HHS 39 | Transformational Nutrition


These days, when people say they wanted to go on a diet or go on cleansing, they usually mean they will cut off their food intake, choose juicing, or hit the gym. Living a healthy life is not just all about that, it’s a process, and it entails a total transformation. To break it all down into tidbits that we could digest, Cynthia Pasquella-Garcia takes us through the process of transformational nutrition – the most powerful approach to weight loss, health, and vitality that exists today. Known as the Transformational Nutritionist, Cynthia dives deeper on why most people self-sabotage and how to transform someone who is struggling with their health in all aspects. Also the creator of the Transformational Trauma Techniques, Cynthia reveals methods that she polished herself to overcome her past trauma and in return help her clients overcome theirs.

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Transforming Your Body And Mind with Cynthia Pasquella-Garcia

I’ve got a phenomenal guest. We’re like-minded, onboard, hardcore and passionate about getting this message out there. I’ve got Cynthia Pasquella-Garcia on the show. Cynthia, welcome. You are a celebrity nutritionist and transformation expert. You founded the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. That’s where you can create your own little army of health coaching, Transformational Nutritionist, trying to create other leaders. Many people want followers in their lives. We’re trying to create leaders. People can read your backstory on your website and stuff like that. You’ll give us all that information, but maybe tell us about how we’re going to train this new generation of healthcare providers. How do we pull people out of the medical system and put them to the wellness system?

That’s the $64,000 question. That’s what we’re all about at the Institute of Transformational Nutrition. I’ve been on this journey for several years. When I first got started, it was because of my own health struggles. I needed to be fixed. I went everywhere and fought everything and did all the usual rounds and none of it worked. I thought food was medicine. I thought if I moved and I worked out and maybe I meditated some and I ate the healthy food that I’d be all right. I kept doing all of those things that the experts said we were supposed to do. I went to a lot of the experts and I only got worse to the point where it triggered my clinical depression and I hit rock bottom and was suicidal. I thought, “I can’t do this. I’ve given it my everything.” I felt hopeless, worthless and I was ready for it all to be over.

I’m definitely not alone. There are a lot of people who struggle every single day. When I set out on my journey to figure out why are they not working and why have I heard all of these things like calories in versus calories out. Why is that not a true thing? What is going on here? I started with the science side because I knew that I needed to physically be well. I’m ready to start sleeping better and I’m ready to start eating right. I knew that I needed to eat what works for my body and the phase and stage of life that I was in that moment. It was something that you do so well. You’re all about personalization. What I realized was that we’re not personalizing. We weren’t personalizing health and nutrition at that time.

It was a one size fits all cookie cutter diet. Whether you’re following the Atkins Diet or you’re a vegan or whatever, it was one size fits all. I quickly saw that’s not going to work. At ITN, the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, what I started putting together was a new way forward. I called it Transformational Nutrition. I thought that with science, you don’t pass the work of what goes in the body. It’s a bit more than that. Food alone will never heal it. We have to start looking at our genetics. We have to understand our health history. We have to dive, not dive into the exposome and understand that and know that it’s not my style and eating vegetables and sleeping enough, but it’s much bigger than that. Once I got the science side, I started working with clients.

If you want me to tell you how successful you are, show me the people that you hang around, because it's a direct correlation every time. Click To Tweet

I went back to school and started studying clinical nutrition. I started realizing that I can give clients the right information but they wouldn’t always do it. I thought, “Why is that?” They’re coming to me, they want the answers and I give it to them, but then they don’t do it. I started looking at these pattern interrupts that I could create and look at their mindset. I was looking at why they would self-sabotage and hold themselves back, which brought me into this area of trauma. I was looking at evolutionary psychology and the role that plays in overall transformation and health and getting deeper into the mental environment. The physical environment may be perfect. Biologically, you might be doing all the right things, but if your mental environment is toxic, you’re not going to heal. It’s not going to happen. Especially with heart health, we know that things like evolutionary psychology, your mental environment plays a huge role in that and not just that. The people who have childhood trauma have a way bigger risk of developing heart diseases later on in life.

