In this week’s episode of The Whole Circle Podcast we talk to Cyndi O’Meara from Changing Habits.
Get ready for so many mic drop moments that are littered throughout this podcast episode!
We’re gonna call it…..this is the BEST podcast episode we have had the privilege to bring you guys! Big call….but it’s totally true!
Who is Cyndi O’Meara?
Cyndi O’Meara is a nutritionist, filmmaker – ‘What’s With Wheat?’, best-selling author, international speaker and founder of Changing Habits.
Cyndi graduated with a BSc majoring in Nutrition from Deakin University in 1984, her special interest was ancestral foods. At the end of her degree, she was so disillusioned by the nutritional guidelines that she paved her own path and stayed clear of the low-fat diets of the day, and not without controversy.
Her groundbreaking book Changing Habits Changing Lives (1998) became an instant bestseller and from there she has grown a successful organic food company, certified online education program along with releasing the acclaimed What’s With Wheat documentary.
You can find out more about Cyndi and Changing Habits at changinghabits.com.au
How did Cyndi come to this lifestyle?
Cyndi had been maintaining her healthy weight for a number of years but then over a two-year period, the kilos started to creep on.
So, in order to get back to her optimal weight, she set upon changing her food lifestyle. She had seen amazing results with the intermittent fasting protocol, she had also seen the importance of resetting her leptin, which is a hormone directly linked to body fat and obesity, so she instituted a protocol for herself and started off on her weight loss journey to drop the 10kgs she had gained.
Within 10 days she had lost around 6kgs, all her body aches and pains had disappeared and she had unbelievable clarity of mind. She continued the program for 21 days at which point she then started to reintroduce certain foods she had eliminated back into her diet. When she got to the 5th week she reintroduced wheat back into her diet, not thinking it would be an issue because she was never diagnosed as having Coeliac Disease and had always eaten wheat. But as soon as she did, her back pain came back and she gained about 900gms in weight overnight, which was inflammation not weight, plus her brain fog returned.
From there she asked herself, what’s wrong with wheat?
She decided to remove wheat from her diet again and stayed away from it.
Because her husband was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease in 1998, she knew exactly how to live without wheat in her diet.
For the next two years after this, she studied as much as she could about it from the best experts in the field.
After this long process, she decided to make a documentary about wheat and that is how ‘What’s With Wheat?’ was born.
What’s wrong with wheat and gluten?
Due to the overpopulation of countries in the late 1970s and the need to feed a lot more food to people, wheat was hybridised so that it could grow easier and be harvested easier with machines instead of people.
Due to this hybridised process, chemicals were heavily introduced into the growing and producing of wheat. It was called the green revolution and it certainly didn’t relate at all to what we know today as being ‘green’ or ‘eco-friendly’. It was, in fact, the opposite.
This sparked the massive change in the wheat industry to become what we know it is today. Wheat became more widely and regularly eaten because it was cheap to produce even though it lacked nutrients.
Cyndi believes the change in her weight at the age of 52 (around 2012) which is when she also started to see the biggest problems in her body was because of wheat and which then led to her self-diagnosis of non-coeliac gluten sensitivity.
In 2000, a product we all know called Roundup was being used in the drying process of wheat around the world. Just before harvest, Roundup would be sprayed on the wheat grain to increase the drying process and to remove the outer foliage, making it easier and quicker to harvest.
At this time Roundup was seen as a product that did not affect humans, so it was deemed as being perfectly safe for farmers to use as a tool to slightly increase their yields and make harvesting far easier.
What we now know is that there is an accumulative effect with Roundup in our systems over time which Cyndi attributes to the amount of time it took for her to develop her sensitivity to wheat.
Cyndi believes that she became intolerant to Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), so she decided to make sure she would only eat organic wheat. Unfortunately, even organic wheat was starting to affect her. It took years to heal her gut due to it being massively damaged by wheat and glyphosate.
What are the stats?
In 1965, 2% of the population had a chronic disease. Fast forward to now, 38%-40% of children under the age of 15 have one or more chronic diseases!
If we extend that to the elderly, we are seeing an increase in Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia. But if they don’t have that, then they’ll most likely have inflammation in their bodies.
And then if we look at all the ages in between, we have increased autoimmune diseases, food sensitivities, allergies, gut issues, heart disease, diabetes, neurological conditions, cancers and more. All these conditions are escalating at an alarming rate.
Yes, it is a chemical which has been in the media A LOT lately, but how much can it really have an impact?
Consider this, glyphosate is sprayed EVERYWHERE! It is contained in 596 products available to buy in Australia.
