Cyndi receives many questions from the public about nutrition, health and the ‘Changing Habits’ approach. Below you will find a list of many of these questions and her answers. If you have a question that is not answered below please go to the contact us page and submit an enquiry.
Click on a question below to see the answer to your question!
Are all of your products organic?
Everything is certified organic except the salt, colloidal and drops. These cannot not be certified organic but they are free from chemicals it is because they come from plant matter or under the ground so cannot pass the approval process.
Can my children take the Colloidal Minerals, Probiotics, Supreme Green Blend and Camu Camu?
Yes, definitely. All of those products are completely safe and actually highly benefical for their health. They are derived from plants, are natural and contain no toxic elements. However, the colloidal minerals do contain a miniscule amount of alcohol, which is used as a preservative- but the amount in there together with the daily dosage means that it is perfectly fine.
Can you please give me an idea of what reconstituted fruit means?
Normally reconstituted fruit is dehydrated fruit soaked in water and then used to manufacture foods or juices. More often then not the reconstituted fruit has preservatives and additives and could have colourings.
Can you please tell me about the goodness of a Rice Bran Oil spread?
I don’t know the rice oil spread but I can tell you this. There are three ways in which a liquid oil can be solid. The first is partial hydrogenation (which produces trans fats) if it is super hydrogenated then it will produce saturated fats. The second way is intersterifcation of fats. This produces a fat called IF’s, IF’s are not from nature but a chemical laboratory. Research points to the fact if you eat IF’s then within a month your chances of becoming prediabetic increase greatly. The third way is factionation, either by using natural methods (very expensive) or chemicals. I don’t know of any other methods and unless they are using natural method fractionation then I can’t believe that the spread is safe. Don’t believe propoganda, look at the facts.
Can you tell me which additives I should be avoiding?
In order for me to go through each number and tell you why it is bad I would need to write a book, so I’ve generalized here to put it into one or so pages.
102 107 110 120 122-129 132 142 150 151 155 160B. Have many links to a number of conditions. The hyperactive Children’s Support Group has recommended the avoidance of all these colours as well as all the other numbers on this page.
Nitrates, nitrites 249-252 their role is to preserve but they are considered toxic and carcinogenic.
TBHQ BHA BHT 319-321
Flavour Enhancers 620-625, 627 631 635
Additives that are disguised in many foods but always contain 621
Hydrolysed vegetable protein– contains between 30-60% MSG
Hydrolysed plant protein
Plant protein extract
Calcium caseinate and sodium caseinate
Textured protein or TVP
(These are found in packaged soups, bouillion, stock, natural flavouring, malt flavour broth spices, seasoning.
951 Aspartame is the most complained about food additive. Linked to many health problems including cancer, asthma, depression, hyperactivity and seizures.
More artificial Sweeteners and other Sweeteners (linked to cancer and other disorders)
952 954 955 965 966 967 958 951
High Fructose Syrup, Corn syrup
Soy Protein Isolate – found in most high protein foods, like protein bars and protein powders (read last paragraph of page 147
Textured Vegetable Protein TVP
Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil and Partially hydrogenated vegetable oil – due to trans fats and processing to create an oil that doesn’t go rancid
Margarine (beware the new 1% trans fat, they are substituting it with saturated fat, up to 30%
Can you tell me your thoughts on eating for your blood type?
Certain foods may be digested easier for certain blood types and beneficial to overall health and may also increase energy and prevent illness. For detailed information in regards to eating for you blood type, there is a chapter on this in the “Changing Habits Changing Lives” book or you can search “Changing Habits Audio- Eat right for your blood type” on the Changing Habits Website.
Could you recommend some beauty and skincare products that are natural (in order to reduce my chemical calories)
As far as skin cosmetics there are a lot of wonderful natural cosmetic companies. I recommend you get the book About Face by Kim Morrison and Fleur Whelligan which has all the information you need in order to choose a good cosmetic. I live on the Sunshine Coast and up here alone there are probably 20 really good companies and individuals making brilliant products. As for household cleaning alternatives I use ENJO and it is very rare I need anything else for cleaning. For when you do need a detergent go into your local health food store and see if they sell any or call a TriNature consultant to come and visit you so you can learn more about natural detergents for clothes and dishes.For natural skin care products I highly recommend you check out the range from Twenty8.
Do you have a remedy for sinus. I have had it for months now and it won't go away.
I believe the body is sensitive to a food, are you eating or drinking anything in excess or anything different that may account for the sinus. Changing Habits Changing Lives is about getting the body healthy so it can look after itself. Are you following all the habits. Read through them again and make sure you are doing them.
