Dinner and a Side of Spirituality with Cynthia Pasquella – #328
By: Dave Asprey
July 19, 2016
Why you should listen –
Cynthia Pasquella is a celebrity nutritionist, spiritual leader, media personality and best-selling author. She is the founder and director of the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, the only nutrition certification program that combines nutritional science, psychology, spirituality and coaching skills to people create permanent change in their health and life. Cynthia is also the creator and host of “What You’re Really Hungry For,” a web series that goes beyond food to examine the true secrets behind having the body, health, and life you’ve always wanted. On today’s episode of Bulletproof Radio, Dave and Cynthia talk about her battles with health and depression, dietary tips, leaving behind a vegan diet, Imposter Syndrome, inner-hunger, sex tips and more. Enjoy the show!
Follow Along with the Transcript!
Intro: Bulletproof Radio: a state of high performance.
Dave : You’re listening to Bulletproof Radio with Dave Asprey. Today’s cool fact of the day is that even though the words religion and spirituality are often interchangeable, a unique study from the University of Oregon just showed that practicing religion and being spiritual are distinct, and they each have their own benefits. The effects of being religious and following an organized religion are correlated with a healthier lifestyle: less drinking, less smoking, better daily habits, and probably most importantly, having a supportive community. But being spiritual offers followers a way to explore their feelings and mindfulness, so you have less stress, less inflammation, lower blood pressure, and overall better well being. So there actually is a scientific difference between those 2 things.
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Today’s guest is a friend, and someone who’s amazing on many different levels. She’s Cynthia Pasquella, a certified nutritionist, a bestselling author, and creator of a show called What You’re Hungry For, which is a web series that helps people connect the dots between their emotional life to their food habits. She’s also the founder and director of the Institute for Transformational Nutrition, which is a nutrition certification program that merges nutritional science, psychology, spirituality and business training and coaching skills. She’s inspired her celebrity clients and millions of people to find peace with themselves and their food. Cynthia has a profound story of her own transformation that led her to create her business, and to reach out and touch the lives of millions of people. Cynthia, it’s an honor to have you on the show. Welcome.
Cynthia: Thanks Dave, thanks for having me. It’s definitely an honor to be here.
Dave : Tell me your story. Why did you become a nutritionist?
Cynthia: Yeah, that’s a great question. It’s funny, I get asked that question a lot, too, “Why this field?” because I don’t think anyone ever wakes up and says, “I want to make a lot of money, and do a lot of things with my life. I know, nutrition is the way.” No one ever does that. And I certainly had no interest, Dave. I didn’t know a protein from a carb; I didn’t know there was such things. I just knew nothing about nutrition, wellness, health, at all – until I was forced to know these things. Just to give you a little bit of background, I was working many many years ago in Los Angeles in the entertainment industry. I was a model, I was a television host, and things were great. But I very much lived that Hollywood lifestyle, and I was a newcomer to this industry, to this business, which meant like any newcomer to any industry, you have to hustle. You’re trying to make your mark, you’re trying to get to know people, you’re trying to network, and so I was doing all of that. I was working these very long days, and then at night I would go to all of these networking events and parties and get togethers, and what have you.
I was drinking, I was doing a ton of stuff I shouldn’t have been. I was staying out, staying up all night, and it caught up with me really, really quickly. I ended up being about 25, 30 pounds overweight. I had horrible cystic acne, my hair was breaking and falling out, cellulite in places I didn’t know you could get cellulite – and it wasn’t just the physical things either. I had suffered with depression for pretty much my whole life, so that was being triggered in a big way. I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. I was completely exhausted, from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed. And it didn’t matter, Dave, if I slept … I could sleep 18 hours and still wake up exhausted. And if that wasn’t enough, I also had short term memory loss. I just couldn’t remember things. It was really a tough situation, and I was just in it.
It got really bad, and I wasn’t able to work, because unfortunately I was in a business where your looks play a big role in whether or not you’re on TV or at a photoshoot. So I wasn’t making any money, and I was super depressed, my clinical depression kicking in in a big way, so I thought, “I need to fix this. I need to get some help.” And I knew me, and I knew that dark place, and I thought, “I really need to get some help.” So the little bit of money I did have, I was spending on everything to try to fix me. It’s funny, Dave, and I know you’ve heard people say this. people say, “I’ve tried everything; nothing works.” And I used to hear people say that, and I’m like, “Really? Have you really tried everything? because surely if you tried everything, something would have worked.” It’s just common sense, I don’t know. But for the first time I knew what they meant. I got it, because I really had tried everything. I went to doctors, nutritionists, trainers. I tried all kinds of spiritual ceremonies. I did energy healing. I popped the pills, I drank the shakes – nothing worked. I was hypnotized – it was crazy. I tried everything.
So I got to this point where I thought, “What am I going to do?” I remember, Dave, I woke up one morning – I lived in Los Angeles, a little tiny studio apartment in Hollywood, and I woke up and I thought, “Maybe today’s the day.” I felt a smidget better. A very technical term, smidget. I thought, “Maybe today’s the day that I can do this. Maybe today I’ll find something, and I just had that spark.” So I get in the shower. I’m showering, I’m thinking I’m going to start my day off right, I’m saying all these positive mantras in my head, and then I find a lump in one of my breasts. And then I find a lump in the other one. And it was just like, my body and my mind completely went numb, and I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me. This isn’t happening.” And I just remember, Dave, I sank to the floor, the water still coming down, and it’s just … Nothing. I’m not aware of anything, and I put my arms around myself, and I just started rocking, much like a mother would rock her child to soothe her. I was just rocking.
I just thought, “This is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening,” and then there were no thoughts. I don’t know how long I sat there. I just remember feeling the water had turned very cold, and I thought, “Okay, I should get out. I should get out of the shower.” So I get out, I get a towel, I dry off, and I walk in to my living room, and bedroom – it was all just a studio apartment – and I’m sitting there, and I’m just staring at the wall. I’m just staring. And I did that all day long. I don’t remember … I remember getting up and moving randomly, but I don’t remember any thoughts or any big epiphanies. Nothing. I was just numb. It got to be early hours, wee hours of the morning, and I remember I was sitting in a dark corner of the room on the floor. I don’t remember how I got there, or what had happened, but I was sitting there in this dark corner and I thought, “I’m done. I’m just done. It’s time for me to check out. people will see that I’ve tried. You can’t say that I didn’t try. I did try to figure this out. I just can’t do it anymore.” And I had decided that I was going to take my own life.
I felt in a good place with it. It wasn’t like I was still trying to work it out. I was just good with it. Just completely accepting. And I sat there, and then I started thinking about everyone I would leave behind, and how life would be afterward, and I thought, “Why me? Why is this all happening to me?” because the thing was, this isn’t the first time I’d ever faced struggle in my life. In fact, I grew up … I was born into struggle, basically. We were very poor. We had basically no money. I remember we didn’t have running water in the house, so I remember my mom would catch rain in rain barrels, bring it in, and heat it on an old wood stove, and then pour it in this metal tub that sat on the floor, and that’s how we would take baths. There were nights we didn’t have food because we just didn’t have money for food. It was a tough upbringing.