These aren’t things that can be ignored. We like to talk about body, mind and spirituality, but are we looking at the science behind them? That’s what I started to do. I lived in this psychological piece, things shifted immediately. There was still a part that was missing. It was the whole idea of self-worth and why am I here? Who am I? What are my purpose and my mission? That may sound like a lot of personal development stuff. You say, “Cynthia, we don’t deal with that. We’re about science and biology and getting healthy,” but that is a huge piece of health. If we overlook that, then we’re never truly going to be healthy. Health isn’t the absence of disease. It’s much bigger than that. What does your personal spirituality look like? That’s your relationship with yourself. Why are you here? What is your mission? What are your core values? What is important to you? Who have you decided that you were after society told you who you should be all of these years? What about your communal spirituality? What are your relationships like?

Do you want to know how someone’s health is? Ask them about their relationships. It’s a direct correlation every single time. You can translate this to success too. Tony Robbins said, “If you want me to tell you how successful you are, show me the people that you hang around,” because it’s a direct correlation every time. Then there’s environmental spirituality as the last piece of this, which is your connection with the environment, with something bigger than you or some beauty if you so choose, but it’s about that bigger question of connection. We are disconnected these days. We are flying solo. We feel alone. That is a huge component of health. When you put it together, the biological, the psychological and the spiritual areas of life, that’s transformational nutrition. That’s what we’re trying to educate this new generation on at ITN because it’s truly the only way you’re going to be able to get healthy and transform.

Anthroposophical medicine was Rudolf Steiner in the early 1900s and that’s all the stuff that he was saying. If you go back and read his writings and stuff, it’s phenomenal. It was 100 years ago. Unfortunately, we haven’t made much advancement in 100 years. What you’re getting into, certainly me as a medical doctor and as a cardiologist, I wrote chapter five of my book. It’s called One Nation Under Prozac. It’s how everybody is taking Prozac for their anger, stress or anxiety. All of that is all linked to massive cardiovascular risk. The cardiologist, as you know, have no idea about anything related to that. We’ve got no training in that. If someone like me sees someone that is struggling with their health in general, what’s the next step? What is a provider like me or what is a person in public looking for? How do we get that transformation?

HHS 39 | Transformational Nutrition

Transformational Nutrition: When you put it together, the biological, the psychological and the spiritual areas of life is your transformational nutrition.


The thing is you’ve got to start with one step at a time. We start with the physical, the biological because if you don’t have that in place, it’s going to trigger all of your mental influences, which we don’t want to deal with. We’re dealing with enough already physically and it’s going to impede in your spiritual side of health because you’re not going to be able to make that connection. If your body is toxic and you’re unhealthy, think of it as like a light bulb. You can’t run 140 watts through a 60-watt bulb. It’s not going to happen. It’s the same thing. Think of your body as a tuning fork, as a conduit of energy, knowledge and true transformation. That’s where you start. You start to look at the whole person, which is another thing that I love that you do.

You start to understand who this person is and what are the root causes? Where is all of this stemming from? Unfortunately, we haven’t had any advancement since Steiner. I would say that’s true and yet we have tons of advancement in the pharmaceutical companies. The Prozac nation would say, “Advancements, that’s our game.” We have to forget that. Start with the basics. Who are you? What do you need? We have a process. We created the world’s first and only health hosting system to where it’s plug and play. You tell us your symptoms. You tell us about your past promise. You tell us about your spiritual connection or lack thereof, and we’ll give you a personalized protocol. That’s what we’re all about and that’s what we train our students on. That’s a year-long training program so it’s a little bit much to go in here. You do start with the biological. You look at the toxins in your environment. You look at the exposome. A lot of people aren’t talking about the exposome, but it’s critically important. It does involve lifestyle things such as resting, sleeping, self-care, eating healthy foods, but it also looks at things like your location. You and I were talking about where we were living and what areas. These are huge factors when it comes the health.