You will find it on:
- Sports fields
- Roadside curbs
So yes, it is one chemical, but it is the most sprayed chemical on the planet today! Which means our exposure to it is MASSIVE!
What is the difference between Coeliac Disease and Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity?
Coeliac Disease is a genetic autoimmune disease and is lifelong. If a sufferer is exposed to gluten it can be extremely detrimental to their health and even life-threatening. With Coeliac Disease there is co-morbidity such as osteoporosis, lymphomas, cancers etc.
Coeliac Disease has a specific way to test for it which can yield a positive or negative result.
Whereas Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity has no autoimmunity, is not genetic and can be reversed. A sufferer who can tolerate exposure to gluten doesn’t, at this stage, seem to be at risk of co-morbid diseases.
Non-Coeliac Gluten Sensitivity does not have any reliable testing, at the moment, to test for whether you have it or not. However, eliminating wheat and gluten from diet seems to eradicate the symptoms.
There are similarities between the two though, such as:
- Toxic changes in the body because of the GMO’s, glyphosate etc.
- Changes in the microbiome in both
- Similar symptoms such as gut, systemic and neurological problems
How do we avoid ingesting all these chemicals that get sprayed on our foods?
The simple answer is, as much as you possibly can, eat either chemical-free or certified organic foods.
Our foods are sprayed with so many chemicals, not just glyphosate, and a lot of them that are linked to health issues to do with unborn children, fertility and the list goes on and on.
If you live in areas where getting access to organic or chemical-free foods is hard, the simple solution is to grow your own. Yes, it’s effort and time to get your produce to harvest, but it is so worth the effort because that way you know exactly what you’re eating.
For everything that is not fresh, ie. nuts, grains, seeds etc., you can source online from reputable organic retailers.
For fresh meat, find an organic butcher, and if you don’t have one in your area, there are online organic butchers that can send meat to you.
It’s totally doable! It’s just about getting back to eating real food!
If you don’t invest in your health now then you will have to later, and later on, when disease hits, it will be a lot more costly to you.
How do you go gluten-free?
We know that gluten-free foods aren’t the greatest choice from an additive and preservative perspective, so how can you eat gluten-free in a healthy way?
We need to eat foods that aren’t trying to mimic something else. For example, gluten-free bread. It’s simply not possible to eat bread if you are gluten sensitive. Gluten-free breads are just trying to mimic real white fluffy bread. More often than not they are packed full of synthetic ingredients that need to be used to even get close to a ‘bread’ like consistency and taste that is designed to mimic what real bread is like.
We are in such a movement of fake food at the moment. You can get fake meat, fake cheese, fake butter…. there are so many fake foods and just like stated above, the ingredients lists on these foods can be long and full of other nasty ingredients.
The upshot is there is not always a better ‘cleaner’ alternative to the food you are trying to avoid.
The best thing is to simply not eat that food and remove it from your diet completely and instead retrain your brain so that you don’t need that food anymore.
For example, you don’t have to eat toast for breakfast. There are plenty of other foods you can eat for breakfast instead. Whether you realise it or not there is a whole world of food out there that you can eat.
If bread really is your thing, consider making a seed loaf full of organic nuts and seeds that are actually going to nourish your body and it’s so easy to make yourself, there are plenty of recipes out there.
Don’t focus on what you CAN’T eat, focus on what you CAN eat.
It’s not a quick fix or a quick alternative
Cyndi didn’t revolutionise her diet overnight, it was a long process filled with learning all sorts of information to be able to better her health and make better food choices. This is why she wrote her book Changing Habits Changing Lives so that she can educate people about how they can be proactive with their health and food intake.
How can you make a difference to help eradicate glyphosate?
Cyndi has created a letter that you can send/email to the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority and your local council detailing the objection you have to glyphosate.
All you have to do is copy and paste the letter contents into an email or print and send via snail mail. Just make sure you sign the letter off as being from yourself.
We ask that you send these letters because the more people that do this, the more they will have to take notice! We have more power as a collective group, and we need each and every one of you to make a difference.
DOWNLOAD ALL THE INFO AND LETTERS >>> HERE
Remember, one single person can make a difference!
Where can people find Cyndi?
You can find out all about Cyndi at Changing Habits as well as her programs on offer that will seriously change your life. You can also grab her books and products from there too.
If you want to check out her documentary, What’s With Wheat? Then check it our >>> here.
We have seriously LOVED chatting with Cyndi and learning from her. She is such a wealth of information!
So, head on over and check her out and if you have loved this episode as much as we have, please leave us a review because we love reading them and we would love to know what you think.
Links and Resources