And then, like any situation like that, there are things that just come along with it. My parents – there was a lot of domestic abuse. They fought all the time. Drug abuse, alcohol abuse; I was sexually abused at a young age. And so this was my life growing up. I lost people to suicides, random accidents – it was just this crazy, crazy environment that I grew up in. So I felt like I had been fighting my entire life, just fighting. And that night, sitting there, I thought, “I’m so sick of fighting. I don’t want to do this anymore.” But then, “Why me? Why is this happening?” I started to get angry, Dave. I started to get angry at all the people that I went to to try to help me, and they hadn’t. I got angry at myself for, like, “How could you get to this place? What were you thinking?” I was angry at God for all of these things that had transpired in my life. And the angrier I got, and the more clear I got that I was done, I started to have this realization. I had this little voice, this God moment, whatever you want to call it, that said, “These things happen for you, not to you.”
I thought, “Whoa,” because in that moment I got it. I finally got it. I thought, “Wow, this isn’t about me. This has never been about me.” because I was thinking, “Oh woe is me. How pathetic am I?” But it had never been about me. It was about everyone else in the world that had gone through similar struggles, that were struggling just like me. That had lost loved ones just like me, that had felt hopeless and defeated and worthless just like me. And I realized, that’s my mission. That’s my passion. I can help those people. If I can figure this out, I could help them not have to suffer, not have to deal with all of these horrible things that I was going through. It’s funny, because I was in my early 20s, and I was looking for my purpose. Like, “What’s the purpose of life? Why am I here?” And I was trying to figure all of that out. But I realized, it came … This purpose was my birthright. I was born into this work. That shifted everything for me, and that’s how I got into this world, was through that own … Just really coming to Jesus moment, that complete breakdown that happened before the breakthrough.
Dave : That’s a pretty powerful story. You’ve gone through so much. But a few things stand out. You talk about that, just, “I could sleep 12 or 18 hours a day,” and you just hit the wall. I had a similar thing happen in my career, and we’ve talked about this off camera at various events and all. It’s interesting – I had the same thought. Like, “Fat people are fat because they’re lazy.” I’m like, “Oh wait I’m fat, and oh wait, I’m not lazy. Oops!” (Laughs) it must have been awful, though, as a model – with acne and 20 extra pounds. You’re like, “I’m not really a model.” And for people who are just listening in your car or whatever, if you look, I would say that you pretty much still look like a supermodel. So watch the YouTube channel; you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Cynthia: Well this is my earth suit, right? We all have our earth suits, and we’re all the same. I somehow got into this one, and you somehow got into that one, and we’re all sort of bumping around into each other in this world. I think anyone … I don’t think you have to be a model or on TV to relate to feeling like a fraud, to feeling like people at any minute are going to figure you out. Even today, even in all the work, I still have that fear. Like, “When are they going to find out that I’m not good enough?” Or whatever, we always go through those ceilings, those upper limits that we continue to break through. But yeah, it’s a very interesting process, and a very humbling process, and it’s good.
Dave : There’s something called impostor syndrome. Have you come across that?
Cynthia: Oh, every day. You’re talking about every day.
Dave : I think a lot of people have that. I’m not good enough to be where I am, I’m faking it. I used to have that, and that’s gone for me now. I’m just like, “I do what I do. I don’t care if people think I’m an impostor or not. At least they’re thinking about the words I said. Maybe if they’re valuable words, cool, and if not, whatever.”
Cynthia: You know what helps me with that? It’s not about me. I remember when I wrote my first book and I was launching it, I was launching on the Dr. Phil show. I’m backstage, Dave, and I’m all in my head, and I’m just like, “Oh I’m going to walk out there, I’m going to fall, I’m going to say something stupid.” All the gremlins came out that morning, and it was a lot of pressure, and it was like, “Big deal.” So I’m standing there and I’m all in my head, and this woman walks up to me and she says, “Hey Cynthia.” I’m like, “I don’t know this woman. Should I know her?” I was like, “Hey, how are you?” She was like, “I’m great. I just wanted to come over and thank you.” I though, “Okay.” I was like, “Oh, well, what for?” She goes, “Well you don’t know me. We’ve never met, but you saved my life.”
Dave : Wow.
Cynthia: I still get chills when I tell that story. It was like it happened yesterday. So I realized in that moment, Dave, that that’s what it was about. It wasn’t about me, and whatever I look like, or whatever came out of my mouth when I walked onstage. It was about the message. So when the message became bigger than my own worries about that impostor syndrome, my own faults, my own lack of whatever, then everything shifted for me. And there are days that I’m still like, “Oh I don’t know, am I really good enough to do this? You want me for this TV show?” I still have those little gremlins that come out, but that’s how I shut them down, is really focusing on the message. It’s not about me; I’m just the messenger. I’m just here. This stuff comes through me. That’s the thing that shifted all of that for me.
Dave : It’s much easier, and frankly more satisfying, when you have a mission, versus when you’re doing it for yourself. I couldn’t agree more.
Cynthia: I don’t know how you do that. I don’t know how you do this stuff every day for yourself. I don’t know, I don’t know if that’s … I don’t think I could do it just for me. I don’t think so.
Dave : Exactly. There’s another quote that comes to mind that I think you might like, and I think it’s Helen Keller, but I could be wrong, so don’t quote me on Helen Keller. That’s not a quote right there. But it’s, “What people think of me is none of my business.” I had to do a lot of work on that, because as you get successful you always attract haters, and it used to stress me out. I’m like, “No, I’m talking about some important stuff here, and there’s real science behind it.” And one day I realized, “You know what? I don’t really care. Some people aren’t going to like what I have to say, and it’s totally cool.”
Cynthia: Yeah, it’s not for those people. That’s okay.
Dave : Exactly. Now I’ll be a little bit non-spiritual, given my opening fact of the day. I get a little twinge of guilty pleasure when I realize … I do this math equation, and it’s like, look, if I’m questioning my own competence, that’s one thing. But if someone else in a mean spirited way is doing that, it takes them at least a minute or 2 to try and do something mean, and it takes me half a second to click ban/delete, and when I do the math equation, I’m like, “I so win.” Every time I win.
Cynthia: I love that. That’s so smart. You know, it’s funny – I really think that social media and these avenues have opened up channels … Anyone’s reachable these days, and anyone can say anything at any time, and then the world sees it. I think we have really taken that for granted in a big way. I don’t think we fully understand the responsibility that comes with the power of our own voice. So whether it’s you or I writing a book, where we’re trying to help people and not harm them, and then really taking responsibility for the information we’re putting out – or whether it’s some random troll, somebody trolling on the internet and writing hateful comments, we have to take responsibility for that, and those words have power. They have energy. They very much shift things. I think we missed that memo some how. I think there’s a disconnect with what we’re putting out there, because it’s so easy to say whatever, that the responsibility is no longer there. Or maybe it wasn’t to begin with. I don’t know, but it certainly doesn’t seem to exist. And that’s for me a very scary thing, when we think about these communication channels and platforms that we have.