For example, in the Pacific Northwest, I also lived there part-time. I’m in LA part-time. There, it’s rainy, cloudy and gloomy. That has an effect on the psychological aspects of human health and spirituality. We don’t have that connection because people don’t always go out. If we’re talking about the biological level, you have people there who are known for having a lack of vitamin D. Directly relating that back to heart health, vitamin D is crucial for that. You have to look at every single person in their environment and build out a personalized protocol for them. You can start with the basics. It’s not that difficult. Once you’re there, you start looking at psychology. Here’s the thing that I think we need to get back to. We talk about transformation like we’re supposed to transform into this other thing. We watch shows like The Biggest Loser or whatever random transformation shows and it’s essentially saying you’re not good enough. When you get to this place, then people will accept you and love you.

We try to become this idea that people will approve of. Shows like this certainly perpetuates that idea, but we’re raised in this environment from the time that we’re little kids, old enough to comprehend that there’s something wrong with me. I’m not acting right. I should change it. What we have to get back to in a nutshell, because we can go into all of these different areas of Transformational Nutrition, is who you are and why. Krishnamurti said, “When you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are, undergoes a transformation.” He’s saying, “Understand why you are this way. Understand who you are. Understand where you came from. Know that those childhood traumas aren’t something you can brush away and get over, but they’re affecting you every single day. Own that truth. Accept that.”

When you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation. Click To Tweet

I grew up in extreme poverty. I was sexually abused for the first time at the age of five. My father was an alcoholic and a drug addict. My mother was bipolar, narcissist and suffered from clinical depression. I witnessed tragedy after tragedy in my home. I was physically, mentally and emotionally abused. For me, when it came back and started to heal, I had to look at all of this and I had to accept them. This is my truth and this is who I am. I’m not crazy and I can’t stick to a diet. It’s that just there are other factors that I have to be aware of. What I’m saying is truly understand and accept who you are, accept your story as a person. The more you try to deny it and see that ideal version, the more you’re putting a Band-Aid on it and you’re not getting to that root cause.

I appreciate what you’re saying certainly from a nutritional standpoint is that in order to heal your brain, you’ve got to clear out the background noise. The background noise is coming from the poisons in the food, the environment and the exposome.

The exposome is a term that was coined by Christopher Wild. You can break that down into three main areas.

You’re doing all this stuff from a healthy lifestyle. You’re certainly much better than where you were. You’re clearing out all the background noise so you can heal from up top. How do we heal from up top though? Is it a matter of a left brain a cardiologist guy like me thinking back to a movie? Once again, I’m Freud, you’re on the couch, “Tell me about your mother. Tell me about your father,” or is it a little simpler than that? Are there strategies that people can do? Is it as simple as I suffered childhood trauma? I had a horrible childhood. All these things I saw. I’m going to admit that to myself and I’m going to move on. Is there a middle ground in there? How do we clear that out?

HHS 39 | Transformational Nutrition

Transformational Nutrition: The real cause that you stumble off the diet isn’t that you’re hopeless, worthless, not smart, or didn’t like the food or any of those things. It’s that you don’t like being controlled.


At ITN, we teach something called the Transformational Trauma Techniques. It’s about the patterns that we know are triggered by trauma and they go back so that we can feel them so they go away and we’re not triggered by them anymore. That sounds simplistic and that is a simplified version of what exactly takes place. It’s a lot to go into. One of my favorite things to do and everyone can do this, is to play the I wonder game. We are coaches. What we do is certify health and life coaches. We’re not in therapy, lying on a couch and playing Freud and being like, “Take me back to your childhood. How did that make you feel?”

