Cassandra Bodzak’s book is not a traditional cookbook. Eat with Intention is a manual for making peace with your food, loving your whole self and taking your power back in your life (and diet) by tapping into your body’s natural wisdom. You will not have to do a cleanse, eat kale every day, or eliminate an entire food group. Instead, you will learn the step-by-step process for eating with intention and being in loving relationship with your body, mind and soul so that you can put a stop to the never ending cycle of fad diets, constant exhaustion, and general unhappiness with your body and yourself.

We caught up with Cassandra to learn more.

In your words, why is Eat with Intention not a traditional cookbook? Can you briefly explain what it means to eat with intention.

Eat with Intention is a manual for reclaiming your personal power and creating the foundation to support your best life, and that starts with healing the relationship with your body. So it starts off by giving you the tools to come back into loving communication with your body and then provides a multitude of recipes and meditations for you to nourish your mind, body and soul for optimal health and happiness.

To eat with intention is to eat in a way that supports your body, mind and soul being clear, energized and feeling your best. It’s to eat from a place of deep self love and real nourishment.

How long did it take you to transform your life to eat better and with intention? Can you briefly describe the process you went through.

I feel like it’s an ongoing process, and I’m constantly learning, refining and tuning back in. The first year of my journey, I dove in full force and made some big shifts because I had been in so much pain; it forced me to take drastic measures. I would say just the first three months really changed my life. I started to teach myself how to cook basic plant-based meals, I started listening to what foods felt good to my body and which ones didn’t, and I was rewarded with more energy and mental clarity than I had ever had before.

So I think if you commit, you will see some massive shifts immediately, but it’s a never-ending journey and you get better with it every day. Your relationship with your body is the longest one you have here on earth, so just like any relationship, good communication and lots of love is continuously needed to keep it thriving.

You discuss the well-being trifecta. Can you touch a bit on the importance of each of these: food, meditation, self-care.

Ah, yes, the well-being trifecta is a necessary foundation that supports you maintaining your mental and physical health and wellness while you create the big, juicy life of your dreams. I truly believe more than ever women want to have it ALL, and I think that we can, but we need to create the container for ourselves to be able to hold it all — that’s where the well-being trifecta comes in. Food–how you fuel and nourish your body and eating from a place of self-love–it’s such an incredibly crucial piece to feeling good, thinking clearly and having the energy you need to go out and kick ass in the world in your own unique way.

Meditation creates the space for us to restore in a crazy social media-driven world. It fills up your inner tank and turns up the volume on your inner guidance system so you can hear the answers that are already deep inside. Self care is also a great and necessary rejuvenator, it’s in those moments we take for ourselves that we fill up our own joy cup so that it can overflow to others in our life. It’s when we take care of ourselves that we can take even better care of others and create space for creativity and inspiration to strike. All three combine to form a foundation that feels incredibly nourishing and restorative for your soul and your physical body so that you can be the best you out in the world!

Your recipes are all plant based. Why is this?

My recipes are plant-based because I have found this to be the most nourishing, energizing and restorative way to eat. I am not an advocate for any labels when it comes to our diets because I believe in listening to your body and honoring what it wants. However, I do feel like in general a lot of our bodies want more plants and all the nutrients that come along with them, so I wanted to provide a resource of healthy, super delicious and easy-to-make, at-home plant-based recipes for people who want to add things to their daily diet that they might not have grown up eating or might be a little out of their comfort zone.

What are some of the ways you recommend to readers to uncover foods that are hurting them?

In the book, I walk you through doing a Food-Mood journal, which is my favorite way to gently start becoming a food detective and uncover how different foods are making you feel. It’s simply tracking everything you are putting into your body for two weeks without intentionally changing anything, because we want to get a picture of what “normal eating” looks like for you. Then you take note of how you are feeling when you eat and about an hour after you eat.

I love this tool because it empowers you to make your own discoveries and isn’t ME telling what is good and bad. You will naturally start being more mindful about your food choices simply because you are paying attention, and then you will also make your own associations like, “Wow, every time I have a bagel for breakfast I feel exhausted and unfocused the next day” and “I notice that when I eat root vegetables with grains before bed I tend to have a really solid night’s sleep.” It’s an incredibly fun way to start uncovering how your body works and learn your unique ins and outs when it comes to food!

What are some of your top must-have items in the pantry/fridge and why?

I think top must-have items will change for everyone based on what works for their body, but some things I always have around include:

– sparkling water with lime (I am sooo obsessed, so this keeps me hydrated; and drinking water)

– frozen wild blueberries, coconut milk, plant-based protein powder (for quick smoothies for busy mornings)

– frozen veggies and dry quinoa (this is my back-up dinner if I haven’t gone proper food shopping; I love knowing I always have a healthy option in the house before I dial for delivery)

– you will often see in my fridge some fresh greens for salad, chickpeas in my cabinets for the same and hummus, extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic, garlic for a quick dressing

– and there will usually be a bar of LILY’s sugar-free dairy-free chocolate for when my sweet tooth strikes!