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Sneaky Labelling Tactics; What the Food Industry Won’t Tell You


The above video is 2:36 minutes long.

Watch the full interview below or listen to the full episode on your iPhone HERE.

Guy: I’m certainly not one to dramatise content and blog posts just to grab peoples attention, but when you hear what some food manufacturers are up to, it really does give you the sh**ts!

I think our take home message from this weeks 2 minute gem video is this; you really do have to be proactive when it comes to your own health.

Cyndi O'Meara Changing Habits

We spend an hour with one of Australia’s leading nutritionists, as we tap into all her experience on how we can achieve greater health and longer lives.

Our special guest today is Cyndi O’Meara. Not your typical nutritionist, Cyndi disagrees with low-fat, low-calorie diets, believes chocolate can be good for you. Amazingly, she has never taken an antibiotic, pain-killer or any other form of medication her whole life! The one thing that was clear from this podcast is that she is a passionate, determined and  a wealth knowledge. Sit back and enjoy as she shares with us how she helps others improve their quality of life so they too can enjoy greater health and longer lives.

Full Interview: Achieving Greater Health & Longer Lives. What I’ve learnt so far…


In This Episode:

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  • Where we are going wrong from a nutritional stand point
  • With so many ‘diets’ out there, where the best place to start is
  • The simplest nutritional changes that make the greatest difference on our health
  • Why you shouldn’t eat breakfast cereal
  • Cyndi’s daily routine
  • And much much more…

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Full Transcript

Hey, this is Guy Lawrence of 180 Nutrition and welcome to today’s health sessions. Today, we have an awesome guest here in store. I know we always say that but it’s true. She is Cindy O’Meara. I believe she is one of Australia’s leading nutritionists and she often appears on TV and radio and has a massive amount of experience, and get this, at 54 years old, I think she’s an amazing example of health. She’s never taken an antibiotic, a painkiller or any other form of medication her whole life.

I think that’s incredible and she certainly got a lot of energy and a lot of knowledge and it was awesome to tap into that for an hour today. We get into some fascinating topics. The big one that stands out in my mind is deceitful food labeling. Some of the things that are going on with manufacturers is quite jaw dropping and scary. Looking back as well, this is why we started 180 in the first place and the 180 Superfood because I was working with cancer patients with weight training programs and we couldn’t access any really decent supplementation back then, especially protein and whole foods, making them much more accessible for them anyway.

That’s where 180 started if you didn’t know. Anyway, so we get into food labeling lies. The first place to start with all this information out there, Paleo, Keto, Mediterranean, low carb, I’ve always got confused out now. She really simplifies it and how to work out what’s best for yourself and where to go first if you are struggling with them things. We tap into her own daily habits and philosophies on life as well because she’s in such amazing shape.
It was great for her to share her bit of wisdom on all that too. I have no doubt you’ll enjoy. The internet connection does drop in and out slightly here and there but all and all, it’s all good and sometimes it’s beyond our control with Skype but the information is [00:02:00] there and you persevere, you’ll be fine. Thanks for the reviews coming in as well. We had a great one yesterday saying, “Superfood for your years, buy a highway to health.”

It’s always appreciated. I know you’re probably driving a car, walking the dog or whatever it is you’re doing in the gym and you go, “Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. I enjoy the guy’s podcast, I’ll give a review, you know,” and then go and forget about it which is what I would do anyway because I’m pretty forgetful like that. If you do remember, leave us a review. They’re greatly appreciated and we read them all and yeah, they help us get this message out there.

If you’re enjoying it, that’s all I ask. Anyway, let’s go over to Cindy, this is another great podcast. Enjoy. Okay, let’s go. Hi, this is Guy Lawrence. I’m joined with Stuart Cooke. Hi Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Hello mate.

Guy Lawrence: Our fantastic guest today is Cyndi O’Meara. Cindy, welcome to the show.

Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: Look, with all our guests that come on, we generally end up intensively looking into the guests more as the interview gets closer. I’ve been listening to a lot of your podcasts over the last few days and it’s clear that you’re very passionate and knowledgeable, so I’m hoping to extract a little bit of that and get it into today’s show. It’s a pleasure to have you on; I really appreciate it.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, no worries.

Guy Lawrence: Just to start, have you always been into nutrition? Is this or has this been a thing that’s evolved over time? Where did it all start for you Cyndi?

Cyndi O’Meara: Well, I’m from a fairly different family you could say. My dad was a pharmacist who then, after 6 years of pharmacy, realized that, and this was in the 50s, realized that pharmacy wasn’t the way to health. He went from New Zealand to the USA and went to Palmer College of Chiropractic, he became a chiropractor. He learnt the difference between mechanism, philosophy and vitalistic philosophy and had us kids and chose never to give us medications unless it was a life [00:04:00] threatening situation.
We ate well, we had an outdoor lifestyle; we just lived a different life. We never went to the doctors unless I broke a bone. I remember going twice because I broke bones. I’m 55 and I’ve never had any medications, no antibiotics, Panadols or anything. Then he gave us a really outdoor lifestyle, travelling and we traveled 3 months around the world, we skied, we went skiing a lot. When I got a love for skiing, I thought, “Well, I don’t want to go to university. I want to ski.”

Then someone said to me, “Well, why don’t you go to a university that’s [inaudible 00:04:36] skiing?” and I went, “Well, that’s a good idea.” They don’t exist in Australia so I had to go to the University of Colorado in Boulder and that is where my life changed. I did pre-med and had one of my classes that went for the 12 month period was with a gentleman by the name of Dr. Van Guven. He taught me cultural anthropology and anthropology.

I realized that food had a lot to do with the way we evolved. If it wasn’t for food, we’d be dead. If it wasn’t for hunter gatherers, our agriculturalists, our herders, our pastoralists, we would never have survived and it was our adaptation to the environment that we were living in that enables us to do that. That’s what I learned, so I went, “Yey! I’m going to be a dietician.”

I came back to Australia and studied nutrition at Deakin University and didn’t agree with anything, not one thing. I just went, “Oh, I can’t be a dietician. This is just ridiculous. They don’t … They’re teaching margarine, they’re thinking low fat.” We didn’t do low fat. Meat’s bad for you, this is bad for you and I just went, “I can’t do it.” They wanted me to feed jelly to sick patients and even the pig feeds were made of high fructose corn syrup and I just couldn’t do it.

I thought, “Well, I’ll go back to university and I’ll become a chiropractor.” I went back to university, did 2 years [00:06:00] of human anatomy, cut up cadavers for that whole time and went, “Hmm, it’s not the dead ones that I really care about. It’s actually the live ones.” It was a result of realizing my knowledge of the human body and my cultural anthropology and all of that just came together and I went, “I know what the human body needs.”
I set up practice as a nutritionist and did the opposite to everybody else. That was 33 years ago.

Guy Lawrence: Wow.

Stuart Cooke: Excellent.

Guy Lawrence: That was very radical back then as well, 33 years ago.

Cyndi O’Meara: Oh yeah. I think goodness … Nutrition wasn’t big back then. It’s not like it is now. You see Pete Evans get absolutely slaughtered because he says, “Eat real food.” Back in those days, there were 20 girls that I went to school with and they just followed the guidelines. I was just a little pimple, I wasn’t annoying anybody until I started to write for the Sunshine Coast Daily and then I annoyed everybody.
That was a lot of fun. 2 years of letters to the editors, suing by food companies, all the usually stuff-

Guy Lawrence: The usual stuff.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, that somebody like me would get. That was the early 90s and then by late 90s, I wrote my book Changing Habits, Changing Lives. Nobody wanted it so I self published it in ’98 and then it just went from strength to strength and now I run a company. There’s 20 people in this building so hopefully, they won’t make a noise, I’ve warned them all. We now have a food company, we have an education company, we’re about to put out a documentary because food’s big, nutrition’s big.
People realize what we’re doing is not working and we need to do something different. We have a lot of sick people in the world and I’m on a bit of a crusade to go, “Hey, there’s another way. We don’t have to live like this,” and it’s the philosophy of vitalism which is the human body is intelligent. It has the resource … If you give it the right resources [00:08:00] and stop interfering with it, it has the ability to heal and to stay healthy through prevention. Yeah, so that’s in a nutshell.

Stuart Cooke: Amazing.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. No, that’s an awesome story and I can see that you’re super passionate. From a nutritional standpoint, and everybody has … Much like religion and politics, everybody has got their own opinion on nutrition, “Got to eat this way to get these gains.” In your opinion, where are we going wrong right now?

Stuart Cooke: Look, I think we’re looking at science a little bit too heavily. I look to science to back up anything that I’m thinking at the time, but in the end, I look at culture and tradition. I look at how did we survive millions of years without science, adapt to the environment, survive, all the things that have been thrown at us from volcanic eruptions with heavy metals being spilt onto our environment to having to adapt to a changing world?

I have a philosophy of vitalism, so looking at the body as an intelligent, innate presence and then I look at food in exactly the same way, that it’s intelligent. Then with the help of cultural anthropologies and the vast array of different foods that we can we can survive on, I then go and look for science that may be able to help me back up these claims because everybody is into science, evidence based. I hear it all the time but you what I’ve learnt is that you can absolutely look at all the science out there and it’s all opposing.
That really depends on who’s funding, who has a theory and they have a passion about it and they want to get that theory out there such as Ancel Keys [00:10:00] in the 1960s who started the low fat. My thing is that we’ve just thrown culture and tradition out and we’re just looking at science. When we look at epidemiological studies, we’re actually really not doing an exact science, we’re just doing it, “Oh. Well, this population does this then they get these problems so that must be the issue.”

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Just thinking now to go on from that, we’re very fortunate because we’re absolutely involved in the nutritional space. Everyone I speak to, myself and Stu, we’re bouncing all these theories off and we delve into it and podcasts every week is awesome. Obviously, there’s a lot of people out there that it’s not their thing, they’re very busy and they just want to scratch the surface; make simple changes.
Then when you go to look at where to start, we’re bombarded. We’ve got Paleo, primo, low carb, high carb, ketosis-

Stuart Cooke: Keto.

Guy Lawrence: Keto is another one and all of a sudden, it’s like, “Well, they’re all claiming to be right. Where do I start? How do I do it?” and even in the messages because everyone seems to have good intentions as well, it’s getting lost still. What would your advice be to somebody listening to this going, “Oh okay,” they’re confused on where to start?

