Saturday, April 30, 2011

7 Signs of Drug Abuse

I am not a doctor.  I am not a professional substance abuse counselor.  I would love to add substance abuse counseling to my existing repertoire but I strongly disagree with the philosophy of almost all the current programs and certification courses that are out there. I am researching courses that I feel comfortable with so I can help others.  I have worked with recovering alcoholics and drug addicts in my nutritional practice. I've taught them about certain foods they can eat to reduce cravings,  how to change the way they think about themselves, and to briefly address why they turned to dangerous substances in the first place. Drug and alcohol abuse is like over eating.  They are substitutes used to fill an empty void.

My passion has always been to help others overcome their issues with food but now I also have a burning desire to help others who struggle with  other "addictions" as well. It's personal and my life is taking a different course as a result.  I have been thrown right into the "thick-of-it".  A loved one of mine is being held captive by drugs right now and they are destroying his life.  I am stunned and literally scared to death.  The shock of it is: I did not know. Now that I do know, it all makes sense. There were signs along the way.  I just didn't pay attention.

I would like to share with you some early warning signs of drug abuse. They might seem justifiable and easy to dismiss.  You might think your overactive imagination is just working over-time.  Hopefully, that's exactly what's happening.  But these are signs you should never ignore because they could help identify a serious problem that can be intercepted or prevented before it gets completely out of control. 

First you must abandon the idea that it can't possibly happen anyone you know or love. Not my child, my wife, my parents, my best friend! Substance abuse can take hold of anyone.  Drugs are so easy to obtain.  They are everywhere. Pain meds are handed out like candy which makes it even easier. The most upstanding, most successful person you know can be addicted to drugs.

Hear me now! I know what I am talking about......

Signs of Drug Abuse:

1. Seclusion.  The once extroverted, active, crowd-loving person you knew suddenly prefers to be by themselves.  They hide away in their room, their house, or their own little world and demand to be left alone. They don't to want go anywhere or do anything. They decline invitation after invitation. They are like hermits. This is the number one sign that something is seriously wrong.

2.  Excessive sleeping or insomnia. Either one of these symptoms could be a sign of abuse.  If your loved one usually is not much of a sleeper and now seems to be sleeping all the time, nodding off at the dinner table, or falling asleep on the job, do not ignore it.  Do not blame it on the fact that he is working too hard or under stress. It is not normal.  Same goes for the person who is suddenly able to survive on 2 -3 hours of sleep a night.  Also, the up all night, sleep all day routine: unless he works the midnight shift--Not normal!

3.  Lack of funds.  This person, despite the fact that he earns a good salary, never seems to have any money.  He is constantly borrowing a few dollars here and there from you or other people.  "I just need a few bucks to hold me over 'til payday!". If this is happening often, find out where his money going.  If he isn't playing the stock market, doesn't have a mortgage payment, a new car, or some recent tragedy or financial difficulty that has drained him dry of funds, chances are his money is being spent on drugs.

4.  Excessive mood swings.  One day he is happy and the next he is in a dark pit of depression. Once a peaceful loving person, now he is prone to outbursts of anger or acts of violence.  Or, the opposite.  Once out-going and out-spoken--now he is ambivalent and nothing seems to phase or bother him at all.  Again, these are signs of possible drug abuse.

5. Unexplained aches and pains. Backaches, headaches, and muscle pains from a hard day's work, a new exercise program, or the flu are normal.  Aches and pains for no reason are not.  These could be symptoms of withdrawal when he or she is not able to get a fix.

6.  Excuses, Excuses, Excuses!  He or she has is a stupid reason for everything.  This person dodges family gatherings, holidays, or other events.  He constantly calls at the last minute with lame excuses as to why he cannot be there.  He takes days off from work, oversleeps, and misses appointments. He blames it on the job, the girlfriend, car trouble or something else that just doesn't seem to make sense. Even worse, he doesn't bother to call at all. Once in awhile, is okay. Life gets in the way. Our cell phones break, we forget to set our alarm clocks, miss an appointment now and then, or we are called into work on a day off. If these unfortunate events, forgetfulness and mishaps are happening all the time- it is a sign. Take notice.  

7.  He disappears from the face of the earth.  You call, you text, you drop by the house and this person is MIA.  He fails to respond to your attempts to contact him.  He magically appears weeks later saying that he never got one text or call from you or he insists that he did respond and something is wrong with your phone.  He cannot account for any of his time or tell you where he has been or what he's been doing over the past few days.  Unless he has been on cruise around the world, there is never a reason for someone to drop out of sight without warning or communication. It could mean he was off getting high for days on end.  Don't write it off and don't let it go.

Don't ignore these signs! 

If you notice any or all of these signs, please, please, take time to question, investigate, and get to the heart of the issue before it is too late.  Hopefully, he or she is just going through a little mid-life crisis, has a minor health issue that can be helped by a doctor or is really, truly working too hard and needs to take a break.  But you owe it to the person you care about and to yourself to find out for certain.

Even if they deny it, or are insulted and angry with you for even thinking such an awful thing, keep pushing, asking and investigating anyway. Continue to do so until you get to the heart of the matter.

If you do suspect or identify a drug problem, get help immediately. Do not take no for answer. Chances are, if they are terribly addicted, they will not be willing to get help YET.  Continue to love and support them without enabling them to continue on their path of destruction.

Enabling is simply this: making them comfortable so they continue their habit.  Bad idea and destructive in the long run!

You must be tough and stay tough, even if it means they have to lose everything and hit "rock bottom". This is the most painful thing in the world to witness, especially when it is someone you care about. If you are aware of the signs in advance, hopefully you will be able to get them help before they lose everything, and quite possibly, their life.

I do hope and pray that drug abuse never consumes you or anyone you care about. If it does, there is help. There is a hot-line you can call 24/7- 7 days a week. They can assist you, suggest rehab and recovery programs, and answer any questions you have. If you suspect a problem, visit this site and call them immediately:

Drug Addiction Hot Line

And this is my Daily Cyn.........

Friday, April 29, 2011

Some Day My Prince Will Come.......

I watched bits and pieces of the Royal Wedding on the television this morning. I usually don't get caught up in the hype of this sort of stuff but as I sat sipping my coffee, the event of the decade was pretty much impossible to ignore.  It was on every single channel.  I am still trying to wrap my mind around some of the depressing events that occurred in my little world this week, so it was a nice distraction. 

Who doesn't love a wedding? And this one certainly is a fairytale come true.

"We all dream their reality".  Those were the words of one British on-looker as she witnessed the newly married couple riding away in their horse-drawn carriage. They were off to Buckingham Palace to live the rest of their lives in eternal wedded bliss.

Yeah. Okay.........

I admit, I am a bit sarcastic this morning. In fact, I am feeling quite sorry for myself.  I apologize. This has been the worst year of my life so far and I suspect it is going to get worse before it gets better.  This week was a disaster. I am not a pessimist--I am an optimist.  I always have been, but reality is reality.  Life is tough right now: for me, for my family and for so many other people I know.

As I watched Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton exchange their wedding vows, I thought to myself, " How wonderful. Who wouldn't want to find their prince and become a princess?"

Life certainly would be easier if the ruler of some distant land arrived on a white horse to whisk me away from all my troubles.

Right. Like that's ever gonna happen!

We are conditioned to think this way.  We grew up on stories like Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.  The kiss of a handsome prince will release us from the curse of a dark, eternal slumber.  One day we will be delivered from a life of hard work and a cruel, wicked step-mother and her equally cruel and wicked daughters. We just have to believe.  We have to sing, out loud, as we work our fingers to the bone: "Some day my prince will come!" Our fairy god-mother will magically appear and transform our rags to a magnificent designer gown and our broken down vehicle in to a chariot.  With one dance, the prince will fall head-over-heels in love and sail across an endless sea, walk through the desert, and even climb the highest mountain to find us and make us his own.  All  our debt, troubles and cares are left behind when he whisk us away to his beautiful castle to live happily ever after.