Dave : It is. There are things that people will say on Facebook or whatever, mean stuff. And if 1000 people see that, would you stand in a crowded square and say that in front of 100 people?
Dave : Here’s why you wouldn’t do that: because if you did, someone would thump your ass. That’s how it works. And we’ve taken away that. I can hide in my dorm room or wherever, and do this stuff. But our bodies and our emotions still respond to that stuff as if it’s a real thing. So the sad, lonely person who’s doing that, and only 1000 people see it, still, it’s 1000 people. But for you, Cynthia, you’ve been doing your line of work for a long time. I did an equation recently, I added up the number of minutes people listen to my content or read my content, and pretty much 125 human lifetimes and counting I’ve consumed with my words. So either I’m a mass murder or not, and I think your number would actually be much higher than mine, because you have an amazing reach. You’re doing stuff with Khloe Kardashian, and you’re all over, and ITN has done some really good stuff. So you’re probably a bigger mass murderer than I am, Cynthia.
Cynthia: (Laughs) thank you!
Dave : Or a value giver, right? I wish that people would look at their words, and look at the amplification ratio. The more amplified your words are, the more you must be mindful of them, because the words hurt you or they hurt other people, or they help you or the help other people. It seems like that’s been lost somewhere in translation.
Cynthia: Well yes, I agree, I think it has, and I think the first step in shifting that paradigm is awareness, is creating this awareness that your words have power, that that’s a very forceful thing that you’re putting out into the universe. But I think, and this is what I see so much working with clients and doing the work that I do around finding out what you’re really hungry for, is that we’re so afraid. We’re just terrified. Our souls, what we’ve been through in our lifetimes, the things that we’ve experienced have left us with this trauma that we try to heal through food, drugs, alcohol, meaningless relationships, random sex, all of these different things. That’s obviously just a band aid; it doesn’t matter how much food you eat or how much sex you have, you can never fill that void. Even though we keep trying every day. I think awareness is the first step to taking responsibility for our actions and for the things that we’re saying, and I think that’s just the first step. I think that we obviously need to go much deeper into that and look at why am I saying these things in the first place? Where is this coming from?
Because most often it’s fear, it’s something that happened … I believe the social conditioning happens before the age of 8, typically 7, because that’s when you’re brain … All of this stuff, I know. But I like to give people up until the age of 8 just to get in that last little bit of development. But all of those triggers, and the unconscious things that we do, and our learned behaviors and patterns – all of that starts at a very early age. That’s where, for me, what I’ve seen, the real work is, is getting back to that place and working through that, feeling those emotions, letting them go, processing – instead of numbing out, or instead of acting out.
Dave : You talk about awareness, which is awesome, because one of the big things that I like about your work is that you help people identify the bad relationships that they have with their food. And a lot of guys like me, we talk a lot about the biology of food, in ITN – you talk about the biology of food as well, how does it work. And then you go a level beyond it, what’s the emotional relationship to this. How do you help someone … How would someone listening to this know, do I have a craving because I’m lacking zinc, or do I have a craving because mommy didn’t love me?
Cynthia: Totally, no. It’s such a great question. Here’s the thing, is, this work – it wasn’t like I created this entire framework just like that; I was like, “This is what we have to do.” It was really a process. I told you about my struggle, and then deciding that, whoah, there’s a bigger mission for me. This is bigger than me. It’s happening for me, not to me. I thought, “Okay, well, I should probably learn about this nutrition thing.” I don’t know, call me crazy, but it seemed like the first step. So I went over, I found an online certification program, because I’d done the whole college thing, and I thought, “Okay, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to enroll in this program …”
Dave : Hold on a second. You didn’t just do the whole college thing. What did you study in college, here, Cynthia?
Cynthia: I studied a few things. I have a degree in computer science.
Dave : Oh! Oh, you’re a biohacker, oh I get it. So yeah, no, I think you’re underselling yourself there.
Cynthia: (Laughs) yes, I can lay cable with the best of them. We can write programs, we can do all of that. But I’d rather help people heal their heart. So I enrolled in this program, and it was good. I learned a lot about a lot. But it was clinical, like I’m a clinical nutritionist by training. Basically what that meant, Dave, is that I would create meal plans, I would tell people what to do, they would go do it, lose all this weight, and the world is a happier better place – if only it worked that way. And of course, it didn’t. So I kept giving people meal plans and saying, “Do this, do this.” And I was working on my own self at the same time. I was working on my own health, and just getting in a good place, and healing my body. I realized, though, that people would come back time and time again, and they just wouldn’t eat what we had decided together that they would eat. It was shocking to me, because I thought, “Well if you really wanted to lose weight, if you really wanted to do this, you would do the work.”
I remember, Dave, I had this client – she was great, and I will never forget this woman, because she changed everything for me. She changed the way I worked, she changed the way I help people. Every week, this is how it would go: She would come in, we would look at her meal plan and her food journal from the previous week – which would look nothing like the meal plan and the food plan that we’d put together for her earlier in the week. And she kept having candy bars. Candy bars were her thing. Breakfast, lunch, an afternoon pick me up, a dessert after dinner. It was constant …
Dave : You can actually make french toast out of a Snickers bar. You just roll it in egg and put … Okay.
Cynthia: (Laughs) don’t teach those things, don’t tell people that! You’re not helping my case here. No, so I was so confused, and she got me on just the right day. You ever have those days where you’re trying to help someone and they’re not helping themselves, and you’re just like, “I give up!” So I said to this woman, “I don’t get it. Every week we talk about what you’ll eat. Every week, you buy into this, you say, ‘Yes, that’s what I’m going to do.’ And every week you come back and you have all of these candy bars, and I don’t get it.” I said to her, “Please help me understand, because at this point you’re wasting my time and your money, and I don’t get it.” And she did something that no client before or since has done to me: she stood up and screamed at me, just yelling at me. I was like, “What is happening?” During her yelling, she said to me, “You have no idea what I’m dealing with.” And she said to me, “These candy bars may just be candy bars to you, but not to me.
She said to me, “Do you know why I joke? Because then I can be the funny fat girl. Do you know why I call myself fat? Because I don’t want someone else to beat me to it. And do you know why I’m nice, and I just take what everything says about me and smile anyway? Because if I’m mean, they call me fat.” And she’s like, “These candy bars are the only friends I have left, and I will not let you take them away from me.” I was like, “Whoa.” Shifted everything, Dave. I’m stunned from being screamed at, but the truth of what she said rang through so clearly. Even to her – she was shocked that that came out of her, because this isn’t something that she’s sat around and thought about.
Dave : Right, she didn’t know it.
