Ever felt overwhelmed by the overload of nutritional information swirling around the food blogosphere? With a tonne of articles and podcasts available to us, it’s easy to feel a little lost while reading up on omega-3 fatty acids, probiotic microbes and everything in between.
If author Cyndi O’Meara could say one thing to you, she’d probably tell you to take a deep breath and rethink whatever you’ve heard about fats, salt, sugar and other unpopular foods.
Her unique, mind-blowingly simple approach is firmly grounded in science. This best-selling author, nutritionist and speaker has reached international acclaim and is a breath of fresh air when it comes to nutrition. Cyndi is a believer in a balanced diet and she must be doing something right as she’s never taken an antibiotic, painkiller or any other form of medication in her entire life! Ok, did that get your attention? Read on for an insight into her daily food choices as well as plenty of nutritional pearls of wisdom…
Welcome to our humble MNB! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m 53 years young and a very proud mother to 4 adult children; Tarnea, 19; Casie, 22; Brogan, 24; Fran, 39; I’m married to chiropractor and managing director of Changing Habits, Howard O’Meara. I’ve been a nutritionist for 30 years and have an absolute love for food, nutrition, cooking and health. I spend my time traveling nationally and internationally, speaking to corporations and the public on up-to-date information about nutrition and health. When I’m at home on the Sunshine Coast, I love to run, walk and swim at Mooloolaba beach and enjoy my morning catch up with my youngest daughter and husband as well as creating new recipes in my kitchen. Hiking mountains and riding my horse are my down times and a chance to catch up on what spiritually energises me.
The lowdown on your business is…
Changing Habits was founded in 1989 when I began writing a weekly column for the Sunshine Coast Daily. By 1998 I self published my best selling book Changing Habits Changing Lives and Penguin Books became my publisher in 2000. Up until 4 years ago Changing Habits was an information company but due to demand for the foods I talk about, Changing Habits has morphed into a company that not only provides current and up to date information on food and nutrition but also provides ethical and sustainable health foods for people who are interested in making a difference in their health and that of the planet.
Changing Habits is an online business with an extensive website filled with information to help people on all levels of their journey to health. There are protocols, programs, books and foods all geared to educate and empower people to live healthier lives. Changing Habits also has a massive following on social media as well as a weekly podcast available on iTunes, called Up For A Chat. Up for A Chat is in the top 3 health podcasts in Australia and top 25 in the US.
Along with my husband, Howard, managing director and my committed team, Changing Habits continues to thrive as a leader in the health food and information industry in Australia and around the world.
Have you always been an Active Living advocate?
I don’t ever remember a time when I wasn’t interested in health. I was bought up in a family that was always talking about health. My father was a pharmacist and later became a chiropractor, my Mum loved cooking and we lived a healthy lifestyle, hiking and spending time outdoors, the mountains were our play ground. After I finished school I studied pre-med at the University of Colorado in Boulder then came back to Australia to study nutrition at Deakin University in Geelong. I can’t imagine doing anything else but learning and teaching about health, food and nutrition.
Describe a typical day of MNB’ing…
I wake with the sun, run and swim at Mooloolaba beach with some yoga salutes to the sun, go home for breakfast usually a green smoothie, CADA (coconut, almond, date and apple) with homemade yogurt or cooked breakfast with pesto, rocket (from my garden), haloumi and eggs. Then my youngest daughter and I go out for a coffee. Before we speak to each other it is our ritual to write 10 things we are grateful for in our life in our gratitude journal. If I’m not traveling to speak or look for new foods, or hiking some exotic land, I go to the Changing Habits office and spend my time researching and writing.
Lunch is always a salad with some meat, fish or chicken along with homemade goodies. I love to whip up my homemade walnut pesto for a simple, tasty salad topper.
I try not to stay at the office late as we like to eat dinner early and I love to cook, a healthy meal, usually meat, fish or chicken with a freshly picked garden salad and one vegetable. My daughter and I then play in the kitchen to create a new dessert or treat made from whole foods only. We always come up with something new and yummy. When my other children are home we spend time at the dinner table catching up on life and what our day was like.
Bed is early as I know the importance of sleep for health and I love my early mornings.
Top three foods you can’t live without?
Wild salmon, sweet potato and rocket.
Healthy snacks in your handbag…
I actually don’t put any healthy snacks or food in my hand bag instead I always carry a small soft esky with me that has; coconut water, water or cold herb tea, a sweet snack that I might have made including; tevol bars or date squishes as well as mixed nuts and my lunch if I need it. Lunch is always greens from the garden, tomato, cucumber, feta and some left over meat from the night before.
Best advice you’ve been given?
For as long as I can remember I’ve had good advice from so many people, mentors are everywhere in my life, but I have to say when my husband advised me to start a food company to provide the foods from my book Changing Habits Changing Lives, that was one of the best pieces of advice and my company has never looked back. Not only did my husband advise me in my business but he also joined me. A great move.
What are your top Move Nourish Believe tips?
Making decisions about what you eat how you should move and what to believe is not easy, as there is so much information out there and much of it is conflicting. When I make a decision about my health I know that I have an evolutionary body with biochemistry to match, so I think about how my ancestors may have eaten and moved. And as far as beliefs, I love the aboriginal culture of manifesting and believing that the universe will provide but you must ask for what you want.
My Go-to Snack Recipe
A delicious and healthy slice, great for a snack and packed lunches for the kids (and adults).
Inca Inchi Protein Bars
- 2 cups almond meal
- 4 tablespoons Inca Inchi Protein Powder
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ teaspoon Seaweed salt
- ½ cup Coconut oil
- 2-4 tablespoons of Honey or Rapadura Sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)
- 1 Vanilla bean, scraped
- 1/2 cup Cacao wafers
- 2 tablespoons Coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons Honey or Rapadura Sugar (add more if you like it sweeter)
- Pinch of Seaweed salt
- 1/2 cup activated almonds, chopped
- Mix almond meal, inca inchi protein powder, shredded coconut and salt together
- In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat
- Remove coconut oil from stove, add the honey or rapadura syrup and vanilla into oil
- Add coconut oil mixture to dry ingredients until a coarse mixture forms
- Press mixture into a lined baking tray and chill
- Meanwhile (in the same sauce pan) melt cacao, coconut oil, honey or rapadura syrup and seaweed salt over low heat
- Once completely melted, spread cacao mix on top of the base and sprinkle with almonds, return to fridge until chocolate hardens
- Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars, serve and enjoy!
Thanks Cyndi for sharing your words of wisdom on all things nutrition, wellness and health! We are so excited to try your delicious sweet and savoury recipes…
Want to keep in touch with this active mover and shaker? Visit Cyndi’s Changing Habits website or stay connected on Facebook and Pinterest. Oh, and her weekly podcast series Up For A Chat is a must-listen!