What really amuses me is that is where the story ends. Why is there never a Cinderella-The Sequel? This is when she discovers her Prince Charming is a real royal pain-in-the-ass who snores, leaves a mess in the bathroom, and expects her to do all the cooking, cleaning and shopping.  And she must do it all in glamorous gowns--never in a tee shirt and pair of sweat pants.  His idea of a perfect Sunday is to be left alone in his recliner with a six-pack of Bud to watch the Yankee game. She just wants to take a stroll through the palace garden with the man she loves. She wants to talk, like they used to do, but he's too tired, too stressed, too busy. Frustrated, neglected and disappointed, she picks up pieces of the royal china and hurls them at him to get his attention.  They yell, they scream, they fight. He escapes by going hunting with his friends. She throws herself onto their big king-sized bed ( the same bed in which there hasn't been any action lately other than sleeping) and cries. She must decide: should she stay or should she go?  She might have to return to cinders and ash, but it's better than the heartache and rejection she feels now.  She put all her hopes, dreams and her future in this one man and he is not measuring up. Sound familiar?

Dear friends, of course I am slightly exaggerating here. This is not my view on relationships and not every relationship is like this. Mine isn't, at least not all the time. We have good days and we have bad days. We fight, he yells, I cry, we heal. This is reality. This is life. My guy is no prince. He's more like a court-jester. He aggravates me and does and says stupid things, but he makes me laugh. And for that reason, among others,  I stay.

Catherine Middleton is a lucky girl. She is now a Royal Princess. She is one in a million. I wish her well and I do hope she lives the rest of her life as a happy, loved, married woman. For the rest of us, who dream of Prince Charming--stop wishing and hoping. He isn't coming.  The sooner we 'get this', the better off we will be. 

I love a rags-to-riches story.  Who wouldn't want to ride off into the sunset on a white horse with the perfect man? These are wonderful tales but they are also harmful because we subconsciously believe that a man is our hero.  Yes, sometimes he does arrive and sweeps off our feet with his promises of unconditional love and a guarantee that we never will never again need to worry about anything.  He will take care of it all.

Don't fall for it!

I am not a male-basher. Far from it. I love men! But, let's face it, they are men and if we depend on them as our source of happiness, guess what happens?  They fail us every time. A few months or years into the relationship, we begin to realize--he's not a prince and this is no fairytale.

You are already a princess. Wait! Let me re-phrase that. You are a Queen! You don't need a prince, a king or a knight in shining armor to make it happen.  You make your own dreams come true. When you finally realize that no one can do it for you and no one is going to whisk you away from your troubles and pain, this is when you roll up your sleeves, do the work, and make it happen. You create your own kingdom over which you rule. With hard work and determination, you can build your own castle, drive your own horse-drawn carriage, and  buy your own diamond-crusted crown, thank you very much! And here is a little secret: once you truly see yourself as royalty and start acting that way, everyone else will see you as such. They will treat you the way you deserve: with respect, with honor and with love.

Rule your kingdom. Make it happen.  And if by chance, your prince does come, remember he is there because he was attracted to your strength and your independence. After all, he needs someone to help keep his crown on straight.

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Thursday, April 28, 2011


As we advance in life it becomes more and more difficult, but in fighting the difficulties the inmost strength of the heart is developed. ~Vincent Van Gogh

And this is my Daily Cyn..............

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Friends, I want to let you know there are times I don't have it all together! Yes, I am a Nutritional Consultant and Wellness Coach.  I help others to overcome their issues with diet and food . I show them how to grab life by the balls and start living it. This is my passion and how I earn my living. I talk about it, I write about it, and for the most part I live it--every single day. The best way to teach is by example. But there are times I fall short.

One thing you will notice about me is that I am brutally honest and real. I openly share intimate details of my life and put it out there- on the Internet- for the whole world to see.  Perfect people make me nervous. No one is really perfect. Those who appear to be, are simply working overtime to hide their imperfections. They are just better at camouflaging. They can afford to buy the expensive concealer. But stand back and observe them for awhile. They completely avoid situations where they might get dirty or wet. If they don't, all their carefully applied cover-up might come off and the truth will be revealed.  I used to be like that and it was completely exhausting.  It;s so much easier to be transparent.

Confession: right now my whole world has been turned up-side down. I can barely see the light at the end of the tunnel. I know it's there, but it's so dim and so far away that I am beginning to have my doubts.  So here I am desperately clinging to the walls of a damp, dark, musty cave; trying to find my way.

What's going on? Well, for starters, I am in full-blown menopause. I am a roller coaster of emotions. I laugh, I cry, I scream, I yell. I am having hot flashes. They are not too awful, but they are certainly uncomfortable. Out of nowhere they start and I feel as if I've been set on fire. The feeling starts at my feet and travels all the way up to the top of my head. My face turns red and everyone notices. This lasts a few minutes and .then I am freezing. Like a little old lady, I must carry a sweater with me everywhere.  I also have cravings: for chocolate. Chocolate is something I never craved before. Now I can't seem to get enough.  I am tired, I don't feel like cooking, shopping, or talking to anyone. My libido is zip, nada, zilch. That's a big problem. And.....I have put on a few pounds. Summer is right around the corner and I might not be beach ready! Oh. My. God!  I just started taking an herbal concoction especially for menopause and I am desperately hoping it kicks in before June arrives.

My relationship is a mess. We fight all the time. I don't know if it's him or me or both of us. Maybe we are just mismatched.  I can't figure it out. I keep blaming it on all the stress we are both under. Hopefully things will calm down and get better. If not, I have some big decisions to make.

My savings account is dwindling. I keep dipping into it. I am accustomed to earning more money and it's just not there right now. I know I need to cut back, but I am not sure where to start. I am not spending frivolously. I haven't bought a new pair of shoes in months! For me, that's a tragedy!

I am concerned about my dad. He is battling cancer. He just completed 6 weeks of daily radiation and chemotherapy. He is recovering from that, and then he will have surgery to remove the cancerous tumor. Then he gets to look forward to 6 more months of chemo. The real hard part hasn't even started yet. I am terrified: for him, for my mom, and for myself. Can he handle it? And are we strong enough to support him as we watch him suffer?  And.....what will we do if he doesn't survive?

My beloved son is in trouble. Serious trouble and I can't help him. All I can do is be there for him and lend support when I can or when he asks for it. He is grown man, on his own. He makes his own decisions and he is making some very foolish ones. I want to grab him and shake some sense into him. But I can't.  I just need to continue to love him, unconditionally.

I am sad, concerned, and frightened. I can't sleep. I can't eat and when I do, I tend eat crap- foods I know are not good for me. And the hardest part of all this- there are times I feel very, very alone. I have friends, family and loved ones but they are all dealing with their own stuff. I don't want to pile my burdens on top of theirs.

Why am I sharing all this with you? I am not looking for sympathy. I don't want money or advice. I 'll take your prayers and kind, loving thoughts if you wish to send them my way. I am sharing this to let you know, you are not alone. We all have issues and concerns, fears and short-comings. Mine are no greater or less than yours. My life is just as messy as yours is. Admitting this is the first step toward healing.

Every struggle is for a purpose and I know there is something wonderful on the horizon. I just have to wade through all this shit first. Nothing is worth having if it just drops in my lap with little or no effort. I treasure what I fight for, cry over, and fall on my knees and desperately pray for.

How will everything turn out? I don't know. I keep looking toward the light. I might not see it clearly, but I know it's there.  I just have to keep moving and feeling my way through the darkness.

When I reach the end of this tunnel and finally step into the light, I will have wonderful and new, exciting things to share with you.  I am beginning to understand our trials make us stronger so we can help others find strength as well.

This is my hope. This is my prayer. This is my Daily Cyn......

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Socks and the Single Girl

I did my dad's laundry the other day. I patiently folded each article of clothing and piled them in a nice neat stack. I made a separate pile of socks. I hate sorting and matching socks and did not want to do it. As I stood there in the laundry room staring at all my father’s socks, I had a mini nervous breakdown as I thought to myself, I so don’t want this!”

Okay. At this point, you are probably thinking I am crazy. What’s the big deal about sorting socks?

Read on, dear friends. There is a method to my madness……..

