Life struggles and resolutions give birth to a book for healthy living, combining recipes, mantras and meditations
I’m sure by this time in the New Year you have read countless ‘self-improvement’ book reviews and blurbs searching for the next juicy way to shift out of your current realm of living. Given all these possibilities, I wanted to lift up the curtain and instead of just telling you about my recent book, I wanted to share my journey to its inception.
It all started over a year ago at the Wanderlust Yoga Festival in Stratton, Vermont. Although I went to the festival on a work assignment, I was overflowing with joy to be there because I was at a crossroads. When I first began my career, I wasn’t intending for it to be a career. I had begun a plant-based, healthy recipes blog back in college when I was diagnosed with a laundry list of food allergies that left me eating vegan and gluten-free. Despite the initial ‘bliss coma’ that emerged with almost immediate and welcomed relief from the intense pain I had been feeling for months — I grew increasingly more frustrated with my new dietary ‘restrictions’.
Luckily, a little birdie must have whispered in my ear one night and I was able to flip the script and see this as a fun challenge to learn to cook and bake (my favorite!) with a whole new palette of ingredients. I got busy. The blog went up in bare bones form (primarily for my sorority sister’s benefit). And there my creative passion project quietly lived for over six years. That is until I hit my knees in 2013 — and everything changed.
In the span of a week, I left my long-term boyfriend and received the news that my little brother had been diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease called primary schlerosing chlorangitis (PSC) and severe ulcerative colitis, a complication commonly associated with PSC. As I lay in a puddle of tears on the floor, sobbing for what felt like days, it felt like everything had fallen apart.
After desperately pleading with God, I heard the guidance to begin meditating — and that’s when a whole new chapter of my life began.
I didn’t know what I was doing, but I had YouTube and Google, great books from Louise Hay and Wayne Dyer, Buddhist meditation classes in Brooklyn, and a kundalini yoga studio I had just found. I meditated, read, practiced, and figured my way right out of it — like my life depended upon it, because in that moment, it truly felt like it did.
When I simply stopped resisting and started opening up, I began to effortlessly lean into my blog, my baking, and all the things in my life that truly lit me up. These were the very things that became my lifelines.
The blog blossomed because it was my sunshine in the rain. Without any business strategy or master plan, my readers grew, my social media started blowing up, and I even got a phone call from a network called ABC that thought I was a good fit for a cooking show with the likes of Anthony Bourdain, Nigella Lawson, Marcus Samuelson and Ludo Lefebvre.
Seemingly overnight, I became a plant-based cook and healthy living ‘personality’. I felt like I was floating on cloud nine. I couldn’t have been more aligned with everything I was doing; I had never experienced anything like this before.
Fast forward a year or so. My spiritual practice had evolved exponentially and I began to share it on my blog and social media. I felt like I was ‘coming out of the closet’. I could no longer hide this tremendously important part of my life from my amazing community who trusted me.
To my surprise, it went over swimmingly! My people loved it! They wanted to know all the meditations I did, why I follow the moon cycles, hear about crystals, angels, past lives — it was amazing. I shifted away from food and leaned into my spiritual side for a while.
But a few weeks before that afternoon in Stratton, I began to feel torn between two worlds. The bottom line: I missed my cooking.
I still believed so many people needed help making peace with their bodies and learning how to properly nourish them. My whole journey expanded when I cleared up my relationship with my body. On the other side, there was no denying my spiritual calling. I loved mentoring women one-on-one and helping them evolve along their path by exploring the depths of their consciousness.
So I set an intention for the Vermont weekend: I wanted crystal clear guidance on which path I was to move forward with, or at least a definitive idea of how they could intertwine seamlessly. Well, my higher self wasted no time!
In my first kundalini class we did a meditation and I immediately flashed back to a past life where I was muddling some blackberries and basil in a small dirt hut. Outside the door, there was a line of people waiting to come to me to get their prescription. I would hand each of them a plant-based ‘elixir’ and then give them two assignments. It always varied depending on their purpose for seeing for me, but one was usually a self-care related activity like going to bathe in the river by moonlight every night or lay out in the morning sunshine, and the other one was a mantra to meditate with.
I awoke out of the meditation and my whole body was buzzing.
It wasn’t about JUST the food or JUST the meditation; it was this magical combination that truly leads to alignment and healing.
My book, Eat With Intention: Recipes and Meditations For A Life That Lights You Up, was born.
It would be a manual of how to start a conversation with your earth suit, make peace with it, and truly tap into it as your navigational system here on earth. It would also include a powerful trifecta: a mantra, a meditation and a recipe specifically curated for an individual intention.
Because the Universe truly conspires to put the pieces together for you as soon as you are ready, the next day I got an email from a wonderful publisher asking me if I wanted to write a cookbook. I told them I wasn’t up for writing a cookbook, per se, but I was ready to write Eat With Intention and I pitched them my entire download. They loved it and now my beautiful creative baby has been birthed and stands on shelves all over the world, providing healing magic for thousands of women.
From the book, I’ve provided three sample recipe-mantra-meditation pages for you to play with — click the links below:
>See other recipes and articles from Cassandra Bodzak here.