Interview with “Eating Clean” Author, Amie Valpone
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP is the Editor-in-Chief of www.TheHealthyApple.com; she is a Manhattan Celebrity Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer, Writer and Motivational Speaker specializing in simple gluten-free, soy-free and dairy-free ‘Clean Eating’ recipes. She is the author of the new book, ‘Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation & Reset Your Body’. Amie recently healed herself from a decade of chronic pain including Lyme Disease, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, Leaky Gut, Heavy Metals and much more exhausting thousands of doctors in the country and Mayo Clinic; she shares her story of how Clean Eating and Detox saved her life and inspires you to Clean up your food, too. We caught up with Amie to chat about her new book and movement to improve the lives of those around her with her philosophy of eating clean and living well.
MG: Your lifestyle transformation is so inspiring, can you share what led you on the journey to wellbeing?
Amie Valpone: Thank you! My journey started 10 years ago when I was in my early 20’s working in fashion in Manhattan and living the corporate America life when everything changed overnight and my body started to shut down right before my eyes. I weighed about 90 pounds and I couldn’t gain weight, my legs were swelling with 40 pounds of fluid every day and doctors didn’t know what to do with me- so they put me on a cocktail of pharmaceutical drugs, sent me to Mayo Clinic for bone marrow biopsies and told me there was nothing they could do to help me aside from giving me these drugs. It wasn’t until I landed in the hospital with C-Diff colitis and was given 24 hours to live that a lightbulb went off in my mind. I was on disability from my corporate job at the time and I laid there on morphine with my body shriveling away and I promised myself that if I survived, I would dedicate the rest of my life to helping others find the root cause of their symptoms. And I did just that. I quit my job, started my website TheHealthyApple.com and went back to school to learn about Integrative Medicine. I wanted to stop putting Band-Aid approaches on my symptoms and I wanted to get to the root cause of what was going on inside my body and address the underlying imbalances that were making me feel sick, tired, bloated, foggy-brained and awful. That’s when my journey started!
MG: A diagnosis for many people is devastating, but for you it was a wakeup call, what were some key practices and choices you made to preserve your health?
I shifted my mindset and realized that everything happens FOR us, not TO us and that we really have to be in control of our own health. I’ve seen over 500 doctors in 10 years and not many of them could help me; I had to put the pieces together myself and heal my body. I learned how to detox my cleaning products, personal care products, food and my home to keep the body burden of toxins as low as possible. Our livers are overworked everyday by the toxins we come into contact with via plastics, car exhaust, tap water, pesticides, herbicides, growth hormones and antibiotics in our food- we have to help support our body’s natural ability to detox on a daily basis. We’re bombarded by more toxins than ever before and our liver and skin (our biggest organ) need our help so that these toxins don’t sit in our bodies and get lodged in our tissues, making us sick! I dedicated the front of my book to outlining how to detox your life (not just your food) because our skin is our biggest organ so everything we touch (cleaning products) or put on our bodies (soap, toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, etc.), gets into our bloodstream! A whole body detox is about tossing the chemical-laden products and using cleaner products that are free of chemicals. I outline this in my book and give beauty recipes that you can make yourself at home as well as the personal care and food brands I trust and the chemicals to avoid in all of these products. Some key detox practices, which are all outlined in my book are: eating organic, skin brushing, Epsom salt baths, infrared saunas, meditation, light movement such as yoga/stretching/walking and getting at least 8 hours of sleep.
MG: You recommend a 21 day detox, what does that entail for someone who is detoxifying for the first time?
Detox is not what you think. It’s not a juice fast or a cleanse. It’s about getting the bad stuff out of your body and replacing it with the good stuff. So, detoxing your food looks like removing all your processed and canned foods from your kitchen and replacing them with whole, one-ingredient foods. What’s in an avocado? An avocado. What’s in an apple? An apple. You can make all of your meals and snacks around one-ingredient foods without using anything processed. That’s detox because you are lessening the chemical load on your liver and your body from the processed, man-made chemical foods and beverages that are packaged all pretty in the food stores! Here’s what I mean by making a meal out of one-ingredient foods: you can make a salad with spinach, raw walnuts, sunflower seeds, an apple, quinoa or wild rice, fresh parsley, extra-virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and pepper. That’s a meal that’s anti-inflammatory and full of healthy fats, fiber and protein that you need without any chemicals or fake foods. The 21- Day Detox in my book is about removing the inflammatory foods and replacing them with anti-inflammatory foods. I removed 13 foods for 21 days and show you how to do that and what to replace these foods with, along with over 200 recipes that are all detox-approved and free of these foods. For instance, I removed gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, caffeine, white potatoes, white flours, all-purpose flours, peanuts, alcohol and a few other inflammatory foods. It sounds like a lot but when you see the recipes in my book from pizza to ice cream without any of these inflammatory foods- you’ll never feel deprived again! I want to show people that eating clean and living clean feels amazing- not because they should, but because once they see life this way, they’ll never go back! Trust me. There’s not a white inflammatory bagel in the world that I’d eat to give up for how good I feel. It’s not worth it. You’ll see what I mean when you try this 21 Day Plan.