Cyndi O’Meara: Well, I doubt that anybody eating McDonald’s hamburgers is listening to you right now. I really doubt that, okay?

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I hope not.

Cyndi O’Meara: I’m thinking for the person who’s out there that is eating that way and has no awareness about their body or what they’re consuming, they’re probably not listening. The people that are listening to you are probably people that are well educated and have a fair idea of they need to make some changes. If they’re in crisis, then they have to do crisis care nutrition.

If they’re not in crisis and they’re just looking at, “Hey, I need to make some changes, [00:12:00]” well, I recommend … I wrote the book Changing Habits, Changing Lives. That was back in 1998 and it’s about looking at one aspect of your pantry and swapping it for a better quality, organic ingredient. Just let’s look at salt, so I go, “Let’s throw away the white salt which …” And I explain exactly what they do to white salt, what iodine that they put into it.

Then what I do is that I then say, “Well, there’s a better quality salt out there.” Let’s say over 52 weeks, they do 1 pantry item, they will revolutionize their pantry. They will start to use the right ingredients in order to be well. Because it’s really hard to say, “Let’s just throw everything out of the pantry and let’s start again,” because then they go back to their old ways. For me, it’s about getting quality ingredients into the pantry to begin with, realizing that nobody can cook a food like you can and because at the moment, I’m rewriting my book Changing Habits, Changing Lives.

I’m looking at the food industry really intensely. You know, since I wrote the book in ’98 and then I did another edition in 2000 and another edition in 2007, so this is only 8 years on, they’re getting sneaky, they’re so sneaky. They’re doing this thing called clean labeling where they’re changing the name of the ingredient so they don’t have to put a number on it. For instance, BHA and BHT is an antioxidant that’s produced by the food industry. People are on the lookout for it. They know that it cause health issues.
Well, they’ve now renamed it rosemary extract or extract rosemary. That sounds better, doesn’t it?

Guy Lawrence: Oh, [crosstalk 00:13:45] that sounds like something I would actually quite like to consume.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. Well, I saw. I first saw it on breakfast cereal quite a few years and I’m like, “Okay, something’s fishy here. I don’t trust them.” I’ve never trusted breakfast cereal makers but I definitely … When I saw that [00:14:00], I went, “What’s rosemary extract?” so I went looking. When I found this new thing they’re doing, it’s clean labeling. I think number 1, become educated. Do not trust the food industry to tell you what is happening.

Another thing they’re doing is they’re using this new thing called NatureSeal and they don’t have to put it on the ingredients and you know why? Because it’s part of the processing of the food, so if-

Guy Lawrence: Could you repeat the … What was it called? Nature-

Cyndi O’Meara: It’s called NatureSeal.

Guy Lawrence: NatureSeal.

Stuart Cooke: It’s NatureSeal, and so what it does is if you cut an apple and put NatureSeal in the processing of it and put it in a plastic bag, it will last 3 weeks. It won’t go brown, it won’t go off, nothing will happen to it. The makers of NatureSeal go, “Oh, it’s just a bunch of, you know, citrus and vitamins and minerals.” Now, finding the ingredients wasn’t easy. I had to go to the [Paint 00:15:02] office in order to find exactly what they’re putting in NatureSeal.

They make up these stories, the food industry are no smarter. They just go, “Aah! 3 weeks and my apples are going to survive.” We just put it in packaging, they don’t put it on lettuce so you wonder why you’re lettuce is lasting forever, [inaudible 00:15:20] NatureSeal on it. They don’t have to put it on the ingredient list. For me, it’s about you have to be a savvy consumer these days and I’m more into the 1 ingredient pantry.
I have … All my pantry is just nuts and seeds and grains. I’m not against grains. In actual fact, I’m doing a documentary called What’s With Weight? What’s happening to it, why are we having problems with it? My 1 ingredient pantry is just herbs and spices and nuts and seeds and cacao and salts and sugars. I’m not against sugar. We needed sugar to survive, we needed carbohydrates to [00:16:00] survive, but if I have somebody in an emergency situation and nutritionally, I have to make drastic changes there.

Let’s just talk about the common man or woman out there that just wants to improve their health. Number 1, become educated, know what they’re doing to your food. Number 2, clean out your pantry and bit by bit, swap different ingredients for high quality ones. In my industry, in my foods, I call them faucet foods. They are the foods that are organic, sustainable, ethical and you can trust me because if it’s not in my pantry, it’s not on my warehouse and I’m pointing out there because my warehouse is out there.

I don’t put a food in because I know it’s going to make money. I put a food in because I want it in my pantry and I want the best and I learn. When I go looking for a food, sometimes it takes me years to find a food. When I go looking, I go like, “Let’s take that.” This is one that we’ve just brought into our foods. Do you know that they pollinate dates with the pollen, so they have to get the pollen, but they add wheat to it to distribute it over the trees so that they pollinate; so that they don’t have to hand pollinate each one. They just do a blanket spray of wheat and pollen.

A lot of celiacs can’t eat dates these days because of what’s happening. This is where we start to learn, when we go looking for food. Another one we bought out recently, we bought out camu camu a couple of years ago. The people that we were buying the camu camu on said, “Well, why don’t you put it in a capsule and we’ll send you the ingredients of the capsule?” They send me the ingredients of the capsule which they said is a gelatin capsule and I read the ingredients and I went, “You’re serious? There’s probably glycol in here?”
It’s like, “Probably glycol has been taken out of medications in the USA because it causes liver and kidney and kidney damage [00:18:00] and you’re putting a perfectly beautiful food into that?” These are the things that I learn and every food that I have purchased to go into my kitchen, to then give to my family and friends and then to a community, is thoroughly investigated. If it doesn’t match up to what I want, then it doesn’t go into our food supply.

Guy Lawrence: It’s so scary. You have to take quick responsibility in your hands and move forward and it’s time consuming, that’s the thing. It made me think about the posts we put up, Stu, last night on Facebook. We put a photograph up and it’s the new health star ratings, I think from the government.

Cyndi O’Meara: Oh, do you want to just shoot me now?
Guy Lawrence: No. We put a photo of them. We had the organic coconut oil at .5 out of 5 and the Up and Go Breakfast, Liquid Breakfast was 4.5 out of 5. It was good to see everyone was just absolutely disgusted last night, so people are savvy too. Again, I guess it’s our audience listening that are already onto it. There are people out there sadly, they’re …
Stuart Cooke: I think really one of the take-home messages must be that … And we always talk about eat like our grandparents used to eat. It’s simple whole food ingredients because they are going to be, you would think, less altered and less processed and products. I think as a general step, if you can move towards the whole food items and eat less processed food, then you’ve got to be on the right track.

Again, I was interested Cyndi, especially your changing habits, we are by our very nature, creatures of habit. We’re very habitual and how can we change our habits when we’re used to getting up in the morning, spending 2 minutes pouring in our cereal at breakfast time. Because we know that even … People out there are still smoking. They know what cigarettes do to our health but it’s so engrained in their daily habits [00:20:00] that they can’t get out of it.

A lot of our friends know the right thing to do but they’re creatures of habits and they just don’t … So how can we tackle the habitual side of things?

Cyndi O’Meara: We’re not going to change everybody, that’s what I’ve learnt but you can change the people who are willing to make a change. People that are willing to make the change are people in crisis. That will be number 1. They’re in such a crisis that if they don’t make a change, then they’re not going to be able to get up in the morning to even pour their breakfast cereal. The other people that make the change, and these are the ones that I love, I love this group of people out there, and they’re mothers who have sick children.
Because of the choices that they have made perhaps or the choices that the food industry have made for them or what our governments are making for us as far as the amount of chemicals that are being sprayed on our sports fields, on our playgrounds. Mothers will move mountains to save their children. I see it over and over again and you know what? They’re the ones that I look out and I go, “I can help you,” but if I have somebody who’s smoking and doesn’t want to give up smoking, I just go, “Well, there’s nothing I can do for you.”

Let me give you a really good example. I swim with a very intelligent man. He’s a emergency care medical doctor. He has an autoimmune disease and when I met him a year ago, I said to him, “You know there’s a lot we can do with nutrition and autoimmunity now.” Now, he’s in crisis by the way guys, he’s not … He’s about to have another hip replacement, it’s not good what’s happening but he’s an intelligent, amazing man.
I gave him Terry Wahls book, The Wahls Protocol because I think, “Medical doctor, he’ll relate,” so he reads it and I said, “What are you thinking?” He’s at page 70 at this point and he goes, “Oh, it’s not a priority Cyndi. [00:22:00] I haven’t finished the whole book.” Okay, so I go, “Oh okay, okay, cool, cool, cool.” Then he gets to about 140, page 140 and I say to him, “So what are you thinking,” and he goes, “I’m not giving up ice cream.”

Guy Lawrence: Wow. Yeah, right.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Cyndi O’Meara: Then I spoke to him the other day and I said to him, “You know, and I noticed you’re limping.” He goes, “Yeah, bad engineering.”
Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s very, very tricky and you … [crosstalk 00:22:27] trigger foods and they just don’t want to … They don’t want to let them go and often times, it’s the trigger foods that are really holding people back.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: His pain isn’t great enough yet, that’s the problem.

Cyndi O’Meara: I don’t know how it’s not great enough. I text him last night because we swim together and we were going to do ins and outs this morning at 6am. I text him, I said, “Are we doing ins and outs? You’re bringing Bonny?” Bonny is our buoy that we swim out to and he went, “Oh, my hip was really bad.” Now for him to miss swimming and to miss coffee with our group of friends, it’s not something that he likes to do.
I don’t know what else I can say to him. He’s not somebody I’m going to change I don’t think so I have to work on the people that want to change. They will change their habits. You don’t have to hit them over the head. They’re going, “What’s my next step? What do I need to do next?” For the people who are listening out there that are not in crisis or are not a mom, then it’s a step by step process.

Educate yourself on what breakfast cereals are doing to your body, educate yourself on how they make breakfast cereals and the way of excreting it is no longer the way Kellogg’s did it back in the 20s and 30s. It’s very different. They had vitamins and minerals. One, you can pull out with a magnet called iron. I’m not sure you’re meant to do that with the food that we eat but I’ve actually tried that with carrot and green beans and things like that, but I can’t seem to be able to get it out with a magnet but I can with the breakfast cereal.

They make the B1 from acetone. Who [00:24:00] makes vitamin B1 from acetone? You just have to become educated. You have to understand what they’re doing and we think because it’s fortified, it’s a good thing. To me, if I see anything fortified, I do not touch it because I don’t know how they’ve made the supplement or the fortification. Naan bread is folic acid and iodine, must be fortified with those 2.

