I am so thrilled to share the new book, EAT WITH INTENTION
, by my spiritual running buddy Cassandra Bodzak. Cassandra is a bright light in the holistic health and spiritual world. I am obsessed with EAT WITH INTENTION because it is not your typical cookbook. (Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE me a great cookbook but this
book is something special.) It is filled with gorgeous and delicious recipes – yes – but also guides you through the process of establishing a nourishing self-care practice and cultivating love for and peace with your body. I got the chance to chat with Cassandra about the connection between food and spirit, how to finally slow the eff down while eating and her Kundalini yoga practice. She is also sharing my favorite recipe from the book
Conversation with Cassandra Bodzak, Eat with Intention author
: People ask me all the time, what was the turning point in your life, when did you go from feeling lost, foggy-headed and barely getting by to
become the happy, clear-headed and successful individual are today? Truth is, eating with intention was where it all began. Once I stopped waging war on my body and actually tuned in and asked it what it needed, it was like a new level of living emerged. I had more energy and clarity than ever before in my life, I started a daily meditation practice and learned how to listen to my inner guidance. In essence, the tools in this book set the foundation for the light-filled life I now get to enjoy so I knew it was important to share with the world. So many of my one on one clients have had massive transformations in every aspect of their lives from getting the foundation in order through these principles and I couldn’t wait for a way to share them in a way that was accessible to everyone!
SK: I love that you match recipes with mantras and meditation and mindfulness practices! Can you share a little bit about how you view the connection between food and spirit?
CB: I truly believe everything is energy and that nourishing your body and soul allow you to have a deeper connection with spirit. Try meditating on an empty stomach or after a morning green juice and then go meditate again after a bagel with all the fillings and big cup of coffee one day and you will have a very real experience of what I mean. When we treat our bodies like the divine temples and intuitive tools that they are, we are able to hear our inner guidance loud and clear, our connection to spirit is like high speed internet. In so many ways along my path I have learned over and over again that it’s not just one or the other, food, meditation and self-care (what I refer to in the book as the well-being trifecta) are ALL essential to us feeling our best, connecting deeper and ultimately leading our most joyful, light-filled lives!
SK: I am a mindful person but when I get around food I throw that out the window and find myself inhaling my food. What’s a great starting point for someone just beginning or struggling with mindful eating?
CB: Ah, I have a had a few clients like you! My first tip for my fast eating friends is to CHEW. Pick a fun number, maybe 11 or even 22 if you like a challenge and start counting your chewing of each bite. If that sounds a little too intense, another easy peasy tip is putting your fork down in between bites. Bring some food to your mouth, start chewing, place fork down and don’t pick it up again until you’ve fully swallowed what’s in your mouth. The food-mood journal and food detective process also trick you into being more mindful about what your eating by taking a more conscious look at the times you switch on to auto-pilot and shovel!
SK: Like you, I love kundalini and find it to be the fastest way for me to connect to my body and feel peace. What’s your favorite kundalini meditation?
CB: Oh, that’s a toughie! I feel like it depends on where I’m at in my journey. One of my all time JUICY favorites is doing long Ek Ong Kar for a really solid block of time. The whole concept for this book was birthed out of me following a two and half hour session of that meditation! Right now I am loving doing 11 minutes of Gyan Chakra Kriya each morning as well!
SK: I guide my clients through the process of losing emotional weight and gaining healthy habits in the process so Eat with Intention is perfect for my clients! I think we get so caught up in the idea of our physical weight and look to our diet as the source of our happiness. How can we begin to move beyond kale and look inward to find [and sustain] happiness?
: Yes, love this and can’t wait for your clients to get their hands on the book
— they will really find it to be helpful companion to your work together! The first step I always start with is body gratitude, not slapping some affirmations on top of negative feelings around your body but actually taking a REAL look into the miracle that is your body. (This meditation is also in the book.) Take an inventory of all the organ systems in your body, the processes that they do on a daily basis without any conscious help from you, the cells you have, your eyes seeing, your ears hearing — things you can REALLY connect with and get HONESTLY grateful for. When you start there, your love for your body can permeate your less favorite areas in a natural organic and authentic way.