Do you think your recipes and lifestyle change may help us a family?
So to answer your question, firstly I understand completely about the time you want to and can spend cooking. I’m the quick cook, there is only one recipe in my book that takes time and that is the cinnamon rolls and they are worth every minute. Other then that all my meals are quick and easy.
I’m not a nutritionist that does not allow yummy foods, chocolate cake and cookies are on my good list. The main difference with my cook book is that is uses only natural ingredients, no technology foods what so ever. I think you should read my book Changing Habits Changing Lives so that you understand what is a good food and what is a bad food.
How do I get my cholesterol levels down?
The diet I propose should help to get your cholesterol level down. There are many reasons cholesterol levels increase and it is not always diet, make sure you read the cholesterol chapter to understand the whole mechanism. However, if you are looking to reduce your bad cholesterol and increase your good cholesterol through changes to your diet I recommend you book a consultation with our nutritionist.
I am interested in learning more about nutrition, food and our bodies. I was wondering whether you could recommend any study courses, website, groups or books that would be worth looking at.
There are many study courses around to get a degree or diploma in nutrition and health sciences. I did a BSc. majoring in Nutrition but didn’t agree with the philosophy so went to many seminars and read many different books after my degree to get the understanding of nutrition that I have today. That was 24 years ago. We do an online course here at Changing Habits, you can find out more information about this course by clicking on the “Education” tab at the top of the website.
I am interested in what oil I can substitute for the softer butter.
Just use a light olive oil, sometimes I use avocado other times apricot kernel.
I am lactose intolerant but manage yoghurt and small amounts of cheese easily. I was using nuttelex until I read your book but am now confused as to what would be best to use as a spread and in cooking apart from butter?
Ghee is a good option. But butter is good too, if you can’t tolerate it then ghee might work as it is a clarified butter. For toast I often use avocado or nut butters (cashew, almond etc)
I am on a pretty strict budget, could you please give any tips for some quick healthy snacks?
I make all my own foods, cakes, muesli bars etc. It is far cheaper then buying them. I love dips and cut vegetables, which is in my cook book, how I preserve them and make them. I also have lots of recipes in my past newsletters and on the Changing Habits Facebook page and website.
I am very cautious with my child in regards to foods, and give him no dairy (apart from yoghurt which I make myself and cheese). He is predominantly breastfed but has a small amount of soy formula before he goes to bed each night
I don’t like soy formulas but it is not about me it is about what you feel comfortable with. Please Google the following ‘Soy and Mary Enig’ read the information and then make up your own mind if you want to continue to feed your son the soy formula. Alternatives are fresh goats milk rather then the formula. I know it is hard and it sounds like you’ve gone to a lot of trouble to make sure your son is sleeping and thriving
I cannot afford to buy organic so I try to do the next best thing and eat whole foods and buy butter - those things that I can afford to do. Anyway is weetbix OK or not OK - they say they are 97% whole wheat.
Organic is not the main thing, eating natural is so you are on the right track. I don’t like weet-bix they are a totally manufactured food, but if you want to eat it then make sure you put lots of fruit, healthy milk and rapadura sugar with it, then slowly try other breakfast alternatives that I recommend.
I couldn't get arrowroot flour, so used tapioca flour, which apparently is very similar.
Yes they are similar and lately I’ve found that the arrowroot flour has additives so I’ve been making my own tapioca flour.
I would prefer to use another flour. Do you have any suggestions?
You could use amaranth, quinoa, tapioca etc.
I have heard you talk about calcium supplements and you said that there were two sources of calcium. One, you said was a waste of time taking because the body doesn't absorb it. You recommended (if one must take a supplement) using the second source.
When you are thinking about taking a supplement you should always look at the source. Consider that we eat mainly vegetables, grains, fruits and flesh with some dairy, nuts and seeds. These are the best sources of Calcium. Calcium from food or extracted from food. The worst calcium you can buy is calcium from rock like dolomite. I don’t like Calcium supplements that are isolated they are best extracted from food or combined with synergistic minerals.
I've heard you've expressed some concerns about some aspects of soy and in particular soy phytoestrogens. What are those concerns
My philosophy is about getting back to basics and old fashion foods and the foods God provided for us and up until around 20 years ago soy was not in the western diet and only 4% in the asian diet. Soy Milk in it’s natural state is a woody bland tasting drink, unlike most soy milks sold in Australian stores, which have now been changed to resemble cows milk with the use of additives.