I was married for twenty-one years to a very demanding man who strongly believed that women's work was for women but men's work was for both of us. Sorting socks was just one of my many responsibilities. He rarely lifted a finger to help me clean, cook, or take care of our son. I also worked in the yard: raking, gardening, sweeping the deck and shoveling the snow from our long, winding driveway. Whenever my ex-husband was involved in a home improvement project (he was always doing something) I was required to work by his side, painting, hammering, lifting, measuring, standing on ladders to clean out the gutters, repaving the driveway, pushing wheel barrows filled with freshly mixed cement-- sometimes until the wee hours of the morning. I did it all, worked a full-time job AND went to school nights and weekends. I never had a free moment of peace or rest. I was owned and controlled; without a voice or an opinion of my own. When I began to rebel and tried to take a portion my life back, my marriage fell apart. I left my husband and my big house behind and moved to a tiny basement apartment with my son. I had peace for the first time in years. It was like being on vacation--and that vacation has lasted for years.

So what is it that I don't want?

I don't want to keep giving away little bits and pieces of ME until I no longer recognize who I am. I don't want to become someone else's property or be controlled. Something happens when I get involved in relationships--I lose myself. I keep making this same mistake over and over again. Eventually I explode and then I run – not walk-- away from relationships that could have been good, satisfying and rewarding.

I keep telling myself I am not meant to be in a relationship because I am too set in my ways and I love my freedom. I catered to my husband for so many years and I really don't want to do it again. EVER. Does this mean I am destined to remain single for the rest of my life? Perhaps. On the other hand, I don’t really want to be alone. I do have some serious commitment issues based on past experiences, but I long for companionship and the security of a commited partner. Not just any partner will do, however.

I need a very patient, evolved, self-sufficient, considerate man. I want the kind of guy who starts dinner if he gets home first and can do a load of wash, fold it, and put all away without asking a hundred times where the towels go. I would love to occasionally be served a cup of coffee in the morning. I want a guy who doesn't think candles are a fire hazard and wouldn't think of extinguishing them without asking if I mind. I would much prefer that he take notice of the romantic atmosphere, suggest we turn out all the lights and snuggle on the couch to watch a movie or a television program that we BOTH enjoy. If I serve butternut squash stuffed with quinoa and a big tossed salad for dinner, rather than sit there repeatedly whining, "Where's the meat?" he would remember I don't eat meat and don't like cooking it, either. So if he wants meat with his meal, he is perfectly willing and able to get up off his ass and cook it himself.

I am beginning to believe such a man does not exist. I have dated a few really great guys but I noticed that after spending a short time with them, they become helpless, dependent, needy and demanding. They completely forget how to make a pot of coffee, fold laundry, or take a girl out to dinner once in awhile. Suddenly everything becomes MY job. For this reason, among others, after my divorce, I kept men at a distance, insisting we keep things casual. It was just easier that way. I never stopped to think that part of the problem might be me.

I am in a relationship now but I will tell you, he is NOTHING like the perfect man I described earlier. He USED to be. That is what attracted me to him and caused me to break my 'NO RELATIONSHIP' rule for the first time in almost ten years. But everything has changed. Now I am expected to do things- like cooking, cleaning, and folding laundry. If he wants to stay in on a Friday night and I want to go out; guess what we do? We stay in. I work just as hard as he does during the week, perhaps harder. No one cooks or cleans for me or does my laundry. I take care of it all myself. I would like someone to cater to me once in awhile and do some things for me but that rarely ever happens. I don't say a word about it but I am secretly holding resentment and anger toward him. I can deal with it now because we only spend weekends together. I know that when Sunday evening comes, I will be back in my nice peaceful house and I can do whatever I want. I will not have to cater to a single soul for the rest of the week. This man says he loves me, and I love him, but I am absolutely terrified of taking our relationship to the next level. That's when I will reluctantly become his property and the official chief, cook and bottle washer. Sit and watch nothing but sports or the Discovery Channel. And never go anywhere or do anything I want to do ever again. I can't imagine going back to that kind of life, so I will have to say, “Adios, baby!” I will break his heart and mine in the process. You see, I have created a monster and with him or without him, I will end up being miserable.

How did this happen? Because I slowly began handing over pieces of myself to this man. I stopped expressing my needs, my desires, and my wants. I took over certain things like cooking and cleaning. At first it was cute and fun but now somehow my desire to make things a little easier for him every once in awhile became my responsibility. Now I am required to do these things and if I don't--I am accused of being a bad girlfriend. And God forbid I suggest that he stay in on Friday and I go out with the girls. It used to be ok but now, it's unacceptable. The really sad part of it is--I give in to him every single time.

I am such a strong person. I am very driven, confident and demanding in almost every area of my life. Except when it comes to relationships. This is why I run from them. If I want my current relationship to work, I need to change some things about myself. It's not too late to change things. If I don’t, this relationship is destined for failure. And the next one, and the next one, and so on and so on.

I know there are some really terrific guys out there and if you happen to be one-- more power to you. You are a rare find. I don't think most guys like you are born that way. I think you are made that way- by a very smart lady. Is my guy a horrible man? No. He is just not very sensitive and believes at this point in our relationship, if I want or need something I should take it, make it or demand it. And if I say nothing, then obviously there is nothing I really want or need. So he goes about his business as usual and rarely goes out of his way to consider my needs. He’s lazy. But it's all not his fault. Women made him this way. I made him this way. And now, I am starting to get a little nervous. The other day while agonizing over whether or not I should sort my father's socks, I realized that everything I have or don’t have in my relationship is my fault.

Moral of the story: People will treat you the way you expect to be treated. If you expect nothing, you will get nothing. If you want something more than what you’ve got, you have to ask for it. If we keep picking up the slack for other people and making it easy for them, they will keep taking and taking. People are selfish. They will always take the path of least resistance. They will run all over you if you let them. If you hand over the controls to your life, someone else will make all the decisions and plans for you. And they will have a whole list of jobs and responsibilities for you. Whether they love you or not. This is simply human nature and if you sit there and let it happen, you have no one to blame but yourself.

If you don’t want to sort socks, hand over the laundry basket and say “ Fold your own damn socks!” And then let them do it. Unless their fingers are broken, they are perfectly capable.

I didn't sort my father's socks. I brought them up to him and tearfully explained why I couldn't. He knows my story and he understood. My mom sat there listening and laughing.

" Your father can take care of his own socks", she said. "I told him years ago I hated that job and if he wants it done, to do it himself."

Smart lady.

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Dare Mighty Things....


Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. -Theodore Roosevelt

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Flower

No matter how hard or how often the rain pours from the sky
a flower never drowns........ 

And this is my Daily Cyn..........

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dandelion Dreams

Yesterday, while taking my daily afternoon walk, I saw two sweet dandelions growing in a little patch of green grass.  I whipped out my Blackberry, snapped a photo, and uploaded it to Facebook.  I couldn't have been more excited if I had stumbled across a secret rose garden in the midst of a concrete jungle.

 I know they are ordinary dandelions. Weeds. Most folks despise them and cover their lawns with poison to prevent them from growing and taking over. I never understood that. How could anyone not rejoice at the sight of these sunny yellow flowers?

Later that evening, I showed my dandelion photo to my guy. He did not share my enthusiasm.

Him:  For the love of God! Why on earth would you take a picture of stupid weeds?

Me:  I love dandelions. I think they are pretty. They remind me of all the dreams I had when I was little.

Him:  They're WEEDS! People must think you are crazy for posting that photo on Facebook!

Me:  I don't care.

Moment of awkward silence.......

Me:  Honey, do you think I'm crazy?

Another moment of awkward silence.......

Him:  I think you're very different.  And you have too many dreams.  Let's leave it at that.

Yeah. He thinks I am crazy. I can deal with that; but how can anyone have too many dreams?

When I was a little girl, we had lots of dandelions in our yard. Occasionally,  my dad would talk about making homemade dandelion wine. He never got around to it.  He worked so hard and was pulled in so many different directions back then.  He really didn't have much time left over for lawn care or wine making.

I saw the abundance of dandelions in our yard as a blessing.  I had an endless supply of free flowers to pick for to my mom.  She would display them in vases on the kitchen windowsill.  They looked like little bouquets of sunshine.  I thought I was special because those gorgeous flowers only grew on my lawn. I had no idea  all the other neighbors used weed killer on their grass to keep them away.

