Dayna Altman started her organization "Bake It Till You Make It" as a way to to create safe community where people can come together, bake and have honest, healing conversations about their mental health struggles.
DAYNA ALTMAN: A lot of times, people think mindfulness is just, like, watching the sun rise or doing yoga, which it definitely can be, but for me, mindfulness is really being present. With someone who lives with OCD like I do, the process of making cupcakes or baking forces me to think about what's right in front of me, and I think that is invaluable.
My name is Dayna Altman, and I am the founder of Bake It 'Til You Make It, a community-based organization that uses food and baking to talk about mental health in a way that's authentic, vulnerable, but also fun.
Bake It 'Til You Make It is really three pillars-- cookbooks, workshops and events, and the last piece is really creating community. Bake It 'Til You Make It was inspired by my own struggle with mental health and mental illness. I was diagnosed with at first generalized anxiety disorder, which I later found out is OCD. For me, it really looks like rumination and thoughts like that.
So baking at least by myself gives me time to not only be present in what I'm doing but also reflect on where my mind is leading me. Am I able to be present in the baking? Am I floating away to my future worries and really being able to bring myself back?
Hi! Welcome. Thank you so much for coming. Hi.
Bake m It Til' You Make It days are really special to me. It looks like inviting friends over, getting really messy, but usually using, like, box cake mixes or something that's really easy.
- As someone that's, like, a perfectionist, baking gives me the opportunity to try new things and to do it in a way that if it doesn't come out maybe perfect like I always want it to, it's still gonna taste good.
DAYNA ALTMAN: So much of mental health struggles really comes with isolation at least in my own experience. It's really easy to wanna hide when you're depressed, and I think that bringing people together and showing them that they're not alone is probably the most valuable tool that Bake It 'Til You Make It can give one's community.
Baking with other people lends itself to conversation. Being able to stand side by side and have difficult conversations or be open and honest in a way might not feel safe to do staring each other.
- Everything that we do when baking together, there's no right or wrong way to do it, you know. We're enjoying ourselves. We're enjoying each other, talking, learning, and getting to eat a baked [INAUDIBLE].
DAYNA ALTMAN: Baking has helped my healing process more than I could have ever imagined. People always ask me if I am a baker or a chef first, but honestly I'm a mental health advocate and I don't even know if I would say I'm a baker second. I love the opportunity to connect with people around food, but I think a big part of Bake It 'Til You Make It and what people connect to is that I'm not a baker.
The way I want to make an impact is to really model authenticity and vulnerability and whether that's in the kitchen, around the table, or beyond I want people to know that it's OK not to be OK, that you don't have to hide, and that you're meant to be here.
People relate to Bake It 'Til You Make It because I am living this and I'm going to continue to live it, but for me it's worth it to maybe make the next person feel less alone, lighten the load a little bit.