Cynthia: No, no idea. But when I challenged her in that moment and made her angry, she went to that place. All that anger wasn’t at me, it was at all those people in her life. So it turns out, here’s what had happened, and I worked with her for a long time afterward, and she’s great, and still a friend to this day. But when she was growing up, her mother was dating this man who didn’t like children, so when he would come over in the evenings to visit and hang out, the mother would take her to her room. But she had stopped on the way home from work and picked up candy and movies from Blockbuster and all of these things. So she had put her in her room, and that’s where my client, this woman, would stay until the man left the next morning. Her mother would come in and say good night to her, but that was it. She didn’t come downstairs. So these candy bars, she had latched onto those, represented love. They represented love and caring and nurturing. And she was so angry at her mother, and that’s where this came from.
Anyways, it shifted, and I thought, “Oh, it’s not about just telling people what to do. It’s finding out why they know what to do but still won’t do it.” What is that? Even when faced with death – do you know, when giving a diagnosis of certain death or, if you don’t change your lifestyle and your diet, you most certainly will die, 87 percent of people say, “I’ll just die.” 87 percent, Dave. It’s crazy. Why is that? So that got me thinking, and I was like, “Wow, I really need to dig into the psychology of this more.” And I did, and that shifted the way I worked with clients, and they got big improvements – and so did I. I thought, “Wow, I’ve got to figure out what’s going on here.” But the real magic came, because I would still have people who weren’t quite complying, who still didn’t quite get it. So the real magic came when I discovered that the bigger piece was not about food. In fact it’s never been about the food. It’s always been about this bigger hunger that we have, that we can’t fill, that I talked about earlier.
That’s where spirituality comes in. I was so happy that you opened with the difference between religion and spirituality, because they’re very, very different. So when I put the spirituality aspect into place, where people could discover what they were really hungry for, and then we pair that with the science of nutrition and the psychological triggers that were created when they were young, what you get out of that is a radical shift, a radical transformation. I call it transformational nutrition, which is why I started the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, because no one was training people in that. No one still trains people in this, yet I know that you need every single one of those facets to create change. people talk about transformation, and we see shows like The Biggest Loser, and all of these things on TV, and it’s almost as if transformation means becoming a better version of yourself, being someone better – and I don’t think that’s what it’s about at all. It’s not about that for me.
It’s interesting, Krishnamurti had a quote, he said: “When you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation.” What he’s saying is, is understand why you do these things. Understand what you are. Go back and remember who you are, and see what these triggers are, and why they’re triggered, because when you can understand what you are and why you are that way, then you can change it. You have this white space of awareness that allows you the opportunity, then, to make different choices. That’s the way I look at transformation. It’s not about becoming a better version of you, it’s just remembering who you always were, and letting that person out again. Does that make sense?
Dave : It makes a lot of sense to me. But I’ve also done lots of this personal growth work, and one of the things that I believed, also having been a computer science student – truth tables, rational logic – is, most people if you ask them will say, “I’m a rational person.” In fact, especially engineers will say that, right? But then there’s always behaviors that you can’t explain away with logic. One of them might be sex – I’m just saying, that’s not that logical. They’re like, “I do it because it feels good.” Why does it feel good? “Well there isn’t a reason, it just does!” You just lost your logic at that point. But there’s all sorts of things, like eating behaviors, and relationships, and all those things where we have a story that we tell ourselves about them, but then we kind of do it, but then we make up the story, and then we tell ourselves that we did it because of the story, and we have that weird loop.
I think that happens particularly with food, and your work has really done a lot to help people identify when you’re actually hungry because you need to eat, or when it’s, “I’m hungry because when I was 4 something happened and I didn’t get what I needed, or what I thought I needed.” You probably didn’t really even need it, but it felt like a trauma, and so it got embedded. How do you show someone … How does someone reach that state where your client reached, where they’re like, “Oh my God, these candy bars are love.” Okay, someone’s listening to this, they’re sitting in a cubicle somewhere, and they’re thinking, “Could this even be happening to me? Probably not, that’s only for crazy people.” That’s what the normal defense systems would say. How do you show them that? What do they do?
Cynthia: Yeah, I would say we’re all crazy, but that’s probably a whole other show. Just to touch really quickly on what you said about logic – we all think that we’re very logical. We think that we make decisions based on logic, and we never do. We always make them based on emotion, and then we back them up with logic. It’s like, I want this thing, so I need it. We’re always making decisions based on emotion, so to answer your question of how do we get to that point? It’s interesting. There’s a method that I’ve created. It’s on my website; you can download it for free, but basically you walk through this process of going back to these root causes. What is it that you’re really hungry for? What is it that you want in your life right now that you don’t have? And there’s a process for figuring that out too, if you don’t know. Maybe it’s love, maybe it’s connection, maybe it’s success. It could be anything: achievement, recognition. At the end of the day, we all just want to be seen, we want to be heard, and we want to feel like we matter. Those are the biggest things that we want.
So once you figure out what it is that you want – like, “I want to lose weight,” for example; it could be anything – we look at your beliefs around that. Why do you believe that you don’t have it yet? What’s your belief? You have to drill down and work for this, and again the process is on my site, but look at what it is that is in you that causes you to not believe that you can do it, or believe that you deserve it. A lot of times people will say, “I don’t deserve it. I don’t feel worthy.” When you get to the root of it, that’s what it is, and sit with yourself to figure that out. It’s interesting, Dave, we’re so used to the internet and having information at our fingertips that what we do is, we go outside of ourselves to find the answers. people come to you to say, “Dave, tell me what to eat. Tell me what to drink. Tell me how to bio hack. Tell me how to upgrade every area of my life,” and that’s great. We can do that. It’s great that we have people like you out there.
You are definitely an expert. I’m an expert. But when it comes to our own bodies, each of us is the expert on that. So instead of going outside – and there’s nothing wrong with going outside, but when you’re talking about these deeper hungers, I can’t tell you what they are, and Dave you can’t tell them what they are. The answers are all inside of you, so you go inside. You should sit with yourself, and you get quiet. We’re always talking about, “Oh, social media and all these things,” and we’re so disconnected, and everything is so loud and busy and noisy. I would argue that we want it to be that way, because when it’s that loud we don’t have to hear what’s going on inside. We don’t have to be with our own thoughts. We don’t have to hear our own heart. So I think we do that on purpose, and we complain about it, but I think that’s a cover-up. That’s just my beliefs.
So get quiet. Go in. Sit with yourself. Sit still with yourself. Be with yourself. We’re terrified to do that, and that’s a good thing. Let that fear encourage you to do that. Use this as an opportunity to feel that courage. So you go in – what are your beliefs around this thing that you want? Once you have that belief – for example, I don’t deserve it, I’m not worthy, I’m not good enough. We talked about that earlier – I’m an impostor. Well, what’s your earliest memory of that? It might just be that you remember, “When I was 20, or when I was 15.” Great. Talk that through. Go back. Think about that. What’s an earlier memory? The idea is to get back to your very first time that you can remember feeling that way. So you’re just not worth it – maybe this woman, she went back to her childhood, completely unprovoked by me, and said, “Oh, I didn’t feel like I was loved. I didn’t feel worthy of love. So if I’m not worthy of my mother’s love, I’m certainly not worthy of those skinny jeans that everybody’s flouting around in.”
