Educating Children About Real Food – A Graduate’s Perspective

Written by Cyndi O'Meara

Cyndi is about educating. Her greatest love is to teach, both in the public arena and within the large corporate food companies, to enable everyone to make better choices so they too can enjoy greater health throughout their lives. Considered one of the world's foremost experts in Nutrition, Cyndi brings over 40 years experience, research and knowledge.
Time To Read: 6 minutes

July 27, 2018

In this blog we feature an amazing graduate who is making an impact in her local schools and sporting communities, Over to you Rebecca ,,,,

“It’s almost 12 months to the day where I had escaped the Victorian Winter for a week of warmth on the Sunshine Coast.  I sat in an apartment and submitted the final assessment for the Functional Nutrition Academy.

In a moment of complete satisfaction and sense of accomplishment, I also found myself a little overwhelmed as to what it now meant for me.  What did the completion of the Functional Nutrition Course actually mean?  What doors did it now open?  What can I do as a graduate of the Functional Nutrition Academy?  What I have learnt is that the doors don’t simply open in front of you… you have to go knocking.

I had the luxury of identifying my nutrition purpose whilst studying the course; 

“To educate children on real food and how it affects their body.”

Prior to finishing, I had registered my business; Omaha Nutrition and started Omaha Kids; my in-school nutrition program.

What I learnt very early on is that there are not many ‘do-ers’ out there.  There are plenty of people who want to see change, but aren’t really willing to do much about it. 

“Be the person who puts your hand up to be a leader. You will attract your tribe quicker than you could imagine.  So many people are searching for the answers right now, and after doing this course, you now have the foundation of solid knowledge and credible, evidence-based answers.”

Whilst money seems to be a gauge many of us measure our success against, I invite you to measure your successes on what makes your soul shine.  At the graduation weekend this year, I heard a number of reservations in people striving for the vision they see because money is a barrier to achieving the goals you have set.

Whilst this belief also appeared to be a hurdle for me early on in my journey, I am now somewhat indifferent to this train of thought.  Does money place limitations on some things; yes. Does having lots of money or minimal money add to or take away the passion I have for educating children and school communities on Functional Nutrition… not one bit.  I know there is more to achieving goals and successes than how much money is in the bank.  I trust and know money will come. 

Only last week, a mother come up to me at my son’s Kindergarten where I had worked with the kids the week before. She was on top of the world, buzzing because today her son wanted an orange and mandarin in his lunchbox.  He had also started to ask for corn and broccoli with his dinner… and he was eating them!  For a mum who was banging her head against the wall about her son’s years of ‘fussy eating’ to be so happy and request I re-attend the kinder, shows me the value of what I am doing.  And to be honest, this feedback fills my heart with happiness.

For me, I sat back at the start of the year so excited about what lay ahead.  A move to the Sunshine Coast, ‘the Hollywood for Health Coaches’, a new platform and new opportunities were waiting for me.  Whilst my vision was clear I was still feeling somewhat ill-aligned with Omaha Nutrition and Omaha Kids capturing exactly who I am. 

As a result, I have recently registered Omaha Kids as a not-for-profit organisation. Omaha Kids is a curriculum linked program educating children and whole school communities about real food. Each class is complemented with a practical element where children make a real food/whole food snack using real ingredients. Omaha Kids focuses on building a healthy relationship between children and food, paving the way for a future full of physical and mental health benefits.

For me, this captures more what I am about.  I have and would continue to spend every last cent on nutrition education to families and our next generation.  As a non-for-profit organisation parents, schools and educational facilities know that their contribution is going straight back to their kids.  I challenge you to find a parent, teacher or educator that doesn’t want to address the health epidemic in our children.

I encourage you to give life to the vision you have in a way that captures you and your purpose.

Everyone’s purpose is different. Not everyone wants to be a business owner or create something on a large scale, this doesn’t mean that you can’t share your knowledge and passion in a way that fits you, your personality and your goals

The plan at the start of the year was to do exactly what I had done in Victoria over the past 6 months. I knew what I was doing now and knew how to do things more efficiently and had learnt what the general demand would be for my audience… or so I thought.

I have learnt and realised that a contributing factor of my own business success in Victoria was likely due to the fact that I was in a town I grew up in. I was networking with people who had known me, or members of my family for many years.  My sister has been an educator for over 12 years in Ballarat, and it’s becoming increasingly obvious that that was extremely helpful in me progressing so quickly last year. 

I have started from scratch up on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland.  A new town where I don’t know anyone and where no one knows me.  I believe in what I have to offer, so it’s been a case of letting people know who I am and what I can offer. about.  I continue to work passionately with the belief that knowledge is power and it is in-fact; what you know.  And it is what you know that opens the doors to meet the people who will lift you up and contribute to your successes. 

Life after the Functional Nutrition Course is a learning curve in itself.  I have constantly been challenged to work outside of my comfort zone. Cold calling, putting myself out there, meeting face to face for the first time with people who will ultimately decide after a 2 minute meeting if what you have to offer is worth their time, money and effort is scary and requires a ‘thick skin.’ 

SO whilst we are half way through the year and Omaha Kids is not even close to where I imagined it would be, I have managed to present to school communities, work with a number of classes, initiated an Educators Breakfast for the teachers of the Sunshine Coast and featured in the local paper

I have also given some energy and life to my desire to create healthy nutritional changes in sporting communities and have been lucky enough to have networked with the Maroochydore Football Club.  I have now given life to Omaha Active – a branch of Omaha that focuses on educating active families and sporting communities on real food and its ability to enhance not just the function, but the sporting performance of our body. 

Omaha now currently sponsors the Maroochydore Roos Division 1 Women’s team and presents the Omaha ‘Refuel with Real Food’ performance award each week.  The winner receives a small fruit hamper of locally grown fruit and a Changing Habits real food product.  As the interest in this initiative continues, I am already looking to sponsor another three teams from the Maroochydore Australian Football club before the 2018 season is finished.

So, after being on the Sunshine Coast for only 20 weeks, enrolling and settling my two kids in to a kindergarten and daycare, finding a part-time job whilst juggling mum duties and continuing with my Omaha vision, I can’t be too disappointed I am not quite where I wanted to be at the start of the year.  I choose to focus on the small steps and progress being taken in the right direction.

The important thing is to just keep going, keep believing in you, and know that what you have to offer with knowledge from the Functional Nutrition Academy is a solid foundation for creating the change you desire.” Rebecca Warke

To contact Rebecca about Omaha Kids

FB- Omaha Kids

Instagram – @omahamum

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  1. Natalie Skye

    I loved reading this article- thank you for sharing your experience and welcome to the sunny coast. Your an inspiration. Keep up the amazing effort and keep that passion alive.

  2. Christina Brannan (Chris)

    Hi Rebecca – I’m just signing up to begin the Foundation course and your story has given me great inspiration as kids school lunches are my bug bear and an issue I want to tackle when I ultimately finish the course. I live in Ireland and this type of education is so badly needed. Hopefully we can connect & I can learn more from you in due course. Keep up the great work.

    Kind regards
    Christina Brannan


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