What we’re about is understanding what happened, but then not leaving you there. We want to leverage that to propel you forward. We want to help you understand that this pain that you suffered is your greatest power if you know how to transform it. What are the things that we like to do? A lot of people get bogged down in this idea of, “I’m not worth it. I’m hopeless. I’m worthless. I knew I’d never stay on that diet. I am such a loser. I will always be overweight. I might as well call it quits.” Those are the conversations we have with ourselves. Instead of doing that, the next time you’re on this great heart-healthy diet that Dr. Jack has put together and you fall off, I wonder why. You play the “I wonder” game. This is one of the techniques that we use in the Transformational Trauma Technique.

It’s like, “I wonder.” It takes all the pressure off. It’s not like, “How did that make you feel? Why do you think you did that?” I don’t know. What if we wondered? It’s easier. It’s like saying love yourself. It’s accepting yourself instead. Can we start there? You just start to wonder. I wonder like, “I do want to have my heartbeat healthy and I want to be vital and live a long time. Tell me exactly what to do. I wonder why I didn’t do it. I wonder.” I don’t like somebody telling you what to do. I wonder why I don’t like people telling me what to do. I feel it’s been like that my whole life. I show up at a job at a certain time. You can’t be late. I wonder when that’s happened before in my life. You keep going backward. You’ve identified the real cause that you stumbled off the diet, which isn’t that you’re hopeless and worthless and not smart or didn’t like the food or any of those things. It’s you don’t like being controlled. Most of us don’t. Most children don’t like being controlled. Trust me, I have two under the age of ten. Now, you’ve discovered the real issue. It’s not the diet. It’s not the doctor. It’s not even you. It’s an old thought pattern.

Let’s talk about this issue of control. “When was the earliest time that started happening to you?” “In my job, but even before that. My dad was in the military. He was a tough guy and everything had to be controlled. The bed had to be made. I remember this one time my dad sat me down and he made me make the bed five times in a row. He kept messing it up until the edges were perfectly tucked under and it had to be perfect. I remember that was so hard.” Now, you’ve thought back to the root cause. That was probably traumatic for little Tommy back in the day. Now that we’ve arrived there, little Tommy, and again simplifying this, that it’s powerful. Let’s talk about what else could have been going on. Here’s a great takeaway. We have these beliefs. The reason little Tommy isn’t sticking to that great heart-healthy diet you gave him is that when he was seven years old, he got in this battle of control and created a belief around control.

People love to say you are what you eat and that's just not true. You eat what you are. Click To Tweet

Let’s talk about beliefs. Beliefs are made up of three E’s. The event that happened, the emotions that you felt and the explanation that you gave it. That’s what creates a belief. If you dismantle these things, there’s no more belief. Let’s take the situation. The military dad making the bed five times, it had to be perfect and you lost control. You say, “Little Tommy, how did that make you feel?” “It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough.” That was the explanation that little Tommy gave it. How did that make you feel? Emotions solidify it. This is what gets us deep and this is what triggers us. This is why we sometimes get angry and all these emotions come out. “How did that make you feel?” “I felt not very good. I felt sad. I felt alone.” “The explanation you gave it was that you weren’t good enough. What other explanation could you give it?” Little Tommy might be like, “My dad had a hard life and he joined the military so he could make something of himself. Then when he got married, he was determined that as kids, we would make something of ourselves too because he had a hard go with it.” That’s the explanation.

“If you use that as an explanation, how do you feel? What are emotions?” “It’s good that my dad loved us enough and tried to instill this belief in me. He probably didn’t always know the right way to do it. He was doing the best he had with what he had. The best he could of what he had, but he must have loved us.” Now, that you have an explanation that’s different and the emotions are different, then you can let go of the belief. You completely transform this one incident and now that doesn’t matter. When it comes back to the flag of self-worth, that’s not going to be what derails little Tommy from the diet. If it does, we need to play the I wonder game and he does that and dismantles. This is a process. He’s doing this over and over. I still play it every single day. If I get triggered, “I wonder what’s going on here?”

