Welcome to the latest edition of my Friday Foodie series, where each week I feature my favourite health and wellness stars. Each week, they share their tips for healthy living and their favourite recipe.
This week, I am featuring Caitlin McCarthy, who is an Accredited Nutritionist, Transformational Speaker, Certified Eating Psychology Coach, Body Whisperer and Miracle Mentor. Quite simply, she is amazing! I came across Caitlin on social media land and have been a fan ever since.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your family, what you do and what inspired you to lead a healthier lifestyle?
Hey there, and thanks for having me! I’m Caitlin McCarthy, Divine Diva Extraordinaire, and I teach women how to live their most Divine lives EVER!
I grew up in a “healthy” household – I was the kid at school who had an apple and a carrot & cheese brown bread sandwich for lunch, whilst everyone else chowed down on their Wonder White with Nutella and Tim Tams. I wasn’t very happy about it at the time, but looking back I’m oh-so-thankful! That also meant that 90% of meals were home-cooked, and I remember helping Mum in the kitchen as a child. My favourite thing to cook was a yummy sugar-free fruit cake – which morphed into our Christmas cake, so I have some beautiful memories there!
I studied Food Technology & Hospitality all through high school, and at about 15 took on the responsibility of the family meals – I loved food & cooking! I wasn’t interested in becoming a chef however, so decided becoming a Nutritionist sounded awesome! It was also around this time that I started developing an eating disorder (Orthorexia) which consumed my life for almost a decade!
While dealing with a full blown eating disorder, my world was forever changed. Both my parents died from cancer, 1 year after each other. In less than two years, I had gone from a family of three to just me! At this point, I had two choices: let my grief and torturous relationship with food completely consume me OR get my SHIZ together! And this is what has led me to my passion & life’s work today!
Through my journey, I now know this as a fact: TRUE HEALTH and WELLNESS can’t be found though eating a “perfect” diet (I really tried!) or fitting into size 8 jeans! It’s an inside job.
For me, a “healthier lifestyle” is about your relationship with all aspects of life coming from a place of love & nourishment, rather than restriction & force!
What tips would you give to someone who has just commenced living a healthier lifestyle?
1. Keep it simple: in two ways – wholefoods are your best friend and there is so much information out there, and so much of it is contradictory. You don’t need to know everything about everything, and read every article/blog post!
2. Take baby steps: gradually swap out the not-so-great foods/habits/options with the more positive ones!
3. Improve quality first: upgrade the quality of what you’re eating to the best that you can afford! Go organic or chemical/pesticide free, if you can or if that’s still a stretch, prioritise organic/grass-fed animal products and check out the “Clean 15” & “Dirty Dozen”.
4. Be curious: try things, you don’t have to eat or exercise perfectly – know that if something doesn’t make you feel good, it’s not your fault, just try something different – TRUST your body
5. Be kind to yourself: you don’t necessarily have to completely giving up things you love – it’s about knowing your limits (on what makes you feel good), while also living your life! No need for an all or nothing approach!
Do you have any tips for eating well on a budget?
Number one tip – shop at a farmer’s market: you get great bargains because you’re cutting out the middle man & farmers/stall holders will discount things that they have in abundance. I honestly find that produce from farmer’s market last longer too – what will last a few days from the supermarket, will easily last up to two weeks from the farmer’s market!
For meat-eaters, keep your eye out for discounts at the supermarket! It certainly gets expensive buying organic/grass-fed meats, so when they’re on special – stock up and freeze them in portion sizes.
How do you deal with food struggles from your children and/or family?
Well, I don’t have kiddies .. yet! My boyfriend will eat anything I put in front of him and he’s grown up pretty healthy as well, so eating vegetables etc isn’t an issue there!
However, the advice I give to parents is to hide fruit & vegies in dishes (for example avocado chocolate mousse with coconut cream, avocado & dates or grated vegies in spaghetti Bolognese), make eating healthy food fun by getting kids involved in the whole process and be patient. We’ll see how this goes in a few years when I’m taking my own advice!
What is your favourite food?
Ooo .. can I pick more than one? I’m obsessed with avocado & tahini on toast (with pepper, you can’t forget the pepper)! I love smoothies, granola and zucchini noodles (with goat/sheep feta & roasted cherry tomatoes – yum!) .. and I also love good quality ice cream! There’s this super cool Turkish place I tried a couple of weeks ago, where the ice cream doesn’t melt! *mind blown*
Who is your favourite foodie and why?
I don’t have a fave foodie, but some I really like are:
– Jamie Oliver: his passion & personality make loving food super easy
– Heston Blumenthal: his is a creative genius in more ways than one
– Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef: simple, healthy, delicious
– Purely Twins: they’re really innovative & super allergy-friendly
What is something that you enjoy doing when you have some ‘me’ time?
I love the beach. It’s my happy place. I will have a house by the beach some day!
What is your favourite recipe to cook? Can you share the recipe with us?
I tend to go through phases with foods I eat & dishes I cook, but a snack that I love to have on hand are my Raw “Cheezy” Broccoli Bites. I generally like savoury snacks rather than sweet, and these not only make vegies super tasty, they’re more interesting than plain nuts! Plus my boyfriend likes these, and he usually doesn’t like “raw” things – WINNING!
- 2 broccoli heads, florets washed & cut into smaller pieces
- 1 cup activated cashews (if using regular cashews, soak in filtered water for a couple of hours first)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/3 cup water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, optional
- 1 teaspoon sweet or 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Pinch Himalayan salt
- Blend all ingredients, except broccoli, in a Vitamix or food processor until smooth. (You want the sauce to be quite thick. If it’s too thin, it won’t stick to the broccoli!)
- Place broccoli in a large bowl.
- Pour “cheeze” over the broccoli & stir/massage until the florets are well coated.
- Transfer coated broccoli to dehydrator trays and arrange in a single layer (if the trays are mesh, cover with baking paper).
- Dehydrate at 68°C /155°F for 2 hours and then turn down to 46°C /115°F for approx. 12 hours/overnight (until the broccoli is crisp and the coating is dry).
- Store in a glass jar. Yum!
- Feel free to use the broccoli stalks too, they just take longer to dry than the florets & can be quite hard when they’re dehydrated
- Macadamias can be substituted for cashews, as can sunflower seeds if nuts are an issue!
- You can also dry these in the oven – just pop them on an oven tray at the very lowest temperature (just the pilot light) and keep an eye on them!
A little more about Caitlin and where she can be found.
Caitlin is the founder of Divine Diva Day and My Divine Life. She is an Accredited Nutritionist, Transformational Speaker, Certified Eating Psychology Coach, Body Whisperer and Miracle Mentor, BUT more importantly she is a SURVIVOR and a THRIVER.
Think – INTENSE eating disorder + caring for BOTH parents by herself at home as they died from cancer, while studying & working two jobs – all by the age of 21. Let’s just say her formative years were FULL ON!
Her journey has inspired her to truly tap into her DIVINE power and beauty. Now, she teaches women how to live heart-centred lives truly connected to their desires, intuition and innate wisdom. The movement she has created inspires women to create abundance by owning their exquisite beauty and strength.