Well folic acid, your body has to convert to folate. It’s synthetically made and iodine is mined out of a mine out of Japan, comes to Australia in these big barrels and on it, says, “Warning, dangerous to your eyes, to your skin, to this.” Yes, it’s in great amounts but-
Guy Lawrence: Could just explain what fortified is and why they do it as well just for any listeners that might not be familiar?

Cyndi O’Meara: Okay, so back in the 1930s, 1940s after the depression and the war, they recognized that there was some mineral deficiencies and vitamin deficiencies, so with pellagra and beriberi and diseases like this. They thought if they added that to the flour, then they could help, so it was for diseases. Now, I just think it’s something that we’ve always done so let’s continue to do it. We’re not using probably the vitamins that we used back in the 20s and 30s and 40s.

We’re using something that chemistry has figured out how to replicate nature, so they think. They fortify it with vitamins, with minerals, mainly just vitamins and minerals are fortified [inaudible 00:25:37]. Then they think that the population is eating breakfast cereals or drinking milk so they might fortify it with vitamin D but where is that vitamin D coming from?

It’s something that we’ve been doing for a long time but it was first for actual diseases. Now, it’s just, “Well, we’ll just throw it in because it’s no longer in the food.” There’s nothing in white flour anymore. It’s completely [00:26:00] gone and it’s a destitute food and so they go, “Oh, well put nice in and iodine in, [inaudible 00:26:07] and thiamine and we’ll throw some iron in there,” and so they throw everything out then they go, “Oh, we’ll just replace it now.”

Stuart Cooke: A marketer’s dream as well of course because you’ve got these beautiful slogans on the front of the packets that tell you how helpful these products are and we’re drawn to this kind of stuff.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, and there’s a whole aisle dedicated to the stuff.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Cyndi O’Meara: Seriously? Who eats that stuff? Really?
Stuart Cooke: You see these foods now slowly moving away from the cereal aisles into the … What used to be very small health food aisles which very few people used to ponder. Now of course, they’re infiltrating.

Cyndi O’Meara: Oh. You’re going to love this, so I went to the health food aisle just recently and I took a photo of one food in there and it was the gluten free food. Let me just see, so I’ve got my phone so I’m just going to see if I can get it. Okay, so here we go. This is the original Freelicious Cracker. Okay, so it’s made up of maize starch, rice flour, organic palm oil thickener (1422). I think that comes from wheat actually, so it’s gluten free anyway, egg white not egg, and you know why?

Because they take the yolk out for other things, I don’t want to spoil that with egg yolk, it’s too expensive. Pregelatinized rice flour, emulsifier (lecithin from sunflower), sugar, salt, thickener (guar gum), raising agents (sodium bicarbonate, ammonium, hydrogen bicarbonate), dextrose, natural flavor, rosemary extract which we know is BHA and BHT. I find it hysterical, I really do. I’m just going through them. Here’s another one.
This is in the health food aisle. [00:28:00] This one is … I don’t even know what this one was. Oh, this is … It’s a cookie, so gluten free flour, tapioca starch, starch, it’s not even tapioca. In my new Changing Habits, Changing Lives, I talk about starch and how they make it, rice flour, potato starch, it’s not potato flour, it’s potato starch, modified tapioca starch, dextrose, thickeners (466464), emulsifier (471), vegetable gums … Do you want me to keep going? It’s just goes line after line.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Cyndi O’Meara: Natural color, flavor, preservative … This is in the health food aisle and there’s another flavor and then there’s another flavor. I mean we’re duped.

Stuart Cooke: We’re duped.

Cyndi O’Meara: We’re duped, quite [inaudible 00:28:45] we’re duped.

Stuart Cooke: It’s a marketers dream because essentially, it’s just a problem. How can we make this Frankenfood look so beautifully healthy? Of course they’ve got a team of people, “Well, that’s easy. Leave it to us.” I’ve been a graphic designer for 25 years and if I really wanted to, I could do that. I could come up with the slogans and the logos and the beautiful colors that depict the farmer carrying the basket and it’s all they think about I guess.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s all they care about.

Stuart Cooke: It’s just a joke.

Cyndi O’Meara: There’s an old movie and my dad used to tell me about it. He’s a really, very wise 87 year old. Very healthy, takes the occasional medication so he’s not on [inaudible 00:29:25], lives by himself, still adjusts as a character, he’s amazing. He said to me, “There was an old movie out called The Piano Man and it was about a man who comes into town that creates a problem and then he has the solution to the problem.” What I find is that we are creating problems all the time and then finding the solution.

Do we really have the problem in the first place? The first problem they had was salt, it causes hypertension. Salt was taken out of everything, everything was low salt. Second thing was fat’s a problem. Was it really a problem? Not really but anyway, fat was a problem, everything went low [00:30:00] fat. Then we found trans fats and then now the industry is saying, “Oh, trans fats are bad,” makes me laugh.

Since 1978, we’ve known trans fats were bad but it was only 2007 when the Heart Foundation went, “Ooh, trans fats are a problem guys. We’d better stop … We’d better stop advocating it.” Then fats became a problem, everything went low fat. They found a solution to the problem we really never had and now sugar and carbohydrates are a problem.

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Cyndi O’Meara: The ketogenic diet was a diet that we had throughout evolution in order to survive a bad summer or a bad growing season where there was no sugar available and only lean meats because the cows didn’t have anything to eat. They were really skinny and they had lean meats. Sugar was there to tell the human body that it’s a great season, we can have babies.

All the tests on ketogenic diets are done on men, not women. Women go into infertility, intimate infertility, not permanent but intimate infertility in the ketogenic diet because that was the way nature intended us to survive as human beings. Who needs a pregnant woman when there’s no food available in the winter? She would die, she would not survive and neither would the baby.

I don’t have a problem with ketogenic diet but people have to realize that the ketogenic diet is actually a survival diet for evolution. It wasn’t something that we lived on for years and years. We lived on it periodically in order to survive so that we could use ketones, not sugar because sugar wasn’t available, but we could use those ketones. If sugar never came, then we would just live on those ketones although we would be fat burners, not sugar burners and as a result, we [00:32:00] wouldn’t lay down fat.

As a result, lactone wouldn’t be increased in our body which is the master hormone to say, “Hey, let’s have some fun. We can have a baby.” The ketogenic diet is brilliant for epilepsy, for Alzheimer’s, for … We’ve realized the importance of the ketogenic diet for certain populations.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, for when they’re in crisis a lot of time.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: It’s interesting as well because people are … We’re very much now in the environment where people are crashing themselves with exercise and they’re pulling the carbohydrates out of their diet and you are seeing hormonal issues, especially with females as well where they’re skipping periods and just things are crashing for them. It’s a very good point.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. It’s natural, it’s what the body has to do. It doesn’t know it’s living in 2015. It could be living in BC, long BC because genetically … Like the Paleo all talk about this, they all go, “Well, we haven’t adapted in 40,000 years you know? We adapted 1.5 million years ago and we haven’t adapted in 40,000 years.” Genetically, we don’t have to adapt. What has to adapt is our microbiome.

It can adapt every day to your different food choices if you don’t destroy it. Yeah, I just find that … Let’s just get back to normal eating. Let’s just get back to the way we used to eat. Just don’t think that there’s a panaceum like a macro-nutrient out there such as protein, fats or sugar that is your issue. What your issue is is that we’re in a state right now where our children are getting sicker, even adults are getting sicker.

I don’t know, and I’ve interviewed 14 people [00:34:00] about this and the question was, “Have we gone past the point of no return? Is our microbiome so destroyed that we have no hope of getting past this where our kids can’t even drink mother’s milk? Are we at that point?” Half of them said, “No, I don’t think so Cyndi. We have a resilience, we can change.” The other half were very, very like, “Not sure, not sure if we can get out of this.”

This all started in the 1930s when arsenic was starting to be sprayed on the cornfields in US, let’s say Iowa, USA. That was to destroy a grasshopper plague that was decimating the corn and the wheat in the Midwest. The use of chemicals after World War 2 such as DDT, were then sprayed on the corn fields and the wheat fields. Whenever, I think it was Jane Goodall, said, “Whoever thought that it was okay to grow food with poison?”

My grandmother’s from the cornfields of Iowa and I look at … She lived into her 90s, so my mother was born in 1937 when they were starting to spray arsenic. My sister was born when they were still spraying DDT in the 50s and both my mother and my sister have passed away. My sister got an autoimmune disease at 25, my mom got lung cancer, and never smoked a day in her life, in her 60s.

I look at the destruction of the microbiome through each successive generation. I was fortunate that I was born in Australia and my father was a New Zealander and my brother was born in Australia. The 3 of us seems to have really done well as opposed to what was happening back there. I think [00:36:00] what we could have done 30 years ago when I first started nutrition was just get people off a junk food diet on a real food diet, worked. These days, it’s not working as well and in the last 5 years, I’ve just noticed a huge crisis. I think-

Guy Lawrence: It’s like we’ve gone and messed up almost every aspect there is to be messed up and it’s gotten us in a whole world of trouble and yeah, is the task can we turn it around and actually, going forward for the next generation? I mean I still think the most proactive thing you can do is vote with the money you spend on your food every week and your shopping pool and actually start supporting the small businesses, the local farmers and actually stop buying anything that’s produced on a mass scale too. I don’t know how else.

Stuart Cooke: That’s very tricky because we don’t have the money to shop organic, especially those with large families as well. We have to try and do the best we can so it’s a really delicate balance.

Cyndi O’Meara: Look at this, and it’s about priority also. It is about priority, so I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie Homegrown.

Stuart Cooke: Yes.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, it’s brilliant. It’s about this guy who lives in LA and he has basically grown … His whole land is just growing food and he’s got goats and chickens and everything in there and this is the way we used to do it. My grandfather had a garden. My grandfather had 11 children. From his garden, he fed those 11 children in Iowa, USA. My grandmother would get all the produce in the summer.

It grew like mad, it was humid, got all the produce and she would ferment or she would can or bottle [inaudible 00:37:44] and because they had a basement, everything went to the basement. In the winter, when the snow was on the ground and the ground was frozen, they lived off that so [crosstalk 00:37:54]-

Stuart Cooke: Totally, and I remember my grandparents had a garden or an allotment estate.

Guy Lawrence: Allotment, yeah [00:38:00].

