Farahdja Maria Casseus from Montreal CA is a Nutrition Coach, a chef and a Neuro-Active Coach. Listening to her story is not only super interesting but also very inspiring. Farah’s story shows how much our body can tell us if we only listen. Grab your favorite snack (or else this episode will leave you hungry ; )) and enjoy this talk about the right ingredients in life and the right spices in cooking.
As always, I start this talk with my favorite questions: What brings you joy?
«What brings me joy is to bring myself to grow, I love growing, I love goals, I love using my hands to do things, I love being creative and helping other people», Farah answers.
«We see in others a reflection of ourselves, so it’s a mutual thing, I help people growing and they help me growing», Farah
«I love cooking and eating, my father is a chef, and my mom is a great cook too. I create recipes, I write in magazines, I have a blog and I have an online coaching program where I help my clients change their eating habits, lose weight and have a better connection with food. I guide them to transform anything that is involved in the purpose. I use a mind body soul approach to help them transform the old stories, help them to take action, to eat the food that they want to eat, to eat the right food, to nourish the body and also to have a deeper connection with themselves», Farah explains what she does. And she adds: «I don’t believe in diets».
«Your body is the best indicator of what didn’t go well and what’s good for you», Farah
I ask Farah for a tip for beginners when it comes to eating the way that would be good for your body.
The first thing Farah does with their clients is to get them back in touch with their satiety feeling by eating alone with no phone, no TV, no talking, just taking their time to eat, trying to taste all the flavors, the spices, the different food on their plate.
«When you’re not hungry anymore you’re done eating, it’s that simple», Farah
What beliefs do you have about food? About taking care of yourself? How was your relationship with your care givers when you were younger? What are the traumas that happened over there? This helps put into conscious that some habits that you have now may be due to things that are related to the childhood. «The work that I do with my clients is not to undo things, but really to understand. From there they’re able to move on or deal with it and later move on», Farah says.
How do you take care of yourself? What do you do for your joy, for your energy, for your wellbeing?
«One thing that I love to do is sit back and just sit with myself. I like to connect with myself and understand where I’m at mentally, emotionally, physically. Just taking that time for myself allows me to address whatever issue I have. I love being in a state where I’m okay, I like to maintain my well-being. I meditate, I play with oracle cards, I listen to music, I dance, I set my inner child free, I act crazy and have fun, it’s all very simple and yet so effective».
What kind of meditation do you like?
«Meditation is about creating that connection with yourself», Farah
«Just listening to what is going through my mind is one type of meditation that I like to do; What are the thoughts that I have right now, that helps me choose the next activity to do. If it’s a lot of frustration then maybe I need to write about it, if it’s a little bit of sadness then dancing really helps me to switch it off, I also talk a lot with my husband to just get it out of my body, to let the energy flow a different way», Farah explains. «Sometimes a guided meditation is great when you know that you want something in particular, just search on Youtube like "meditation on happiness" and then follow the meditation from there».
How was your journey to be so connected? Was there a turning point or was it a gradual thing?
«To me it was very drastic. I studied physical rehab therapy and the study part itself was a journey, I was in a program with a lot of people that I didn’t connect much with and there were a lot of things that we had to do in teams. It was difficult to bond with everybody because I was so introverted, I had difficulties fitting in», Farah says.
After finishing the program, she worked in the field for about five years. Her dream job was to work for the governments, have a 9 to 5 job and the weekends off. She treated elderly and patients who had knee and hip replacement.
«That was exactly what I wanted; I had all the benefits. Doing my job, life goes on, I got married, we moved in together once we were married and then I realized - about a month after getting married - this disconnection with what I do. I had difficulties waking up in the morning, wanting to call and just stay home all day under the covers in bed».
Farah recalls how she started fueling herself with the weekends and days off that were in sight to get by. «This disconnection just created a real sadness inside, I thought that I wasn’t worthy of the job that I had, that the others were doing better, that I wasn’t doing enough, and I also felt like I could give so much more to the world than what I’m was doing back then».
Working with the elderly with all the disabilities, wanting to get back to a shape that wasn’t possible made Farah feel powerless. She and her colleagues felt like her employer didn’t have their backs either and the salary wasn’t very good too.
«I looked at my life goals and with time I just felt like I had to make a decision, but I was avoiding it. What really forced me to sit down and think about it: With time, the more disconnected I felt, I started to have this pain in my back, I started having physic pain».
Sometimes taking a day off to rest but always going back to work again, Farah tried to get by without telling her superior. One day she was limping into office when her superior came to see her. She then confessed that she's in a lot of pain and was sent to a clinic.
