Hi! I’m Cindy, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner living in southeastern Wisconsin. I help families get healthy by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices.
Here on CindyHilliard.com, I share practical nutrition information along with recipes that are mixture of gluten free, grain free, paleo, or keto.
Besides being a nutritional therapist, I’m a wife, mom to two middle-school boys, a graphic designer, and maker of natural skincare products. I love all things food, but I have a real weakness for chocolate, coffee, red wine, margaritas, and any Mexican food! I enjoy long walks on the beach (seriously), being outside in the sun, hiking in the mountains, action movies, and the Green Bay Packers.
Good question! I’m a graphic designer by trade. So, why did I become a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner? I improved my own health by simply improving my diet. I don’t have a dramatic story of overcoming a difficult health crisis, but I did change my already “good” health into excellent health a few years ago. Now in my mid 40’s, I feel better than I did in my mid 20’s—I’m talking mentally and physically. I am stronger, faster, happier, and I have more energy. I was by no means unhealthy in my 20s. I was healthy by all normal standards my entire life. But until I felt the positive effects of a real-food diet, I didn’t realize what good health really was! Feeling truly healthy is what motivated me to want to continue nourishing my body with nutrient-dense food, and to learn as much about real food/paleo nutrition as I could. During this time, I learned about others who overcame debilitating illness through nutrition. It was actually these stories of others and their success transforming their health through food that has inspired me want to help others find health through nutrition. It is amazing what food can do!
Real food. No, not all food is real…
It sounds kind of funny, really. Isn’t all food real? I suppose at some point even the fluorescent orange, cheese-like powder that comes in a box of mac & cheese was once actual milk, but how many processes did it go through to become that magic orange sauce? I won’t get into all the specific details right here, but eating food as close as possible to its original form is the real food I’m talking about—foods that don’t even have a nutrition label—foods that look very much like they do when they are grown!
How I found real food nutrition
For me, discovering a real-food approach started for me about 6 years ago when my husband decided to lose weight following the Slow Carb Diet described in Tim Ferriss’ book, The 4 Hour Body (which I recommend, by the way). My husband saw Tim Ferriss on Dr. Oz, liked the concept, bought his book, and got started! Long story short, he lost about 50 pounds in 5 months by eliminating grains, fruit, most dairy, and processed food! My husband does the majority of the cooking (woohoo!), so I ate what he ate—which turned out to be delicious, satisfying meals. This meant lots of meat, veggies, beans, lentils, eggs, and a very small amount of dairy. My results weren’t as dramatic (I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose), but after a week of eliminating grains, I didn’t crave pasta or bread. By the second week I had lost a couple pounds, and my mood and energy levels were amazing (I hadn’t realized that my mood had been an issue)! At that point, I started researching the effects of food on different aspects of health. Seriously amazing stuff. We all know that it is important to eat our healthy to be healthy, but food can really have a profound effect on overall health and wellness. I had no idea that diet could have such a noticeable effect on the brain in particular. After just a few weeks of eliminating most sugar, junk, and processed food, I could think much more clearly, and I was in a consistently good mood. I did not have any issues with mood disorders or depression in the past, but still noticed a very noticeable improvement in my mood and attitude. I also noticed that if I have a “cheat” day and overdo it on sugar, I get short-tempered and lazy rather quickly. Over time I also began experiencing fewer headaches, and found that I don’t count calories and I don’t gain weight!
After about two years, we transitioned to a more Paleoish diet by eliminating legumes and adding a little fruit here or there, but with the continued focus of eating unprocessed real food. We also gradually improved the quality of the foods we ate, by incorporating more organic and grass-fed foods. Our family has been eating a predominately whole-food diet ever since and all of us are better for it!
My nutritional point of view
During these years of exploring health and nutrition, I started doing more research on the benefits real food and how much of an impact it has on our health. I learned about eating the way that our ancestors ate (paleolithic). Humans are a highly successful, intelligent species, and it isn’t a mistake that the nutrient-dense diet our ancestors played a role in this success. Hint: they ate mostly vegetables, fruits and nuts along with meat and fish—very nutrient dense and obviously not processed. Not wasting anything, our ancestors utilized the whole animal that they hunted, including bones, connective tissue, and organ meat (which contain nutrients that boneless skinless chicken breasts just don’t have). This real-food, ancestral-type of diet is pretty far removed from the Standard American Diet that most of us are accustomed to. Humans are not meant to eat a low-fat diet or a diet full of grains, sugar and processed artifical “foods”. Eating the way humans are meant to eat shouldn’t be a revolutionary concept. Lets face it, lions in the wild eat what lions are supposed to eat, not food from a box with artificial colors and preservatives. This goes for all wild animals—why would humans be an exception. They also are not suffering from chronic illnessess like diabetes, autoimmune conditions, or heart disease. Looking at food from this point of view kind of helps put things in perspective (for me anyway).
I follow and recommend a real-food dietary approach as a starting point for everyone. I also know that because we are human, we are not perfect! I like taking the position (for healthy individuals) of eating very clean 80–90% of the time to allow for a few less-than-perfect foods here and there. I also recognize that everyone is different, and not everybody responds to the same dietary approach. For example, some people feel fine including dairy in their diet, but many don’t. Same goes for grains, legumes, nuts, etc. There are also different dietary protocols that can help support different health conditions that can be considered when our health isn’t where we want it. Most of my recipes are paleo (no grains, dairy, legumes, or processed food), but some do include organic dairy.
Over the last few years, I have learned of and met some amazing people who have healed their bodies and regained their health as a result of changing their approach to food. So after discovering how something as simple as food can have such a transformational effect on health, I finally decided in 2016 to enroll in the Nutritional Therapy Association’s NTC program and pursue nutrition as a career!
So here I am, equipped to help others learn about good nutrition and help them get healthy. I am available for for one-on-one nutrition consultations via video chat or in person if you are in southeastern Wisconsin.