Beyond that, when we begin spiritual practice, commit to a daily meditation practice and start honoring our body’s intuition or our inner guidance system (whatever you relate to more) that’s when we truly take our power back, start actively creating a life that lights us up and connect to genuine happiness. I believe meditation is the ultimately pathway to remembering who you are, who we all are, and once we make that connection we realize that happiness is a choice we can make every day — and still love ourselves through feeling all our feelings!
SK: What’s one thing someone could do today to start to shift from disconnected eating to eating with intention?
CB: The gratitude practice above for sure! As well as simply taking a moment before meals to put a hand on their navel, a hand on their heart, take a deep breath, close their eyes and ask their body what it genuinely wants to nourish it. AND to keep showing up to that practice till your mind relearns the natural process of listening to your body’s intuition.
Patience is a virtue that I wasn’t born with. A few years ago, I was listening to a Marianne Williamson lecture (Marianne Williamson is a best-selling spiritual author and lecturer), and she talked about leaving our lives up to the same force that turns the acorn into an oak tree. It finally hit me how powerful patience is. Whenever I feel my patience running low, I think about the acorn and remind myself that my patience allows the space for the magic to happen—I can trust that if I’ve planted the seed, nature will make the flower blossom.
KUNDALINI MEDITATION FOR THE NEGATIVE MIND
Sit in easy pose. Make a cup with your hands, your right hand cupped in your left hand, with both palms facing up. Close your eyes so that they are only slightly open, and look down toward your cupped hands. Place this open cup at the level of your heart center and allow your elbows to relax at your sides. Inhale deeply, taking a long, steady breath through the nose. Exhale in a focused stream through rounded lips, as if you were blowing a feather out of your hands. You will feel the breath go over your hands. Let any thought or desire that is negative or persistently distracting come into your mind as you breathe. Breathe the thought and feeling in, then exhale it out with the breath. Continue for 11 minutes, gradually building to 31 minutes. Close by inhaling completely and holding the breath out as you lock in your navel point. Concentrate on each vertebra of the spine until you can feel it all the way to the base, as if it is as stiff as a rod. Inhale powerfully, exhale completely, and repeat the concentration. Repeat this final breath 3 to 5 times, then relax completely.
Yield: 4 servings
- Olive oil cooking spray, for greasing
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 apples, thinly sliced (I prefer PinkLady apples)
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 white onion, diced
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 3 cups (720 g) unsweetened almond milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons (45 g) Dijon mustard
- 4 rosemary sprigs, divided
- Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C, or gas mark 7). Grease a baking sheet with cooking spray. Add the cauliflower, sprinkle over the garlic and onion powders, and generously season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the cauliflower starts to brown.
- In the meantime, grease another baking sheet with cooking spray and scatter across the apples. Bake for 5 minutes, or until the apples begin to brown.
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and sauté for another minute.
- Transfer the roasted cauliflower and apples (setting aside a few apple slices to garnish) to a food processor or high-speed blender, and then add the onions and garlic, 1 cup (240 ml) almond milk, and Dijon mustard. Pulse until puréed, gradually adding more almond milk to achieve your desired consistency.
- Transfer the mixture into a large saucepan over medium heat, add 2 rosemary sprigs, and simmer for 10 minutes until warm and infused with rosemary. Remove the rosemary.
- To serve, finely chop the remaining rosemary leaves. Ladle the soup into individual bowls, and then garnish with sliced apples and chopped rosemary.
“My patience is precious.”
CASSANDRA BODZAK is the host of Eat with Intention TV or you may know her as the happy, healthy living guru from ABC’s The Taste. She is the founder of the online mind-body-soul support community, Aprecity.com and a global meditation and wellness teacher who instructs people on how to utilize the technologies of food, meditation, and self-care to make peace with their bodies and their plates. Cassandra is an author, speaker, and certified Kundalini yoga and meditation teacher. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Discover more at http://www.eatwithintentionTV.com and http://www.CassandraBodzak.com.
Order your copy of EAT WITH INTENTION today! Cassandra is also offering a free 45-minute audio lecture: Beginner’s Guide to Bliss. I know that you’re going to love the book and the cauliflower soup!! Share your Eat with Intention questions and experiences in the comments below.