Everybody has childhood trauma. Some are much more extreme than others. I tell this to my wife all the time. I’m poor at this because I look back on my childhood fondly with amazing memories and whatnot, but so many people don’t. Unfortunately, it’s a shortcoming of mine over the years that I can’t identify with this. Therefore, I’m not good enough at treating it or even discussing it. I’ve gotten better over the years because of people like you that’s opened up my eyes to how important this is. One thing I would say is that as we look back at the food thing, I do want to say one thing about food. I tell people that whatever food you eat, make it organic. If you can’t follow the diet and you’re like “I’m going for ice cream. I don’t care what anybody thinks. I’m going to have a meltdown.” Go to organic, grass-fed, free-range ice cream. Go get organic dark chocolate. If coffee’s your vice, go make it organic. Go find your happiness, but at least make it organic because you get everything you love and none of the chemicals, which means so much.

It comes back to quality. I want to continue to expand on this a little bit. Eat the ice cream. If you want to eat the ice cream, eat good, healthy ice cream. Something that’s organic and lots of healthy fat. Here’s the other thing I would say when it comes to the psychological underpinnings of all of this and even the spiritual side of this is we can say, “Why do you want the ice cream?” Essentially, nourishment is more than feeding yourself food. It’s feeding your mind, stimulating your mind with things that you like to read or watch or conversation. A conversation can feed us. I had a client one time that was an artist. She’d gone through some difficult times in her life, had this health struggle and had stopped painting.

HHS 39 | Transformational Nutrition

Transformational Nutrition: The old way that we did things and that we’re still doing things is not what’s going to fix and heal.


I sent her off one day to this beautiful garden in Los Angeles and she was a binge eater. She had a problem. She was eating breakfast, she was thinking about snacks, she was going to have before lunch. If she is having a snack, she is thinking about lunch and then dinner. It was an intense situation for her. I realized that she was starving herself. Not just the food because she had plenty of food. She was starving herself from the things that fed her, which is art. I said, “Go paint. Go live. Express yourself. Go feed yourself that way.” She did and she called me at the end of the afternoon. She said, “I was there all day thinking about food and I’m still not hungry.” It was such a revelation. We have to stop thinking about food when it comes to nourishment. The quality is important if it’s physical food, but also what’s important is the quality of the other nourishing things that you have in your life.

The other thing is, and this is me getting a little bit woo-woo here, but food has energy. It does and so do your thoughts. If you’re sitting here and you’re eating a healthy salad because that’s what I was told to eat and this is on my heart-healthy diet. You’ve got some olive oil or whatever you’ve got and it’s all organic and it’s the way, but you are miserable, that is not serving you. That is not the way to get healthy because you’re consuming this energy. People love to say you are what you eat and that’s not true. You eat what you are. If you’re feeling worthless and hopeless like you’re going to head for the drive-thru first thing. You have to be aware of the bigger picture too. It’s not just eating good, high-quality foods. It’s the feeling that you’re eating when you’re physically eating the food.

For all of you that are reading this episode, you can see why she’s been featured all over national media, The Doctors TV show and all these different accolades. You go on her website, she’s got this whole laundry list. You want to know how she’s had time to come up with all these brilliant thoughts because she’s always being interviewed about her brilliant thoughts. We could go on for so long and this is such great information. This starts off with a year-long course. How do people find out more about you? How can people achieve this transformation? They’re not going to get it from their medical doctor. They’re not going to get that. There’s no way possible. We have to go outside the box. How do people find out more about your program?

The old way that we did things and that we’re still doing things, it’s not what’s going to fix and heal. We call it the transformation generation and that’s how passionate we are about this. You can head over to TransformationalNutrition.com. That’s our school. We’re a fully accredited school. We have lots of courses there that serve our students. Some people take it and turn it into a business because we do teach them how to code and we teach them how to build a great business that sustains them and their family. Then we have some people who want the information because it’s so valuable. They want to transform their lives and their health and their family’s life and health. You can go to the website. We have lots of free guides and free courses. You can get your toes in for no charge at all because we want to get this information out. We’re @TransformationalNutrition on all the social channels. My own personal website is CynthiaPasquella.com. We have lots of information and show episodes there.

