Celebrity Nutritionist Cynthia Pasquella Shares
Secrets to a Gorgeous Glow
As we all look to improve our physical appearance and create radiant health this year, I thought, who better to ask for advice than one my very best (and always TV ready) girlfriends, Cynthia Pasquella, who knows all the A-list secrets on how to look and feel like a star.
As a celebrity nutritionist, best-selling author, and the founder of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, you may have seen this successful woman entrepreneur on The Doctors, The Today Show and Dr. Phil, or in the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, Shape and Marie Claire.
Cynthia and her adorable daughter live a Malibu lifestyle with vibrant health and beauty we can all aspire to, without the deprivation factor—trust me, she doesn’t work out 10 hours a day and nor does she starve herself (we have plenty of delicious dinners together)! I’m thrilled to have her share her super inspiring story with all of you, along with her best insider tips for a grand, glamorous, and glorious 2016! (And don’t forget to check out her must-have recipe for an energy-boosting snack.)
We always like to start with the personal story—tell us about your life and how you got to where you are today.
Well, it’s funny—I never used to tell my story. To be really honest, I was ashamed. I didn’t grow up in the best of circumstances. But, I finally realized the power in sharing my truth, because for a long time, people just saw me as this health and wellness expert and no one knew the journey I had taken to get here.
A few years ago, I found myself on the floor of my tiny apartment in Los Angeles feeling horrible. I had chronic fatigue, was overweight, had horrible cystic acne breakouts on my face and back, and was fuzzy-headed all day long. I couldn’t work because I was so sick and my bank account was resting dangerously on just a few hundred dollars. The morning I awoke to find lumps in both of my breasts was my breaking point.
Like so many other people, I had tried everything. I worked with doctors, trainers, and nutritionists. I had massage therapy, reiki therapy, energy-balancing, and was even hypnotized. I took the pills and drank the shakes and nothing helped. I figured I had given it my very best shot and it was time for me to stop trying.
I started to get angry. At myself for getting into this place, at the people I went to for help, at God.
Struggle was nothing new for me. I felt like I had been fighting my whole life and I was just so tired of it. As I kept asking “why me” with tears streaming down my face, I started to understand the answer. I realized that everything I had experienced up until that very moment hadn’t happened TO me. It had happened FOR me.
I realized during this spiritual awakening, that I was meant to go through these experiences. That I was meant for greatness. For someone who grew up hearing that I wasn’t good enough to ever amount to anything, it was a major leap. I started thinking about all the other people out there who were struggling just like me, feeling hopeless and worthless. If I could heal myself and tell my story, then I could help them too. And this became my mission. I now had a purpose, my life had value, I made a pact with the Universe. I agreed that I would do everything humanly possible to heal my body and my heart if it would be there to lead, guide, and support me.
I found a nutrition certification program and used three credit cards to sign up, but I knew I was the only thing left to invest in. During my studies, I started researching my symptoms and dug into every facet of nutrition. I attended additional schools and training programs where I learned about holistic health, mind shifts, and psychological factors to why we know what to do, and still won’t do it. I tested spiritual practices and looked at how they really brought everything else together in a big way.
And I started implementing what I was learning. I saw slow results at first but I kept at it. I learned about meditation and herbs. I became aware of food intolerances and weight loss resistance. I learned how to detox and cleanse my body the right way. I also realized that it wasn’t about the food. It had never been about the food. I had to go beyond food and discover what I was really hungry for.
And then the magic started to happen. The weight fell off, my skin cleared up and I had lots of energy! My body and heart were healing and it was now time for me to share what I had learned.
I started working with people who were going through similar struggles. I combined science, psychology, and spiritual practices – since I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt that you need them all for permanent change. And I started to see these people transform. They too remembered who they were and that they were meant for greatness. I now see clearly what the purpose of my journey has been and I am honored every single day to live it.
Let’s talk more about the spiritual aspect of health. I know it’s so important to what you do, how does it impact what you teach?
I believe that spirituality is just as important to our wellbeing as nutrition and mindset. In fact, it’s one of the key pillars we teach at the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. We combine spirituality with the science of nutrition and psychology so we can discover what people are really hungry for.
When we’re spiritually nourished, we experience a feeling of connectedness to something greater than ourselves and this allows us space for compassion, love, forgiveness, fulfillment and joy.
At ITN, our students learn that spirituality is associated with satisfaction with life, increased energy, mental, physical and emotional well-being, and wholeness. People with a strong spiritual foundation may have better mental health, connections in their community, and feel more optimistic and hopeful about the future.
What do you say to the busy woman entrepreneur, possibly also a working mom like yourself, who doesn’t think she has time to be healthy or practice spirituality.
I would say that women entrepreneurs don’t have time NOT to be healthy! When we’re wearing a million hats and, quite frankly, it can be exhausting! The trick is to find things that work for YOU that you can implement in just minutes a day and then make those things a priority just like you would an important meeting. Don’t compromise these things. You’re only cheating yourself and your business.
It hasn’t always been this way for me, but now it is, and I’m way more successful than I’ve ever been in my entire career. I attribute that to taking that time off. I don’t work on Fridays, it’s my reflection day, my open day, my white space day to sit and be and focus and get it back together from a busy week.