I was completely fascinated by dandelions. They were delicate but strong. They also magically transformed into something completely different. Somehow these little yellow flowers changed to puffs of pure white.  I would sit for hours gently blowing on those delicate little puffs. As I watched them scatter in the warm breeze, I pretended they were tiny parachutes carrying my dreams up to heaven.  God would see them and make them all come true.

Ahhh..... the simple faith of a child. 

Dandelions remind me of my childhood when life was easy and simple things were beautiful. I had big plans and even bigger dreams. Now, my life is half over and it really hasn't gone according to plan. I am okay with that. I am not dead yet. And my dreams? I am still working on them. I've had my share of disappointment and heartache over the years.  I've been beaten and broken and bruised and scarred, but I still have hope and plenty of dreams. I love that about myself.  I don't ever want to stop dreaming or believing my dreams will come true.

 I still pick handfuls of dandelions and bring them into my house. I love when those little yellow flowers transform to hundreds of snowy white seedlings.  I sit out in the yard and blow on them like a little girl. I scatter my dreams on the wind with the hope that someone or something up there will see them.  I know this sounds so silly and childish. I am an intelligent, educated woman, but I fight hard to hold on to my minuscule measure of faith. There would no point in living any longer without it.

Do you have dreams? Wishes and desires for your life? I am pretty sure you do.  They might be hidden in the deepest recesses of your calloused heart and soul. Reach in and grab them. Speak them out loud and scatter them on the wind.  Share them with someone you love.  Dream your dandelion dreams........

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Four Vegan Easter Recipes

I love Easter. I love the biblical story of Easter- the miracle of Resurrection. It doesn't matter what your personal beliefs are about the actual holiday: Easter is a time of renewal. I like to think of it as the official doorway to Spring. We finally begin to see green grass, flowers in bloom, and the sights and sounds of life after a long, hard winter. Easter is the season of hope and the promise of better, warmer, happier days. We color eggs, fill baskets with treats and prizes and gather together with family and friends. And of course, we eat. Our tables are covered with all kinds of goodies: homemade bread, traditional Italian grain pies, cold meat pies, roast lamb, lasagna. And don't forget the chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, marshmallow chicks, and those irresistible Cadbury Creme eggs.

Every Easter Sunday,  my mom prepares a feast. She serves her delicious homemade lasagna. It must weight at least ten pounds. We sit, we eat, we laugh, we enjoy our time together. After literally gorging ourselves for  hours, we are stuffed, lethargic and bloated. We swear we will never eat again!

This is my first Easter as a full-fledged Vegan. I no longer eat any animal products, including cheese. This means that ten pound lasagna oozing with ricotta and mozzarella is a big no-no! Of course, no one in my family is going to understand this. In order to avoid arguments at the dinner table, I will allow Dad to slide a small square of that offending food on to my plate. I will sit there, push it around on my dish and when no one is watching, most of it will miraculously end up on my boyfriend's plate. I will feed the rest to the dog. My mother's dog is a smart little fellow. At every holiday dinner he parks himself at my side, rests his furry head on my leg and looks up at me with those big brown eyes. He knows I can't resist him or say no. My Vegan/Vegetarian lifestyle is the best thing that ever happened to him.

You might think I am a complete pushover. I should stand firm in my beliefs and my personal choices regarding meat and animal products. Usually, I do, but not this year.  I have my reasons.  And yes, I know I shouldn't be feeding the dog table food. But it's a holiday and I hate arguing on holidays. The subject of my eating habits always comes up at the dinner table each time I refuse a slice of ham, a chicken wing, or a meatball. 

Here is my logic: right or wrong. My mom is Italian and loves to cook. She  puts time, effort and love into the preparation of her lasagna and everything that goes along with it . Over the years, she has converted her delicious meat-flavored tomato sauce to a marinara sauce and much to everyone's disappointment, no longer adds that layer of chopmeat or sausage to her lasagna recipe. All for the sake of her Vegetarian daughter.  I appreciate the effort and sacrifice on my behalf.  My family doesn't get it. They don't get it at all and I know they will never understand if I refuse a piece of lasagna this year.  My refusal will escalate into a heated discussion. My dad is currently battling colorectal cancer. This very well could be his last holiday with us. I don't want to spend it arguing or defending myself. So go ahead and serve me a nice big piece of that lasagna and I'll figure out what to do with it from there.

If dinner was at my house this year, I would be serving a Vegan meal.  My family would have no choice but to eat it and I am sure they would enjoy it.  Vegan lasagna is absoutely delicious. But until my mother is too old to host family holidays and passes the baton to her daughter, it is what it is and I will make the best of the situation.  Of course I need to eat something, so I will be contributing a few of my own special Vegan dishes to the family table. I've spent some time searching for recipes to bring to dinner that everyone will enjoy. I was delighted when I found these Four Vegan Easter recipes. I would like to share them with you.

Vegan Easter Menu

However you choose to celebrate this coming holiday, I wish you peace and love. I hope you embrace the promise of new life and allow it to take root in your heart and soul. Feed it, water it, and share it with others.

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

7 Simple Secrets for Highly Effective Weight Loss

There are literally hundreds of different diet programs out there. Each one promises amazing results if you follow the rules. 

Personally, I despise the word DIET.  A diet is a trap--a never ending cycle of deprivation and over-indulgence and a virtual roller-coaster ride of constant weight loss and weight gain.  In the long run, these continuous fluxuations in your weight (not to mention the emotional components of constant success and failure) are detrimental to your health. 

Don't be discouraged. You can lose weight and keep it off forever.

Here are my 7 Simple Secrets for Highly Effective Weight Loss:

1.  Exercise at least 20 - 30 minutes a day.

2.  Get a good night's sleep.

3.  Eat 7-10 fruits and vegetables a day

4.  Consider a plant-based diet.  If you must eat meat, use it as a condiment rather than making it the main focus your meal.  Think chicken stir-fry with loads of fresh veggies rather than a huge roast surrounded by potatoes and a few token vegetables.

5.  Have a strong support system of family and friends

6.  Develop a spiritual practice

7. Make time for fun

That's it! It sounds so simple, doesn't it?

Want to learn more? Contact me! I would love to chat with you....

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are You Willingly Swallowing Poison?

My dad finished Phase One of his treatment yesterday.  For the past six weeks he has been getting radiation treatments and chemotherapy every single day. This radical therapy is a precurser to surgery.  Dad has colorectal cancer and the tumor is quite large.  His doctors are hoping  that over the next few weeks, the tumor will shrink enough so it can be surgically removed. They want to leave the rest of his necessary organs in tact when they remove it; so this was the recommended course of action.  Fingers crossed that it works!

This has been difficult on dad.  The lower half of his body is burned to a crisp. He can't sit for long periods of time, the burning is almost unbearable.  I can't even imagine the discomfort and the humiliation involved.  It's been tough but this was the easy part.

Dad told me yesterday each radiation treatment lasted exactly eleven seconds.  He would lay there on table with his unmentionables exposed and silently count.  He knew all this can't possibly be good for him.  A former military man, he knows the danger involved but he didn't have much of a choice,.  Keeping track of the time gave him some sense of peace and a feeling of control.  Over the past couple of days, however, he noticed the treatments were longer.  He warned the doctor. "That's too long!" he said.  The doctor patiently explained it's procedure to extend the dosage as they approach the end.

In addition to this painful treatment ( the radiation itself is not painful but what it does to the body after the fact is), dad has been taking chemotherapy pills twice a day. We all know about chemotherapy. It's toxic poison. Not only does it attack the offending cells in the body, it also destroys the good ones.  The cancer itself doesn't necessarily kill you, the treatment does.  

Twice daily, before he swallow those little toxic pills, he hesitates. He admits this openly. "I should not be taking these," he says.  "I am willingly ingesting poison." But at this point, he feels he has no choice so he submits.

