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!” discusses the question of whether modern wheat is to blame for a number of concerns from brain fog to poor memory, metabolic issues, disturbed sleep patterns and gastrointestinal issues.
Health Professional Radio – Wheat Intolerance
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, thank you so for joining us today. First it was ‘Super-Size Me’ then ‘That Sugar Film,’ now a new documentary, ‘What’s With Wheat? – The Truth They Don’t Want You to Know!’ is asking some serious questions about wheat. Our guest in studio is the Co-Director of this Australian feature, Cyndi O’Meara and she’s here to discuss whether modern wheat is to blame for a number of health concerns. Welcome to the program Cyndi.
Cyndi O’Meara: Thanks Neal.
N: Thank you. You’re the Co-Director of a brand new documentary, ‘What’s With Wheat?’ – The Truth They Don’t Want You To Know! Normally truth is a good thing, why wouldn’t they want us to know it? What is this truth that they don’t want us to know especially about wheat?
C: Well wheat’s a multi-million dollar industry and a multi of billion dollar industry doesn’t want to go down the tubes and so everybody has believed that wheat is the stuff of life but wheat once a upon a time may have been the stuff of life but because of what they’ve done to wheat and it’s a cascade of events. It’s not just one thing it’s a cascade of events that have happened that has made wheat a very big part of our lives where it seen many of our grocery items, it’s in our vitamins and minerals, medications, vaccinations even doors are made with wheat. So yeah wheat’s a big part of the landscape of food and medications and supplementation and then again building materials.
N: Now as Co-Director of this recent documentary, are you a film maker or are you a nutritionist? Which came first, the film maker or the nutritionist?
C: I’ve been a nutritionist for 32 years. I graduated in 1984, so I was a nutritionist first and I wrote a book called Changing Habits, Changing Lives and we have a company down here and I’m ‘down here’ saying Australia, we have a company down here called Changing Habits which we have organic foods that we supply to people or programs and protocols, education programs and then I don’t know. The documentary was just something that we thought ‘Let’s get to more people’ and because I had had an issue with wheat years previously and here I am I’m a nutritionist, I have been for a long time. I was brought up in a very holistic lifestyle, I’ve never had an antibiotic, I’ve never had any medications, I’ve eaten foods from scratch, I’ve made everything from organic foods as much as possible and all of a sudden at my late 40s I started to have a wheat issue. And I didn’t know it was wheat, what I did was an elimination program and then introduced foods back in and wheat just funded down as the biggest issue of all. So I had done cultural anthropology at the University of Colorado and I’ve thought ‘Well let’s find out what’s happening with wheat’ and it was a journey that I went on and I thought ‘Maybe the rest of the world needs to know about what’s happening with wheat.’
N: Well you mentioned earlier, you said what’s being done to wheat. I thought wheat was wheat, you grow it, you cut it down, you turn it into cereal or bread or whatever. Are you saying that there’s something that’s being done to wheat that’s maybe to blame for a number of health concerns? Everything from brain fog, poor memory, metabolic issues and if I may ask what was your specific issue?
C: Well I started to gain weight to over a 2 year period. I started to get a really sore back, a hip where I thought ‘Geez am I gonna have to have a hip replacement?’ because there is so much pain with my hip, I had anxiety at 3 in the morning, just like dry skin, dry hair and I just could not figure out, I’m still eating the same food, how can this possible be? And so when I did the elimination I lost 9 kilos in 3 weeks, so 9 kilos would be 18 lbs. in 3 weeks which has never come back. A lot of weight, but I think a lot of it was inflammation, a lot it was water so in the first week I lost nearly 10 lbs. that was in that first week of stopping eating wheat. All my backache disappeared, aches and pains disappeared, absolute clarity of mind came, no anxiety, dry skin disappeared. That took a couple of months before that started to disappear but slowly but surely, things just started to change. I used to lose my voice all the time, that stopped happening and it’s over the years, it’s been nearly 5 years since I gave up wheat. I can see I get better and better and better, I get more limber, my yoga practice is better, I can run farther, I swim every day, so and I’m in my mid-50s so.
N: Simply giving up wheat, what is it about wheat that’s not healthy or again I ask why? What is it about the wheat?
