Integrating 8D Self; gardening, community NPO, integral software, parenting, healing practices.

Origin story


“Kitchen is a magical place – it can be your sacred ground where you completely forget yourself and deeply dive into making food. Cooking is a creative process if you want it so.”

Hey, I’m Kertu, co-creator, and writer here at Art of Self Academy.

The beginning of my interest in food dates back to 2016. I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of food until I accidentally stepped into the world of inclusion (you know what it’s all about when you dive into the 8D Food Approach). Being a full-time learner of food opened up a whole new life for me not only professionally but I started to discover life in a multitude of ways I hadn’t before. All of it took its time to evolve and it hasn’t always been an easy ride. Life can bring tough challenges to grow and overcome. By sailing through the ups and downs of the creative process, I’ve come close to the point at which I set myself up years ago.

I want to bring out that I’m not a chef nor nutritionist and I’m not in the process of becoming one. I’m neither but at the same time both of them. I’m not into defining or limiting myself. My goal is freedom, true freedom in the kitchen; but at the same time conscious living in harmony with Nature. I’m eager to understand food from every possible angle and that’s why I’m continuously learning. All the wisdom received will land here, in my work.

Food and cooking in its purest form is art, at least that’s how I see it. This is why my approach to cooking is different than most cooks or bloggers out there. I’m not after following or creating recipes, instead, I want to understand the deep essence of food and the process behind flavourful dishes. I think that it is necessary to build the foundational knowledge and then become free to follow your own intuition on eating and cooking. Understanding different aspects of food and contradicting worldviews is crucial for that matter and this is what we offer you through our 8D Food Approach Guide.

Retrospectively it’s funny to look back and see myself struggling so badly to find a way of putting all of this into one fundamental course. I developed several structures and approaches, tens of sketches, and lengthy documents. But none of them were suitable to frame what I had to give. Years passed by, but my engagement with food remained. One winter afternoon, sitting in a cafe and deeply contemplating what food actually is, I got an insight that hadn’t occurred to me before and I came up with developmental stages for eating habits. I sensed that I found something unique, but at that moment had absolutely no idea where it would take me. I wrote about it immediately to my partner Eerik and from that day on (January 2020) everything started to evolve quite rapidly…


“I AM… acting locally and planning globally while acting globally and planning locally at the same time.”

…I was busy working that afternoon when I saw the messages Kertu wrote to me. It sent chills down my spine and caught my attention immediately. My world came to a halt. For context, we had extensively been studying food for years and I had been writing my own collection of articles to help us frame the full picture. My goal at the time was to apply integral thinking and cover as much ground as possible. I wanted to describe the map of the vast terrain of food that we were discovering and reach somewhere simple. The problem was, the deeper we looked, the more complex it became. I knew something was missing.

The thought of using developmental models as the foundation for food education hadn’t occurred to me. It was such a powerful “aha” moment when it finally hit my awareness. And honestly, it caught me off guard because I had studied and applied all sorts of psychological models for my own personal growth before. But I hadn’t considered them for food. It seems no one had. My life was changed at that moment and I must have felt it deep down. I literally ran home, took what Kertu wrote, and enhanced it further. To me, this is the day when Art of Food Academy was born.

Hi. I’m Eerik, co-founder of Art of Self Academy, and a wannabe Integral Wizard. I consider myself a passionate student of the self. Among other things, one of the most powerful discoveries that I’ve made is to find that FOOD is a wonderful tool. It is sustaining, enriching, uniting, grounding, comforting, expanding, healing, Nature. Not one day goes past when food does not get the well-deserved recognition from me. I experience this vast domain from the inside and outside, in singular and plural forms, as an experience and as a thought. In this process, new connections and insights are born that often find their way to my work here. But not all insights are equal. The day I described before, was different. It felt like the Big Bang…

What Kertu brilliantly suggested was to use a layered developmental model to frame our understanding of food. This idea to describe more of a journey rather than a destination resonated with me immediately. An evolutionary developmental model enables us to truly understand the multidimensionality of food. Interestingly, when viewed from this approach, and combining individual and collective growth, the giant domain of food starts to unravel and becomes approachable. In fact, so much so that we vision this to be the future of food education.

And not just that. You see, food, something super “ordinary” we deal with multiple times a day, is actually an amazing tool to learn about our own internal layers. Food is a hyper-unitive domain to recognize, practice, and develop within the self. Our proposed food education is more accurately self-education through food. As I like to say, Food is the Guru 🙏.

Together, we are a balancing force of structure and intuition, of curiosity and openness, of form and flow. We apply our strengths both in the kitchen, in the garden, and in developing the 8D Food Approach, the first unifying evolutionary study of the self through food.

If this resonates with you, have a look at our Guide. This will provide you with a powerful tool and also support our cause and enable our next steps. What you will also receive is an extended opportunity to be part of our journey together.