Cassandra Bodzak’s Instagram bio says “food – meditation – self care”, and her website invites you to “create a life that lights you up”. Her photos include yoga poses, inspirational quotes, crystals, green juice and food that looks almost too good to eat.
I dig it. But is this real? Was she born a zen master who loves her body unconditionally, takes lavender epsom salt baths and reads before bed, and is obsessed with her job? Nah. Here, she spills the details of her path to eating (and living) with intention and shares tips and tricks that work.
Eating with intention. You wrote a book about it! How’s that different from just eating?
Eating with intention is about eating from a self-love and a conscious place. So many of us eat from auto-pilot, from a place of wanting to change ourselves or to numb out our feelings. Eat with intention is about reconnecting with your body, turning auto-pilot off and actually eating what your body truly wants to nourish it from a loving place.
What are some simple rituals everyone can do to be more present and intentional with food?
Take a minute before you even go to make or order food to put your hand on your heart and your navel and genuinely ask your body what would feel good right now. Honor what it says — it may surprise you. You can also visualize yourself eating two different meal options and notice which ones feels better in your being.
When eating, don’t do anything else. No phone, no laptop, no TV — nothing! Enjoy your food, chew it well and then place your fork down between bites. Allow your meal to be luxurious and its own special time. You don’t need to cram something else into meal time, it will change how your body digests the food and how satisfying it is.
Have you always been so mindful and chill around food?
Bahaha! Hells no! My hatred for my body started in kindergarten when I found out I was five pounds heavier than my best friend and spiraled into years of disordered patterns around food and hateful thoughts towards my body. It wasn’t until college that I hit an all time low and my body finally rebelled. I got tremendous stomach pains and could barely walk. I knew years of eating low fat, chemical laden diet foods, taking diet pills and over exercising were having an effect on my body. Once I got sick, something shifted and I started wanting to nourish myself from a place of true love and caring. I stopped fighting my body and became its friend. That was the major turning point for me and from then on I really committed to flexing my muscles around how I related to food and my body!
What’s your food philosophy?
Forget labels and just listen! We live in a world that’s obsessed with labeling us and it disconnects us from listening to our divine intuition around food. Your body KNOWS what will nourish it best, not the latest get thin fast guru or what your reading in a magazine. When we stop trying to fit into a box and listen our body tells us loud and clear and choices become easier.
Personally, I believe in eating lots of plants, organic and non-GMO. Fruits and vegetables elevate my energy and help my body deal with the intense energies on the planet these days. I believe the earth has a lot of untapped magic and medicine for our bodies.
Can you share some tips/mantras that have helped you the most in accepting and loving your body?
My body is like a romantic partner. I would never think of telling my boyfriend that I’d love him only after he did XYZ, so why is it okay to tell that to my body and place conditions on my love? Our body – just like our romantic partners – truly transform when we give them unconditional love and support. That’s the secret sauce for people AND your physical being. Unconditional love heals and transforms.
Another daily practice that has helped me tremendously is a gratitude body inventory in the shower. While washing every day, get present to how amazing your body is. For most of us the disconnect is from thinking our body doesn’t look good enough, but switch your gratitude to the miracles happening inside of your body to find authentic appreciation for things like your immune system fighting off things you don’t ever find out about, your heart for beating on its own, your lungs for the juicy air you breathe and their ability to calm you down… I don’t believe in pretending to love your thighs if that’s not true for you yet — start with something you can get genuinely present to and grateful for and the rest will come in time.
What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Guacamole on a wild rice cake. I’m visiting my little brother at the moment in San Fransisco and that’s one of my go to breakfasts when I’m not in my own kitchen.
Best breakfast you’ve ever had in your life?
Oh jeez! Breakfast is my favorite meal ever so I usually go big for breakfast when I can, haha. I’d have to say way, way, way back in the day I used to go to this pancake house back in Ridgewood, NJ with my grandma. They made strawberry banana pancakes the size of most dinner plates and they were always so good. I would eat the leftovers for days.
What are some of your morning & night rituals?
In the morning I do 20 minutes of mantra meditation, one or two kundalini meditations, journal about some intuitive hits and then take a few moments to center into gratitude for the day and my life. I then take a walk with some tea to get morning light in my eyes.
At night, once the sunsets I don’t use any blue lights so it’s all candles or orange lights and my electronics get orange filters on them as well. This helps my body know what time it is through my circadian rhythm. It also helps me sleep better and does miracles for balancing hormones. I take baths with Epsom salt and lavender, jasmine and rose essential oils most nights and my boyfriend and I usually read before falling asleep.
I am a book junkie so I always have trouble picking one. I just finished “Rise Sister Rise” by Rebecca Campbell which was incredible. As cliche as it is to say, “Eat Pray Love” is definitely my kind of book. Now reading “Love Warrior” — love raw, messy and real memoirs from courageous women!
Where can we find you offline these days?
I do guided Moon meditation classes at Unplug Meditation in LA on new and full moons and you will also see me popping up in NYC in the spring for some book workshops! I’m doing a lot more traveling and speaking this year — Philadelphia in April for the GOOD festival and Palm Beach, FL as a guest speaker for a retreat as well as lots more in the works. I’m very excited about the offline work! Nothing compares to getting real hugs and seeing the shift created in person!
Connect with Cassandra on @cassandrabodzak.