Interview With Cassandra Bodzak (The Vegan Contestant From ABC’s The Taste)

Rachel Galperin
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After gaining popularity on ABC’s The Taste as the only vegan contestant and getting praise by the late Anthony Bourdain as “his favorite vegan,” Cassandra Bodzak took the spiritual inter-webs by storm.
 
She built a brand centered on self-nurture and love, authored a cookbook called Eat With Intention, and created a business empowering other like-minded women to live their best lives.
 
Her book, a combination of her background as a health coach and meditation teacher, offers readers simple mantras for accessing their intuition. It uses food as the culprit that many people reach for when feeling overwhelmed or stressed and suggests practices to live and eat more mindfully.
 
eat-with-intention
 
In addition, she also operates a website called Aprecity.com, calling the site a “spiritual gym membership” that is designed specifically for people who might not be able to afford private coaching. She spoke to us candidly about overcoming disordered eating, her daily self-care rituals, and her non-negotiable meditation practice.
 
 

Meet Cassandra Bodzak: The Self-Loving, Vegan, Meditating Author and Empowerment Coach

Let’s hear more from this amazing and versatile woman!
 
cassandra-bodzak
 

1. YA: What is your personal daily self-care routine?

Cassandra: I rotate mine every 40 days or so based on what I’m working on. Every morning I wake up and I meditate.
 
Now that I have a puppy, I go on walks first thing in the morning. And then I make myself some sort of tea-latte contraption. I have a journal – well not a journal – it’s like a day planner and I just sit and every morning I write out what feels good to be doing that day.
 
I look at the day before and I write out a weekly list of the things I want to get done and I just assess everything and I come up with a game plan. And then, usually, the first thing I do is email to get it out of the way. So that’s pretty much what I do to be consistent every day.
 
Need more self-care in your life? Find out if you’re following the Top 8 Wellness Trends For 2018 – The Year We Replace Stress With Self-Care
 

2. YA: A lot of your work is about self-care, going in, and doing the inner work. What are some of your tips for self-care?

Cassandra: Oftentimes we get into anxiety or stress. At any point you can ask yourself what the self-nourishing choice is. Sometimes the self-nourishing choice is to dive into your inbox.
 
“I know I’m going to feel better if I spend an hour in my inbox and clear this out. I’m going to put on some fun music and I’m just going to do it.”
 
It’s not so much about what the answer is. It’s more about you asking that question and then honoring whatever feels good in that moment.
 

3. YA: When did you start meditating regularly?

Cassandra: When I was 25, I had a dark night of the soul and I started talking to God. And when I asked God what I was supposed to do I just heard: “meditate.”
 
I would meditate to guided meditations on YouTube. I found a Buddhist monastery in Brooklyn at the time and took Buddhist meditation classes. That’s how I found Kundalini. Kundalini was my favorite form of meditation.
 
I guess my personality with meditation is similar to what it is with yoga – where I am definitely a buffet kind of girl. I thrive on variety and having different things depending on what I need.
 

Meditation is not one size fits all.

 
In Kundalini, it’s a period of 40 days. So you commit to something for 40 days and you see out the journey with that particular kriya or that meditation and I kind of do that with everything. It’s kind of ever-evolving. It keeps it spicy for me and it keeps me feeling nourished by it.
 

4. YA: Many people have a hard time actually sticking to a meditation practice. What has your experience been with that?

Cassandra: Meditation is not one size fits all. If you don’t happen to resonate with Headspace app, it doesn’t mean you don’t resonate with meditation. You have to find what really feels good to you.
 
I really feel like a good meditation feels like a warm blanket around you and when you find something that feels that way, you want to do it more – as opposed to doing a meditation because someone told you you had to do it.
 
I look forward to my meditation. It’s my “me time.” One of my meditation teachers recently told me that even when you have one of those mediations where you literally feel you’re just letting anxious thoughts go to the surface the whole time, you’re still releasing that and you realize you feel better after.
 
Still searching for the right meditation style? Celebrate Summer With Walking Meditation – Here Are 4 Different Forms to Choose From
 

 
 

5. YA: Do you have any meditations that have helped you in getting more into your body and out of the obsession with food and the obsession with exercise?

Cassandra: I have a meditation that is on YouTube right now for free on body love and acceptance. It’s something that I had made up for myself and then started giving to my clients and then I put it on YouTube because so many people wanted it.
 
It really takes you through to yourself – getting grateful for your body on a cellular level . . . getting grateful for your breath and your heartbeat and how your body functions and the miracle that your body is.
 
Then it leads you through starting to talk to your body. Really tapping in and asking your body, Hey what do you need right now? What have I been doing that might be hurting you?
 
Really asking it questions. I think that’s the best practice. I’ve been doing that for years now. So, I don’t have to do it that regularly as much.
 

6. YA: How have you healed from a past of disordered eating?

Cassandra: Me being in daily communication with my body is really what has helped. So often when we just take that moment and give the mic back to our body and say, “Hey is everything ok, what’s going on?
 
Sometimes, your body’s just like, “Dude, you’ve been way too stressed. The stress is killing me.”
 
I find that when you’re in that conversation with your body on an unconscious level, you realize that you’re teammates, that you’re partners, and that it wants the best for you and you want the best for it. Then you can go deeper than those surface-level kind of negative thoughts.
 
Do you have a volatile relationship with food? Check out: From Eating Disorders to Body Positive – This Is How I Finally Learned to Love My Body
 

7. YA: We are so bombarded today with different points of view on a lot of these topics. How do you separate them and how do you stay grounded and in your power?

Cassandra: I do think the body conversation is the first place people lose their power. When you’re not trusting your own body, it’s so hard to trust your intuition. Meditation is great for this.
 
Another thing I have clients do when we first start working together is that they have to check in with themselves on everything. So before they say yes to a coffee date, before they order their lunch, before they decide if they want to go to sleep earlier that night, or if they want to stay up and read a book. Check in with yourself, with your body, with your intuition, and what feels good.
 
So often these muscles are so weak because we are so used to giving our power away, that we don’t even look to them anymore. It sounds intense but, at the end of the 30 days, you’re a different person because most people aren’t doing those pushups.
 

When you’re not trusting your own body, it’s so hard to trust your intuition.

 
The other thing is also realizing when you have to turn off the Instagram spam, shut down YouTube, stop reading books on some subject. I love YouTube and podcasts and I love books. But you have to distance yourself from what other people are doing so that you can tune in to what feels good for you.
 
 

The Main Takeaway From Cassandra Bodzak

Intuition is a muscle that can help us cope with intense emotions, anxiety, and stress. It can provide comfort in times of despair.
 
Just like all the other muscles in our bodies that require daily exercise to stay strong, the more you work your intuition, the easier it becomes to navigate in a crisis. And when a problem arises, instead of panicking, beating ourselves up, or looking to food (or other substances) for comfort, we can take out one of the tools Cassandra has presented here to guide us.
 
Cassandra Bodzak is the author of Eat With Intention and can be found on Instagram @CassandraBodzak and cassandrabodzak.com. You can also get a daily dose of her by joining her subscription-based website aprecity.com

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Rachel Galperin

Rachel Galperin is a writer and producer living in New York City. She can be found at www.rachelgalperin.com

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