Happy New Year, dear friends! We hope you had an amazing time with your family and friends (or just with yourself!) during this past couple of weeks and are ready for what 2018 has to bring.
To start the year here at Summersalt Yoga we are looking at healing food (we all need a little more of that now, right?) and are talking to our chef Cynthia about her journey, cooking, and yoga!
Where are you from and what’s your background?
I am from a small southern town in North West Florida, close to the beach but far enough inland where hunting is a sport, I always knew I didn’t belong. When I graduated school I moved to Tampa FL to get into Visual Merchandising. I spent 5 years in retail, knew it wasn’t for me and decided to go sailing through the Caribbean. I wanted to live more in line with mother nature, and less time climbing the corporate ladder. The connection I gained to the earth from sailing lead me to yoga, which then lead me to heal through the method of mindful eating.
When did you get into yoga and the wellness sphere? What was the draw?
I actually got into yoga while sailing the Caribbean via Instagram. I was bored and looking for creative expression. While in port I would get on Instagram, look at yoga challenges and then eagerly await to find secluded beaches to do yoga on. Once I arrived to St.Thomas, I immediately starting hunting for yoga and found a temple situated on the north side of the island facing the Atlantic ocean. From there I found my mentor and yoga became a way of life for me. After an epiphany laying in savasana one day, I knew healing was my purpose, I got my RYT-200 and have since been on a mission to fulfill that dharma.
When did you start cooking, what did get you into that?
Sailing also brought cooking into my life. Again, looking for creative outlets, at each island I would go to shore and try to find unique fresh fruits and veggies that I had never seen before. I would go back to the boat and just play. I spent hours daily trying new techniques, new flavors, and methods of cooking. It became a passion and I started seeking ways to share cooking. Through my sailing experience, I landed some yacht jobs and learned I processed capacity to excel in challenging situations. Cooking abroad yachts provided a platform to travel, meet new people and see stunning locations around the world all while sharing one of my favorite healing modalities.
What is your philosophy about food and how do you see it correlate to yoga and general wellbeing?
My food philosophy is not much different than my yoga philosophy. It’s all healing. Our mind and body work as one unit. Our body needs the joint lubrication that yoga provides just as much as our body needs to consume proper nutrition to stay strong and resilient. They go hand in hand. In order to fully function spiritually, emotionally, and physically our bodies require nutrients, and in order to process nutrients to full capacity, our bodies need mobility and cleansing.
What type of food you cook and what are your favorite things to make?
I cook earth food. Fruit, veggies, and grains. Fresh ingredients that are minimally touched. Cooking is defiantly a creative expression for me, so I rarely cook the same thing twice. I love using new ingredients, new spices, and even the challenge of cooking in new kitchens. I’m extremely attracted to Asian and Indian cuisine for the culture that is kept alive through their food methods. The medicinal aspect of cooking lies in the traditional concepts and earth ingredients our ancestors new were important and basis of the human diet.
Have you seen benefits of healthy, plant-based food personally with yourself and on others?
Absolutely! First hand. When I was in my teens I began having terrible stomach pains and digestive problems. My doctor recommended a plant-based diet, so I tried it, and I immediately felt the difference. My digestion became regular and my stomach pain disappeared. My body felt energized and light, and my skin complexion even improved. I’ve been vegetarian with more emphasis on vegan for 13 years now, and my body feels better and better every year.
What are your passions besides cooking?
Yoga, travel, sailing, anything water related really, and creating. Creating and learning on all levels, I love going to new places, learning a new culture, people watching, trying a new art, eating new foods. As much as I love cooking I equally love eating! I thrive on anything that influences learning and personal and humanities growth.