I never set out to change the world, as that would just be too hard. I set out to educate myself so I could change myself (as I am the only person I have complete power over) then in turn do the best for my family. With my family’s love and support I may be able to influence a community and then perhaps a ripple effect will continue around this great country, creating a tsunami of change in the world. Change can only come from the individual; influence by example creates the ripple.
Food is my passion. I’ve been studying it for nearly four decades, not only as it pertains to eating but also the growing process. The more I learn about food on the supermarket shelf and chemical monoculture agriculture (where only a single crop, species of livestock or plant is produced or grown at a time), the more incensed I become. People accept that what is on the supermarket shelf is safe to eat. But there are so many hidden agricultural chemicals and added food enhancers from dubious sources lining the food aisles of the supermarket.
Marketers and food manufacturers play on this fact; on the consumer’s wilful ignorance. When you’re in the supermarket you don’t want to think about where your food comes from, what they’ve done to it, what additives it contains, how they make those additives, or whether the food is genetically modified, with Roundup, dicamba or 2,4-D herbicides sprayed on it before harvest. It’s almost like we turn a blind eye. We believe that the government would not allow foods on the grocery store shelf that could possibly make us sick. Wilful ignorance cannot be overstated.
Food manufacturers get away with putting dubious ingredients in our food because everyone is prepared to look the other way. I see so many children and adults with health issues, more so than when I started my career in 1980.
‘How Are They Allowed to Put These Things in Our Food?’
Educating people is the key to a rebellion and to no longer saying, ‘I didn’t know that’. One of my ocean swimming friends asked me to come and clean out his pantry and fridge. He wanted himself and his young family to start eating better. He told me they ate well, but just needed some pointers. Just about everything I pulled out of his fridge and pantry had a flavour, colour, acidity regulator, thickener or some other dubious additive. I explained what each of the additives were, how they were made and what health issues they may cause. He was shocked. He asked the same thing everyone else does: ‘How are they allowed to put these things in our food?’.
Most agriculture and food manufacturing has never been about health, but rather yield and profit.
As I learn I teach. Writing my book Changing Habits Changing Lives was passing on my knowledge to an unsuspecting public. Producing my documentary ‘What’s With Wheat?‘ was a chance to capture another audience. Creating the podcast Up For A Chat was yet another way to educate. And beginning my registered training organisation and my nutrition course was about educating people so that they can go on to educate their community.
It’s Hard Not to Do Things Differently When You Know the Truth
Different mediums for education help spread the word. It is also an opportunity for me to learn. Interviewing people on specific topics allows a deep dive into the unknown. When I interviewed Dr Stephanie Seneff, senior researcher at MIT in Boston, for my documentary in 2015, I spent the three hours with her with my jaw on the floor. Dr Seneff researches the herbicide glyphosate (Roundup). I was so appalled by the misinformation on this topic that I delved deep into it to become an expert on the ramifications of this herbicide, not only on human health but animal, bacterial and soil health.
If I don’t stand for something then I’m going to fall for everything. It’s hard not to do things differently when you know the truth. Education, persistence and being consistent creates change, whether it be in your own lives or that of your community.
I purchased a farm to grow my own foods for food security, not only for me and my family but for my local community. When I learnt our local council sprayed Roundup through the region, I became a bee in their bonnet about the topic. I visited my local councillor, I called the mayor, I rang the local parks officer and I spread the word on my social media platform. My aim is to stop the use of Roundup and glyphosate-containing products on the parks, playgrounds, sports grounds and verges in my community. I’m happy to say that the head of parks called me late last year and told me that they would stop using Roundup on the Sunshine Coast asap. And don’t think that being rebellious against the establishment of the Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA), the Australian Pesticide and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) and the Sunshine Coast Council (SCC) is easy. It’s a huge train to stop and even bigger to turn around.
Having said that, I’m seeing change happen. As the public becomes educated and starts to vote with their hip pockets or who they put in office, change will be evident. My topic is food and agriculture. This is where I focus my efforts but that doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns for other areas of our lives and the planet. I watch other mums, too, become leaders for their causes with great admiration; they are the ones that keep me going to create that tsunami of change for the health of our children and future generations.