Stuart Cooke: My parents, we had potatoes and beans and berries, blackberries down at the bottom of the garden and grew Braeburn apples and almost everyone had a hot house for the tomatoes as well because it gets cold in England. Yeah, that’s where we come from and now of course, it would be crazy. Grow my own vegetables? I could just purchase them.

Cyndi O’Meara: Well, you saw Michelle Bridges, she thinks we’re all freaks.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Cyndi O’Meara: You know, seriously? That’s the attitude that we’re up against when people like us that are talking this way. There’s a town in England that’s an edible town. Have you heard of it?

Guy Lawrence: No.

Stuart Cooke: No, I haven’t.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. It’s called the edible town and about 8 years ago, this woman, Pam Warhurst, just went … Didn’t have a committee, didn’t care about what the council thought, we just started to plant trees that would produce food. Now, it’s very famous and it’s called the edible town and you can watch it on the TED video, ted.com and just look up edible town, Pam Warhurst and watch it. It’s just … I get goose bumps, just thinking … Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, and it’s just all doable as well. That’s the thing. we have the conditions to grow our own food and it doesn’t have to be costly, it just has to grab a little bit of our time and we can do it. I’ve got a question for you. Now, you’re almost the ultimate food detective and I heard a great phrase and I think it came from Sarah Wilson where, “We can’t unlearn what we’ve learned.”

You know all of this stuff and you’re a super sleuth where ingredients are concerned. Do you have any nutritional no-nos, so foods that you simply will not consume if you’re out and about and you’re at dinner parties or barbecues or in a restaurant? What foods would you avoid at all costs?

Cyndi O’Meara: How much time do we have? [00:40:00]

Stuart Cooke: About 20 seconds.

Cyndi O’Meara: I think that answers your question. I have a lot of no-nos, a lot and I like going to restaurants that I know the chefs will feed me single ingredient foods and I do travel by the way. Then when I travel, I look up … Pete Evans taught me this. He says, “Don’t look for the best restaurant, look for the philosophy of the chef,” and so that’s what I do. If I’m going to go somewhere and I don’t know a restaurant or something like that, I’ll … Look, people hate me.

I woke into a restaurant and I’ll ask questions and I’ll walk out if it’s not what I want. Yeah, Pete taught me that. Pete just said, “Find the philosophy of the chef and if they are a chef that is not a gastro-” what do they call it? Gastron … Whatever, the ones that use chemicals, those ones which you can pay $1,000 a head to go to these restaurants, I’ve seen them. I’m really [inaudible 00:41:02] figured that one, I’ll just go to a place down the road that just does meat and veggie for me.

I have a lot of non-negotiables and they’re all basically additives, preservatives, flavorings, margarines, hydro generated vegetable oil, interesterified fats, [inaudible 00:41:19] fats, homogenized milk, some pasteurized milks, skim trim, [red shape 00:41:23]. Would you like me to go on with fine foods?

Stuart Cooke: I think we’ll stop you there, that’s all.

Guy Lawrence: The scary thing is is that I know people mostly dieters are consuming them foods.

Cyndi O’Meara: I don’t know what’s better.

Guy Lawrence: You know?

Cyndi O’Meara: I want to live the best life I can. I want to be energetic. When my grandchildren come, I want to be on the floor with them. That-

Stuart Cooke: No, that’s exactly right. Yeah, and it’s about being the best version of yourself. We’ve got time on the planet, let’s try and make the most of it.

Guy Lawrence: 100% and it’s nice waking up in the morning feeling [00:42:00] good and ready to bring on the day. Yeah, I constantly think about it because I made the changes.

Cyndi O’Meara: I can hardly wait [inaudible 00:42:08].

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, I probably-

Cyndi O’Meara: I can hardly wait [inaudible 00:42:09].

Cyndi O’Meara: I can hardly wait to get up in the morning. It’s just like … I’m going, “Let me go to bed so I can get up in the morning,” because then I get to go for my swim and I get to enjoy the sunrise or … And people don’t live like that. They can’t get up out of bed, they’re tired, they drag themselves around. It’s so sad and most people have just got these blinkers on and they probably think, “Oh my God! She must live such a boring life, you know? She has these non-negotiables. Oh, no. I don’t know, far from it.”

Guy Lawrence: They’re missing out. With all that in mind, I can bring in another aspect that we haven’t spoken about yet and be interested to get your views on it is emotional stress and how much that affects our general health. What’s your take on that because-?

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, food’s just part of it. I love that and my dad is the ultimate chiropractor, a chiropractor who will fix everything. That’s his belief whereas my [inaudible 00:43:14] is that we have to look back to our cultures and traditions. We have to look at what our evolutionary body needs. Most people are in the sympathetic dominance. They are constantly in fight or flight.

They never have a downtime. They’re [melons 00:43:33] are always going, they’re emotional bankrupt and I think when you are aware of this and you’re aware of certain things that are happening in your body and you know you’re in sympathetic dominance, you need to back off. Many people are hunched over, so they’re hunched over ready to fight or flee. They’re hunched all the time on our computers. I guess it’s really important [00:44:00] to sit up.

We have constant life sources, so there was a time when we had [inaudible 00:44:07], draw away all your life sources that no computers or phones or anything like that. Have some downtime. Who needs a TV these days? Really, TV is boring. I think that there were a lot of other things that were involved in sympathetic dominance and if we can calm all of that down and know how to calm it down and not be in that fight or flight, and doing things for our evolutionary bodies such as sleep and movement and relationships and connections and face to face.

Here we are, I know I’m seeing you on a screen but it’s so much nicer to be around somebody and that’s really important, that face connection because that’s how we lived as hunter gatherers and agriculturists. I actually look at the hunter gatherer, the agriculturalist, the pastoralist, the herder and I look at the life that they lived and we are so lucky that we can glimpse into these people that are still living traditional lives such the Kyrgyz of Pamir, up on the Afghanistan belt, they live at 14,000 feet.

The Hadzas, the Himbas, the Hunzas, the Dani of Papua New Guinea, there are people that are living this way and we can get a glimpse into how they have survived, so emotion is a big part of it. We look at our whole life as opposed to … And we live vitalistically as opposed to mechanistically where we just look at diet or we just look at movement or we just look at sleep patterns so yeah.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah

Guy Lawrence: What-

Stuart Cooke: You mentioned holistically as well, so we’ve spoken about diet and we’ve spoken about stress, [00:46:00] so movement. What do you do? What do you do for exercise?

Cyndi O’Meara: I’m not your go-out-and-run-100-miles. It just bores me to tears. I have a girlfriend who is the 24 hour marathon champion, and don’t’ get that at all, but then she doesn’t get what I do and I love to swim. I ocean swim so-

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s us too.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, I just get into the ocean every day. I come down to Sydney and I swim with the bold and the beautiful. I’ll go down and I’ll swim the crew in Tokeh if I’m down there. Up here, I swim at the Mooloolaba Beach Bums, so swimming is really important. I have a desk, I’m sitting at the moment, I have a desk that rises so I can stand and work. My belief is that we need to be on the move all the time.

We did that as hunter gatherers, agriculturalists and herders, so to get up and down on your desk, to stand up on your desk, get a treadmill. I was listening to Ben Greenfield recently, I don’t know if you follow Ben Greenfield?

Guy Lawrence: [crosstalk 00:47:08] Yeah, I’m aware of Ben.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, so Ben was talking about the Spartan Race and how he trains for the Spartan Race. He’s whole thing is stay moving all day long and then he [inaudible 00:47:20] 30 min intensive. He says that’s how he trains for the Spartan Race which worse than the Iron Man Race and I went, “You know, I’m a person that does that.” I do intensive sometime and then I’ll just move most of the day.

I find that I’m probably fitter than most 30 year olds without having to try. I can run 5k without even training for a 5k race. I’ll just go run it and I think we believe that exercise is something that we should take our time out to do but we don’t think it’s okay to take time out for hunting for foods, gathering [00:48:00] our foods, cooking our foods. Michelle Bridges did it perfectly on that weekend that she did the worst for a part of her life.
She believes that exercise is something that we have to take time out to do, but we can just throw a plastic container full of yeast extract and other things in the microwave, press the button and we’re all cool. To me, that’s the biggest myth of … It’s just [biggest 00:48:33]

Guy Lawrence: Yeah.

Stuart Cooke: No, and it is about … There’s a disconnect between how we used to be as kids and how we’re conditioned now because I’ve got 3 young girls and I was watching them-

Cyndi O’Meara: Lucky you.

Stuart Cooke: We’ve got a busy household. These girls, they don’t stop, like they don’t stop. I was innately aware the other day. I was thinking, “You 3 really don’t stop,” and they’re wandering up and down doing hand stands, they’re playing on the floor, they’re lying down. Yesterday, we went to Bronte Park and they said, “Dad, come and take us to the park and come and play with us.”

I thought, “Well, I’m going to do everything that you do for an hour,” so before we hopped in the pool for a swim, I just said, “Right, what should we do.” We were on the monkey bars, we were climbing, we were on the roundabouts, we were racing up and down and today, I feel like I have been worked. It’s just one of those things. We didn’t lift any weights, it wasn’t … No treadmill, it wasn’t exercise, it was just play and it is that deconditioning where we used to just run and be free.

Now, we’re kind of … Like you said, we’re hunched and we’re sitting and we’re immobile but we have to make time for our treadmill session. It’s just let’s get back to where we were and just remember that we can move and we can … We don’t have to be sore if we lay on the ground [00:50:00] because we’re just deconditioned to it. It’s just a mindset I think, isn’t it? [crosstalk 00:50:06]

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, and I think it’s awareness because we were not doing this that long ago. It’s only probably in the last 4 decades that we have completely gone off our evolutionary path and most people don’t even realize it’s happened. They think it’s okay to sit in front of the television for 4 hours. They think that you get in your car and you drive to the local store or that you shouldn’t go barefoot because you get parasites.

I’m barefoot until I come to work. I’m barefoot to the beach, coming back from the beach, to the coffee shop. Like all the guys go, “We are all [inaudible 00:50:41] for [inaudible 00:50:42]. We are feeling so sorry for you.” I just think we’ve lost that … I think we have to become aware, become educated and start to play again. I bought a farm and I went up to the farm this weekend to work because I had to finish the 5 hour edit on my documentary.
I’m trying to get it down to an hour and a half. I said to everyone, “I’m going to the farm to work.” “Oh, we’re coming to,” got no work done, no work done whatsoever because it was storm and it was raining. We wanted to go down the bottom of the farm and see the waterfalls. We’re trekking around the farm and there’s leaches everywhere but I noticed my-

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, it’s just fun.