C: Well it’s many events and I explain these all thru the documentary but let’s just go through them. First of all we started to fortify our wheat with synthetic vitamins and mind minerals, we started to eat more, it was made into breakfast cereals which was not the old traditional way of making foods from wheat. Our bread changed, we no longer have sourdoughs, we had a bread that in 2 hours it was in a plastic bag ready for consuming whereas it used to be a very long process to do the sourdough and to get rid of all the anti-nutrient. And then there’s the hybridization of wheat which happened in the 70s and was basically there to make the mechanization of harvesting far easier so the whole structure of the wheat changed. And then around 1998-2000, a herbicide called Roundup with the active ingredient glyphosate started to be sprayed on the wheat fields as a desiccant three weeks before harvest which we now know destroys bacteria’s ability to make amino acids and therefore kills either the bacteria of the plants and also destroys our microbiome or has a destructive influence on the microbiome which means that our amino acids are being produced and therefore our neurotransmitters are being produced. So there was this cascade of events that just happened wherein we’re eating more and then the herbicide comes in and more glyphosate is in the wheat and if you’re eating a lot then you’re exposed to more of the herbicide. And so not only were we destroying the plant itself, so we used to have old, traditional wheat grains and now we have this modern wheat grains. But gluten has becomes stronger, harder to digest and then we don’t have the bacteria that helps us digest that and therefore we just have this I guess this perfect storm that has happened wherein we’re now seeing so many problems with wheat and gluten.
N: I understand a multi-billion dollar industry not wanting to lose any of their money making ability but with wheat being in everything even in doors as you say. You are aware of this information, you’ve produced this documentary. Why is it the medical community screaming ‘Bloody Murder’ about this? Is it this contributing to many of the reasons that we’re continually going back to the hospital again and again and again for basically the same illnesses? Are you saying that wheat is pretty much to blame for this?
C: No, I don’t think wheat’s the sole problem. At the end of the documentary I say ‘Look, the story of wheat is the story of food.’ It’s time for us to be interested in the production of our food and stop letting the multinationals spray neurotoxins and toxicity on our food that is destroying our very cell structure. So as far as the medical community they’re just coming to grips that food has anything to do with our health. So they’re way behind the times and it’s something that I have always been interested in is food, 32 years in the same industry and watching for 32 years people becoming more and more having a problem with wheat and I guess when it happens to you is when you kind of wake up and especially when you’re in the industry and the new condition that’s been termed in 2012 called non-celiac wheat sensitivity or non-celiac gluten sensitivity is becoming more and more recognized in research but it takes up to 17 years for a medical fraternity or even our dietitians to get this information through the university systems. So unless you’re out there and really looking at what’s happening you’ll not gonna get this information and so the documentary was my way of getting to more people instead of a one-on-one consultation basis.
N: Let’s talk a bit about your internet presence, changinghabits.com.au, what would we expect to find there when we navigate to that website?
C: There’s a lot there at the moment. So there’s lots of programs and protocols or not lots but we have 4 programs and protocols and one of them is the ‘6 Weeks No Wheat’ which we produced as a result of the documentary but they will see lots of programs and protocols to help them navigate getting away from the foods that we now consuming, getting away from wheat and starting to eat real foods again and one of the programs on there is the program that I did to eliminate wheat and then to figure out that that was my problem and we also have… foods, so foods that are organic, sustainable, ethical and you can trust them because they’re in my pantry and I’m a researcher so I find the best of foods. There’s also my education program, it’s a 12-month online nutrition program and we start with the basics, we start with cultural anthropology and the philosophy of holism or vitalism rather than mechanism where everybody’s breaking foods down now. Another things that you’ll find is ‘What’s With Wheat?’ but you can also just go to whatswithwheat.com and you will find everything about the documentary, who’s on it, we’ve got some amazing talents and researchers and pediatricians and gastroenterologist that I went around the world and activists and farmers to talk too about what’s happened to wheat. And it’s a phenomenal, even if I say so myself, it is a phenomenal documentary because it tells a story and it goes back to the 1920s when we started to change wheat.
N: Great. Well it’s been a pleasure having you in studio today with us Cyndi.
C: Thank you very much Neal.
N: Transcripts and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to this podcast on iTunes.