I understand your stand on soy and phytoestrogens and I will do some more research in this area. I am an avid reader of Dr Mary Enig a very prominent biochemist and Nutritionist who has been outspoken on many current nutritional fallacies.
I am independent in my research as I am not supported by any food company or I gain no monetary value from the sale of any food. I believe that I am quite unbiased in my opinions and in what I talk about. Whereas Sanitarium staff would need to look for research that supports the consumption of soy, soy derivatives and soy products. I will look at it but I know that on the other hand there will be the same amount of research against the humble soy. I don’t have a problem with soy, what I do have a problem with is the over consumption of this product no matter what state it is in. And if you look at many of your products they do contain soy. I am also concerned about any other natural food we eat too much of such as wheat, sugar and dairy.
As Sanitarium is a company run by the Adventist Church I am quite surprised that it sells some of the foods it does, considering the teachings of Ellen White. I went through the grocery store before my first talk and was quite amazed that many foods are packaged with additives that I would not consider eating in my regular diet. I am the one out of 10 Nutritionists that does not support any breakfast cereal nor recommend them.
I didn’t get a chance to go to the diet talks run by your nutritionist but she did tell me that instead of using coconut milk she made a dish with coconut essence (a totally manufactured flavour) and soy milk. Another thing that did not make any sense. Why use a totally manufactured food instead of a totally natural food like coconut milk.
Sanitarium does have some great products and I commend you on your peanut butter, at last a peanut butter without hydrogenated vegetable oil.
There will always be opposing philosophies about diet and nutrition. There has been since Socrates and Hippocratic time. Mechanism and Vitalism (Wholism) along with Spirituality have been at a tug of war with health and nutrition, and right now I believe that we have lost our spiritual understanding of food and as humans believe we can make what God gave us better. Nature and God provide us with the best food that has not been industrialised and chemicalised by man. This is my philosophy and no matter what a food manufacturer sends me in research it will not change what I have known and feel to be right since I can remember.
I love butter but am concerned of the cholesterol in butter, for our health. All or most products now identify in the nutritional panel the amount of trans fats in the fats of the product, and in my margarine (Meadow Lea) it only 0.5g in 100g.
Yes in the last 18 months most margarines have reduced their trans fats to 1% and below, but for 25 years the heart foundation gave margarine the tick of approval when margarine was as high as 17% trans fats. I recommend you buy my book Changing Habits Changing Lives and get the full info on hydrogenated vegetable oil, or wait for my report to come out. My book is an education on food, I am not out there to scare monger, I’m there to tell people the truth. I have no financial gain in any products. This is my mission- to provide facts for people like you who need to know the truth about the food they eat and feed their children. It is up to you to decide whether you take my information and do something with it and don’t support companies like most margarine companies who have no concern for your health, only to make money. Although margarine is now 1% trans fat what about the fact that many of the additives and the type of oil they use are of no use to anyone who wants to live a healthy lifestyle.
I mixed the sunflower seeds in with the dry ingredients, however my breadmaker beeps during the cycle when fruit and/or nuts can be added to any recipe. Would it be better to add the sunflower seeds later during the cycle?
That sounds like a great idea, but I don’t think that the sunflower seeds are going to make a huge difference added before or after. Add dried fruit also to the mixture that creates a yummy bread.
I notice that your Nutty Apricot Slice includes 175g of diced dried apricots. Surely these would be treated with sulphur dioxide and possibly other additives.
You can buy dried apricots without these additives, check out your local health food store, they are dark in colour not orange
I recently read in a book that you should eat fruit separate to aid digestion? Is this true and is it losing too many benefits if I eat my fruit with other foods.
The book you read was no doubt about food combining with regarding eating fruit separate. I write a chapter in my book on food combining. I state that if you have very poor digestion then it would be prudent to follow the guidelines of the food combining diet, which also goes into not eating certain fruits together. But if you have good digestion then fruit with grains is a great combination to aid in the digestion of the grains and nuts.
I suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and wanted to know if you have much knowledge of this and what can help.
With irritable bowel I suggest you read my book and after you’ve started to make the changes, you need to then become specific to your needs. I suggest soft food for a period of six weeks to help deal with the IBS. Stewed apple, pear and fruits, no multi grain anything, if you are going to have nuts make sure they are very finely ground, only eat cooked vegetables, no salads, no packet cereal only well cooked porridge. Slippery Elm before each meal would also help calm the IBS. The soft food diet is like going back to a baby diet where the baby cannot chew, hope that makes sense.
I want to improve my health, where do I start?