«I was signed off of work and then it just went downhill from there, the pain was really crucial, I had trouble doing the things that my patients had trouble with. It really forced me into connecting with my body because I was in so much pain, nothing could take the pain away except for medication. So I took the time to listen to what was going on in there. One day I was sitting on the edge of my sofa and I was like «okay, what is it that I do, do I take action, or I do something else», so I had two choices: One was to go into my kitchen, grab a knife, hurt myself and take my own life and the other option was to do something about it».
Farah grabbed her phone and started listening to a podcast, to get her out of that deep hole.
«The podcast that I listened to was the «Sports Motivation Podcast», I wasn’t into sports, I wasn’t doing any sports, it’s just that the host of the podcast was speaking in a way that really connected with me. On that episode he was promoting his online coaching program and, on that day, I just went on his website and decided that I’m in and I want to do it. It took a lot of money that I didn’t have but I had credit cards, so I took the program and within the first three months I was able to visualize the future that I wanted for myself clearly and not as a dream».
Farah says that she always knew what she wanted but on that day on the sofa she just felt like it is never going to happen. The more she went through the program, the more it became possible, the more it went from being a dream to being an actual plan. In the end Farah decided to take the chance and quit her job.
«The more I thought of it, the more I talked to my husband about it, it became something that was realistic, it became something that was going to happen and when I finally took the decision, the pain gradually just went away».
Having gained a lot of weight during the time that Farrah was home and not able to do any exercise due to the pain, it was magical when the pain and the weight gradually started to go away. «Finally, I went back to work, I worked for about three months, gave them my resignation letter and jumped on the journey and that’s what happened».
What a story!
«Back pains can occur when it’s time to sit down so you can take a decision», Farah
«Our body talks to us, we should always listen to it», Ronja
When I have a headache, I just have to do Yoga and the worst headache just fades away. Although I don’t feel like doing Yoga when I’m lying in bed with my headache, it helps every single time.
«Yoga forced me to get into my body and in my mind», Farah
I ask Farah for other things that bring her joy.
«I love to learn, so my husband and I took dancing classes, that was a lot of fun. I also started CrossFit, I’m always into something different to grow, I can do anything, and I’m not attached to a specific thing expect for food», Farah answers laughing.
I love Farah’s recipes that she publishes on her blog and on instagram so I ask her for any tricks when it comes to cooking with different spices and tastes.
She says that she always guides her clients by teaching them the basics.
«You have a spice, it’s either a root, a leaf, a flower or a stem and then you have this type of taste, there is sour, salty…, I help them create the balance and basically just please their own pallet. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same and perfect, you’re cooking for yourself, you’re cooking at home and it’s not a cooking show or a competition».
«It’s knowing the basis and knowing that in Indian flavors I have these items, in Asian these are the staples and sometimes you can just use them in every meal and you will be fine», Farah
«If you have cool staples, the creativity is on, it’s like having all the pencils and the brushes and the paint ready to go for painting», Ronja
My husband is a Japanese chef and when he cooks the kitchen looks like in a hospital, everything is very clean. When I cook it’s always a big mess. : ) When we married, we agreed that the one that doesn’t cook has to do the dishwashing afterwards, but my husband soon came up with a new deal that said «it’s an all-in package, cooking and cleaning up by the same person»… Well, I couldn’t really argue with that. : )
I ask Farah for her big piece of wisdom that she’d like to share with the world.
«The thing that I learned on my journey is that where I am right now, mentally, physically, spiritually, is not the end, it’s not how it’s going to be the next day and the day after. There is always an opportunity to change things around, to switch things around. No matter how difficult it is, no matter how impossible things may seem, there is always a way to change and grow and I think this is what really has hold me on to life, what really fuels me is that I don’t know who I’m going to be next week and in four weeks, what are my gains going to be, what am I able to achieve, who am I going to be able to help. Now is gone by the time I say it, if things are difficult now, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be difficult in the next fifteen years», Farrah says.
Farah is currently working on a new program for pregnant women, for mothers, for women who lost a child. «My goal with this is to get motherhood back to where it should be. I want to take the parenting journey to another level and raising the next generation a different way than we were raised, this is something that is very important to me».
Farah also offers her «Trinity Transformation Program», which is a mind – body – soul - approach to transformation. A cooking program is also included, where Farah teaches the basics for cooking healthy meals. Anyone who wants to get back in touch with eating healthy food, get back in touch with themselves, go through a transformation and become who they are authentically, can send Farah a message to get a consultation, all the links to contact Farah are down below.
Farah rounds up our call with a lovely note: «I feel like people need to listen to great stories as well, I know you interviewed my husband and other amazing people with amazing journeys and those journeys proof that happiness is possible».
I love that. To many more awesome guests just like Farah has been!
This is where you can find Farah:
Things we talked about:
Sports Motivation Podcast
Podcast with David Saint-Pierre: https://www.joyismycompass.com/blog/ep21-david-saint-pierre
Watch our conversation here: