Guest: Cyndi O’Meara
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Cyndi O’Meara is a nutritionist, bestselling 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.
Segment overview: Cyndi O’Meara, nutritionist and co-director of the recent documentary, “What’s With Wheat – The Truth They Don’t Want You To Know!” talks about the way wheat crops are now grown and processed.
Health Professional Radio – Today’s Wheat is Addictive
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so much for joining us today. With the rate of celiac disease and other non-gluten sensitivity disorders soaring, many folks have decided to simply avoid wheat altogether. Is there something about the wheat that we eat today that differs from the wheat of the past? Our guest in studio is Cyndi O’Meara, Nutritionist and Co-Director of the recent documentary, ‘What’s With Wheat?’ – The Truth They Don’t Want You To Know! Also author of the book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives’ and she’s here with us to talk about as she says this highly addictive product that’s making all of us more susceptible to disease. Welcome to Health Professional Radio Cyndi.
Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you Neal.
N: Thank you for returning. You’re the co-author of this brand new documentary. Talk about the documentary, why you produced it?
C: Well as heading into my life 40s and starting to put on weight and lots of aches and pains and anxiety in the mornings like 3 o’clock in the morning I just wake up with it. And I had always eaten well, I had made all my own breads, cakes and cookies and I ate a good diet and I had children that I fed and then I decided I had to do something because I wasn’t feeling good and so I went on an elimination protocol and lost 9 kilos of weight in 3 weeks which is 18 lbs. I lost all my aches and pains, clarity of mind, I didn’t realize how much my brain was just so foggy, so I didn’t realize that and then all my anxiety disappeared and when I started to reintroduce foods back into the diet, because I went on a very simple elimination, all I did was eat meat, vegetables and a few fruits. So then when I started to introduce the foods back in, the minute I introduced wheat overnight I gained 700 grams which would be 1.5 lbs. just overnight which you know is water weight. So I know I was inflamed and my sore back came back. It was just I went, ‘Okay what’s wrong with wheat?’ and so I went (cross talk). Yeah it was wheat, I knew it was wheat at that point.
N: Now you’re also an author, author of the book ‘Changing Habits, Changing Lives.’ Is your experience with wheat the reason that you wrote this book or were you an author before?
C: Well I wrote Changing Habits, Changing Lives probably back around 1990 – 1991 but I didn’t publish it until 1998 and it was a bit of a revolution at the time because I was back then talking about eating too much wheat. Let’s cut down on the wheat, I didn’t say cut it out I just said let this other grains out there because I was noticing as a Nutritional Consultant that every time I looked at someone’s diet they thought they had variety but in actual fact it was wheat and dairy and that was it because they’d have breakfast cereals with milk and then they might have a muffin with butter then they or even margarine and they’d have cheese sandwich and then they might have biscuits and/or crackers and cheese and then for dinner they’d have pasta and cheese. So I noted that in the beginning, so I just that was two chapters, one was on dairy and one was on wheat. Changing Habits, Changing Lives is an education program about what have they’d done to our food, so I started with breakfast cereals and then salt and sugar and chocolate and wheat and dairy and anything I could come up with that showed the processing, the additives, whatever they would doing to it and explain to people what’s the alternative to what you are now buying and it went to be a best seller here in Australia. I self-published because no publisher wanted it, it was too controversial and that’s where Changing Habits the actual company started from. So I did one book and then another book and then another book and another book so I’ve written 9 books that are either on the internet through electronic version or you can get hard copies of them and then I guess it would become a very trusted company here in Australia and worldwide by the way. Since What’s With Wheat was released we’ve got a worldwide audience and America in particular, we have 80% of the people who have downloaded the movie are out of the US.
N: You talk about this brand new product that we call wheat being highly addictive. You kick the habit for lack of a better term, how do you tell other folks, folks like me or other health care professionals? How do you advise them to talk maybe to their patients about kicking this wheat habit just like you did? Where do you start?
C: Well it depends on whether they’re in crisis or not. So let’s say they have an autoimmune disease that we know is linked to gluten or they have non-celiac gluten sensitivity where they have, where you’re looking at yourself and you’re going ‘Is this 50? Is this what 50 looks like? aches, pains, gaining weight, anxiety?’ So it depends on how desperate they are to get better and make a change. I think that that’s number one and if they’re motivated it’s very easy. We’ve got the 6 Weeks No Wheat Program that guides them through getting off these foods and getting off wheat, so that’s number one. If it’s somebody that doesn’t have a wheat issue but knows that they should be probably having a little bit more variety in their diet then we just give alternatives, we just say “Well instead of having breakfast cereals in the morning why don’t you try eggs and bacon?” Back to the old fashion foods that we used to age or eggs with a salad or an omelet or something like that, so it’s throughout ‘Changing Habit, Changing Lives’ I give alternatives to what you think is good for you but I think education and that’s why I’ve written books and why I write blogs and why I’m always on social media making comments about the conflict that is happening out there. But we do know wheat is addictive and whether it’s addictive because that’s what we’ve always eaten or whether it’s addictive because of the chemicals that are made in the liver from wheat and one of them is called gluten endorphin which is an endorphin which makes you feel good.
N: Is that right?
C: Yeah, we know that it does that and but I don’t think it’s bad that food give us a ‘high’ because if foods didn’t give us something then we may not eat. But people have to realize that that is there so to ask somebody to give up their breads and their cereals and their pastas and their muffins and their cakes can be quite daunting and so we do it in a step by step manner as opposed to eradicating everything and made it like. But if I had somebody come to me who’s on five medications, that have Hashimoto’s which is a thyroid condition where it’s an autoimmune disease where the body’s eating the thyroid I give it to them straight and I say to them ‘If you continue to eat gluten, then your body is going to continue to consume your thyroid and you will have to be on thyroid medications for the rest of your life. But let’s say six weeks to three months and let’s see how good you feel and then go back to test with your medical doctor and see if you need to continue to eat this thyroid or take this thyroid medication.’ And I had a young girl come to me exactly like that, 21, 5 medications, an absolute mess. And what we did was over a three month period we just really concentrated on her diet and she went back to her doctor and she’s off every medication, she doesn’t even have Hashimoto’s anymore.
N: Really, that’s amazing. All because of removing wheat from the diet.
C: We did do a lot more but wheat was a big part of that.
N: Where can our listeners go and get more information about Changing Habits, Changing Lives and also about the brand new documentary that you’ve co-directed?
C: Yeah, you can actually get Changing Habits, Changing Lives on Kindle, on Amazon, it’s available. It’s also available on my website which is changinghabits.com.au. If you would like to download the movie What’s With Wheat you can watch it on whatswithwheat.com and there’s also social media you can go to Facebook, What’s With Wheat and Changing Habits both available and to social media people who’d like to just check out what we’re doing and what we’re saying and more research about non-celiac gluten sensitivity and gluten withdrawal in autoimmune disease will also be on both of those sites.
N: It’s been a pleasure Cyndi.
C: Thank you Neal.
N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au, you can also find us at hpr.fm, you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes. You’re listening to Health Professional Radio and I’m your host Neal Howard. Thank you so much for joining us today.