So get back to that, what I call the defining event. Usually it happens before the age of 8. Typically 7, usually 8. So when you get back to that place, then that’s where the emotions kick in, and that’s why I wanted to talk about your point on logic versus emotions, because this is where the decisions are made. You got to feel those emotions, and I tell people, this isn’t a quick fix. It’s not just something that you can be like, “What am I hungry for … Oh, I got that.” This is a lifetime, Dave, of conditioning, of hearing these messages, of trying to act a certain way. Its funny, we start out, and I’ll use women as an example. But we start out and we’re like these perfect little beings, and if we want something we cry, and we get it, and we don’t think there’s a thing wrong with that. We’re like, “That was awesome.” But then at some point we start getting a little older, and we hear things like, “You’re being too loud. You’re being too this, you’re being too that. Don’t be like this. Be like little Susie. Do you see little Susie? She’s not running around like a crazy girl. Be a good girl.”
We’re told that. And men have their own challenges, but I happen to know women a little bit better, so I’m talking about them. But we start to think that, “Whoah, there is something wrong with me. I am inherently flawed.” So we turn down the volume, and we start to try to be like little Susie. And then, we hear society saying, “You should be this, you should do that, you should do this. You should go to school, you should get good grades to get into a good college, and find Mr. Right, and have the 2.5 kids, and an amazing career.” In other words, you should grow up to be a rock star in the boardroom and a porn star in the bedroom, and look like a Barbie doll while doing it. Which isn’t even the crazy part. The crazy part is, we’re like, “Okay. Yeah, that’s what we need to do.” So we become so busy trying to be who they say we should be that we forget who we are, so we spend our life forgetting who we are and trying to be someone different. So it’s important that you go in and reconnect to that time.
Go back to that place where you first developed that thought, where you first created that belief. Who was there? What were they saying? How did that make you feel? Where do you feel it? Is there a color associated? Basically you just want to really feel and be in that moment, because when you are, and you bring all of that back, you can come to the realization that this is no longer happening, this is done now. You’re safe. It’s unfortunate that this happened, but it did, but it’s no longer happening, and you no longer have to identify with this. You no longer have to let this event determine everything in your life, including food and weight and health, and all of those things. You no longer have to do that. You can let go. And then that’s where the forgiveness part comes in.
I know that this is a lot. It’s a process that you work through. But it’s so powerful, Dave, and when you get back to the point where you reach this place of forgiveness, you’re not saying, “Oh what you did to me, that’s cool, that’s cool. We’ll be buddies, it’s all good.” It’s not. A lot of people have done a lot of things to me that are not okay. They will never be okay, and it’s not a free pass. We’re not condoning any of that. But what we are saying is, essentially, “I forgive you for not being the person I needed you to be. I forgive you, and I set you free.” So for me, I’ve gone through this so many times. My own mother challenges – “I forgive you for not being the mother that I needed you to be. I forgive you, and I set you free.” When we let go of that, Dave, we no longer have those old conditionings. So now we have this free space to think if that’s not really who I am, then who am I really? And that’s when we get to the bigger question of, “What am I really hungry for? I don’t like this job. I never liked this job. I just did it because they said I should. My dad was a lawyer and he thought I should be a lawyer, so that’s what I’m doing.”
So when we do that, it’s almost like you’re escaping from prison, and then you’re free to be who you are. The hunger goes away and you create this amazing life on your terms, with all of those old beliefs gone. It’s really powerful.
Dave : So what’s your answer? What are you really hungry for?
Cynthia: It’s a great question, thank you. I’m hungry for a lot of things. I really am. Right now I’m hungry for connection in a big way. Connection to people who share powerful ideas and want to create change in the world. I’m also just hungry for other people. Sometimes, as you know, we work very isolated, and I’m hungry for that connection. I saw you just a couple weeks ago and I was like, “Oh my God!” I got to see a bunch of our friends and it was so cool. It was just that physical connection, that emotional connection is really powerful for me. I’m also very intrigued right now and hungry for the power of people’s voices, and owning our truth. It’s something I’m into right now, because I feel like we don’t do it enough. We don’t speak up. We don’t say if we’re unhappy; we bottle all of that down inside, and that’s not true to who we are.
You do this all the time. We do it in relationships, we do it just in passing, “Hey how are you?” “Great, how are you?” And meanwhile your world is falling apart, but God forbid you say anything about it. So I’m really hungry for people to understand the power of their voice, the power of their truth, and to own that. because I feel like the world that we live in would be so much easier if we did. I’ll give you a small example. A few weeks ago I was getting a massage, and during the middle of the massage the guy was like … We were probably maybe 10 minutes into it, so not quite the middle. And the guy says, “How’s that feeling?” Before he asked that, I had thought, “This doesn’t feel good at all.” It was just the strangest thing, and I was like, “I’m here to relax,” and I was getting upset because it wasn’t relaxing, because he wasn’t doing a good job, but I couldn’t just say that, right? Or could I?
So he said to me, “How’s that feeling?” And I was like, “You know,” with as much love in my heart for this man as I could muster, I said, “It’s really not working for me.” And he’s like, “Really?” I guess no one ever said that to him before, and I was just like, “No, and here’s …” and I physically took his hands and was like, “This is what I like. This kind of movement and pressure, and whatever.” And he was like, “Gosh, thanks so much for telling me. I just really want to be of service, and give you a great experience, and I would never have known. So thanks for speaking up.” So in the end, I came from this very loving place with a very clear intention of helping him help me, and he received that in a really beautiful way. It was just an honest conversation. We try to be nice and polite, but we’re not serving each other by doing that. You understand? We need to own our truths. We need to be able to communicate with each other, and reconnect. And part of that comes from my hunger for connection, too. It’s like, “Let’s connect at the point of our truths.”
Dave : There’s 2 things that are happening there. One is, you have to know what you want, and you have to be willing to ask for what you want. And so few people really know what they want, which is one of the problems you’re working to solve, because you tell yourself you want this for these reasons, but you actually want it for a different reason, and you might even want something else. But then even if you know what it is, you’re like, “Am I good enough to ask for this? If I ask for it, will I be disappointed?” And all those weird messages. But it’s amazing what happens when you get clear on what you want and then you ask for it. Shockingly, it might actually happen! It’s much more likely to happen that way than any other way, right?
Cynthia: Yeah, it’s so powerful, and I think we don’t realize that. And here’s the other thing: Just being totally transparent. And I see this too with our students at the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, because they’re going out and they’re starting their businesses, and they’re helping people, and they’re changing the world. We talk about changing the world – they are, every single day. You guys are changing the world at Bulletproof every single day. You’re helping someone, you’re making their life better, and that’s great. But we’re so afraid to ask for help for ourselves. It seems very selfish, Dave, it seems very weak in a way? Like, “I don’t want to ask for help. I’ve got this.” Especially for me growing up and having to be strong all the time. For me, it’s something that I still struggle with, is reaching out and asking for help, because I don’t want to seem weak, and I don’t want for people to think I need help. And I also, just filling into that in this moment, and feeling … It’s very scary, because what if they say no? And none of us want to feel that.