This is not going to a blog about the pros and cons of cancer therapy. As a Health and Wellness Professional, I know how dangerous all this is for him. Personally, I would never submit to it if I were in his shoes. But that's me. My father is a grown man and made the decision to follow this course. He trusts his doctors. Perhaps if we knew about his cancerous tumor earlier, we could have tried a different approach.  But the fact is, my dad cannot continue to walk around with a blockage  within and it cannot be removed until it shrinks back a bit. Despite my personal feelings on the subject, my dad has my full support.

My dad is willingly swallowing poison to save his life. That's somewhat understandable. But what about the rest of us? We willingly swallow poison every day. 

Cynthia, what on earth are you talking about?

Think about it for a moment. What are you eating? Are you eating foods that are full of life, organically grown and healthy or do you stuff yourself with foods loaded with hormones and harmful preservatives? Do you stop by the local drive-thru and call it dinner?  Is your freezer and pantry filled with processed, prepacked, instant meals? Have you ever stopped to read the ingredients? How many are you actually able to pronounce? Do even know what they are? Do you care?

I used to love my vodka. Grey Goose, on the rocks, twist of lime.   I stopped drinking for awhile. Then I tried it again, in excess, about a year ago.  I was sick for two days. I learned a lesson. My body doesn't like it. It's toxic to my otherwise healthy system and I function so much better without it. Not to mention the fact that it makes me do stupid things and make foolish decisions. Alcohol, cigarettes, recreational drugs, painkillers and all those prescribed medications we willingly take without question because our doctor tells us we should: Poison.

Skin care, body lotions, shampoo, makeup? What are the ingredients on that jar of wrinkle cream you spread on your face every day? Is it loaded with herbs and botanicals and cruelty-free? How about household cleansers, laundry soap? Are they natural and good for the environment?  If not, they are poison.

How about the things we see and hear on daily basis? Television programs, magazines, the internet sites we frequent, books we read? If they are not feeding your soul and making you a better person then guess what? Poison!

Your relationships? Friends, family, your mate? Are they encouraging, positive people you can depend on? Do they make you feel good about yourself  or are they negative, discouraging, toxic people? Do you feel pressure to do things you ordinarily would not do when you are with them?  Do you draw energy from your relationships or do you feel completely drained?  Poison!

All these things I mentioned, you have the power to change. Stop swallowing poison! It might feel good, look good, taste good, but eventually it will wear you down and yes, it will kill you.

As for my dad, I will continue to hope and pray that the choices he made to treat his cancer are the right ones.  I hope you will join me in believing only the best for him.

And this is my Daily Cyn.............

Monday, April 18, 2011

What Do We Do With Our Shattered Dreams?

Last summer, I decided to take a huge step of faith and move my consulting practice from the comfort of my little living room to a more professional location.  Searching for affordable office space here in New York is next to impossible so when I finally found a beautiful, quaint, budget-friendly little room for rent at a local Wellness Center, I believed it was a god-send. I felt at home as soon as I walked--what a peaceful haven.  It was exactly the type of atmosphere what I was looking for.  The landlord was a doll and the other professionals there were lovely, friendly and accomodating.  I just knew it was the perfect home for me and my business.  My office was a small but sunny room with enough space for a desk, some comfy chairs and a bookshelf or two. The large meeting room, complete with fireplace and a kitchenette, was at my disposal as well. What fun I would have hosting seminars for large groups of people.  I whipped out my checkbook and wrote a check for six months rent in advance. Filled with hope, anticipation, and visions of grandeur.  I reduced my work-week at my regular J.O.B. to 3 days.  This way I could to throw myself into my personal business and watch it grow in leaps and bounds.

This was before I knew about the big boulder that was about to land right in the middle of my road to success. Actually, it was more like an avalanche of  falling rocks. Each time I navigated around one hurdle, another one came crashing down.  They just kept getting bigger and bigger and falling harder and harder.

I had no idea that I would face some personal complications and obstructions that would make it difficult to dedicate my time to growing a business. How I could possibly know my dad, who has never been sick a day in hs life, would be diagnosed with colorectal cancer?  I didn't anticipate my own personal financial issues or transportations problems.  I didn't know I would be required to invest my time, money, and energy in something completely unrelated to making my own dreams come true.  I was totally unaware that my beloved child would go through his own personal hell and would need my support and assistance. I had no clue that I would have to spend the majority of my time close to home where I was needed.  I tried as hard as I could to hold it all together, to spread myself thin, but it became next to impossible. I had to give up something so I eliminated the obvious choice. How much longer could I continue to pump my hard earned money into an office I didn't have the time to actually occupy? It made no sense.

My lease expired in March. I agonized over what to do.  My landlord was kind enough to let me take some time to make a decision. I told her what was going on in my life and thankfullly, she is a kind and understanding soul.  I spent sleepless nights tossing and turning. I was frustrated, disappointed, and angry. Eventually,  I decided to let the office go.  Then I threw myself a nice, big pity party.

I cried. I cursed. I stomped my feet. I felt like a failure. I was ashamed to admit to anyone that I had to give up that beautiful office.  I am forty-nine years old.  All my plans to put my name on the map by the time I am fifty came crashing down in pieces around me.  My dream was shattered.

After two weeks of wallowing in the mud of self-pity and disappointment, I got sick of the sound of my own voice. This is not who I am.  I am not a whiner and a complainer.  I am strong and driven.  I have overcome such adversity, pain and obstacles in my life.  Everything I have, I have worked very hard for and when some one told me it couldn't be done, I would prove them wrong! I have always had faith, hope, and the belief in something greater and strong working overtime on my behalf.  I am not about to give up now!

I called my son and asked him to come and help me paint.  I have a spare room that will make a lovely office.  It's warm and cozy and it's free!  I went shopping and bought some new throw rugs and a few odds and ends.  I ordered a couch, a desk and some bookshelves.  I can do this, at home. , I can still work a full time job, take care of my other obligations, be at my parents' disposal as needed, and it won't cost me a dime.

I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I am called to this profession.  I am a good consultant and my heart is to help others who struggle with weight, eating disorders, and health issues.  I want to live an extraordinary life and I want to see other people do the same.  I have the keys.  I have the training.  I have the God-given drive and desire.

Sometimes we experience road blocks.  Things don't turn out quite the way we plan. Does that mean we give up? NO! It just means we have to find another way to make it happen. If it's something you truly want, you will find a way.  Put it out there and the universe will work overtime on your behalf.  A shattered dream can always be put back together.  It might not look exactly the way you want it, but with  the glue of passion, determination, faith and hope, it will hold, temporarily or indefinitely. Treat it carefully until the next opportunity presents itself. They always come, eventually. You just have to keep believing in your dream.

How badly do you want it? Can you taste it, see it, smell it, touch it? Go for it!  Your dreams are never over until you roll over and declare them so.  I am not about to do that.  How about you?

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Sunday, April 17, 2011

After All This Time.......

Even after all this time

The sun never says to the earth,

You owe Me...

Look what happens with

A love like that,

It lights the Whole Sky...

- Hafiz

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Friday, April 15, 2011

Love What You Say.....Before You Say It....

"Passion is loving what you're going to say, before you say it."

I saw this quote yesterday and thought about it for the rest of the day.  It brought to mind the very painful argument I had with my guy this past weekend.  Right in the middle of our wonderful get-away, we had a knock-out, drag-out fight.  There we were, together in our hotel bed, alone for the first time in months, and rather than loving each other, we were hurling insults and hurtful accusations.  We did serious damage to each other. Eventually, I collapsed, completely exhausted and sobbing. I was hurt and angry at him but I was angrier at myself for sinking to such a level.  I was shocked at the words that came out of my mouth.  I knew I was hurting him, but my hurtful words were killing me. He had managed to stir up something within me that I despised.  I was speaking words I hated and can never, ever take back.   I love my guy and I certainly don't want to hurt him, but I was a roll.  I was ashamed of myself and my instinct was to pack up right there and then and leave him forever.

I like to think I am a loving, caring, passionate person.  I never want to hurt anyone with anything I say or do.  I am very easy going but if provoked or backed into a corner, I will eventually fight back. At that point, I am like a cobra.  I strike and inject my poisonous venom into my victim.  They never see it coming and the damage is deadly.

