As women, we so often have a complex relationship with food. Whether it’s because of unhelpful ad campaigns and size zero models, the current obsession with eating clean or something else entirely, for most of us, our understanding of food, diet and our bodies is complicated. How often do you actually take time to step back, listen to your body and consider food and eating a little more mindfully? Meditation and wellness teacher Cassandra Bodzak’s Eat With Intention isn’t like any cookbook we’ve come across before – and for some of you, it might be a real game-changer.

“Make peace with your plate,” Bodzak suggests. Eat With Intention combines food, meditation and mindfulness, offering not just healthy, nourishing recipes, but also meditations created specifically for each dish. Feeling in need of energy? May we suggest the spinach-artichoke soup and an eight-minute Kundalini meditation? Need to be a little gentler with yourself? How about the chocolate chip hazelnut cookies and a three-minute meditation for self-kindness?

Sure, this may all sound a little new-agey for some, but trying to being mindful and finding time to even start to meditate is something we could all consider. The recipes in Eat With Intention themselves are all healthy, nourishing and easy to make – whether it’s blueberry almond muffins, chilled oatmeal or one of the various salads, soups or smoothies. We’re delighted to share Cassandra Bodzak’s recipe for mini carrot cakes with cashew cream cheese frosting – just the thing for that 3pm slump…

We are always leaning on something to find strength, whether it is faith, another person, or even fear. The good news is that you can shift your weight and bring yourself back into your own knowing when you realize you are reaching outside of yourself. When it comes to baking, I learned to lean on my soul early on, and whenever I make these carrot cakes, I am reminded to stay attuned to my magic.

Meditation For Leaning On Your Soul

Sit comfortably with your spine straight and your eyes closed. Take a few deep breaths to put you in the space for shifting. Imagine all the ways you have been moving outside yourself and leaning on people, places, and maybe even substances instead of your soul. See them scattered around you like flower petals. Reclaim each petal, one by one, back to your center. Feel it get absorbed into the light at the center of your being, then feel the light grow stronger, larger, and warmer. Once you’ve gone through as many petals as you can think of, bring your focus to the expanding light in the center of your being. Take a deep breath in and hold it, feeling the light radiate all over your body, supporting and holding you, and silently say, “I choose to lean on my soul.” Exhale and relax.

48g raw extra-virgin coconut oil, plus 1 tablespoon, for greasing (or use paper baking cups)
2 teaspoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
120ml unsweetened almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
244g unsweetened applesauce
108g shredded carrots
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon almond extract
54g date sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
51g chopped walnuts
170g gluten-free flour


ICING

195g cashew nuts, soaked in water for 2 to 3 hours and then drained
60ml canned coconut milk
22g unsweetened coconut flakes

4 teaspoons vanilla extract
Juice of 1 lemon
10 drops vanilla stevia


1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C, or gas mark 5) and grease a 12-cup muffin pan with coconut oil or line with paper baking cups.

2. To make the cake, first make flax “egg.” Mix together the flaxseed and water in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes, until thickened.

3. Combine the almond milk and apple cider vinegar in a large measuring cup, stir, and set aside to curdle.

4. Combine the remaining cake ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add in the flax “egg” and almond milk mixture and purée until the consistency is like cake batter. Pour the mixture into your muffin cups, filling them halfway (and keeping the top flat for the icing). Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

5. To make the icing, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix well. Place the icing in the refrigerator to chill while the cakes are cooling. Give the icing a good stir before icing the cupcakes. To garnish, sprinkle over a little cinnamon and top with the walnuts.

Recipe and images extracted from Eat with Intention by Cassandra Bodzak, photography by Evi Abeler. Published by Race Point Publishing (£14.99).