Cyndi O’Meara: It’s just fun. I noticed my son and his girlfriend just throwing each other around the place and I went, “Girls and boys don’t do that anymore.” I noticed that beautiful play that they were doing and tickling each other and I don’t know. I don’t see that anymore and it’s really cool to get them back into nature, into the mud and into the playground at Bronte Park, you know?

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. I’m aware of the time but I will add-

Cyndi O’Meara: Sorry Guy.

Guy Lawrence: No, that’s cool [00:52:00]. It’s awesome because I was listening to your podcast and how you homeschooled your kids and you all went round Australia in a camper van, is that true?

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah, we did.

Guy Lawrence: That’s just awesome. I got so much inspiration from that. I’m like, “That’s something I’d love to do,” yeah.

Cyndi O’Meara: It was the best years because we homeschooled the children. I didn’t have to get up pluck their hair, put their school uniform on, make sure they had their lunch. They would get up at 6 in the morning and work for 3 hours knowing at 9:00, we could play. They would get up and do it themselves. These were 6 year olds, 9 years olds and 11 year olds, that’s how old they were.

We’re about to leave, the 5 of us and the girlfriends now and the … Your old [inaudible 00:52:44], we’re about to leave for a 4 week skiing vacation just because we go, “Let’s go play. Let’s go and play.” We ice skate, we ski, we trek, we do snow angels, we do road trips. People just don’t do holidays like that. They go to the islands and they sit in the sun. I couldn’t think of anything … Although hiking in the sun … But just, yeah.
I know I could go on and on but I’m not happy that I have inspired some people to go, “Hey, maybe I’m not aware of my body and what’s happening and what foods I should be eating and that I should ground by going barefoot.” I’m not the hippy, I was … You think you’re the hippy but look at me. I dress well.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, exactly, straight from Nimbin.

Cyndi O’Meara: You think?

Stuart Cooke: Like you said, it’s holistic so in order to be able to do all these wonderful things in play, you have to have the energy for that and in order to get the energy for that, you really do have to eat the foods that provide you the energy and you have to get the sleep that, again, affords your body to rest and recuperate to give you the energy to do all these wonderful things. It’s holistic so yeah, absolutely. [00:54:00]

Guy Lawrence: Brilliant. It’s a brilliant message Cyndi, absolutely.

Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: Now, we’ve got 2 wrap up questions we ask everyone on the podcast so I thought I’d get into them. The first one is could you tell us what you ate yesterday just to give people an idea or even this morning for breakfast if you’ve had breakfast?

Cyndi O’Meara: Okay. Let me do yesterday’s breakfast because everybody was at the farm. I cooked up, so I laid down lettuce, avocado, tomato, I had made up some pesto and I had just made a tomato chutney, so I laid that out on a plate. Then I fried up some sage, so I had some fresh sage so I fried that up in butter, put that on the plate then I had some leftover pumpkin from the night before so I put some pumpkin. I heated it up and put that on the plate and then I scrambled up some egg with some parsley and put that on the plate.

That was breakfast and then I went to a friend’s place who lives off the grid and is very alternate. I had a late breakfast and for dinner, I had … He made a paella. He’s a medical doctor, a GP, integrative medical doctor. He’s very Keto and Paleo but he made me a paella with rice. I’m like, “Huh, that’s amazing,” and that was with all sorts of sea foods. That was my meal yesterday and I’m not about how much I can eat.

I’m about how little I can eat and still feel amazing. I think to say I need to increase my metabolism so I can eat more, I just think we’re at the wrong end. I would rather eat less and live longer eating more than eating more in a day. I look at sometimes what I eat in a day and it might be just [tart eggs 00:55:48]. I might just feel like tart egg.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, you’re just tuned in and listen to your body and if you’re hungry, you eat and if you’re not, you don’t.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. The last question, what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given? [00:56:00]

Cyndi O’Meara: When I was 19, I was working for my dad in Bendigo, Victoria as a chiropractic assistant. This lady from Colorado came to me. She was a chiropractor’s wife, oh, and I think she was a chiropractor as well. They were coming and they were … She was … I don’t know where I was but I remember her saying this to me, “You’re a smart girl. What are you doing in a town like this doing nothing with your life?”
She went back to Colorado, showed me where I could ski and the university I needed to go to which was in Boulder and she changed my life. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t have her make that comment to me. That was a defining moment in my life, very … Yeah. I’m still in touch with her, Katie Felicia was her name and she works in Colorado Springs and I saw her a couple of years ago. Yeah, that was probably it.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic, yeah. Somebody give you a little budge and it all changes.
Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: Awesome, and for anyone listening to this, where would be the best place to go to get more of you Cyndi?

Cyndi O’Meara: Just changing habits dot com dot au is my website and there’s everything in there, how you get on Instagram and how you get on Facebook, how you get on Twitter feeds, how to get to the education, what foods I have, my podcasts because we do podcasts. We’ve been going 2½ years now called Up For a Chat. Yeah, it’s all there so [crosstalk 00:57:40].

Guy Lawrence: Perfect. We’ll lead to it all anyway. You mentioned a documentary. When will that be out?

Cyndi O’Meara: That will be out late March next year, so we’ve done all the filming for it. We’re not just in the editing stages and the storytelling and the story, I think it will get a lot of people thinking really about what they’re doing. That’s my [00:58:00] aim, so it’s called What’s With Weight? We have all have a website called What’s With Weight but that’s not up and running yet. That will be the end of March. Get on my feeds and I will tell you what’s happening.

Guy Lawrence: Keep everyone posted, yeah.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah. I’ll keep everyone posted including you guys.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Yeah, let us know.

Stuart Cooke: Please do.

Cyndi O’Meara: Yeah.

Guy Lawrence: For sure. If we can help, we will absolutely.

Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you, appreciate it.

Guy Lawrence: Well, that’s it. Thank you very much for coming on the show Cyndi. That was awesome.

Cyndi O’Meara: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: Really appreciate it.

Stuart Cooke: Yap. Take care and we hope to hook up with you in person outside of the cyber world very soon.

Donal O’Neill: Cereal Killers Movie

The video above is 01:24 long. Use your time wisely ;)

‘In my research I noticed that International tobacco company Philip Morris, in the early nineties, when the heat came on they started to buy up food companies. They are a brilliantly sinister company.

They identified that sugar is very much the same as nicotine; get them young get them hooked & you’ve got them for life.’ – Donal O’Neil, producer of the Cereal Killers Movie


The Full Interview

We chat to Donal O’Neill, the man behind the awesome documentary Cereal Killers. If you haven’t seen it then make it a must!

CLICK HERE for Audio Version

downloaditunesIn this episode we talk about:-

    • The inspiration behind the movie
    • Why professor Tim Noakes is awesome!
    • The Australian cricketers and their low carb high fat diet
    • What sports benefit most from LCHF diet
    • How to increase testosterone & sex drive with men in their 40′s
    • And much more…

CLICK HERE for all Episodes of 180TV

Cereal Killers Movie Info

- Watch the Movie Here

- Follow On Facebook Here


Interview with Donal O’Neill Transcript

Stuart Cooke: Donal, how are you?

Donal O’Neill: I’m good. Good to see you.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, thank you so much. You can hear me, Guy?

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic. Everything’s clear. Everything’s good. So fingers crossed, no technical issues and we’ll be awake.

Stuart Cooke: So, I feel like I’m going to, I feel like I’m about to speak to a movie star.

Donal O’Neill: So do I.

Stuart Cooke: All right. Yeah, you must be talking about Guy.

Guy Lawrence: Well, so let’s start.

Stuart Cooke: Okay, fantastic.

Guy Lawrence: Hey, this is Guy Lawrence, and welcome to Episode 20 of the podcasts. I just checked, and we’ve got Mr. Stuart Cooke, as always, and our special guest today is Mr. Donal O’Neill, the man behind the movie Cereal Killers. Donal, thanks for joining us, mate.

Donal O’Neill: Thanks for having me.

Guy Lawrence: I just want to clarify some numbers, well, just if people hadn’t heard of your movie Cereal Killers, we aren’t talking about Hannibal Lecter or anything, are we? We’re actually talking about more the breakfast cereal, you know, because…

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, we’re talking much more; much more dangerous than Hannibal Lecter.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Exactly, I have no doubt in it. I have no doubt, and look, just to get the ball rolling, you know, can you just tell us a little bit about yourself and, before we get stuck into the movie, what led you to actually making it, as well. Just give us a little bit of a background.

Donal O’Neill: Sure. Well, I probably, probably the first thing my mum would say is that I was an inquisitive little bugger as a kid, so, I’m now 42 years old. Several years ago my dad had a heart attack. I come from a family of lean, very athletic men, who don’t really put on weight and have never abused themselves, but we get sick. We get heart disease and diabetes, and, when I discovered that, I guess, I rolled up a lot of the energy I had and a lot of the passion that I developed over the years as an athlete and everything else I’ve ever done, and I just set out on a journey to discover what the hell happened, and, once I started that journey, it kind of snowballed.

And, as I said, I’ve always been a very inquisitive person, it kind of turned to anger, the more information that I unearthed, the more determined I got to get the story out. That’s just the nature of me. You know, back in Ireland, I’m probably known for establishing what would be the equivalent in Australia of the AFLPA. So I set up the players union for Gaelic football, so I do like to confront and challenge convention.

If I see something that I believe in, I’ll push for it. I didn’t intend to push this hard, but here we are, and, obviously, the movie’s been released in December, and it’s gone great. We had a tremendous reception in Australia and that continues. Australia is topping our charts for online screenings at the moment.

Guy Lawrence: Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: Wow.

Guy Lawrence: Because the movie is no, I mean, it’s no small project, mate, you know, it’s a big, bug task to put that together. When did you start? Like, when did you set out to make it?

Donal O’Neill: Well, like said to some people just yesterday, it’s probably taken about three years. I can do the next one in about three months, but I can tell you, I had XXfrogsXX [0:03:28] along the way, guys. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, which was actually an enormous help. I got, I ran into many roadblocks.

Probably the smoothest process, once the story and the screening, sorry, the filming, I knew exactly what I wanted to capture, but once you move into post-production in a movie, that’s where the magic and the madness happens, and we ran into some problems there.

