For people that don't know who you are, could you give us a brief background of your professional journey, to where you are now?
I studied at Deakin University and University of Colorado with a BSc in Nutrition and Anthropology. Consulted as a nutritionist for 5 years then moved into research and writing. I’ve written 9 books (hard and electronic) over the last 15 years. And now have a health food company that provides foods that are ethical and sustainable for all parties concerned. I spend much of my time writing, researching and speaking nationally and internationally for corporations and the public.
Can you tell us a bit about your childhood? I have heard that you've never ingested an antibiotic or pain killer in your life. Were your parents also renegades of their time? Did you learn about the joys of Real, Whole food from them, or was this something that you developed an interest in independently?
My father was a chiropractor, by grandfather an organic companion farmer from the 1950’s and my mother an amazing cook who made everything from scratch. My parents belief was that the body has an innate intelligence that has the ability to keep us healthy as long as we give it the right resources (food, sunlight, movement, etc) and don’t interfere unless in a life threatening situation. My Dad felt that if I had pain as a young child I would learn to cope with it without medication so that I could deal with the bigger pains in life. He also felt the same about infection. If I could cope without antibiotics with the small infections in child hood I would be able to deal with the bigger diseases later in life. He had an absolute faith in the human body. I have three adult children who have been brought up the same way and have never had antibiotics, or any prescribed or over-the-counter medications. Yes my Dad and Mum were the original hippies of the 1960’s but they didn’t know it at the time they were just doing what they believed in. Funny part about this whole story is that my Dad was a pharmacist for 6 years before going onto do Chiropractic.
What is the main message of Changing Habits, and what is it that you really want people to know about the relationship between food and their bodies and overall health?
Changing Habits is a place for education, a place to come and learn a new way of eating and thinking about health. Most people are swayed by marketing and advertising, we try to educate with facts rather then propaganda. We also provide the food and protocols that helps support that education. Changing Habits believe a super food is one we grow in our back yard without chemicals, then pick and eat.
Changing Habits believe that we should support our local food producers by consuming season local foods. The one ingredient pantry is our mantra, all foods in the pantry should have one ingredient and then from the basic ingredients all can be made. If we do not have a relationship with where our food comes from and how it is made then we cannot have health. Knowing where fruit, vegetables, herbs, meat, fish, chicken, nuts, seeds, eggs and dairy come from and how they are farmed and managed is paramount in finding health. Most people don’t even know what most of the packaged foods are made from. Once people know about how their food is produced they begin to take note as to the ethics and morality of many modern farming practices and then change happens.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
I love what I do. I’ve been a nutritionist for 29 years now, graduated in 1984, it’s been my love and my passion. I can hardly wait to read the latest news on nutrition. My iPod is filled with nutrition lectures from around the world that I update weekly to find the latest. I have 50 nutrition books that I have listened to over the last few years and my book shelf has everything that has been written about food from the last 30 years. Because I do what I teach, at 53 I have more energy than many people younger then me, my health allows me to keep up the pace of education, teaching, speaking and writing. Life is a journey and I’m so happy to be a part of this shift in health and food.
What's your favourite food that still feels like an indulgence, but that you know your body will actually thank you for?
I have so many favourite foods, it’s hard to choose. I’m very strict with my eating and the foods I choose to put in my body. I’ll only put foods in that support my health and energy, I don’t cheat and I don’t see a good quality chocolate as a cheat. I see cheating when you eat a food that you know will harm your health such as takeaway, additives, preservatives, flavourings, colourings, man-made foods and fats, processed packaged foods to name a few. My favourite meal is wild salmon, sweet potato and fresh picked rocket salad, or lamb shanks with sweet potato and fresh picked salad. My sweet treat is my homemade chocolates, made from 100% cacao, coconut oil, seaweed salt and maleo (rapadura sugar syrup). My favourite breakfast is scrambled eggs, homemade pesto and relish with fresh picked wild rocket. See I told you I loved food.
I know you're aware of a recent study from Deakin University that has revealed that Mum's who have an unhealthy diet and lack proper nutrition during pregnancy have a much greater chance of having kids who develop depression, anxiety and behavioral problems by the age of 5. Could you give us more details about this study?
When I saw this study, I just thought DOH! Isn’t this just common sense? But then common isn’t common anymore. Our diets have changed dramatically since the mid 1970’s and 1980’s and this is when disease rates, mentally and physically started to soar. Put good foods into the body and you will get good results, physically and mentally. There is also information that it isn’t just what the mother eats, but also the parents of the mother as well as the father. We are bringing up a generation of very sick kids (physically and mentally) and if we don’t turn this around by changing the nutritional guidelines, it is going to get worse.
Our doctors don’t even know that nutrition has everything to do with all aspects of health, so if someone asks "will it help if I change my diet", their doctor will probably say- NO. Communities will be split between the ones who educate themselves and those that don’t. The smart ones will realise that what we’ve done in the past has not worked and something new needs to happen.
The information coming out of research is phenomenal, they are linking diet to depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD and of course autoimmunity, heart disease, cancer (the latest is on soya formulas and their link to childhood cancer), allergies, asthma and so on. I look at many studies and this one was no different – did we really need a study to tell us this??
Below are the links to some of the products and programs that are offered on Cyndi's website, including the book (and cook book) that helped change my habits!! These are just a tiny selection- click through and browse some more....