We just want to belong. We want everyone to be happy, we want to feel like one of the guys or one of the girls. But what if you reach out and then that person says no, and then we take that as a value based judgment. So I think it’s tough. I think it’s a very powerful thing to do. I don’t, however, think it’s easy.
Dave : Yeah, fear of rejection is big. But it ties back to shame, and in your work at Institute for Transformational Nutrition you talk also about sexuality and food, and how shame is tied up in all that. Can you talk through that a little bit more? I think listeners would love to hear about that.
Cynthia: Yeah, so I grew up thinking that sex was bad, was dirty, and I didn’t want to be a dirty girl or a bad girl.
Dave : Only when it’s really good …
Cynthia: (Laughs) oh the good sex, yeah. No, but I heard this from a very young age. My extended family are very religious, so there were these very Christian beliefs that came along with that too, which are fine. It’s just, for me, it was a very confusing time. I remember, we would watch movies when we were younger, and if there was a nude scene or something, my mom was like, “Cover your eyes. That’s dirty. You don’t need to see that.” So I grew up thinking that sex was bad and dirty, and the human body was just disgusting – it was so dirty, and no one should ever see it, and if they do, you’re a horrible person. You’re going to hell. So that’s how I grew up. And then imagine having that and then being sexually abused. I was like, “Wait, what? This is …” I just could not wrap my head around it. It was so confusing. But I think we do carry a lot of shame and guilt around sex and our own bodies.
I think a lot of us grew up with this idea that sex is somehow bad, or something that the good girls or the good boys – they just don’t do it. And for me, it’s one of the ways that you can really connect. We talked about tapping in to the essence of who you are, right? Quieting everything and getting to know who you are, and what you want out of life, and all of those types of things. One of the ways you can do that is through sex, is through reconnecting. Whether it’s with another person – it doesn’t have to be. It’s certainly a great way to do it, but there’s also ways that you can tend to your own needs, and just get to know your body again. We’re biohacking, and we’re losing weight, and we’re trying to better, and stronger, and faster, and all of these things – but when’s the last time we tried to improve internally? Our hearts, our soul, all of those types of things.
So I think it’s a very important conversation that we have, and it’s important to reconnect to the essence … because I think sex and all of those things, it’s the essence of our soul, so when we can tap into that and connect to that, and let go of shame, which is obviously, it’s work. When you do that, it’s almost a liberation. And then sex isn’t this forbidden shameful thing anymore. It’s just something that you do when you want because it gives you pleasure and allows you to reconnect with you, or with that other person, in a way that you can’t experience in any other way.
Dave : Yeah, it can be a source of healing. It’s amazing, you can have cravings for sex, you can have cravings for food, and you might not get what you’re looking for from either one, if you’re addressing it from a craving perspective, versus just a desire perspective. All these are mushy words, and they’re hard to quantify, and if you draw a truth table around them …
Cynthia: Can we just hack them?
Dave : It doesn’t make that much sense, but if that stuff is running in the background … Here’s the deal, if you’re a human, that stuff is running in the background. Being aware of it is a pretty big thing, because it’ll change how you eat, what you eat, and it’ll change how you interact with the world around you, and the way you see all the things that nourish you, including connection and things like that.
Cynthia: Yeah, it’s interesting, we had on What You’re Really Hungry For, which is the name of my show, we had a guest on – Dr Shannon Chavez – and she talked about shame and sexuality, and how you get past that. It’s interesting, we don’t talk about sex – even with our partners, a lot of the times, we don’t communicate, “What do you like?” “Well what do you like?” “What do you want to try? How do you want to feel? Does that feel good?” We don’t do that, and so it was great having her on the show, because she really opened a lot of people’s eyes. We have this great worksheet on our website, but I could tell your audience how to do it. Basically you have a list of things. That could be making out at the back of a theater, down to oral sex, or whatever is on the list, and then there’s a yes/no/maybe column. You can download this for free on our website, or you could just make your own list.
Dave : Which of your websites? You have like 3 of them.
Cynthia: (Laughs) so just cynthiapasquella.com
Dave : Okay, it’s on cyntiapasquella.com, okay.
Cynthia: Yeah, so you could go there, you could download it. Or you can just write out your own list. But basically you give it to your partner, and then you keep a copy, and you just check it off. The idea is that it creates a way for you to communicate without sitting down and having “the talk” about sex. because it’s weird and awkward, and sometimes people that are married forever still haven’t done this. Or people who have been together forever, they don’t do this, and then they’re frustrated, and they don’t get all of their desires met. It’s great, because we just got an email … We get lots of emails back, as I’m sure you guys do too, but one stood out in particular. This woman was 65 years old, she’d been married for over 30 years, and she had never been able to have a conversation and talk to her husband about sex, and what she wanted in the bedroom. And it was so frustrating for her – for 30 years this has been going on.
Dave : Wow.
Cynthia: I know. So she downloaded this guide and she says, she told us that she had a couple glasses of wine first, and then she sat her husband down and said, “Let’s do this. Let’s just do this together.” And they did, and it opened up this whole conversation, and she’s like, “I’ve had the best sex that I’ve had in 30 years after doing this!” And she’s 65 now, and she wrote that she was just getting started. It’s things like that that just light me up. But it’s something bigger for her, Dave. It’s not just a physical thing. It’s her heart. It’s her self back. She’s hungry for that feeling of connection and of pleasure that can be produced in her own body. It’s really powerful.
Dave : It’s having the courage to ask for what you want, because you might get it, and if you don’t have the courage to ask for what you want in the bedroom, no matter what it is, especially if you’re in a monogamous relationship, you’re not going to be that satisfied. It’d be like, I’m having dinner every night, but I’m not actually eating stuff that I really like ever.
Cynthia: Right (laughs). Imagine how frustrating that is. It’s super frustrating. How do you live your life that way? But we don’t have to, and that gets back to my whole idea of owning our own truth, and knowing the power of that, and the power of our own voices. If we were all honest with each other, we wouldn’t have these things. We wouldn’t hold back. But we’re so afraid, again, of what people will think about us, the fear of rejection like you talked about before, because we all just want to fit in … That we find it really hard to do that. So we don’t, and we go inward, and we eat, or we drink, or we gamble, or we do all of those other things instead.
Dave : I love your approach to this stuff, but what we haven’t talked about is the N in Institute for Transformational Nutrition. So what do you tell people to eat, anyway? What does your typical diet look like? What do you teach in there? We’re talking about sex and trauma, and programming, and these are all part of the human condition, right?
Dave : And that’s part of transformation, but talk about the N part. What are you teaching?
