If there is something I’ve learned over the past 24 months, it’s how many people are cajoled by the marketing tactics of food companies who value profit over health and are addicted to the quick fix model of health and agriculture and mesmerised by the fear-mongering media.
No, this isn’t me shamelessly plugging my own brand. In my 40 years of being a nutritionist, I’ve not only awakened to the false promises of farming and food in modern media but also expanded my knowledge in both of these areas; nourishing my family, work colleagues, friends and community with real foods. Most importantly, whist the health of the environment and of humans has deteriorated, I know I’ve had an impact on being part of the solution – and I take sharing this information very seriously – along with the impact I make on the planet by my personal choices.
This is our story, how I went from a nutritionist who provided information, to a business owner who sourced and provided the tools you need to implement this information.
It starts with mine and my family’s needs – for 35 years I’ve nourished my family with the best foods I could find. Not being satisfied with what was in the grocery store led me from hunting out small health food stores, farmers markets, farmers, producers and food stalls to find the best food for my family, to now owning land to grow food for my family and community.
When my husband joined Changing Habits, the book I published in 1998 (first written in the early 1990’s as part of a weekly column in the local paper) became the mainstay of what we did as a company. The book explained what had happened to our food, what that ‘food’ does to human and soil health, and what would be a better alternative. I explained things such as the damaging health consequences of breakfast cereals, low-fat dairy, margarine, ultra-processed food, white sugar, white salt and so much more. I then didn’t just take that food away but suggested alternatives such as CADA, normal unadulterated dairy, butter, whole foods, rapadura sugar and seaweed salt respectively.
One day at work my husband asked me how many people asked me about the chapter on salt, my answer was that a lot of people asked me where could they source the salt and the dulse in order to make the seaweed salt (mentioned in the chapter is pure himalayan salt, enriched with dulse (seaweed) powder for its natural iodine content – containing 84 minerals and trace elements). Then there was the sugar chapter, people wanted to know where they could buy sucanat, rapadura, jaggery and panela sugars (these are all the same sugar but made in different countries around the world).
I knew where to find the foods I talked about in my book, I’d done the research, I found them in my local area and I could source them easily. But when you are starting out on this incredible journey back to health, sometimes the hardest thing is finding the foods you require to get there.
The population as a whole eats mindlessly, they are cajouled by advertising on media and they believe that all food on the grocery store shelf has been sanctioned by a government department that ‘surely wouldn’t do anything to food if it wasn’t good for you’. So to find the foods I talk about in the book Changing Habits Changing Lives (1998) becomes a mission, that only the committed will make the effort to do.
Let me first tell you about our organic Nature’s Mineral Boost (formerly known as Colloidal Minerals) we now sell. For my family, I would order from the USA (Utah), 12 bottles of colloidal minerals, I was happy with them and so decided that they would be the best suppliers of the colloidal minerals for the Changing Habits shop. When I asked to purchase 1000 litres they then sent me the spec sheet for the product. I noticed that on the spec sheet they had added a preservative and one that I did not agree with. But on the ingredient list of the bottle, I was purchasing from them as a consumer that preservative was not shown.
Needless to say we did not purchase that colloidal minerals again and they would never become my supplier. I was deflated, I was annoyed that I had not picked up on this, how could I? I was the consumer not the wholesale buyer and the spec sheets are not common practice to be included in the information given to a retail buyer.
It was back to the drawing board to find a colloidal mineral for my family and then for the Changing Habits community. It was by chance that I was in a health food shop not long after my disappointment when I spotted a colloidal mineral, it was not clear in colour, like the one I purchased from Utah but almost black and I noted it was Australian. I called the owner (Bill) and had a long conversation with him about the process, where the primary material is sourced and questioned if there was any use of any preservative. I was ecstatic, I had found my organic colloidal minerals, it just so happens that Bill worked with the company I had been purchasing from and came back to Australia to make a better, less-refined product without any dubious additives. We have never swayed from Bill, we still source from him, and if ever I have a question I call him and we talk for hours. He is well researched and usually has answers to my questions.
