CINDY SCARLENY: The Nourishing Vegan Cocina
Tori Green: Who are you? What do you do?
Cindy Scarleny: I'm an LA girl, a first generation Latina, a plant-based chef for 7 years. I was born in Honduras, raised in LA, I've lived in Spain and China. I developed The Nourishing Cocina initially as my restaurant consulting business but the bigger goal was always to bring
access to feel good foods that are healing, beautiful, nourishing and healthy to my community. So now The Nourishing Cocina is in formulation for its 4th product, selling in select stores throughout LA, doing women's wellness retreats, working on a book and a show.
Tori: What was your first business (including running your own business)? How long did this last or are you still involved in the same business?
Cindy: I began working for myself as an independent contractor/ freelancer about 7 years ago and then just developed my business and brand through that journey. I started writing for
magazines, doing marketing, styling, started a meal prep business, menu designing, then
restaurant consulting which then brought me to offering products and services with my current
business and combining all of my passions.
Tori: Biggest challenge? How did you get through it?
Cindy: Getting out of my own way, keeping the momentum even when things are not perfect or
feel completely ready. I did a lot of work and continue to reprogram my brain, limiting beliefs, therapy, podcasts, youtube, and surrounding myself with people who inspire me. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety and honestly I still have my moments and it feels the most challenging when I’m having an episode.
Tori: What is something that you wish you could go back and tell yourself before starting this journey?
Cindy: Just start, you figure it out as you go! It’s ok to not have all the answers.
Tori: What did you do before owning your own/running your business?
Cindy: I was open to it all if I felt aligned to it. I think this is what really allowed me to find my purpose. I graduated with a Bachelors in Business marketing and went into working for the NBA doing public relations which then led me to move to China with my ex boyfriend. While in China I
taught English, tutored, wrote for magazines, started my meal prep business out of my tiny kitchen, did wellness workshops etc. and began restaurant consulting.
Tori: What/who made you take the first leap?
Cindy: My ex, at the time I didn’t even know that creating with food was something that came naturally, for a long time I refused to accept it. I took a leap of faith moving to China with him
and little did I know I would discover my purpose through that experience.
Tori: Who was the first to believe in you and give you real support (financial/sweat equity)?
Cindy: My parents, sister, boyfriend and friends have been incredibly supportive and I’m very
fortunate that anything I’ve launched they have supported by buying, sharing on social
media etc. I have the biggest hype team. As far as funding the business it’s been all me.
Tori: Why did you get into this field?
Cindy: I went on my own healing journey that included discovering a healthy and sustainable way of eating. I became an advocate of “food is medicine.” And love supporting people in their
own wellness journey, encouraging people to eat pretty. Plus in moments where I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing spirit reminds me it's beyond me.
Tori: What is your biggest failure that you turned into a success?
Cindy: ME. At one point I thought I was the biggest failure because I couldn’t make that relationship work or that I wasted my time in China. The wisdom I gained from the experiences I’ve had because I took those risks, the self love, the healing those have been the biggest wins that contribute to the success of me and my business.
Tori: If you could change one thing about your life today for the better, what would it be?
Cindy: I would say being more gentle and loving with my thoughts/ inner chatter. I do better when I’m just babying myself, being encouraging, hyping myself up over every little thing. Being good to me even in the smallest ways- true self care ya know.
Tori: How is your life/work balance? Body, mind, and soul weekly routine? 13. Do you
say/write out affirmations?
Cindy: Some days I feel well balanced, other days it feels like there is no balance. I’m just flowing with the current stage of my business. I am very disciplined about my morning routine
though which includes meditation, ginger tea, journaling, reading and working out. I love talking to my spirit, to god and doing affirmations. If I’m at peace, feel aligned/ connected to myself then I can get in flow and operate at my most optimal self.
Tori: When was the last time you tried something new/ Stepped out of routine?
Cindy: I’ve recently started to venture out doing market pop-ups in different cities. It’s always sary doing new things but I try to lean into that fear and move on faith. I’m working on a show, I can’t give too many details on it yet but filmed the trailer for it last year and being in front of the cameras like that was new for me and out of my comfort zone. I’ve launched 2 new sauces, releasing new products is also scary not knowing how they’ll be received. But you really do get rewarded when you do scary things.
Tori: Favorite book that changed your life?
Emotional Advantage, I still reference it when I feel like I need to understand my feelings more or find ways to regulate them. We should All Be Millionaires- A great boss up book to read for women. You are a Badass at Making Money or You are a Badass- All her books are helpful for healing the relationship with yourself and with money. The Blue Zones- I’m fascinated by learning where people live long lives, what they eat and what their lifestyle is like.
Tori: Do you think your gender gives you an advantage or disadvantage in today’s world?
Cindy: Hell yeah I think being a woman, a Latina in today’s world is an advantage and it’s about damn time. This is our moment. We still have so much work to do as a collective in order for women to be honored but you feel the shift happening.
Tori: Have you experienced different treatment from your peers of the opposite sex?
Cindy: Definitely, I think most industries have been male dominated. But yes, especially in restaurant consulting when men don’t really want to be told what to do even if they have hired you for your knowledge.
Tori: Thoughts on the glass ceiling?
Cindy: It’s time we shift into an abundance mentality instead of the old lack and gatekeeping, talk about how much you get paid with each other and support women. There’s power in unity and community. It’s about having uncomfortable conversations. Businesses need to encourage women and should be held accountable for being unfair. Plus we know when women win we all win.
Tori: What advice would you give your children/ future children about succeeding in a
Cindy: There is power in being your most authentic self always. If you’re not celebrated or
valued for it then there will always be someone that does. There is no forcing, only attracting.
You don’t need to be more masculine, compete or put down in order to succeed. Do your best hunny!
Tori: If you could talk to a young boy/girl from your hometown neighborhood who aspires to
have your career/job/focus what would tell them? Advice.
Cindy: Get uncomfortable, play, don’t put too much pressure on yourself just enjoy what you’re
doing but also get ready to put in the work mentally, physically and spiritually. Give to you, invest in you!
Tori: Fun fact about you?
Cindy: I love dancing, I will pretty much dance anywhere at any given moment.
Tori: Number one piece of advice you remember?
Cindy: Allow yourself to die as many times so you can be reborn over and over again, wings expand and get bigger every time. Basically surrender to new levels of yourself.
Tori: Anything else to add?
Cindy: Always go back to joy.
Tori: Anything coming up for you that you want to talk about?
Cindy: I’m sure something will come up during the in person interview/ podcast chat.
Tori: Where can we find you online?
Cindy: You can find me on IG withlovescarleny or thenourishingcocina
Withlovescarleny.com or thenourishingcocina.com