Cynthia: Yeah, it’s more than just food. So as I mentioned before, we combine the science of nutrition, and we take a super deep dive. It’s not a health coaching program, it’s much deeper. A lot of health coaches come to us to go deeper, which is really really cool …
Dave : I suggest ITN for Bulletproof coaches.
Cynthia: Oh, nice!
Dave : If you want nutrition training … We’re not doing nutrition coaching, there’s good stuff out there. We’re teaching the Bulletproof principles around human performance. So I’m like, “If you want to be a nutrition person, go to ITN.” So absolutely. You guys go way deep on that. But what is the philosophy behind it? I think people listening like, “Okay, are you paleo? Are you keto are you low-carb vegan, high-carb I don’t know, give me your philosophy.
Cynthia: We’re pro-gersen all the way; nothing else. Just juicing. No, so it really depends on the person. We teach you anatomy, physiology, biology. We give you that hard look, that deep core science that you want, because really it comes back to bio-individuality, and what works for you as opposed to someone else. And what works for you right now may not work for you later, and I think we’ve all experienced that. So we’re definitely not dogmatic about any specific diet. We actually teach the Bulletproof diet. We teach over 150 different dietary theories, but the one that’s best for you, or for your client if you’re one of our students who have become coaches, is really dependent on them. And again, it changes, so be aware of that, and we teach this too, and how you can assess that. But we know that, Dave, your needs now as this healthy early 40s entrepreneur, you’re in it, right? Great shape, all this stuff. Awesome. But if you were to have surgery next week, your nutrition needs would change, because now you’re looking at healing as opposed to maintaining, and developing and growing this amazing body.
Same thing with a woman. When you become pregnant, your needs change dramatically. When you become pre-menopausal versus post-menopausal, nutritional needs are very different. So there is no one size fits all diet for the rest of your life here. It doesn’t work that way. So what we really teach and focus on is, finding what’s best for your client at the stage that they’re in in their life. I know for myself, when you and I first met, which is many many years ago now, I was vegan, and you used to give me a hard time about it (laughs).
Dave : I did.
Cynthia: Pretty much every time I saw you you’re like, “Hey, want some butter?” It was great.
Dave : I knew what you were really hungry for.
Cynthia: (Laughs) oh, here all night. But it was true, actually. Maybe you did know what I was hungry for, because I was vegan for 7 years, vegetarian for 14 years, and it worked great. I was really happy, my weight – kept it off no problem; I could eat whatever. But it got to a point where it wasn’t working for me, and nutritionally everything looked like it was right for me. I’m a nutritionist, this is what I do, and I was looking at the blood work, and it just wasn’t matching up. My hair started breaking again, I had the breakouts on my skin, it was just … I didn’t feel good anymore. I had these really random migraine headaches, and I was craving cheeseburgers. I was just craving them, Dave, it was all I could think about. So I call our friend Alex Jamieson, who had went through something similar, and I was like, “I just want to eat a burger, but I feel so guilty,” and she’s like, “Just eat the burger. If you don’t like it, stop eating the burger. Eat one burger. You don’t have to keep eating more, but just do it, and just see how you feel.”
I was like, “Okay.” It’s funny, because I went to this great grass-fed place in Portland for this burger …
Dave : Oh, I bet know the place.
Cynthia: (Laughs) you totally do. So I go there and I’m sitting down, and they bring the burger, and I’m just crying, and I start eating the burger, and I’m crying, and part of it is I’m crying because I’m so sad. I feel challenged, and I’m struggling that I’m eating this animal, because for me that was what it was about. It was never a health thing. It was the animal thing. So I thought, “Oh I’m eating this,” but then I was crying because it was so good, and I have tears of joy, and then I was crying because I thought, “I’ve missed out on this for 14 years? What was I thinking?” But anyways, after I added meat and butter, I basically follow the Bulletproof Diet principles in a big way now. I did then and I do now, and I came to you actually for help when all of this was going down, because I couldn’t sleep or anything, and you gave me an Unfair Advantage, which really did shift everything for me. So now this is the diet that works for me, and so for now this is what I’m doing, and if it ever doesn’t work, then I’ll shift.
But we have to be aware of that and not so dogmatic. But at the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, that’s what we teach, is how you know when it’s time to shift, how you shift, and what’s appropriate for each of us.
Dave : You did something that was directly addressing shame there. You challenged yourself, you decided you were going to go out and try it and see what happened. But then I saw your blog post when you wrote about it. You’re like, “Look, I’ve been a vegetarian and a vegan for a long time,” and you went out to your community and you’re like, “I had a cheeseburger. I’m eating some animal fat back in my diet, and some animal protein, and it’s really helped me.” A lot of people when they do that, man, there’s a lot of shame in the vegan community. If you do that, they are vicious.
Cynthia: Yeah, it’s tough, and I’ll be really honest with you: That’s one of the things that worried me so much, Dave, and it’s one of the reasons I reached out to Alex Jameson, because she was vegan for many years, she said, “No, I’m eating meat again,” and got death threats. It was very … I was like, “What?” They’re like, “Don’t kill the animal, just kill Alex? I’m so confused.”
Dave : You have to eat someone after you kill them if you’re vegan. I don’t even understand – vegan death threats don’t make sense!
Cynthia: (Laughs) yeah, but I was really scared, and I never claimed, “I’m vegan.” I never flew the vegan flag. It just wasn’t my thing. I wasn’t in that frame of mind. I said “plant-based,” I eat a plant-based diet, and for me that works. But I was never dogmatic. I was never one that said, “You should eat this diet because it’s the best diet, and otherwise you’re going to die of heart disease, and heart attack, and all of these things.” That wasn’t my thing. I didn’t have that soapbox. And some people do, and that’s great. That’s their beliefs, and they stand in their convictions, and that’s the power of their voice, and that’s great. They can totally have that. But that was one of the things that I was afraid of. So I wrote this blog post and I sent the email out, and was shocked because I got so many emails back with people saying, “Good for you! How great that you just owned that, and how great that you’re putting your health, and making that a priority, and that you’re sharing that, that you’re talking about it, as opposed to not talking about it or keeping it hidden.” I think it liberates other people to do the same, when you speak your truth, you know what I mean?
Dave : Yeah, you had some degree of fear and shame over here, you faced it, and the story you had told yourself – am I going to get death threats, or are people going to turn against me? And what actually happened was like, “Oh that’s cool, you’re taking care of yourself.”
Cynthia: That’s right, yeah. It was crazy. It’s interesting, you started that quote about what people think about you. I love that, by Helen Keller. But Eleanor Roosevelt had a great quote. She said, “You wouldn’t be so worried about what people thought about you if you realized how little they do.” Like how little they thing about you, right? because we’re all so self absorbed, and we’re all in our own worlds, that people really don’t think about you as much as you think they think about you. So we’re so afraid of being judged, and less than, and all of these things, when really the chances of that happening are pretty slim to none. I also have learned that, and we teach this at ITN, and our students love it, because it shifts them in a huge way, is that you teach people how to treat you. I was very shy and timid growing up, and then I actually grew up in LA. That was my real growing up, in this whole crazy industry in the city. I’m a very different person now, and you know this about me.