The quote I found yesterday caused me to do a bit of soul searching.  All my life, I have tried to live peacefully, lovingly. With passion. Most of the time, I carefully weight my words and avoid arguements and disagreements. I so dislike fighting. Every once in awhile I get involved with people who are able to push my buttons to the point where I am out of control. Then I run. Why?  Because I don't want to be hurt and I don't want to hurt them? Perhaps. Or maybe it's because I see something in myself that is truly unlovely.

 I don't want to look at the ugly stuff.  It's easier to run, hide, and put the blame on them. 

The reality is: I am the master of my own thoughts and what comes out of my mouth. When someone hurts me and I retaliate in kind, that's my problem.....not theirs.

When I can finally stand there and think loving thoughts and speak loving words despite how badly I have been hurt, that is love. That is peace. That is passion**.

 Oh, how I long to love and to be loved.  I want passion- for others, for myself and for life. I weep over the words I've said that were not laced with loving kindness.  I think of the damage I've done, the pain I've inflicted, the lives I changed because I did not stop to consider my words. If I don't love what I say before I say it,  perhaps it's better to say nothing at all.

Imagine a world filled with passion; each of us loving what we are going to say, before we even say it.  We would inspire others. Nothing would be impossible.  Never again would a heart be broken or a spirit crushed.  There would be no fighting, no war, no hate, no pain.

We would have peace on earth........

And this is my Daily Cyn........

**NOTE--I am referring to normal, heated discussions in which we get caught up in the moment and say things we do not mean to say- whether it is the truth or not.  Emotional, physical or mental abuse is something all together different and I would never stand for or condone it.  Abuse is not love and there is no way you can ever love someone enough to get them to stop abusive behavior.  Don't ever allow yourself to be abused or remain in that kind of relationship. If you are in an abusive situation, please seek help and remove yourself immediately.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Do It Anyway...........

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered: Forgive them anyway.  If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives: Be kind anyway.  If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies: Succeed anyway. If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you: Be honest and frank anyway.  What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight: Build anyway.  If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous: Be happy anyway.  The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow: Do good anyway.  Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough: Give the world the best you've got anyway. You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God: It was never between you and them anyway.  -Mother Teresa

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What Do You Want...........

"People think that food cheers you up, that a doughnut cures all ills, but this only works for trivial complaints. When real disaster strikes, food chokes you." — Helena Dela

What is it that we really want? And why do we try to silence our cries, bury our hopes and dreams, and attempt to satisfy our burning desires and  passions with food?

It began when we were children. We cried or complained and were handed a bottle, a cookie or an ice cream cone. This is how we learned to suppress our true feelings and depend on sweet, instant gratification. 

We  carry this into adulthood, constantly feeding ourselves with everything other than what it is we really want. 

Is this you? Stop, look, and listen to your body, mind and spirit.  What do you want? Chances are, it's not another donut but something deeper.

 Dare to look deep within.  You will never be satisfied until you do...........

And this is my Daily Cyn........

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hotel Bed Epiphany......

I love hotels.  Wait....let me clarify that. I love nice hotels.  God knows, I have spent a night or two in some bad ones. Not really by choice, mind you, but occasionally out of bare necessity.  I've stayed in a few dumpy, dingy places where I've refused walk across the carpet in my bare feet or had to leave the lights on all night to distract certain insects that only venture out in the dark. I shudder when I think about it.

Yes, I prefer a nice classy hotel. I could live there for days. Everything is neat and organized and compact. They have convenient little coffee pots with automatic timers, an abundance of fresh, clean towels and those adorable bottles of shampoo and body lotion. Where else can you go and leave a mess in the bathroom,  trash cans overflowing, and your bed unmade; only to return a few hours later to find everything orderly and immaculate?

I especially like the beds in hotels.  They are so much more comfortable than mine and I always get such a good night's sleep. The pillows are firm, but not too firm, and the sheets are nice and crisp. I swear hotel housekeepers must have military training when it comes to bed making.  They make them up so perfectly, tucking the sheets and blankets in so tightly, you could bounce a quarter off the covers.  I just love that.

I've been sharing a bed with my guy for the past few years and we've stayed in hotels together before.  Nice ones.  This past weekend we celebrated his birthday in a lovely place in SoHo. It was there that I had an epiphany of sorts. We spent one entire day exploring the city on foot, including a hike through Central Park.  My feet were so sore I could barely stand because I covered miles of concrete in heels.  I forgot to pack sensible shoes. Good excuse to do squeeze in some shoe shopping, which of course, I did.  Late that night, we both collapsed in the big, comfy hotel bed. I gently slid my aching feet and body under the covers, taking great care not to cause a crease or wrinkle in the tightly tucked sheets and blankets.  As I leaned back on all the perfectly fluffed pillows with a satisfying sigh,  my guy was busy thrashing his feet and legs beneath the blankets like a fish out of water. He was completely tearing up his side of the bed to achieve his goal- the freedom to move without restraint. I was beginning to get a little aggravated and he knew it, so he kept on until we both burst into laughter. It's comical how very different we are.

"Are you really gonna sleep like that, all wrapped up tight like you're in a cocoon?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied. " I feel all safe and tight and secure."

"Not me," he said. " I need to be free!" And with that, he gave one last kick beneath the covers, and we both fell fast asleep.

The next morning, my side of the bed looked as if it had never been touched.  I had slept so well, snug as a bug, all safe and secure beneath a layer of tight, constricting sheets and blankets. His side, however, was a disaster. The covers were crumpled and messy and sometime during the night he had tossed them completely aside.  This is what prompted  my "ah-ha" moment.  I learned a little bit about myself this weekend. And about him. Very strange, how my mind works.

I am a trusting, free spirit. I want to go, move, taste, see, touch, smell and experience everything life has to offer. I refuse to let anyone control me, tell me what I can or cannot do, or hold me back. But at the end of the day, I desperately long for security and a place where I know I am safe.  I never want to stop dancing on the edge; I just need to know someone is there to keep me from falling. 

My guy is the complete opposite.  He is conservative, cautious and restrained.  He won't even go near the edge, let alone dance on it.  But he also needs to be free and able to move about as he wishes. It totally amazes me how we get along, we are so different.  Trust me, it's not easy, but somehow, we make it work.

A relationship is like a big bed.  It can be cozy or it can be terribly uncomfortable. Each partner must be able to do what they want, say what they want, and be who they want to be on their respective side.  I choose to be wild and crazy, outspoken, a little careless, and independent. I need to be free to do that, but I also want someone stronger to lean on occassionally and to feel safe and secure.  In exchange, I must allow my guy the same liberties and luxuries and refrain from criticizing him for being different or for making a mess when he needs to stretch out over on his side. When we finally master this, we will meet in safest and most secure spot of all---right in the middle.

And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Monday, April 11, 2011

Let it Go..........

"Finish every day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities, no doubt crept in; forget then as soon as you can.  Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense"- Ralph Waldo Emerson

And this is my Daily Cyn..............

Friday, April 8, 2011

Be Who You Are......

I am always amused when I meet a client for the first time. After several conversations over the phone or via the internet, most of them expect to be greeted by a Patchouli-Scented Plain-Jane dressed in a little cotton dress and Birkenstocks. Most are pleasantly surprised to discover I don't look like that at all.  I understand why they have this pre-conceived notion of me. I am a yoga practicing, real food advocate and a Vegan. Often, there is a stereo-typical  look that goes along with my kind of lifestyle.  The whole Nature Girl trend doesn't work for me. Believe me, I tried. It's not me.

I must confess, I love Patchouli Oil and wear it often. Right now, though, I am crazy about the Fredericks of Hollywood Signature Fragrance.  It smells so good and so sexy, I want to bathe in it daily. In fact, I adore everything in the Fredericks catalog. I should own stock in the company.