As a busy entrepreneur yourself, frequently appearing on camera, what’s your regular lifestyle like for maintaining your glamour and glow?
I love routines because for me, if I can get in the habit of doing something, I’m way more likely to do it. And I believe that the secret to consistently glowing skin, boundless energy, and a healthy figure starts with maintaining a clean diet. The outside will always reflect what’s going on on the inside.
I also practice what I preach by starting my day with peace and love as opposed to a mad rush out the door. As soon as I wake up, I shower, slip into a soft robe and prepare a cup of Bulletproof Coffee. Then I head to my sanctuary that I set up in my house where there’s a chaise lounge, photos of things I love, and things that inspire me. Once there I light a candle and write in my journal. The first thing I write down is the three things I’m grateful for. Then I write down my three intentions for the day. After that, I just write down whatever is in my head – any idea, thought, or question I need help resolving. It’s just stream of consciousness writing and it clears my head so I don’t have to worry about those things anymore and can start my day fresh! After that I practice Transcendental Meditation for 20 minutes. I’m lazy and super pressed for time so this form of meditation is super effective and works fast! Then, I’m ready to take on my day! I stretch, blow out the candle, and get to it! This whole morning ritual only takes about 40 minutes and it’s well worth it!
What’s something extra special you do for that spur-of-the-moment event?
This might surprise you, but I’m a total introvert. So, the most important thing for me is finding time to breathe and relax. I offer the same advice to my clients. I always tell them to leave the twins at home. The twins are Hurry and Worry and heaven knows we take them with us enough already! Allowing ourselves space from these two, we gain new perspective. We’re able to settle into love and happiness, letting go of all the last minute stress.
I also recommend doing something to nourish your soul like a bubble bath, a soothing massage, or some quiet time reading a good book or journaling. This really helps me and my clients store up the energy we need to make it through a big night in front of the spotlight!
What do you say to the woman who is afraid getting healthy will involve a vast amount of pain or deprivation? How do you help women get on the other side of that?
Oh I know! We watch these shows on TV like “The Biggest Loser” and it’s this painful, sweaty, unattractive thing. That’s how we think it has to be, and it’s a common misconception.
The thing is, people will give up their power for about 10 seconds before they get fed up and think, screw you diet, I’m going to eat cotton candy all day long. But there is a difference between surrendering and submitting.
People submit to a diet by giving up their own thoughts and inner feelings about what’s needed to nourish their body and spirit, handing over control of the outcome to someone else. They feel as if they “can’t” eat certain foods and that they no longer have free will.
This can be very frustrating and conflicting for many women, especially those who love to be in control. The flip side of this is to openly and purposely surrender yourself to those diet and lifestyle changes.
It’s not about forcing yourself to do something a certain way or eat a certain food when you know it won’t nourish you. It’s about relaxing and knowing there’s something more.
Surrender to something new and different and get excited about the possibilities. By doing this we gain so much more knowledge, insight, and experience about what truly nourishes our body, mind, and spirit.
Going into 2016, what’s your best advice for a resolution or lifestyle change that won’t be abandoned by January 28th?
If you find your New Year’s resolutions falling by the wayside, my best tip is to discover what it is you’re really hungry for. If you continue to fill that void in you with food, alcohol, sex, meaningless relationship, drugs, and anything else you can think of to numb out, then you will never be satisfied.
This is called “substitute gratification.” It basically means that you are substituting other things to try and make you happy instead of getting to the root cause of what you’re really hungry for in the first place.
Do some soul-searching to think about what your real hunger is. Are you hungry for love? Compassion? Safety? Financial security? Connection? Companionship? Accomplishment? Be really honest with yourself. Once you know what your hungers are then explore ways to feed yourself without food or any of the other usual suspects.
This is the ONLY path to permanent change and transformation. And, let go of that idea that you have to be perfect or do things right every moment of every day. Just surrender to something bigger, set your goal, make the next decision better, and keep going.
What’s coming for you in 2016? What should our readers look out for and where should they be following you?
I’m SO excited for 2016, because we’re launching my brand new online show, What You’re Really Hungry For, this February. This show is about empowering women to stop being who they think they should be and start embracing who they are – powerful creators of their own lives!
And Divine Living readers won’t want to miss my interview with Gina in one of the episodes! To receive sneak peek access to new episodes and a worksheet to help discover what YOU are really hungry for, simply visit whatyourereallyhungryfor and join our amazing community!
5 Medjool dates, pitted
1/2 cup hemp hearts
1 cup quinoa, cooked
1 cup almonds
1 cup walnuts
1⁄2 cup dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup dried blueberries
½ tsp of coconut oil
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Coat 8-inch baking pan with oil.
3. Blend remaining ingredients in food processor until medium-fine.
4. Press mixture into the pan and bake 20 minutes or until the center is firm and edges are golden.
5. Let cool, cut into bars and serve!
This easy snack features Medjool dates, which give a quick boost, plus plenty of protein from quinoa, walnuts, and hemp hearts to provide sustained energy without the crash and burn that comes from typical sugar-filled energy bars. It also keeps cravings at bay for hours!
To learn more about Cynthia Pasquella visit: cynthiapasquella