You can go to our website and click on the “Where to start tab” which may be able to point you in the right direction. The 21 Step Reset is a great place to start as creates the foundations of optimal health and vitalistic living. Designed to be the last “start over” you ever do again, this program guides you step-by-step towards a new healthier version of you and provides the education, tools and support for lifelong change. If you are after more personalised information you may want to book a consultation with our nutritionist.
I was wondering if you have any suggestions on the purchase of a water filter for use in the kitchen as this is a new topic for me.
I have two types of water filters, one for under the sink which is a carbon filter, and I also have a water filter that I bought at the health food store which is ceramic with a ceramic filter, I take that in our caravan. There is also another water filter that I suggest and that is the Nikken water filter, the water is very nice, just look it up on the web for Australian pages only, and see if you can find your nearest distributor.
I would like to increase my Iodine Levels, do you recommend any supplements?
Cyndi recommends Fulhealth Iodine, the dose is 1.2mg per drop. She recommends painting the Iodine on every day on the skin in a different area of the body (not taken internally). Start with one drop for one week then go to 2 drops the second week and increase to no more than 4 drops a day. If you feel any heart palpitations on one or two drops then you should take no more, but keep it at 1 drop per day. If you are hiking and get water from a stream then 1 drop in your water bottle will be beneficial to stop Gardia and increase Iodine intake. If you have thyroid problems then seek medical advice (naturopathic would be best) as to the dose you should be taking, otherwise Iodine painting is safe as the body will only take in what it needs. The colour on the skin indicates the absorption of the iodine. The longer the colour lasts the less need for Iodine.
In regards to products that claim they are Gluten free, whats the benefit to this or is it only useful for people who are allergic?
We have so many coeliacs diagnosed in Australia that gluten free has become a marketable product. Not all gluten free products are healthy; you need to read the labels to make sure it is real food.
Is Tofu OK to occasionally eat in small amounts?
The tofu is fine, it is fermented and a little bit will do no harm.
Just out of curiosity and from the point of view of diabetics (I am a type 1)…how do we avoid artificial sweeteners?
I’m sure you know how to monitor your sugar, so why not do some very small experiments with rapadura sugar. I know that current wisdom is for diabetics not to indulge in artificial sweeteners as even they increase blood sugar.
What your thoughts are on silicone cookware?
Like anything new I’m very wary until it has been out for some time and we know the results and if there are any health hazards. I haven’t purchased any of the silicone cook ware I am sticking to glass and stainless steel. I haven’t heard anything against it but I’m waiting to see.
Due to allergies can you suggest some alternatives to raw fruits, nuts, tomatoes, malt and white flour from your book?
Always have cooked fruit, if seeds are ok use seeds instead of nuts, leave tomatoes out no substitute that I can think of, I don’t think I cook with malt and use the substitute flour instead of white flour.
Please be so kind to advise me though on oils. I regularly use extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed madadamia and organic coconut oil in my cooking but am wondering what mild flavoured oil is best to use for general purpose which won't break the bank!
The first press or cold pressed is the best oil to buy that won’t break the bank. As long as you know where the oil has come from and has very little processing you should be fine. If you heat the oil and take it to smoke point, no matter what oil you use it is no good.
Quick question re Soy Lecithin and your thoughts as it is in this really nice organic chocolate from Green and Blacks. Is it an OK form of soy to eat? Otherwise do you know of any good chocolate that has no added nasties?
All chocolate makers, including the ones I consider good are putting in the soy lecithin for an emulsifier, I don’t know of too many who don’t but the little bit they put in won’t be bad as long as you watch all other soy additions to prepared food. Changing Habits Cacao Melts are a great healthy alternative – If you click on the following link we have a great recipe idea for making a delicious chocolate using the melts; https://changinghabits.co.nz/featured-article/recipe-of-the-month-healthy-homemade-chocolate?A=SearchResult&SearchID=8611916&ObjectID=1058043&ObjectType=35
Should I avoid iodised salt?
I wouldn’t use iodised salt but rather sea salt with crushed seaweed which gives you all the minerals you need including iodine. It is good to cook with this salt as well as when the salt is dissolved the minerals are more easily used.
Someone told me that low fat foods are not so good because chemicals are used in the process of reducing the fat content. We don't eat much in the way of processed food but do enjoy low fat organic milk and low fat cream cheese, is this OK?
Most low fat milk is merely milk that has had the fat skimmed from it. When you leave milk without homogenization you can skim the fat off the top and it leaves low fat milk. As long as your low fat milk is not homogenized then I would say that it is as good as normal milk. I’m not sure about the cream cheese but I’d say it is on much the same principle. Not sure how they do the cheese. I only buy deli cheese and then I grate it myself in the Thermomix. I don’t buy grated cheese as they add chemicals to it to make it not clump together.