I dye my hair (if I didn't I would be totally gray), I wear makeup and I carry a designer handbag. Take a look in my closet and you will find an array of famous label clothing.  Don't even get me started on shoes.  I love sexy, strappy shoes and I have a collection of boots, pumps and sandals that makes Imelda Marcos look like an amateur.  My only rule concerning shoes- NO LEATHER.  I subscribe to Vogue, Glamour, Self and Vanity Fair and read each magazine from cover to cover. I love that kind of stuff.  Yes, I do yoga and I shop in healthfood stores. I read Yoga Journal and Vegetarian Times. I am a card-carrying member of PETA. I don't eat or wear animal products but unless you share a meal with me, you probably would never guess I am a Vegan. I just don't fit the mold.  I am who I am, take it or leave it.

I wasn't always like this.  It took a long time for me to discover who I am, accept it, and go with it. I was always trying to belong to something.  We usually become like the company we keep. We talk alike, we eat alike, we drink alike, we think alike. What happens when we try to fit in where we don't really belong? We can either squeeze ourselves in and be miserable and uncomfortable or we can break the mold.  I prefer to break the mold.

When I was about fifteen years old, my parents became Born-Again Christians.  Every moment we spent in church.  There weren't very many kids my age in church so I began to associate with the older girls. They were sweet and quiet and plain. I was loud, extravagant, and crazy about fashion. I would arrive to functions and bible studies in designer jeans and high-heels.  I wore eyeshadow and lipstick.  Apparently, this was not a good thing. A well-meaning friend took me on the side and explained what it meant to be a Christian. 

"It is sinful to draw attention to yourself or to wear the latest fashions and makeup," she explained. "The love of God in your heart is your true beauty now."

In order to fit in, I became just like them.  I kept my wild and crazy personality under wraps and stopped wearing makeup.  I dressed in overalls and conservative, knee-length dresses.  I longed to flip through the latest issue of VOGUE magazine instead of the Bible and beat myself up emotionally for having such worldy desires. The battle within made me sad, angry and depressed. It took me a very long time to realize that I loved God just as much as my Christian girlfriends.  I had as much inner beauty as they did, I just wanted and needed a little lipstick and blush to make me glow. If that made me a sinner, then so be it. Eventually, I found new friends who loved God, but were more like me.

Later in life, when I went back to school to earn my degree in nutrition, I found myself in a similiar situation.   All the girls there looked exactly the same. They had a particular style that screamed "Health Nut." There I was with my Fifth Avenue hair-cut and designer shoes. I stuck out like a sore thumb and felt very out of place until I noticed another girl in the group. She was the picture of elegance, style and grace.  Gina was the personal assistant to a famous hat-designer. She lived in a gorgeous apartment on the Upper West Side.  I was immediately drawn to her and we became friends.  Clutching our Gucci wallets, we shopped 'til we dropped in the local boutiques during lunch while all the other students escaped to the park for some yoga.

As time went on, a transformation took place in both of us. Gina changed her platinum blonde hair to her natural color- dark brown. I was a red-head at the time and did the same. We swapped our designer handbags for earth-friendly, canvas totes.  We sipped herbal tea instead of racing out to Starbucks for a coffee fix and sacrificed our shopping sprees for yoga. We wore jeans, long skirts and very little makeup just like all the other girls in school.  We traded in our heels for sensible shoes. I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks. We were becoming like everyone else.  There was just one major difference.  Gina was content.  I was miserable. Gina found herself and her true inner beauty. She realized she was hiding behind a facade of expensive designer crap. She was a slave to vanity, fashion and perfection and was in serious debt as a result. But deep inside, she was that girl from Montana and she would never be whole until she embraced and accepted that part of herself. I was discovering many things about myself, as well. Life changing things.  I also learned that I still longed for the latest Louis Vuitton bag, makeup, and heels and that it was perfectly normal . On graduation day, Gina had a one-way ticket back to Montana and a plan to start her own business. I had a similar plan but first on my agenda-- Bloomingdales and Macy's!  I told that to my favorite professor as I hugged him goodbye.  He laughed and said, " Cynthia, do what you want and be who you are!"

I discovered who I was long ago and fought against it.  I kept trying to fit myself into some mold that was not made for me in order to achieve a sense of belonging. As a result, I have been abused, controlled and depressed.  I refuse to let that happen ever again. You cannot hide who you are for very long. The battle within will eventually become so violent, it will manifest in ways you can never imagine. 

I believe in change from the inside out.  I am always striving to nourish my body, mind and spirit. I want to grow, evolve and develop an inner radiance that shines through to all the world around me. I want to share it with others.  I just choose to do it in strappy high heels at the local Whole Foods Market or while shopping for make up at Macy's.

I do not believe we can ever truly be happy or live the life we were meant to live until we learn to love and acccept who we are, inside and out. Never, ever try to fit into a place you don't belong. And don't ever let anyone force you to be something you are not.

Break the mold and be who you are!

And this is my Daily Cyn......

Thursday, April 7, 2011

It Makes No Difference.......

It makes no difference who we are, where we are from, or where we're going.  Every single one of us- male or female- regardless of age, social status, sexual preference, skin color, or political and religious beliefs- are connected by the same longing, the same desire, the same need..........

We want to love and to be loved......
Unconditionally, without rules, without ownership,
No strings attached..........

And this is my Daily Cyn..........

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Let's Get Personal

I have been catching a bit of 'heat' lately because I am way too personal in my blogs. I share too much stuff about my life, my struggles, my arguments and disagreements with others. "DAILY CYN" is a blog about health, life, and whatever comes to mind. MY mind.  There are always ideas bouncing around in this head of mine.  I am inspired by things I see, hear, touch, taste, and smell. I am  inspired by what I feel and think. I am also greatly inspired by others. I can't help that.

I am a Nutritional Consultant.  I teach people how to eat well--for health, disease prevention and weight loss. It's deeper than that, however. I more interested in feeding the soul for when the soul is content, we lose that desire to indulge in unhealthy, harmful practices and behaviors.  We begin to carefully consider everything we allow to enter our lives. What we experience with our five senses becomes a part of us, whether we like it or not. We are what we eat!

I could throw facts, figures, and tons of information at you. I could outline the ways you can lower your cholestrol. Eat this....not that. But what good is low cholestrol if you are not living the life you have always wanted to live? I could present myself as an authority on weight loss.  I know a few things about diet. Want to fit into a size zero? I can help you with that. But if you don't like yourself, the perfect dress size is meaningless.

Yes, I could present myself as an authority and the perfect example of good physical, mental and spiritual health. I would probably have alot more clients if I did that. But I am interested in quality, not quantity. The fact is, I am not perfect--in fact I am far from it.  I am just like you. 

Sometimes I wake up in the morning and I don't like myself.  I hate my thighs. I fight with my boyfriend and ocassionally wonder if he is really the right guy for me.  I selfishly worry what is going to happen to me if my dad does not win his fight with cancer.  I battle with weight and sometimes I don't want to come home from work and cook dinner for one. I would rather kick back with a bag of Doritos and a glass of wine. Do I do that? NO, not really..but I have.  I worry how I am going to pay my rent at the end of the month. I despise the fact that no matter how hard I work out, one butt cheek sags a little lower than the other.  Too much personal information? If you are forty-nine years old and still have a perfect ass, please, please share your exercise tips with me! I am a vegan but last night, at my niece's birthday party I had ice cream--made with milk--from a cow! GASP! I feel awful about that and I am paying for it today. My body cannot digest it. Will I ever indulge in ice cream again? I would like to say no, but honestly, I really don't know.

My life is an open book and I have no problem sharing my personal issues, struggles, failures, and disappointments.  I get a little nervous around perfect people. Don't you?

For those who take issue with the fact that I am way too personal, I refuse to apologize. I am not about to change who I am.  I am not ashamed to admit I am not perfect. The best way I know how to teach, is to teach by example. If I don't have the same or similar struggles as everyone else, how can I possibly expect to help any one?

Every once in awhile, I get an email from someone that makes it all worthwhile. Something I wrote touched them on a deeper level.  They were thinking, feeling, or experiencing the same exact thing. This is why I do this. I don't care about reaching the masses.  I want to touch people, heal people and love people.... one beautiful soul at a time. 

And this is my Daily Cyn............

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Are You Ready for Change?

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not."
- James Gordon, M.D.

