period of time. Shorten the time or reduce the temperature, you lessen the oxidation.

          Cookies baking are never heated to a uniform temperature of whatever the oven temperature is (say 350F) until and unless all water in them evaporates (i.e. the cookies are hopelessly overcooked). So the moisture in the dough generally protects the cookie (except for the outermost crust) from oxidation to some extent, since most of the cookie won’t exceed 212F by much if at all. How much oxidation occurs at that temperature? I have no idea, but I’m sure it’s less than at 350F.

          And even if you instantaneously heated the entire cookie to 350F and left it in the oven for 10-12 minutes, how much oxidation would occur? Oxidation doesn’t happen instantaneously.

    1. Can you tell me where you find the non-gmo masa harina? I live near Houston, TX. Thanks!

      1. I believe Bob’s Red Mill is all non-GMO. You may want to double check me on that. They sell masa harina. So does Grupo Maseca, but I don’t know if that’s non-GMO.

    2. Be careful using tapioca flour if you have a latex allergy. They can be cross-reactive, and for me, reading labels to make sure there isn’t any tapioca (as well as wheat, barley and rye) flour is a priority. Just another reason why I don’t frequent the gluten-free aisle or bake much at all.

      1. Thank you for this tip! I already have reactions to bananas and kiwi due to my latex allergy. I had no idea about tapioca!

    3. I don’t know about the toxic part. I’m slightly allergic to most nuts. I can eat what I’d reasonably crack and eat in a sitting, but nut butters and flours are highly problematic for me. The volume is just too much. In that sense, almond flour probably isn’t all that Paleo because without modern tools, grinding nuts to flour or butter is a whole lot of work.

      1. “Without modern tools, grinding nuts to flour or butter is a whole lot of work.” If I followed this guidline, I’d probably starve or would have to move out of my house and into the woods. Refrigerators, ovens, stoves, stainless steel knives and cooking utensils, pre-butchered meat, coconut oil, etc. – without modern tools, we’d all spend all of our time hunting, gathering, preparing, and cooking our food. It’s like we’d be stone-age cavemen or something. 😉

  4. I ordered this book via MDA and I’m really impressed so far. I plan to make the sweet recipes only once in awhile for a special, healthier treat alternative but the savory dishes and salads look amazing. I made the spanakopia soup with ground lamb and OMG it is amazing. I’m making the pumpkin chillie tonight.

  5. Already got mine. The book itself is gorgeous, and all the food looks wonderful. I was really glad that the recipes that use flour use coconut flour and tapioca flour, because those are my favorite to use anyway. I always have trouble getting paleo cookie recipes to work out for me, so the first recipes from the book I’ll be trying are the chocolate chip cookies (both kinds!). I can’t wait.

  6. I have several Primal/Paleo cookbooks already, but this one using different flours really piques my interest ! Think I will have to add to the bookshelf! Sounds like a great book.

  7. Wife and I just got the book on Friday. It was absolutely worth every penny. We’ve tried a few recipes already and they are delicious! The format and photography is top notch.

    If you are on the fence about buying the book- don’t be. Just get it.

  8. Mark,
    Thanks for changinfg my life. “Connection” was awesome. Between Crossfit and a primal lifestyle, i have never felt better. I have even been motivated to start my blog to help other people get a leg up on their primal transformation. Thanks again.


  9. I’m looking forward to getting hold of this book in ebook format when it comes out. I do anticipate swapping at least some of the tapioca with nut flour in these recipes though; eating fewer carbs seems to agree a lot better with me—although the improvement texture that tapioca gives to low-carb baked goods is undeniable.

  10. Last night I made the spicy chicken tenders for my daughter and they were wonderful. The tapioca flour made a lovely crunchy crust on the tenders. I have found several recipes to try. I want to try a couple more recipes then give a review on Amazon. This is a great cookbook.

  11. Just finished making the Gyro Taco Salad with Tzatziki Guacamole. Easy, fast, and delicious. I am looking forward to trying several other recipes in this book. Thanks so much for writing it and thanks Mark for bringing it to us all!
    Cooking is wonderful joy that this Primal lifestyle has reintroduced to me. All of the years of low fat, chicken, chicken, and more chicken had driven me out of the kitchen. I love that I am now reconnecting with my food and all the amazing flavors that a varied diet (with fat) bring out.

  12. Thanks very much for your great book — Primal Cravings.

    It is very liberating to be able to know that I can enjoy my favorite foods — intelligently — and remain on a healthy diet.

  13. Hi Mark, I know this is silly in a judge a book by it’s cover type of way, but I totally gravitate towards cook books with tons and tons of pictures in it. Any preview into whether this book is filled with pictures? Either way, I know it will be a great addition to my kitchen collection!


  14. Health-Bent is my FA-VO-RITE healthy recipe site. Seriously – probably half of my “regular” recipes find their origin in the Keatley’s site (I have quite a few regulars from Mark’s book as well – I actually think they have a lot of similarities in style – though Mark probably does more roasts and pork chops :)). I think the beauty of their recipes is that they are delicious AND functional. Often you will get one but not both, and with the Keatley’s, you usually get both. They have a total knack for putting “twists” on food that make you think “I would have never thought of that, but it makes perfect sense!” A perfect example is the gyro salad w/ tzaziki guac. Tzaziki guac – I would have never thought of that, but how could that be bad!? And ground lamb? Sign me up! Who wants to bother with roasting a leg of lamb – that is a pain in the butt!

    For anybody on the fence who is not yet sold, go check out their website and try a few of the recipes, available freely online. Here are some of my favorites. I have made many of these over a dozen times. (a go-to in our home) (can’t go wrong with braised beef shanks in general, but this is a great twist) (I have made HUGE batches of this stuff) (sinful – can’t make too often!) (super simple and surprisingly yummy for what it is) (a classic; I actually include this in the breakfast rotation) (fantastic – to up the “functional” part of this recipe, I just scoop out and bake casserole-style; the twice-baked version is great for company though) (another great sweet potato recipe – especially if you are okay with including the goat cheese) (a super simple “twist” that resulted in another go-to dinner) (I call this “southwest cole slaw”) (a classic in our house – I make this for breakfast too) (another regular – have wowed company with this one) (I don’t make too many desserts, but these are perfect)