Eat, pray and write poetry (and get 15,000 Insta friends)
A PERSONAL journey into the exotic, sometimes hidden, world of south-east Asian cooking, combined with poetry and meditation, is quickly turning Cade McConnell into an Instagram star.
The Byron Bay man has attracted 15,000 followers with his dynamic images of food cooked in clay pots and poetry which promotes mindfulness.
"Eating is a practice we perform multiple times daily, so what a great opportunity this can be to practice slowing down and being present with the meal we are ingesting," he said.
"I believe practicing mindfulness while we eat enriches nutrition and enhances our ability to digest.
"Eating with mindfulness allows us to step into the intention that our food is our medicine."
At 19, Mr McConnell travelled to Sri Lanka, met a yogi in his sixties and adopted his routine.
He calmed his mind, and started to lead a more positive, grateful, open, confident and connected life.
From then on, he worked in hospitality and saved money to go away each year for trips visiting India, Nepal, Malaysia, and Indonesia to gather cooking inspiration and clarity in what he was supposed to be sharing with the world.
"Whilst in Nepal, I was invited to a lovely lady's home, where she offered to share a cooking class with me," he said.
"I met her in a temple in Kathmandu where I was going to practice my yoga routine.
"She shared with me several plant-based Nepalese recipes and together we shared the meal afterwards."
His overseas travel and yoga experiences opened him up to a new way of living and he saw cooking as a powerful opportunity to directly nourish the mind and body.
"My cooking transitioned to plant-based due to health and ethical reasons and I found a fascination with cooking in clay pots & serving up on hand-made ceramics," Mr McConnell said.
"Cooking is an energy exchange.
"If you're cooking for others and you're angry in the process, you're feeding them or yourself anger.
"If you practice presence in your life or mindfulness which we do in meditation, then we learn to cook and prepare our food in this state, the present moment."