I’m very direct and very clear. people always know where they stand with me. I have a lot of love for people, but I’m very honest with them as well, and I won’t beat around the bush. It’s always very clear. For me, that’s definitely been a learned behavior, and because I’m that way, other people are that way with me. And if they’re not, then I question, or I dig deeper. So we really do teach other people how to treat us by showing them how we like to be treated. Does that make sense?
Dave : Oh yeah. You train people … I’ve done the same thing. I do my best to not waste people’s time, with Bulletproof Radio, and I expect them to not waste mine. So there’s a level of respect and care, and that’s part of it. If someone’s going to approach me in that way, I’m unlikely to engage if it’s not like that, just because honestly I have kids, I’d rather go play with them, sorry. If we’re not going to add to each other’s existence in a conversation, there’s really not much point to it (laughs).
Cynthia: Yeah, but be honest about that, right? Don’t be like, “Oh gosh, I really want to come to dinner, but I’m just tired.” Well no, you’re not. You don’t want to go to dinner because you want to spend time with your kids, so say that. I just think owning that and just saying that, it opens us up to think, “Oh, wow.” And you set a great example, and maybe you inspire them to do the same. You liberate them, I would argue, to do the same when they’re in a similar situation. Think about that. What if we were all just really honest, and we came from a place of love for the other person, and our intention was just to communicate clearly, and love that person, but to own our own truth. In that situation, you’re only responsible for you, right? And be completely unattached to how they might feel.
I’m not saying be crass and mean and just don’t care about people. It’s not that. It’s if you come from this loving place with this loving intention, and you very clearly state that, then whatever thoughts they have or stories that they make up in their heads – you talked about stories earlier – that’s their thing. And that’s all coming from past programming and these old triggers within them. You can’t fix that. You also don’t need to take that away from them. We try to say things so that we don’t make people feel bad. Well maybe they need to feel bad. Maybe that’ll help them get to the root cause of what’s going on with them, or there’s a bigger thing. Don’t take that away from them. We like to caretake instead of caregive, you know what I mean? Caretaking is trying to be like, “Oh Dave, let me help you with that, because I want it to end, because I want to feel better. It’s stressing me out – I want to feel better.” And we do this a lot with our friends. A lot.
But caregiving is where you’re giving someone care that has nothing to do with you, and it’s all about their well being overall. Just an interesting way to look at how we take control. Again, we’re talking about hacking, and biohacking and doing all of these great things. This is such a great shortcut to authenticity, and discovering who you really are, and knowing what you’re really hungry for. It’s just, live your truth, and allow other people, give them permission to do the same. No big deal, just a little thing.
Dave : Yeah, just take notes on that everyone. You got that? All right, Cynthia. We’re coming up on the end of the show, and I’ve known you for a while, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked you the Bulletproof questions. So, if someone came to you tomorrow, with all the knowledge you have from the Institute of Transformational Nutrition, and the rest of your life, your path, all the trauma you’ve been through, the trauma you’ve healed – everything – and said, “I want to be a better human being. I want to kick ass at everything I do. What are the 3 most important things I need to know?” What would you have to offer them?
Cynthia: That’s so great. I would say, know who you are. because to me, that’s everything, getting to that inner truth of why do I do the things that I do. So I would say, know who you are. I would also say, know who you want to be. So know where you’re coming from, know where you’re trying to go, and then the other thing would be to let go of the fear. because think about what you could do if you weren’t afraid. Think about who you would be if you weren’t afraid. What if you were no longer scared of what people thought anymore, or those types of things. I think that’s a really important thing for us to think about, so if we can reconnect with the truth of who we are, and we can honestly say, “These are the things that I want,” and then we go get them without shame, without fear … For me, that’s ideal. Creating that life through this trifecta of knowledge and interconnection, and hustle, where you go out and you do those things, you can have everything you want. I believe everything is possible, given those 3 principles.
Dave : Beautiful answer, thank you so much.
Cynthia: Thank you so much. Thanks for having me. This is so great. I love you personally; I think you’re an amazing human being that’s making huge strides and big changes in the world, and of course I love Bulletproof. I’ve been a fan since the beginning, so …
Dave : Thank you Cynthia, and likewise, you are also moving the lives of millions of people, and I appreciate you on many different levels, so thank you.
Cynthia: Thanks Dave, thanks for having me.
Dave : Where can our listeners find out more? We mentioned cynthiapasquella.com. Are there TV shows, other URLs, other places they should go? Give me the list. We’ll put all these in the show notes, but people may want to write this down, because you’ve got some knowledge to share, and I think it’s important knowledge.
Cynthia: Yeah, thank you. My website, cynthiapasquella.com, you can find our show What You’re Really Hungry For there. We bring on amazing guests and talk about these deep topics, and start bigger conversation that no one’s having, but everyone should be having. So cynthiapasquella.com, and also the Institute of Transformational Nutrition is just transformationalnutrition.com, and we talk about how we blend all of these things together. If you’re interested in becoming a coach, if you’re already a coach and want to go deeper and learn how to get your clients that permanent change, then you can go there. So depending on what you’re interested in there’s a couple of different places that you can hang out. And then I’m going to be on a great show called Revenge Body with Khloe Kardashian, which is really cool, so that’s coming up. I think it’s launching early next year, so …
Dave : Congratulations.
Cynthia: Yeah, thank you for that. It’s a lot of fun, and just working on a new book, and all those kinds of things. But everything’s on my website you can find it all there.
Dave : All right, so that’s Cynthia Pasquella. Cynthia as you’d expect it, p-a-s-q-u-e-l-l-a .com, and transformationalnutrition.com are the 2 big places. You’re easy to find online. If they google a misspelling of your name, I’m pretty sure you’ll turn up.
Cynthia: (Laughs) I usually do. I think we bought all those domains too, so yeah.
Dave : All right, I really appreciate you. Thank you so much for being on, and I look forward to the next time we get to hang out.
Cynthia: Thank you Dave, I adore you. Thanks so much.
Dave : I adore you. Bye.
Dave : Did you know that Bulletproof is on Instagram? You can find us at BulletproofCoffee, or my personal feed is Dave.Asprey. Hope to see you there.
What You Will Hear (note: timestamps represent audio, video may differ)
- 0:00 – Cool Fact of the Day
- 1:08 – The Art of Charm
- 2:25 – Introducing Cynthia Pasquella
- 3:21 – Cynthia’s road to becoming a nutritionist
- 12:20 – Dealing with Imposter Syndrome
- 20:16 – The value of spreading words
- 22:30 – Connecting food with both biology & psychology
- 32:20 – Integrating logic & rationality with clients
- 40:50 – Cynthia’s hunger
- 44:00 – Transparency & asking for help
- 45:45 – Sex, shame & food
- 52:49 – Cynthia’s diet tips
- 58:18 – Transitioning from veganism
- 1:04:59 – Top 3 Recommendations to kick more ass and be Bulletproof!
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