I was recently lucky enough to connect with my new friend Cassandra Bodzak, meditation and wellness teacher and author of the new book Eat With Intention: Recipes and Meditations for a Life that Lights You Up!, out November 15.
Cassandra struggled for years with unhealthy dieting, stomach pains, and food allergies. It was only when she began to listen to her body, connect more deeply with her intuition, and ultimately, both eat and live with intention that she transformed her life.
She believes our “Wellbeing Trifecta” — food, meditation, and self-care — lays the foundation for bringing peace and balance to every area of our lives. If you’re ready to start bringing more intention to your eating — all that you do — please check out this interview and consider picking up Cassandra’s book in next month!
What were your biggest struggles with food and your body before you began your healing journey described in your new book?
For me, it was always about not feeling skinny enough. From an early age (we're talking like kindergarten here), I got it in my head that I was overweight and spent all my energy trying to get smaller. As I got older, that manifested into yo-yo dieting, overexercising, taking all different weight loss pills, and being chronically unhappy in my own skin.
How did meditation and other mindful practices help you heal your relationship with food and your body?
Mindfulness practices like taking a body inventory and focusing on my gratitude for each part of my body and it's miraculous job really helped shift my relationship with my body. I learned to care for, respect, and nourish my body, instead of feeling like I was waging a war against. Meditation, in general, is very helpful for releasing any sort of dis-ordered, compulsive, or plain old 'fear-based' thought patterns because it allows you to connect to the truth of who you are which is far beyond any of those thoughts. Daily meditation also gives you what I refer to as "the miracle moment" or those few seconds before you are about to go down that road (towards the thoughts and behaviors that are harming you) so that you can see what's going on and consciously choose again. Through a regular practice of meditation and checking in with my body, I'm also able to use my body to tap into my inner guidance as well as connect to what my body specifically needs to feel and operate at it's best.
What is the Food Mood Journal? Why does it play such an important role in creating sustainable change in one's eating habits?
A food-mood journal is a log where you write down what you eat every day and how you feel during and after you are eating it. It's not about changing your habits or choices, it's just about seeing with your own eyes where you are operating on auto-pilot and what foods you're eating that might not be serving you. Keeping a food-mood journal is so transformative for people because it not only forces you to be more conscious about your food choices but it also puts the power back with you to start making the associations between your actions and their results. So many of us don't even realize that it isn't normal to be tired, foggy, or uncomfortable after meals or which foods we reach for when we're stressed out. When you write it out for a few weeks, you can really see it for yourself.
What does eating with intention mean to you?
Eating with intention means having a continuous loving conversation with and deep respect for your body as well as a free-flowing creative relationship with your nourishment. It's flexible, it's fun and it's empowering. Eating with intention is showing up each day, checking in, and seeing what your beautiful god-pod want's to be fueled with, how it wants to move and what's going to make it feel and work it's best. And then honoring that and listening.
How does this practice support your intentions in all areas of your life?
I truly believe our "Wellbeing Trifecta" of food, meditation and self-care lay the foundation for how we show up for everything else in our life. Our body is a beautiful channel for great work in the world and if we aren't properly nourishing it, we disconnected from what it truly needs and we are not giving it the rest and care it needs, then we have totally severed a massive connection to the inner guidance we all need to live our best life. Meditation is incredibly powerful and can be amplified or muffled by our instrument (our body) just as food and self-care are important but meditation really allows us to sink in even deeper and connect to our truth. We need all three, we need to take care of our foundation if we want to truly feel lit up and alive.
What advice do you have for women who are still struggling and feel like they've tried every dietary theory out there?
Take your power back! That’s my message with Eat With Intention. Let's stop giving our power away to every expert in the trendiest fitness magazines or on Instagram. Let's tune back in to OUR OWN divine wisdom because that is the only place you will find the answers that work for you. Nothing has worked before because they were never aligned, because you weren't listening and mostly likely because you weren't coming at it from a place of deep love, respect and care —let's be honest — you were fighting your body. "Eat with Intention" is about releasing everything you've heard before and finally asking your ultimate resource: YOUR BODY. These tools are for you to reconnect and start a loving conversation that will go on for the rest of your days on this planet.
If you're ready to hit the ground running, take your power back from food, and start living with intention in all areas of your life, I highly recommend we connect here.
And if you live in New York City, I invite you to my upcoming mindful eating workshop on October 22, where we'll practice yoga, meditation, tuning into our body's unique wisdom, and eating with awareness and grace. I'll share easy tools that you can start using right away. I would love to see you there.