This is just one product. Every product that we purchase for the Changing Habits community has a similar story. We research the farmer and/or the supplier to make sure that the farming practices are to our satisfaction of organic and regenerative.
Our Organic Dates is another story I’d like to impart, to show you that we research and often find out things as major buyers that we didn’t know before we begin the process. The Changing Habits Dates are a big seller, many people probably don’t know the difference between our dates and many on the supermarket and even organic shelves. Date Palms have a male and female species, the male species pollinates the female via wind, but to make sure the female plant is pollinated and that the orchards are not filled with male (non-producing) date palms many farmers purchase the pollen from the markets and hand pollinate. The pollen is added to wheat flour to help with the process. This wheat flour and any chemicals on the wheat contaminates the dates, making them unsuitable for people with wheat intolerances, coeliac disease or anyone who has an aversion to consuming glyphosate.
The farmer we use to source our dates does not use wheat flour in the pollination process, therefore our dates are not contaminated. This means people with coeliac disease can eat our dates. This was important for not only me because I have a family member diagnosed with coeliac disease, but also our community. As I have produced the documentary ‘What’s With Wheat’, it was only ethical, that we did not purchase from a farmer that mixed the pollen with wheat.
Next up? The Taste of Our Organic Green Blends.
Why purchase our green blends over anyone else’s? This is another story that begins with the agricultural practices of our greens, to the sourcing of each ingredient, the blending and packaging. I’ll try and make it brief.
Many supplement blend powders have some good ingredients and other very dubious ingredients, like white stevia extract, monk fruit, flavour, acidity regulator. As well as fillers like nutritional yeasts, fake vitamins, mined minerals, synthetic biology ingredients and the list goes on. When I was wanting to make up a green blend I wanted the best of ingredients, from the green powders, to the probiotics, herbs, camu camu, real green stevia (also called sweet leaf) and so on. We had to source all these ingredients and make sure they made it to our standards, not an easy feat. We had taste tests in the office and with focus groups and although the taste wasn’t bad, it didn’t suit everyone’s taste – but there was nothing I could do about this as I was not going to compromise quality by adding flavours and fake sweeteners in order to make it more palatable Personally, I squeeze an orange every day and add my Peak Performance and colloidals into it and shot it down.
It was then suggested that we should encapsulate our powders to make it tolerable for those who didn’t like the taste. So I went down that path. Firstly I discovered the dubious nature of some of the capsules and secondly, that certain additives like free flowing agent and anti caking agent would have to be added to my supplement food powders in order to encapsulate. Needless to say, that was a big fat no from me and my quality control monitoring.
Fast forward to today and you will be happy to know that as a company Changing Habits is in the process of mixing and packing everything from our warehouse including encapsulation of some of our products. This is undertaken by hand encapsulation which means we do not have to use any dubious ingredients that would be required for machine encapsulation. Plus, we have found a capsule that we’ve had tested for glyphosate, giving us the confidence to deliver a capsule that meets Changing Habits and my personal quality control.
There are many products that we want to bring to the market, but cannot always find an ethical supply, so we let it go for a couple of years and then try again.
At Changing Habits we do the research of the food that we stand by so that you can trust us in all that we deliver. If I’m feeding it to my family you can be assured that it will be healthy for your family.
Of course we are not the only brand that has such high standards I also love – Loving Earth for their chocolate, That Healthy Co – Wild Collagen Reds, Foraged For You – Mothers Blend, Good Harvest – plant farmers, Forage Farms – animal farmers, to name a few. I love them because I’ve spoken to them personally and I know their ethics and their standards. By the way, I’m not the only one that can reach these people, you can too, just ask the right questions and know how to read ingredient labels. If you don’t have the time, then I’m here to do it for you.
And if you’re interested in learning this information for yourself, the latest version of my book, now known as Lab To Table is now! Click here to purchase yours now and continue to learn in or begin your real food journey.
Happy Changing Food Purchasing