Belinda Smith is a mother on a mission to transform children’s health, one lunch box at a time. Belinda and her husband Israel, have developed a fun, hands-on way of teaching school kids and their parents the value of healthy eating.
The Root Cause Mad Food Science program is simple and digestible. It takes a positive and proactive approach to solving the serious problem of childhood obesity.
The lightbulb moment came for Belinda at a children’s sporting event, “The Mad Food Science program really started I guess by me seeing a boys swimming carnival. I was horrified to see most of the boys were actually overweight”, she explains. As a mother of two, Belinda was shocked by what she had seen and started digging for some answers, “What scared me the most was that I found reports saying that this generation of children, my generation of children are likely to have a shorter life expectancy than we are as parents.” she says.
It was that terrifying prediction that led to the creation of the the Mad Food Science program. Now, after a year of piloting the presentation and covering the cost themselves, their hard work has paid off, “It’s been amazing…the children’s reaction is fantastic, in the class itself, but I think what really keeps me going is children are going home, looking in their cupboards and telling their parents..we shouldn’t have this, it’s too processed.”
When you meet Belinda in person her warmth comes across instantly. She works as a Health and Wellness Coach so she personally enjoys a healthy lifestyle, but it’s more than that. Belinda is one of those people you meet who knows exactly what she wants to do with her life, and that’s to enrich others’ lives. Her passion is almost palpable.
I went to see her first fully-sponsored presentation recently at a Sydney primary school where she transformed into a Mad Food Scientist before a room full of students. Dressed in a lab coat and goggles, she explained the difference between whole foods and “sometimes” foods and the benefits of “eating from the rainbow”. But it was the whacky food experiments that won the room of young scientists over. Even a green smoothie was an exciting discovery. After a tentative smell of the unfamiliar concoction and reassuring looks from teachers, they took a sip, quickly followed by a gulp and hands began to spring out for second helpings.
Belinda and Israel (a professional photographer), are committed to carrying their message beyond their own neighbourhood. “It’s just about building a community of people making change together rather than one lone person doing it”, Belinda explains.
The couple has sold their house, they’re packing up their children (aged 4 and 8) and taking The Root Cause around Australia, this year. A converted bus will become their home, office and new school for the kids. Belinda and Israel should be applauded for working to develop a powerful dialogue on healthy eating at the grass roots; the dinner table and the school playground. It’s a truly passionate pursuit and one I deeply respect. I wish them well on the journey.
Learn more about The Root Cause
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.