But the delays that we encountered, you know, to an outsider it might look like this whole thing was planned and the timing was beautiful, but I just started. I just kept going, and then I just decided to put it out there, and “let’s stop,” but, you know, it was very, very fortuitous in many ways, because we had stopped filming when Dr. Peter Brukner contacted us and really got behind the movie and right then introduced us to Shane Watson, Dave Warner, and Usman Khawaja who will be well-known to your Australian listeners.

And, you know, at that point you’ve got an editor and director saying, “Oh, you can’t really cut them in. The movie’s done,” and I’m like, “Well, I don’t know anything about movies, so I’m telling you these guys are going in the movie, one way or the other.”
Guy Lawrence: Absolutely.

Donal O’Neill: So, I just kept breaking rules, I guess, ignoring the laws of filmmaking and eventually we got there, but it was, it was great fun. It was a great journey and something tells me it’s probably on the start.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah. I think so. Have you been, have the Carbivores contacted you? Have you been hit by any kind of negativity from the other train of thought? You know? The Bread Munchers?

Donal O’Neill: It’s kind of bizarre. The first, kind of, negative slant that I’ve seen actually came from Ireland just yesterday, but we’re great at that. I mean, we love it. We love a kind of good/bad news story, let’s be honest. When it’s raining outside, you don’t want too much good news, you know.

Stuart Cooke: Is that right?

Donal O’Neill: It’s been absolutely incredible. People have been very, very generous with their commentary, and I, honestly, I had no idea how it was going to be received. When we went to Melbourne for the premiere there, it was very interesting. We had a couple of hundred people and to watch it with a crowd, to see how they reacted to various parts of the movie was very interesting for me, because at this stage I’ve seen it 200 times and I’ve been through editing. It’s a big thing.

Guy Lawrence: Could you, just for anyone listening to this that hasn’t seen the movie, could you just sum it up in a nutshell, what it’s about essentially?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, well, what I did was I went on a journey to see if I could affectively hack my genes using food as the instrument and, like I mentioned earlier, coming from a family with a history of heart disease and diabetes, I wanted to see if there was an intervention I could create for myself that would help me drop dead healthy, and I researched that for, sort of, two years and the conclusion I came to was that a very high fat diet, naturally occurring fats, of course, was probably a pretty good starting point.

So, I teamed up with Prof. Tim Noakes and kept trying for 28 days I had a diet consisting of 70 percent fat. I ate about 25 eggs a week, a kilo macadamia nuts, two kilos of beef, and full-fat everything. No wheat or sugar.

And I did that under full medical supervision, so I got my blood panels done before and after, during, etc., etc. We just sat back to see what would happen and along the way we discussed the issue of, let’s say, conventional wisdom as it relates to things like cholesterol and diabetes and fat and carbohydrates, you know, Tim Noakes, Dr. John Briffa, Peter Brukner and others and that’s pretty good.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, and I have to say, mate, you, you know, you did a stellar job. We were both discussing the movie and I think you simplified the message fantastically, as well, and as far as I’m concerned, there’s not a person that would not benefit watching this movie. I think it’s a must, you know, and people are not just putting that connection together at all about the damage and effects of sugars and carbohydrates in their diet, you know. It’s just, it’s incredible. It just amazes me that that’s not there.

Donal O’Neill: It’s interesting for me. I was back in Australia for the premiere. I haven’t been down in seven years and you could just see people getting bigger, and you can see the damage, I mean, it’s like everywhere.

I mean, Ireland, the U.K., it’s just the enemy. I think we’re about to XXpepXX [0:08:10] England for the first time in anything by becoming more obese and unhealthy than them, but, which, you know, it’s very, very sad to see, but I’ve worked with the big food companies. We’ve tried to engage some of them, like Kellogg’s, for the movie, and they wouldn’t even return our calls. They know what they’re doing.

I mean, don’t make any mistake about that, and I know they know what they’re doing, and they certainly know. I mean, the general public doesn’t really know, but when you have, you know, X billion dollars in advertising media telling you one thing, it’s very, very difficult for XXmatchesXX [0:08:43] to break through against that, and particularly when you have an XXundergrowingXX [0:08:51] war that’s absolutely ongoing, and some of the trends and some of the tactics that I saw.

I mean, they would shock you, but I could’ve made ten documentaries, but the trick for me was to try to write The Sun newspaper as opposed to The Times because there’s all the medical information is there, I just tried to make something as an average guy and try to make it accessible to, you know, the man on the street.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely. Well, it definitely worked. It’s so watchable and so beautifully laid out that it just made perfect sense. I’ve watched it twice, and I shall watch it again. It’s awesome.

Donal O’Neill: Thank you.

Guy Lawrence: What, Tim Noakes, like, he’s a hero of ours. We think Tim’s awesome. When did you first get in touch with Tim? Did you, is it, as it, you went down the rabbit hole looking into the whole high-fat diet and came across Tim?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, you know, it’s funny, when you just put things out there. I’ve been doing my research. I’ve been sort of mentioning to some people that, you know, I’d written a book, and I thought, “This isn’t enough.”

I’m going to, I didn’t publish it, I said, “I’m going to take this further, and I started to tell some people I was planning to make a movie. And people say, “Well, why did you make and kept thinking this was all planned and, again, it wasn’t. This was fortuitous.

I mean, I actually thought that if I’m going to film this, I don’t think anybody wants to see dreary wet Ireland XXon a health show?XX[0:10:13] I’m a marketing person, and I thought, “If I’m going to film this, I might as well do it somewhere beautiful, because I’m going to be doing it for a month, and that’ll just make it easier to watch.”

So that was the level of, I guess, stupidity I was operating at. It was that simple, and I’d come to Cape Town for something else and, you know, coming from a sports background myself, it just stunned me that there was a sports scientist in this country who was, like, a household name. I was going to dinner parties and people were arguing over Tim Noakes and du, du, du, du, du, and I thought, “I suppose I’d better contact Tim Noakes.”

I emailed him out of the blue, I mean, he hadn’t broken out yet in a big way on that whole issue. He had just kind of raised his head above the pulpit, and he invited me in and his generosity with his resources, his knowledge, his time, with everything, was just incredible, and as soon as he opened the door, you know, I just grabbed the director and camera man and I put them on a plane and I said, “We’re going to do this now,” and the director was like, “Well, we need preproduction,” and I said, “Well, there is no preproduction. We start in about two weeks’ time.”

Stuart Cooke: That’s right.

Guy Lawrence: XXBest way. Best way.XX [0:11:25]

Donal O’Neill: I don’t know what I’m doing type thing, but, yeah, the director Yolanda Barker is a young Irish lady, and she did a phenomenal job, and Raja Nundlall, the D. P. is, he does a lot of work with Ireland as an actual broadcaster so, to be honest, they carried me through it. I just sort of said, “Roll the cameras and off we go.”

The rest was in large part due to the like of Tim Noakes and John Briffa.

Stuart Cooke: Fantastic. It was great to see the Aussie cricketers, as well, as, you know, sporting professionals, you know, trying and benefitting from this approach, as well. What do you think about other sports? Do you think this will follow on?

Donal O’Neill: We were just discussing this yesterday, in fac. I believe one sport that will benefit enormously is golf.

Stuart Cooke: Right.

Donal O’Neill: Because, as you well know, one of the things that, I think, really the first thing that anybody notices if they move to a high-fat, low-carb diet and they consume real food is a stabilization in energy levels, and I think it’s possibly too late for my own golfing career, but I can see a sport, like golf, where the guys are out there for five, five-and-a-half hours plodding along. It’s got to be a significant benefit for their concentration, because one slip can cost you a hell of a lot.

I think that’s one sport that could benefit enormously. OI mean, obviously, the endurance sports are already benefitting and, you know, guys like Timmy Olson that I’ve been in touch with, the ultra-endurance athlete in the U.S., their stories are just staggering, and I go back to cricket…

Guy Lawrence: Cricket, yeah, yeah, yeah…

Guy Lawrence: The other thing I wanted to clarify, as well, that was mentioned, Peter Brukner, he’s the Australian cricket team nutritionist, that’s right, yeah?

Donal O’Neill: He’s the team doctor.

Guy Lawrence: Team doctor, okay, so he’s been advising the cricketers on the high-fat diet, essentially.

Donal O’Neill: Well, it’s interesting. Peter was with Liverpool Football Club prior to the Australian cricketers, but he’d only really adopted this mantra himself around the time that he was leaving Liverpool, but, you know, he’s got a big presence in football, so, you know, he’s going to have an impact on what he’s achieving with the cricketers. It’s going to start to filter, right?

And, like I mentioned, when we’ve got the L.A. Lakers stateside and guys like Timmy Olson and then Peter Brukner advising athletes in Australia and the U.K. It’s going to happen. I have no doubt.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that’s awesome. That’s awesome. So where to from here? You’re essentially going to the States to promote the movie; to the L.A. Lakers, do you have anything else in the pipeline coming up or are you just going to keep like you’ve been doing and just see what happens as you go?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, kind of making it up as we go along, but it’s been; I think someone’s writing the story over my shoulder, because the reason we’re going to the U.S. is pretty interesting. We’d obviously put the movie up on Kickstarter mid last year and off the back of that one particular person who had missed the Kickstarter XXget?XX [0:14:40] was a gentleman called Sami Inkinen. Sami is an incredible individual. He is a world Iron Man age group champion. He’s about 38, 39. He’s also a spectacularly successful software entrepreneur and he’s based out of San Francisco.

So he contacted me out of the blue and just said, “I’m going to help.” I guess, you know, this guy won Ironman on a diet of fat, so he knows, and he’s now in a position where he’s using his resources and his expertise to start to preach this message.

He’s somebody that’s going to, you know, probably emerge as a pretty big player in this whole XXaction?XX [0:15:21] in my opinion, because it’s great having all the medics and all of that, opinion is very, very valuable, but what we must understand, we have to take the fight to the food companies on their turf. I mean, when Coca Cola issued a press release about their anti-obesity campaign and that goes worldwide in 50 countries simultaneously, and you have, you know, people responding to that. Coke still controlled the pitch.

So, the real food movement needs people who understand the mechanics of business and commerce, or how to raise awareness, sustain it, and how to get a message out that’s consistent and tight. That hasn’t happened yet. That’s what I see happening next. It’s starting to emerge, but it really requires a collaborative effort, and you need somebody with all the resources and all the ability to lead something like that, and Sami is such a guy. I cannot wait to spend some time with him in California and see what he’s got planned, but there’s definitely more to come.