What if somebody wants to work with a Transformational Nutritionist that is certified under your program? They are like, “I’m a busy, successful CEO or I’m a house mom,” which I have all the respect for in the world. My mom was a house mother. It’s a full-time job. How can we find someone who’s trained in your system?

We’re in the process of launching a big network around this. You can go and search for all of these coaches. You can google certified Transformational Nutrition coach. There’s a ton of them out there. You can type it on Facebook, Instagram and they’ll all pop up. They are trained in this bigger method of personalized nutrition. They can take your heart health, psychological stuff and spiritual stuff, put this into this system and it gives scientifically-based and proven protocols that are personalized for you. They’re super easy to find.

This has been phenomenal information and congratulations on everything. That seems you’ve recovered from and what you’ve become now is such a powerhouse in the health and wellness space. Thank you for being on this episode.

Thanks for having me truly. Thanks for the work that you do. It’s because of people like you that I can do what I do. We’re all in this together and I feel we all bring a little piece of the puzzle. I know it’s not easy for you to show up and do this every day. It’s challenging so thank you for this huge contribution that you make and for you being part of the transformation generation. It’s huge and it’s an honor to sit down with you.

Thank you. We’ve got a lot up against us, but we’re the right side of history. The pharmaceutical companies and conventional medical doctors are on the wrong side. Thank you for another episode of the show. We will catch you next time.

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About Cynthia Pasquella-Garcia

HHS 39 | Transformational NutritionCynthia Pasquella-Garcia is a celebrity nutritionist, transformation expert, best-selling author, in-demand speaker, TV and media personality, and philanthropist. She is known as the Transformational Nutritionist® and is the Founder and CEO of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition (ITN), a company that makes it easy for health coaches to do the work they love by teaching them a proven coaching process that leaves them confident and credible so they can be a powerful force in the world that they want to be.

Cynthia is the author of the popular weight loss and transformation program, PINK Method, and the popular cookbook for your body and your life, The Hungry Hottie Cookbook. These two books have collectively sold over a million copies worldwide. Cynthia is currently working on her third book, a self-help memoir. She’s the creator of the web show, “What You’re REALLY Hungry For,” a series that features the world’s leading experts including top athletes, authors, coaches, spiritual leaders, artists, and entrepreneurs, who uncover the secrets of what people are truly craving, so they can finally begin to fill the void created by their inner needs, wants, dreams, and deepest desires.

Cynthia is also the creator of the Transformational Trauma Technique – a technique that she developed to overcome the trauma in her own past and to help her clients overcome it in theirs. This powerful technique has been used successfully for over a decade all over the globe and is taught exclusively at ITN.

She has over 15 years of experience coaching thousands of private clients ranging from stay-at-home moms to celebrities and Fortune 500 CEO’s. Her corporate clients have included Morgan Stanley, Kodak, and Dean Witter, Discover & Co. She has helped people transform not just their bodies and their health but also their relationships and their businesses.

With her Southern charm and empowering approach, Cynthia is a contributor for several publications and media outlets including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Fitness Magazine, Shape, Cosmopolitan, New Beauty, Marie Claire, Experience Life, Elle, Women’s Health, and more. She has appeared on television shows including the E! Network’s Revenge Body With Khloé Kardashian where she served as the official nutritionist for the show. She’s also guest-starred on NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC, The DoctorsThe Dr. Phil ShowThe Today ShowAccess HollywoodThe ViewDr. OzThe Talk, and E! News Live.

Knowing that education and the empowerment of women is a catalyst for change, Cynthia gives back to the Girl Power Project through the Just Like My Child Foundation which is aimed at responding to the challenges that adolescent girls face living in poverty by building schools and empowering girls to achieve their dreams.

Cynthia is a leader and an inspiration born of her own personal history. She is happily married, has two children and lives in Los Angeles and Portland.