Foodie Friday: Casey McCluskey
Casey McCluskey was one of my very first foodie friends when I entered the online health world in 2010. Casey is a health and life coach, an author, a motivational speaker and co-founder of the Healthy, Hot and Energised Coaching Program, the Get Juicy Cleanse as seen on CBS and Vimergy.com.
Originally from Perth, Casey is now living in the US with her hubby Philip McCluskey (last week’s Foodie Friday).
Meet Casey …
What was the catalyst that turned you into a healthy foodie?
I developed severe eczema as an infant that continued into adulthood. It was so bad that I was covered top to toe in painful, red, itchy rashes that completely destroyed my self-esteem and had a debilitating impact on my life. There were many times when I was unable to wear clothing, work or leave the house, and showering and any touch was painful. I was prescribed steroids to manage the condition and used them daily for over 25 years. The steroids weakened my immune system over time and I got sick with colds, flus, glandular fever, tonsillitis and a whole host of other illnesses frequently.
After experiencing some trauma in my teens, I also developed an unhealthy relationship with food and emotional eating so my weight often fluctuated between slim and overweight, which added to my body image issues. I spent more than 10 years studying and applying countless natural healing modalities and diets to heal my skin naturally. I eventually found the way out with a combination of dietary, physical, emotional and mental strategies, and was able to come off the steroids completely. For the last six years since then, it has just gotten better and better.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to your diet?
I have green juice every day. In fact I can count on two hands how many days I have gone without in the last six years, including many months of travelling in that time. I eat greens every day in as many ways and forms as I can – juices, green smoothies, salads, cooked greens, in dressings and dips. I am particularly fond of using ridiculous amounts of herbs in juices and meals, yum! I only eat wholefoods and ensure I hydrate myself properly everyday with spring water, herbal and tonic teas, juices and smoothies. My other non negotiable is that everything I consume supports me in feeling amazing and tastes delicious! I think one of the biggest mistakes people make when aiming to eat healthier is eating foods they don’t like the taste of…it’s hard to keep that up!
Why do you eat the way you eat?
I feel sensational physically, mentally and emotionally when I eat a clean wholefoods diet and incorporate fresh veggie juices daily. But more than that, it makes me feel good to know I am giving my money to industries and companies that contribute to our health as individuals and our planet. My purpose is to inspire and guide others to have the best health, body, happiness and life they can, so I choose to be an example of how you can love your food even when it’s super healthy, have a fun and meaningful life and experience wonderful health all at the same time.
If you were trying to convert someone to your dietary philosophy, what would you make for them?
I don’t like to convert people, but rather educate, empower, guide and lead by example. If that leads to conversion then fantastic! If I am showing someone how yummy this dietary lifestyle can be, I’d show off the Raspberry Gelato recipe below, it’s so good! I’d also show them how incredibly mouth-watering a well made salad can be. Most people would think this is exactly what NOT to make to convert someone but the salads I make are so hearty and delicious that I have wowed even the most raging of carnivores. The secret is in the dressing, healthy fats, herbs and the combination of textures. Get these covered and you have an amazing salad.
How do you stay healthy while travelling?
I love to travel and I do it a lot so maintaining my health and energy when I travel is critical to me. I don’t want to compromise my health, nor do I want to compromise my huge love for travel, adventure and experiencing new cultures.
When I first travelled solo in my teens and early twenties, I often made healthy choices out of financial necessity (fruit and veggies from a farmer’s market was far more affordable than a rich restaurant meal). Now I love arming myself with incredible fresh produce for how it makes me feel. I tend to load up on some favourite fruits, veggies and healthy snacks and keep them with me or where I am staying.
I do research before heading to a new destination to find juice and smoothie bars, health food stores, supermarkets, natural markets, and raw, vegan and wholefood restaurants.
I always take herbal and tonic teas to enjoy with a bottle of stevia, and my enema kit to keep things moving. I walk as much as possible and stay active exploring new sights and scenery, and take guided meditations and music on my iPhone to enjoy while away. This keeps me feeling balanced and happy.
What are your go-to meals and snacks when you are super busy?
Nothing is easier than grabbing a piece of fresh fruit, it’s the ultimate fast food! I also love to crack open an avocado, add a touch of sea salt and eat it straight up. Cherry tomatoes taste like candy and are so easy to eat on the run. Making a smoothie with fresh fruits, veggies and greens takes less than five minutes and puts a serious dent in my appetite. I also rely on simple salads, quick dips with vegetable crudités and soups when time is short. I can prepare these in under 15 minutes. They fill me up, taste great and are highly nutritious.
