As a mentor of meditation and mindfulness, Cassandra Bodzak’s inspirational teachings on stress relief, empowerment and healthy eating have spread across the world on social media platforms, at speaking events, as a personal coach to clients, and now, as an author, with her upcoming book, Eat With Intention: Recipes and Meditations for a Life that Lights You Up. With this book, Cassandra brings her renowned expertise in meditation, and bonds it with an atypical partner—food! By adding meditations to the recipes, Cassandra teaches how to be mindful of what we are eating, and encourages a healthy lifestyle of awareness over those too trendy, impractical diet fads. In our chat with Cassandra, we learned about how she uses crystals in her life, what her morning meditation entails and more about how her new book is more than a cookbook.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you embark on this path of holistic eating and creating a life that lights you up?
I spent many, many years of my life having a terrible relationship with my body, trying every sort of diet and diet pill until finally in college my body rebelled against me. I got severe stomach cramps that eventually lead me to flip my relationship with my body and start to embark on a journey to heal it and genuinely learn how to take care of it. A few years into my more loving relationship with my body and food, I had what I refer to as my “eat pray love bathroom floor moment”. I found out my little brother had a rare terminal illness and I hit my knees. I had never been so sad or lost in my life, I didn’t know how to live knowing what was happening to him.
This whole story is in the book but I am trying to keep brief for the sake of your readers! Suffice to say, my deep sadness around my brother’s condition lead me to ask a higher power for help. I knew that I could not do this alone and I needed guidance more than ever. I heard loud and clear, “meditate” and jumped into a deep exploration of meditation and never stopped. That darkness allowed me to find my light, the sadness pushed me towards the things in my life that made me happy and the whole journey showed me how we create a life that lights us up regardless of what our personal circumstance may be.
Do you use healing crystals in your daily life?
You bet I do! They are all over my house! I have a whole pile of them in my meditation nook and each morning I pick one for each hand and hold them while I do my meditation. I also have them by my bedside table for while I’m sleeping and sometimes get my boyfriend to give me a massage with my obsidian to clear my energy field. One of my self-care rituals is taking hot baths at night with epsom salts, lavender, rose and jasmine essential oils and all my crystals!
Do you use crystals to enhance mindful, intentional eating?
I learned how to make crystal water a few years ago from Doreen Virtue’s Angel Detox and have since become in love with this simple yet magical process. Simply by filling up a glass with water before bed, placing your chosen crystals around it and then drinking it up in the morning and taking in the beautiful intentions and vibrations of the crystal — I think this is the epitome of eating (or drinking) with intention!
What are your favorite crystals?
Ah, I love them all. I always have a rose quartz on my being (usually in my bra) so it’s probably my most used. I have also always really felt connected to citrine but I really love having a wide selection and allowing myself to go through different phases where I’m more attracted to certain ones just based on what I need energetically.
What are your top three tips that you would recommend someone who is trying to become more conscious of their eating habits?
- Start a food-mood journal (I go deep into this in the book) where you begin to start writing down what your eating — snacks and nibbles included! — as well as how you are feeling when you eating it and how you are feeling an hour after. Doing this alone without even changing any eating habits is an eye opener and really gets you to take your power back around food.
- Take a moment before all meals or before planning a meal or heading to that lunch spot and check in with your body. I like to place a hand on my navel, a hand on my heart and close my eyes and just check in. Ask, “what feels really nourishing for you right now?”
- Skip snacks! I discovered along my journey that practically all my snacks were auto-pilot, emotional eating so I nixed them and it woke me up to all the unconscious habits I had around food. Now it’s perfectly fine to PLAN a late afternoon snack if you generally eat lunch around noon and know you have to work late so dinner won’t be for a bit — absolutely plan a healthy, nourishing snack to hold you through so you are not ravenous by the time you get home. Eliminate the snacks truly have no purpose because they are almost always stress or boredom eating!
Your new book, “Eat With Intention” is more than a cookbook with delicious recipes. Can you elaborate?
My book child, “Eat with Intention: Recipes and Meditations for a Life that Lights You Up” is truly unlike any other cookbook or lifestyle guide on the market. The first half is a manual for making peace with your body, learning what foods, exercises and self care activities it’s craving, how to begin a loving communication with your body and design rituals for your life that strengthen your connection to your inner guidance and joy. The second half, is 75 different inspiring mantras and messages each with a delicious, plant-based recipe and a meditation that are specifically curated to align with the mantra and message so that it is not only a library of nourishing recipes and meditations to support you feeling your best inside and out, it can also be used as an ‘oracle deck’ of sorts for instant guidance when you a need a hit!
In your book you also talk about the importance of meditation. Why is this and what does your morning meditation look like?
One of the biggest realizations I’ve had along this path is that it’s not just ONE side of the coin. I truly believe in what I refer to as the “wellbeing trifecta” which is the fundamental pillars of food, meditation and self-care to give you the foundation for your most joyful and expansive life!
My meditation practice involves lighting a candle with some palo santo, holding my crystals, doing a 20-minute mantra based meditation and then followed up my kundalini meditation (which is currently the gyan chakra kriya but I alternate every 40 days) and then a short visualization of a really JUICY day in the life. I always close with asking my guides and higher self — where would you have me go? what would you have me do? what would you have me say and to who? how I serve to my fullest today? And then taking a minute to jot down some to dos that naturally bubble up from it!
We are HUGE fans of all of your recipes! What are three of your favorites?
Aw shucks, thank you!!! They are all like my children to it’s hard to choose but here’s three I’m super proud of.
My Radiance Juice ( a great daily green start!)
My Cauliflower Apple Rosemary Soup (it’s like a delicious hug in a cup.)
My Carrot Cake Muffins with Chai Cashew Icing (this was a departure from my usual style and turned out so incredibly good that I could just not NOT include it!)
If you had to leave one piece of advice for someone looking to create a life that lights him or her up, what would that be?
You have the power my dear! Stop looking outside for the answers, no one knows you better than you! Give your own intuition some reverence and take the time to get silent, meditate and start connecting to this brilliant physical body that can be your most authentic guidance system while living on this earth! When you tune in and trust you, you will be guided toward a life better than you could even imagine.