What are your thoughts on Spelt flour?
Spelt is a wonderful flour that has not been hybridized in any way. It does have gluten but many people with a gluten intolerance seem to be able to eat spelt without any problems. I like to use it for much of my baking and cooking.
What are your thoughts on vitamin D?
It is very important best place to get it is from the sun, with direct contact with skin and indirect through the pupil of the eye.
What can I do if I suffer from arthritis?
Arthritis is treatable, I suggest you get a copy of my book and start following the habit changes one by one. As far as supplements go, yes glucosamine is good, but it is only part of the story. Look up on the website about a company called Mannatech and look at the product ambrotose, read up on it, I believe it is more complete then glucosamine. I am not one to take supplements except for ambrotose (in times of health stress) and colloidal minerals (TJ Clark is the best), go to your health food store and ask about it.
Apart from that food should be your medicine, cold pressed oils for your essential fatty acids, eggs for your protein, wheat grass for your vitamins and so on.
What countries are your products sourced from?
Salt: Pakistan, Dulse:Canada, Sugar: Colombia, Supreme Green Blend: New Zealand, Inca Inchi Powder and oil: Peru, Colloidals: Australia, Probiotics: Australia, Coconut oil:Pacific Islands, drops: Australia, Camu Camu: Peru, Cacao: Peru, Chia: Mexico, Emmer Wheat Flour: Australia, Dates: Tunisia
What do I do for allergies to peanuts. I was wondering if you could offer any suggestions for what we could substitute peanuts for in dishes such as satay.
I believe cashews might work OK, or even almonds. Try any nut until you find one you like in place of the peanuts. You can buy the nut butters such as ABC (almond, brazil and cashew) or just the butter like Hazelnut, almond, cashew butter etc.
What is best way to store premade meals in the freezer other than plastic?
My Mum taught me the best way to do this. She would count up the number of meals she needed to make for my Dad and then start cooking an extra meal or two at every dinner. Instead of platting up two meals for herself and Dad she would plate up 3 or 4 and then put tin foil over the dinner plate, place a note on the top that told Dad what it was and what he had to do as far as time and heat in the oven. She would then freeze the meal on the plate and stack them in the freezer day by day. It was very successful.
What is good about rapadura sugar compared to what's currently on our supermarket shelves?
Rapadura, also known as Muscovado, Sucanat, and there are a few more names. The name depends on the country they are coming out of.
The sugar is the sugar cane juiced and then dehydrated. There is no other process. With raw sugar there are several processes which include heating, the adding of lime (clay), icing sugar and canola oil. Then to make white sugar, the refinement takes the sugar to something that has no nutrition but is pure sucrose.
Rapadura is full of the nutrients that are found in the sugar cane.
Why are there grains in the probiotics?
Changing Habits Probiotics is a vegetable based protiotic (rather than Petrie Dish based probiotic). Our probiotic have prebiotics (the food), where most probiotics on the market have no food, they are produced in a laboratory on a petrie dish with perhaps GM and patented bacteria. Changing habits have done a mix of grains (3) and other plant based foods as this combination works to create a bountiful amount of diverse micro-organisms suitable for colinization of a bowel which is being more sterilised by modern diets, medication, chlorine in water supplies etc.
Paleo is a wonderful diet that is doing wonders for many peoples health, but here at Changing Habits we are not Paleo, therefore we have not produced a
food that is strictly for this philosophy. I agree that grains, but more specifically wheat, has been the down fall of western health, but not because wheat inherently is a bad food but rather what modern technology has done to it. Therefore you will see no wheat grain in the product. I believe Paleo has become a revolution because of the problems of wheat and the amount of wheat people consume. There is a theory that we have not genetically adapted to the agricultural revolution and thus we should eat no grain. I did anthropology through university and I found this thought pattern frustrating but worth pursuing. Thus my investigations last year. The hybridisation of wheat in the 60’s to me is where our problems started, the fact that wheat is in everything and many food additives are made from it has bought on a flurry of gluten intolerance that seems to be progressing to grain intolerance. Not only are many of our foods made from wheat but we do not prepare our grains properly thus creating more problems.
All plant based foods grains, vegetables, salad greens, herbs have protective mechanisms, proper preparation and variety help the human body stay healthy when consuming these foods.
Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature, when a seed is germinated. The grain is soaked for a period in warm, acidulated water then a long, slow fermentation process. This deactivates and neutralises phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins.
Tannins, complex sugars, and proteins other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.
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