Stuart Cooke: That’s exciting. Very exciting. I was just wanting to shift over to diet and exercise, just at the moment, and I was intrigued by your change in nature and take on the exercise you do in the movie. Was that eight minutes per week?

Donal O’Neill: It was, yes.

Stuart Cooke: Are you still doing eight minutes per week, or have you changed, you changed what you’re doing since then?

Donal O’Neill: No, I probably do a bit more, but what I do, that was eight minutes of, let’s say, cardio work. I trained with very, very high intensity for very, very short periods of time like that and then, probably 90 percent of my time is spent on mobility, so I studied pilates and yoga and lot of this stuff, and obviously I was an athlete and a conditioning coach, so I’m a big believer in movement, but the, like, I’ll turn 43 this year, so, what I noticed when I got to about 37, I certainly noticed that, “Oh, if I don’t change something, I’m probably going to start to dip here,” but my body feels much better than it did five years ago, and that’s, I think, down to diet, number one, and number two, I’m just training much smarter.

You know, for a guy in particular, the stuff that gets left off the table, because most diet books are written for women, are things like testosterone, you know, like a high-carbohydrate diet would dip your testosterone as would endurance training, so everything I do I do to solicit a metabolic response from my body, so I’m always looking to, sort of, hack the hormones as opposed to you’re looking at exactly what’s on the plate or how long am I exercising for.

I did a lot of that research along the way, too, but I’ve been in sports for 30, 35 years, and that’s my natural playground, but even in my days as an international athlete six sprints would have been a complete session, so I’ve come full-circle. Obviously, I wouldn’t be capable of doing the level of training I did back then, either, but I just like to train smart, move smart, and eat smart.

Guy Lawrence: Do you lift weights at all, Donal?

Donal O’Neill: I do lift some weights, but I do a lot of body work and I actually train on the mountain here in Cape Town, so a lot of proprioception work. I train, literally, in the trees. We’ve got a guy here XXaudio distortedXX [0:18:58] so, you know, we’re up on fallen trees sort of eight feet above the ground and we’ve got a big log on our shoulders and I work with the pilates and yoga experts here.

So we’ve been creating our own, well, what we’re calling the Strong Man Plan, which we’ll release the end of this year, so I’ve pulled everything together because I’ve probably put about over a hundred guys through it now, and the results you see are fantastic, particularly for guys when they get past 40. The stuff you used to do doesn’t work, and the worst thing you can do is jogging, because you’re going to drop your testosterone further. You’re going to really not do much good at all. I have a very big interest in getting guys strong and healthy through middle-age, and that’s kind of what my focus is now.

Stuart Cooke: When did you say this program is going to be rolled out over here?

Donal O’Neill: We’re going to roll it out, it’s probably three or four months away. I’ll let you know, but it’s just pulling in all the research I conducted for the movie and, you know, pointing it directly at men, because I think there’s a serious gap for blokes over 40, and I’m just fed up looking at mates of mine putting on their old rugby or football shorts and starting to go out jogging and, you know, eating their Special K breakfast. I mean, it’s a road to nowhere.

Things like sex drive, you know, you start eating a high-fat diet your testosterone is going to get pumped. You start to train without creating too much cortisol in the body, and if you train smart, you know, and you engage the glutes and the big muscle groups with compound movements, you get another shot of testosterone there, so I call them your man markers, so, everything that makes you a bloke can be buffered by smart diet food and movement.

Guy Lawrence: It’s interesting though, that most people, like you say, hit the streets to start running, you know, and, you know…

Stuart Cooke: Just conventional device, right? That’s it. I’ve got to run and I’ve got to limit my calories. That’s the only way I’m going to get slim.

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, I mean, but if you go to the start of any 10 k race, you’ll see fit guys with little pot bellies, you know. It’s a, that’s just how it is, and that’s the body’s hormonal response, you know, it’s not good for the body’s muscular gears, let’s say. It’s like going through the gears of a car. You know, if you’re jogging, the hormonal response in the body is whatever. You know, you get to sprinting and lifting, you’re into fourth gear and that’s when you get the testosterone and the lipolytic hormones releasing into the system. The rewards are tremendous, but, again, slightly counterintuitive, because you can’t do that stuff for a long time.

And one of the other things that frustrates me is that people are advising guys to go out there and sprint, because sprinting is a pretty tough regimen. We’ve created sequences of exercises that are safe and can be done and are very, very affective, because injury is the other thing you’ve got to avoid, which then goes back to the high fat and the lower inflammation in the body.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, especially if you’re, like you say, on a high-carb diet and you go high inflammation. You’re going to pull a hammy in seconds.

Stuart Cooke: But also those that are lean, because I’m naturally very lean. Impossible to put on weight, but that doesn’t mean for one second I’m healthy inside, and so that’s also a great message to push as well.

Donal O’Neill: Well, I mean, that’s exactly where I was starting. That’s the story of my family, the men in my family, so people perceive, you know, okay, generally speaking, it may be correct, but generality doesn’t work. I mean, health is like politics. It’s related to the individual and that’s why people vote best in their political beliefs and how they impact them, and they tend to eat on the same basis what’s really a zero foundation.

Guy Lawrence: How many calories a day were you eating in the movie?

Donal O’Neill: I was up near 4,000 a day, probably about 37, 38. I was stuffing myself. I mean, I was not hungry, I was doing it for the team, as they say, but I’m probably two kilos heavier than when we’ve stopped filming and I eat probably 20, 25 percent less. The more I was eating, it was just stripping me.

Back to the question about sports, I mean, I was a high-jumper and, you know, any sport that has a strong reliance on weight, I mean, if I was jumping, obviously, to be lifting off with two kilos less…On a similar, actually, an improved strength profile would be a phenomenal asset. So, that’s, you know, they’re obviously niche sports, but some of the track and field events, you might see some serious benefits for those athletes.

We’re working with some of the cage fighters here in South Africa at the moment, the mixed martial artists. One of the guys here, he’s stripping 12 kilos coming into a bout. So, that weakens the system, and they know it does. If they can find a way to walk around a train even, you know, two, three, four kilos less than they normally would be, that’s two, three, four kilos less than they’ve got to cut, and that can be beneficial.

We’ve also done some work with the lead Gaelic footballers who are now in a position where they can maintain their championship playing weight with no effort, so they can train and bulk and strengthen up, but they’re not carrying any additional weight to slow them.

Guy Lawrence: Do you think more endurance athletes will jump on board with this?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah. I think there’s a story there. I mean, we connected with the 2008 Olympic triathlon champion and he ate like that. If you sit with Tim Noakes, he’ll tell you about Paula Newby-Fraser who was the greatest triathlete of all time, arguably, South African, nine-time, I think, nine-time Hawaii Iron Man winner, and you know, she ate like this. That’s going back 20 years.

Guy Lawrence: I remember you saying that, yeah.

Donal O’Neill: It’s been there and it’s been used as a tactic, and it just, of course, elite athletes who think they’re on to something they’re not necessarily going to tell you. [AUDIO COMPLETELY DISTORTS] [0:25:42] Athletes identify what their, no pun intended, their sweet spot is for carb intake, because I think for a lot of sports, that will be a requirement to cycle carbs and to time them effectively. That’s what we’re going to see. They’re going to run with the clean foods. They’ll enjoy the anti-inflammatory benefits and whatnot, the cardiovascular benefits.

Noakes is saying, and he’s apologizing to athletes he advised who he believes have gone on and developed diabetes in particular because of the very high-carb sugar content diets that they have been on. I think it’s a fascinating area, and it’s, you know, the research that Tim’s doing in South Africa at the moment, is, I believe the first major study into high-fat for ultra-endurance athletes, so that’s pretty impressive.

Guy Lawrence: Is that right?

Stuart Cooke: Wow. What about the other end of the scale? Children? What would your advice be to, you know, parents who’ve got their own tribe and are currently feeding them the conventional way?

Donal O’Neill: You know, I mean, the results speak for themselves. You know, I can speak about Ireland and I’ve looked at the stats in Australia, and they’re just shocking. It doesn’t work and, you know, for kids, the first thing you’ve got to do is try and limit the sugar intake, because one of the things that I noticed in my research was, you know, Phillip Morris when the heat came on big tobacco in the early ’90s, they started to buy out food companies, the FMCG companies that kicked out crap back then.

And they identified, I mean they’re a brilliantly sinister company, they identified that the sugar trap is very much the same as nicotine. Get them young. Get them hooked on for life. Cereal companies know that. You know, you get on the cereal bandwagon and off you go. You’re on it for life typically.

So, the message for parents has to be the same as it is for adults. Let them eat what you eat, and I think any smart parent has always known that. If the parents aren’t eating correctly in the first instance, then you’re off to a bad start.

I’ve seen kids, I mean, you can see it happening. I’ve seen kids three, four years of age who have never had sugar. I mean parents are just feeding them real food. And you’ve got fantastic little kids running around, I mean, just apparently healthy. Absolutely sparkling with health. My own mate down in Australia…traveled to Australia after college. He stayed there. He’s got two young boys now, and I’ve watched what he’s done with them. You know, it’s eggs for breakfast and real food and Greek yogurt. Farmers Union has the best Greek yogurt I can find in Australia. It’s superb stuff.

The produce in Australia is amazing. I mean, you can do this. I always like to look at, you know, people like to say, “Oh, it’s expensive,” but, you know, eggs aren’t really expensive anywhere. Meat is actually, compared to everything else, it’s actually a pretty good value in Australia. Lamb is cheap.

Stuart Cooke: Absolutely, and, you know, medical bills are more expensive than a box of eggs you know, if you want to go down that route. It’s just crazy thought.

Donal O’Neill: Yeah. Exactly. We’re looking at some project, maybe try and do something specifically for children, movie-related, which would be fantastic, because, whatever, adults can make up their own mind, but you know children are absolutely driven. Exposure to sports stars is hugely important which is why I absolutely wanted to roll the cameras again and get Watson, Warner, and Khawaja in there.

We’re talking to the guys doing screenings down in India where diabetes is just an explosion, but the only thing bigger than that in India is cricket, so a guy like Watson stands up and tells children to eat something, you know they’re going to listen. He might just break though, and you’ll certainly break through with an elite athlete sooner than you will with a medical message to parents.

