Darnell Lamont Walker leading Rituals Writing Workshop
Photo credit: Candace Feldman
Sweet Potato Toast Four Ways

Candace Feldman first visited Esalen when she was four years old. It became her home away from home. Years later, she lived on the land and worked in the Esalen kitchen, planning the famous farm-to-table meals. 

After years in an organic, holistic environment, with plenty of herbs, homeopathic remedies, hearty veggies, and organic grains, she lost her way.

For years, Feldman grabbed junk food in the midst of clubbing, long hours as a hairdresser, and burnout. She found herself in a cycle of gaining and losing 40 pounds repeatedly. After traveling extensively to Israel, Brazil, Costa Rica, Thailand, and more, she rediscovered food in new ways, learning to weave in herbs and spices for a new path that had her listening to her body better. 

Soon afterward, she began developing her own primarily plant-based recipes and shares them in an e-book called Lean Into Plants: 100+ simple and delicious primarily plant-based recipes designed for weight loss and fueling your body

Feldman has said goodbye to the 40-pounds that represented her unhealthy self and leans into her most healthy self again, mind, body, and spirit. Here’s one of our favorites in Lean Into Plants.

Sweet Potato Toast Four Ways

Makes 2 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes 


  • 1 sweet potato
  • Various (see below) 


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Line baking sheet with parchment paper to help prevent sticking. 
  3. Cut sweet potato lengthwise into 1/2 inch thick slices.
  4. Bake until the slices are tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes. 

Create your variations by topping off the sweet potato slices.

Here are four ways to get you started!

Pizza Toast
  • Add 1-2 Tbsp pizza sauce
  • Top with 1-2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese (plant-based, or dairy-free, if you can)
  • Heat in oven or microwave to melt the cheese
  • Top with fresh basil
Avocado Egg Toast
  • Boil an egg to your liking (7 minutes for a soft boiled egg) 
  • Lay slices from 1/2 small avocado and top with egg
  • Sprinkle with everything but the bagel seasoning
Almond Butter & Berry Toast
  • Spread 1-2 Tbsp almond butter
  • Top with assorted berries
Ricotta Caprese Toast
  • Spread 2-4 Tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
  • Top with sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, and sea salt

“Remembering to be as self compassionate as I can and praying to the divine that we're all a part of.” 

“Prayer, reading, meditation, walking.”
“Erratically — which is an ongoing stream of practice to find peace.”
“Try on a daily basis to be kind to myself and to realize that making mistakes is a part of the human condition. Learning from our mistakes is a journey. But it starts with compassion and caring. First for oneself.”

“Physically: aerobic exercise, volleyball, ice hockey, cycling, sailing. Emotionally: unfortunately I have to work to ‘not care’ about people or situations which may end painfully. Along the lines of ‘attachment is the source of suffering’, so best to avoid it or limit its scope. Sad though because it could also be the source of great joy. Is it worth the risk?“

“It's time for my heart to be nurtured on one level yet contained on another. To go easy on me and to allow my feelings to be validated, not judged harshly. On the other hand, to let the heart rule with equanimity and not lead the mind and body around like a master.”

“I spend time thinking of everything I am grateful for, and I try to develop my ability to express compassion for myself and others without reservation. I take time to do the things I need to do to keep myself healthy and happy. This includes taking experiential workshops, fostering relationships, and participating within groups which have a similar interest to become a more compassionate and fulfilled being.“

“Self-forgiveness for my own judgments. And oh yeah, coming to Esalen.”
–David B.

“Hmm, this is a tough one! I guess I take care of my heart through fostering relationships with people I feel connected to. Spending quality time with them (whether we're on the phone, through messages/letters, on Zoom, or in-person). Being there for them, listening to them, sharing what's going on with me, my struggles and my successes... like we do in the Esalen weekly Friends of Esalen Zoom sessions!”

“I remind myself in many ways of the fact that " Love is all there is!" LOVE is the prize and this one precious life is the stage we get to learn our lessons. I get out into nature, hike, camp, river kayak, fly fish, garden, I create, I dance (not enough!), and I remain grateful for each day, each breath, each moment. Being in the moment, awake, and remembering the gift of life and my feeling of gratitude for all of creation.”
“My physical heart by limiting stress and eating a heart-healthy diet. My emotional heart by staying in love with the world and by knowing that all disappointment and loss will pass.“
–David Z.

Today, September 29, is World Heart Day. Strike up a conversation with your own heart and as you feel comfortable, encourage others to do the same. As part of our own transformations and self-care, we sometimes ask for others to illuminate and enliven our hearts or speak our love language.

What if we could do this for ourselves too, even if just for today… or to start a heart practice, forever?


Esalen Team