HA! I saw this quote on a friend's Face Book page this morning and it really jumped out at me.  It hit home in a big way.  Mainly because I am all about change.....and when we are finally fed up with the way things are and truly are ready for change.....we will. It's as if the universe senses that we "really mean it this time" and works overtime in our favor. We finally find the drive, the resolve, and the power to do things differently.

I speak from experience.  I know all about change. I have made some radical changes in my life. RADICAL! Because I got sick and tired.   I stopped doing certain things because I knew they were harmful and ruining my life.  I didn't have to attend a 12-step program or see a hypnotist to do this.  I was just ready to change.  The road to change was no picnic, however. Trust me....I have had some awful things happen to me that forced me to stop and think about my life and what was missing.  Facing the truth about why I was filling that emptiness with toxic things was gut-wrenching.  It would have been alot easier to join a program or admit I have a disease or addiction from which I will never be cured than to deal with the truth about myself. 
Please don't mis-understand me. I am not knocking groups like AA,  Rehab and Recovery, or Weight-Loss Support groups.  A great deal of people I know have brought back from the edge of destruction with these types of programs.  But it all comes down to this.......something is missing. Until we find that missing piece, we will keep filling the void with all kinds of ridiculous and harmful things to cover up the truth.  This is when we drink too much, eat too much, work too much, spend too much.  We dig ourselves into hole and we can't get out. That's when we need help.  Every single one of us must hit our own personal "rock-bottom" before we can  reach out and find what we really need.
It seems like there is a support group for everything these days.  That's all well and fine. Spending time with like-minded people who have similiar struggles and obstacles is a wonderful idea.  There is nothing worse than going through life thinking you are the only one who feels or thinks a particular way or is experiencing a certain situation.  Join a group if it helps you. The purpose of these types of groups, however is to help you cross to the other side and stand on your own.  The only way you will be able to do that is to discover who you are and what you want.  You have to change.
Nothing can be accomplished by sheer will-power alone. That chocolate cream pie, bottle of Scotch, or drug of choice will always be there, lurking, calling, tempting.  You will never be able to resist them until you face the truth about yourself and why you choose those types of things instead of loving, nurturing and caring for yourself. 
If you are stuck in a cycle of self-destruction, by all means, get some help. Find a therapist, a support group, a counselor or a coach. Anything in excess is a form of self-destruction.  This could be food, chocolate, vodka, cigarettes, shopping, even exercise. You must be ready and willing to change.  And you will never change until you do some serious soul-searching, heal what's missing in your life, and fall in love with yourself.
I am a Nutritional Consultant.  I am passionate about what I do. I love food, I love the philosophy of food and art of eating.  My job is to uncover the reasons people choose one food over another, eat in excess to the point of obesity and disease, and to try help them discover the reasons why they consistently use food as a substitute for what they really want, need and desire.  I try to guide others toward the road of healthy choices, in every aspect of their lives.  Food is an acceptable yet subtle compulsion ( I dislike the word addiction) because we all need to eat. I have no secret quick weigh-loss gimmicks or pills to sell.  I am all  about healing and change, from the inside out.
If this is something you are interested in learning more about...... message me here or send me email at
And this is my Daily Cyn.......

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Operation Beach Body and the "C" Word Mystery

Every year, on my birthday (which happens to fall on March 21st--the first day of Spring) I start an intense routine which I call: Operation Beach-Body. I love to spend every spare moment on the beach in the summer- soaking up the sun, feeling the sand between my toes, taking an occasional dip in the cool, refreshing water. In order for me to really enjoy all this, however, there is a great deal of preparation involved. You see, I have this ridiculously unfounded, deep-rooted fear that the Coast Guard and a team of marine biologists will gather 'round for a beached-whale rescue mission the moment I sprawl out on a beach blanket in my bathing suit. Just because I am a nutritional consultant and recently made the transition from Vegetarian to Vegan, doesn't mean I am immune to winter weight-gain and a few lumps and bumps here and there.   I have those "OMG! I have to wear a swim suit in public" panic attacks just like everyone else. This is why I prepare well in advance for those hazy, hot, humid days by the seashore.

Here's my Operation Beach Body Routine:

Break out the swim suits.....
I have several but my faves: a one piece with a deep plunging neck-line and my push-up bra bikini- both black, of course. I remove them from storage and hang them over my bedroom door for inspiration. I won't even consider indulging in a late-night snack or skipping a work-out as long as those sexy suits are in view. I know I only have a few short months to squeeze my body into them or be forced to wear my "Good Christian Girl" bathing suit. I don't think so!

Shift into Hyper-Drive.....
I tend to get lazy in the winter. I try to slide by with a little daily yoga, some weight lifting (when I feel like it) and an occasional stroll on the treadmill. I want to show some skin in the summer so I know I need to step it up with consistent hard-core work-outs.

Skip the Comfort Food.......
No more mac and cheese, chili with homemade cornbread, pasta, pancakes or potatoes. When the first day of Spring arrives, I stock my fridge and pantry with lots of fresh fruit, green veggies, nuts, avocados, and lean protein like tofu, tempeh, and beans. I also make sure I drink plenty of water.

The Morning and Evening Skin Prep......
My skin tends to be dry so spring, summer, winter, fall, I religiously exfoliate and cover my body with cream and oil.  I don't want to look and feel like an old catcher's mitt. My Operation Beach Body Morning and Evening Skin Prep is something all together different. I am almost ashamed to admit this. Brace yourselves because I am going to say it--the dreaded "C" word! CELLULITE! I have it....that's right....those yucky, cottage cheese lumps and bumps that all women fear and try to cure or hide. Every woman in my family has cellulite. It's genetic. My mother is loaded with it. My poor Aunt Ann (God rest her soul), had it so badly, she actually looked deformed. It was as if her torso rested on two giant overstuffed sacks of marbles.

My mother and my aunt never really exercised a day in their lives so they are extreme cases. I am still young and fairly active, so I really only have a little touch of cellulite. But I know it's there on the backs of my thighs and I am self-conscious about it.

 I am absolutely terrified my genes will dictate the envitable--that my thighs will some day resemble those in this photo. To prevent the
'DeSanti Curse', as we affectionately call it in my family, I eat right, exercise, and use cellulite treatment creams. The creams cost me a few hundred dollars every year and it's a two-part system- a day cream and a night cream. It's so darn cold in my house I use only the day cream in the winter, as soon as I step out of the shower. On my birthday, that all changes. I use both every single day. The night cream is thicker and the application is a bit more complicated.

I must apply it liberally, massage it in with one of these, and let it dry......

I have been doing this for years. It hasn't really cured my cellulite problem but as long as I keep using these creams, it's less noticeable.

So on my 49th birthday, I broke out the night cream and my cellulite massager.  There I stood naked in front of my full length mirror for the first time this year. You can imagine my surprise when I turned to inspect the backs of my thighs and there wasn't any cellulite! 

I ran to get my glasses because I was convinced that old age had stolen my eye-sight and my mind. Even with the cellulite!

 I racked my brains trying to think of what I did differently this winter. I wanted to join a gym this year, but couldn't fit it into my already hectic schedule so I worked out at home, as usual. I thought about subjecting myself to a treatment like this......

but......I just couldn't justify spending all that money!

What did I do that made my cellulite disappear?

Then it dawned on me! This past September I made two radical changes. I stopped drinking alcohol and I became a full-fledged Vegan. No Happy Hours. No Friday nights hanging out at the local bar. No glasses of wine with dinner. I stopped eating dairy, eggs and all animal products. There have been occasional slip-ups but as rule, these things are no longer a part of my life. 

Oh. My. Goodness.....this is incredible!

What am I trying to say? Well......I can't promise that giving up Happy Hour or adopting a Vegan diet will make your cellulite disappear, but it certainly worked miracles for me! If you don't want to make such drastic changes to your life, why not cut back on milk, cheese, eggs, and meat and limit your cocktails to one or two a week and see what happens? It's worth a shot. And even if you don't experience the same results I did, I promise you will feel so healthy, vibrant and self confident, you won't give a damn about a little bit of cellulite!

I am still applying both of those creams daily, by the way. I don't think Mother Nature is playing an evil trick on me, but just in case she is, I want to be sure I've got it all covered! 

And this is my Daily Cyn......