You know, that’s all good stuff, but the power of celebrity is going to pay an important role in this. I think Damon Gameau’s movie that’s coming out later this year called That Sugar Movie is going to be a phenomenal addition to the debate. He was at the screening in Melbourne, and I can’t wait to see what he’s doing with his movie. It’s going to be superb.

Stuart Cooke: It certainly will be.

Guy Lawrence: You just need the right people endorsing the right things, don’t you, at the end of the day, which sadly happens to be happening?

Donal O’Neill: Yeah, yeah. You know, we interviewed the chairman of the British Egg Council, not in the final cut of the movie, but I think their entire budget for the year to represent the industry is one million pounds. You couldn’t buy a couple of ads on Channel 4.

Stuart Cooke: No.

Donal O’Neill: He made the point that it’s just impossible, so what do you do? You’ve got to think outside the box. You’ve got to look for endorsements from celebrities and people who have access to the media that can get the message out. Otherwise, the bombardment of those billions of dollars that are telling you one thing are pretty hard to counter.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, massively. Massively. Absolutely.

I had another question for you, Donal. Ketosis. You’re permanently in ketosis now? Or you, um, don’t measure?

Donal O’Neill: No, I’m not. I don’t measure it. You know, there are guys who know a hundred times more about this stuff than me. I mean, we’ve got Robert Lustig and Steve Phinney hosting our screenings in San Francisco now next week, and then Mark Sisson is hosting us in L.A.

But, I operate on feel. I mean, I got to the point where I just know what my body wants.

Yesterday, for example, I was about to take down a large pig. I just needed bacon in my life. I just give my body what it wants, when it wants it. So, you know, I eat a very low-carb diet, a lot of fat, but am I in ketosis constantly? No. I’m not.

I’ll have an odd beer, and, you know, some carbs now and then. But I know when I need them and I just listen to my body.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. Fantastic.

Stuart Cooke: What do you say to those people that insist on counting calories without, you know, the whole lecture? I mean, is there any light that you could guide them to that might just, kind of, start the process?

Donal O’Neill: Well, you know, one of the more ridiculous reasons for making the movie for me as well is just so I wouldn’t have to get into the debate. I feel like walking around with a DVD in the market and just giving them to people, because I was getting jumped at dinner before. It was just bizarre.

So, people get very, very protective about their diet. It is like a religious belief or a political belief but they don’t know what they’re talking about. I mean, I they haven’t done the research.

You know, I was somebody who carb-loaded and did everything, you know, I thought was right for a long, long time. And I had to come in with an open mind to research and the movie. I didn’t know that what I would find was what I would find. But, you know, if you don’t have an open mind to these things, then you’re probably somebody who isn’t gonna give it a chance.

And, to be honest, I never raise the issue with anybody. If somebody wants to talk about it, that’s fine. But I’m not like some evangelist running around looking over people’s shoulders at the dinner plate.

I’d rather just slip a DVD into their pocket and leave them to it, because people have to find their own way.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, of course.

Donal O’Neill: Ultimately, we’re all on our own.

Stuart Cooke: Yep. If I decided to undertake this diet tomorrow, would you recommend that I undergo any testing at all, as you did?

Donal O’Neill: I think it’s; tests are useful for a number of reasons. I mean, first and foremost, psychologically. Because then you feel like you’re committed to something. And when you start; even if you start to write down what you eat, you start to eat healthier. That’s been proven time and again.

So, you take very small steps to make quite a big difference, but what; if you can get the right tests, yes. And you need you HDL, your LDL, and absolutely your triglycerides, your HbA1c is another very important mark. If you can get those, absolutely. But obviously something like HbA1c is a three-month marker. So, you need to give it some time before you revisit that one.

But you would see results within, probably, four to six weeks.

And; you would see them first around your waist. I dropped a buddy of mine off to the airport last night and he’s a businessman in London and every suit he owns he’s had to have it taken in several inches. He just can’t believe it. And this guy was an elite rower who continued to thrash himself in the gym. And just had bit of a, what you would call a “wheat belly.” But it’s gone. And, you know, he was stunned by it.

And, I think, counting of calories; some people like to do that. There’s a lot of tech out there that helps you do it. If that’s your thing, by all means, go on; do it. But, you know, my recommended caloric intake was about 2,800 calories. I had more, almost a thousand calories a day in excess, through the course of filming, lost weight; gained muscle. Go figure.

Stuart Cooke: Yeah, right. You can’t argue with that.

Guy Lawrence: I think testing, as well, helps for people. Because some people are so fearful of fat. You see it all the time, you know. And just to have something behind them so they can embrace it for a month and see what happens. You know? You can’t about it half-assed, as well, and still eat your bread and just increase your fat a bit.

Donal O’Neill: Yeah. Yeah. Some people do that, but, you know; if you’re gonna take one foodstuff out of your diet and get an immediate result, it probably is bread, because it’s something that people tend to overeat. Certainly, in Ireland.

So, I’ve watched guys just take out bread drop enormous amount of weight because they ate half a loaf a day. So, where you’re starting from will determine where you’re gonna get to, I suppose, with specific types of, let’s say, “dietary edits.”

But, you know, I really enjoy working with guys who have been sportsmen, and who are now longer in shape, because someone who has been there. . . When the body clicks and it gets it, you’ve got them, I mean, and they just stick with it because once you start to feel good, I mean, the body remembers that feeling. There’s no going back.

My old brother is 47 and he’s back to his elite football-playing weight. And, you know, he’s a guy who he’ll have a drink once a day. I mean, he’s like that. He doesn’t really deprive himself. But, you know, he just kind of stopped eating bread and just made a few tweaks, and, bang, there he goes.

So, you know, everybody’s different. You can just; once you find your own sweet spot, just run with it.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, absolutely. And; well, what would you. . . If somebody stopped you on the stress who had statins and was asking you questions, what would you say to them? What would your piece of advice be, if he’s on statin drugs; cholesterol drugs?

Donal O’Neill: I mean, the statin thing is; it’s pretty unbelievable to me, what big pharma has done there. And one of the key pieces of research I unearthed was the fact that the pharmaceutical companies have spent in excess of 10 billion U.S. dollars to try to find a drug that would safely raise HDL cholesterol. They haven’t succeeded, but I wanted them to succeed, because I wanted to see what their ad agency was gonna do. “OK, guys, we know we have been lowering your cholesterol for years; we’ve got a great idea: We’re gonna raise it.”

So, yeah. They didn’t achieve that, but. . . That would have been very, very exciting. So, I mean, you’ve got the conventional cardiologists and experts who say, “Yeah, statins could save your life.” And there’s absolutely an anti-inflammatory aspect to statins that provides benefit in the immediate aftermath of a cardiac event. But do they prevent it? Based on the research I’ve seen and, you know, now you’ve got cardiologists like Dr. Aseem Malhotra and Paul Davis and the rest who are steadfast against them as a preventative, too.

I think, you know, the thought leaders in the cardiac world are in a much better position to assess that than me. But I believe them and they’re saying statins are not the way forward.

Guy Lawrence: Definitely.

Stuart Cooke: I’ve got. . .

Guy Lawrence: Oh, go one, Stu.

Stuart Cooke: Well, I was just wondering how we could help spread the message. What could we do?

Donal O’Neill: Well, I mean, I think you’re doing a great job already. The work you’re doing is tremendous. I mean, it’s great to have guys like yourself who are clearly very savvy in the Internet environment, because we’re a David to an enormous Goliath and I the real foods message needs coordination and collaboration. And, you know, these types of podcasts and recordings and everything else you’re doing is enormously beneficial.

Obviously, we went with Yekra to distribute the movie because it enabled hosts like yourselves to present the movie for screening directly from your website and your Facebook page and whatnot.

So, we’ve been trying to get some viralality into the marketing of the movie, because our advertising budget is about zero. So, it’s, you know, not the cleverest thing in the world to launch a movie without a budget, but here we are.

But, you know, even if we had a couple of million dollars, it probably wouldn’t make that much of a difference because you’re operating against such a vast war chest on the other side that to break through is very, very tough. So, I think it’s just a question of continuing to tell the truth and to present the facts and get what success you can.

Guy Lawrence: I think the power of social media can be phenomenal, to, you know. And by getting bits of information out like this, and getting them out there, and people talking. You know, it certainly does make a difference to some people, that’s for sure.

Donal O’Neill: It definitely helps. Later today, I’m on with Ireland’s biggest commercial radio station, so that’s; but this is as important as that, it’s because this type of engagement that alerted mainstream media, because I told them all we were coming and they just completely ignored me.

So, you know, you’ve got to bite your lip and march on and try and make some noise and just wait for the pickup. So, thanks for supporting us.

Guy Lawrence: Oh, man. I think it’s awesome. I absolutely loved it.

We always end on a wrap-up question. And this can be non-nutrition related. What’s the single best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Donal O’Neill: “Don’t do it.”

When I hear that, that is just music to my ears. And I’m out of the blocks. And that’s probably the most consistent piece of advice I got when I started this project. So, that might sound negative but that’s when you know you’re either crazy or your might be onto something, when people are steadfast against what you’re doing, for no other reason than they can’t get their head around it.

But it’s starting to become a really good idea.

Stuart Cooke: It’s working for you. I’d keep at it.

Guy Lawrence: Just keep doing it. Keep doing it.

And for us Aussies, mate, how can we get more of Donal O’Neill? Where is the best place to go?

Donal O’Neill: Obviously, we’re on Facebook: CerealKillersMovie. We’ve got the website at CerealKillersMovie.com. And everything will kind of flow from those channels.

We put up a blog to support the movie called Let Fat By Thy Medicine. We have some articles up there. But we’re gonna just keep pushing the Internet presence and using some of the expertise I’ve picked up along the way in my days with the online gambling industry. So, yeah, it’s gonna be very much pumping the online channels. And I think we get the movie onto Netflix; iTunes, in due course and then we’re looking towards television.

But we are; we’re gonna try to pitch a TV show into Australia this year. So, we’ll see how that goes. But I just want to keep the projects coming and keep the message coming, because one movie isn’t gonna approve to much. It’s the start.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, look, this movie needed to be made and you did an awesome job and we really appreciate your time for coming on the show. And we will be pushing this message constantly as well, man, and continuing to get it out there.

Donal O’Neill: Much, much appreciated, and thanks for having me.

Stuart Cooke: No problem. Thanks for joining us.

Guy Lawrence: No worries. Thank you, Donal.

Donal O’Neill: Cheers, guys.

Stuart Cooke: Thank you, mate.