Juices or smoothies: Which do you prefer? What’s your favourite combination?
I adore smoothies and drink them most days, but juices are my number one! They played such an integral role in healing the severe eczema I suffered from, correcting deficiencies and giving me energy I never thought I could have naturally. I drink at least one litre of green veggie juice every day, always as my first meal of the day. It makes my cells sing and puts a huge grin on my face every time. I love to make my husband Philip and I a combination of celery, cucumber, Cos lettuce, kale, lime, ginger, mint and coriander. Sometimes I mix it up with other ingredients like spinach, radish, apple, lemon, cayenne, cinnamon, garlic, tomato, daikon, cabbage, Swiss chard, beet greens, carrot greens or other herbs.
What’s the biggest nutrition misconception you are always having to clear up for people?
That you have to follow an extreme diet that isn’t enjoyable to get results. If you are eating a processed diet, there of course are changes that need to be made in order to experience improved health, energy and balanced weight, however it doesn’t have to mean ending your social life, committing to an unrealistic regime, working out in the gym for hours each day and going hungry. Far from it! I wouldn’t live this way if any of those things were compromised in a big way!
You absolutely can enjoy what you eat while reaping the benefits for your health and body. It all comes down to transitioning yourself to a healthier diet at a speed that works for your lifestyle, health and emotional attachments, learning how to make fresh, natural ingredients absolutely delicious (see my recipe below for an example) and prioritising your own wellbeing and health the majority of the time above the temporary satisfaction that comes from eating sugar, trans fat and chemical laden processed foods. You’ll know you have reached a harmonious place and are making changes at a rate that works for you when this decision feels natural and straightforward rather than a struggle. Of course anytime you make new changes there can be some resistance and struggle, but you can always choose to let that go or take things a little slower.
If you could prepare a meal for anyone (dead or alive) who would it be and what would you make?
I’d love to prepare an amazing meal for Oprah. She is such an amazing and inspirational woman and I’d love to show her fresh wholefood can be totally fulfilling. She has such influence that I’d love to see her endorse this way of eating as it would impact millions of people’s health and happiness, reduce animal slaughter from less demand, and help local farmer’s and industries that support our health. I’d make a gourmet buffet of plant food with dishes like Maple Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Tarragon-Honey Glazed Carrots, Crispy Sweet Potato Fries with Smoky Chilli Tomato Sauce, Chard Wraps with Almond Mayo, Roasted Tomatoes and Avocado, Quinoa Tabouli and Butter Bean Lemon Dip with Hemp Zucchini Crackers.
What does being a Wellness Warrior mean to you?
It means taking responsibility for your own health and happiness by recognising that you are in control of every choice you make, and then choosing what serves you best. That doesn’t mean not indulging here or there or being overly strict on yourself unless you are following a specific healing protocol. Rather, it means knowing what life experience you want, and proactively making the choices that support that the majority of the time. To me, being a Wellness Warrior also means believing in yourself (or working towards this over time) and being committed to prioritising your own needs.
A Recipe From Casey:
This is one of my very favourite recipes and hits the spot every time. It reminds me of my days of travelling Italy in my early 20s and living off gelato for at least two meals a day!
What you’ll need:
1 large avocado
Juice of 1 lime (or more)
2 cups of frozen raspberries
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
15 drops of liquid stevia (add more as desired – I like lots). You can use vanilla stevia if you prefer
Optional extras for toppings: fresh or frozen whole raspberries, freeze dried berries or other fruits, raw chocolate chopped into pieces
What to do:
Put all ingredients together in a food processor fitted with the “S” blade or into a high-speed blender like a Vitamix or Blendtec. Add the berries into the processor straight from the freezer so they provide the ice cream consistency.
Process until the mixture is only just well combined, as you don’t want to lose the ice cream consistency and turn it into a liquid.
Serve with toppings of choice and lick up every last drop while dreaming of the Mediterranean!
Click here to check out Casey’s new Healthy, Hot and Energised Coaching Program so that you can experience the happiness and freedom that comes with feeling vital, healthy and energetic, looking your best and maintaining these results long-term.
Positive affirmation for the day: Today, something amazing will happen.
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