MG: In your new book you provide guidelines for detoxing your home and cleaning your kitchen products. What are some things people should consider when detoxing their kitchens?
As I mentioned, our skin is our biggest organ, so anything we (or our family/children) touch gets absorbed into our bloodstream. That means those chemical cleaners we use to wash our dishes and clean our countertops are full of chemicals that get into our bodies! For many of us, it’s not easy to remove these chemicals, they get lodged in our tissues and make us sick and experience symptoms such as acne, arthritis, etc which are all manifestations of toxicity, which Western medicine doesn’t address. They simply put an acne cream or a pharmaceutical drug on top of the symptom to cover it up. They’re not taught to heal- they’re taught to treat. As wonderful as they are for helping us when we break a bone or get into a trauma accident, they’re unable to address the underlying imbalances in our bodies. Treating these imbalances starts with cleaning up our homes and kitchens because we spend most of our life in our homes (and half of our day sleeping in our homes!) so we want to keep these environments clean and healthy. I have a ton of tips in my book for how to clean out and detox your home from making your own cleaning products to purchasing plants that naturally remove toxins from the air as well as tips on healthy swaps that you can use when cooking and baking such as removing table salt and using sea salt instead or removing peanuts and using walnuts instead. The focus is on removing inflammatory foods and adding in anti-inflammatory foods that make us feel good and help our bodies stay healthy!
MG: Greening your beauty routine is essential for detoxing your life and reclaiming your health. Would you share your favorite homemade beauty recipes?
Yes, of course! I was so excited to share a few beauty recipes in my book that can be made with a few staples from your very own kitchen! Here are a few I think you’ll really enjoy.
AMIE’S DIY BEAUTY PRODUCTS
Beauty product: Face Mask
Replacement: Avocado almond mask
Recipe/ratio: Combine 1 ripe avocado with gluten-free oats and unsweetened almond milk for a hydrating face mask.
Beauty product: Skin Scrub
Replacement: All-natural exfoliator
Recipe/ratio: Gluten-free oats, sea salt, organic coffee, lemon juice, raw organic sugar, and honey are all wonderful ingredients to exfoliate your skin. Make your own combination of your favorites.
Beauty product: Body Scrub
Replacement: Coconut oil scrub
Recipe/ratio: Mix coconut oil with sea salt and exfoliate your skin all over. (For sensitive skin, mix with raw organic sugar instead of salt.)
MG: What are your top detox strategies?
The things I do on a daily basis to help my body detox are drinking filtered water, eating organic, dry skin brushing and meditation. I also so some light stretching and walking each day to get my circulation going since I have bad circulation! I also do lymph drainage and lymph massages a few times a year. I own an infrared sauna so I use that a few times a month and I do Epsom salt baths a few times a month, as well. Those are my easy detox tips. There are many, many more but those are a good start!
MG: Talk to us about the meals, what’s your go-to from the cookbook?
Wow, that’s a hard question. With over 200 recipes, I can’t choose just one but here are a few of my favorites that are amazing and I honestly make them weekly in my home. Graceful Banana Almond Pancakes, Mango and Coconut Cream Parfait, Moroccan Chickpea Skillet Pizza, Grain-Free Lemon Peppered Almond Crackers and my Easy Raw Chocolate Coconut Banana Tart with Grain-Free Crust. These are all really fun to make for entertaining too!
MG: What’s next for you and The Healthy Apple?
I’m finally starting to live my life and I’m healthy for the first time in 10 years so I’m ready to start enjoying myself more and traveling and doing things that I wasn’t able to do the last 10 years. My agent is ready for me to start on my next book and I’m excited to work on a series of other books to keep inspiring people and helping them in any way I can. I do a lot of inspiration speaking and I am eager to do more of it- and speak to larger audiences to help inspire more people and energize them. I want to show people that if more of us realized what an important role we play in our own health, we could chance the quality of our lives forever. When you figure out what works for you and makes you feel amazing….why would you not do that thing? I want to show more people how amazing they should be feeling each and every day. We accept too low a quality of life being tired, bloated, achy and foggy-brained and that’s not okay. You can make steps each and every day to detox your life and see profound changes in the way you feel. I’m living proof!
Amie Valpone lives in Manhattan, NYC where she cooks for a variety of clients including celebrities and people with busy lifestyles who enjoy healthy, organic, whole foods. Amie’s work appears on Martha Stewart, ABC News, Fox News Health, WebMD, The Huffington Post, The Food Network, Glamour Magazine, Clean Eating Magazine, SELF Magazine, Prevention Magazine, PBS and many others. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus and Pinterest @TheHealthyApple. Amie’s first cookbook, ‘Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation & Reset Your Body’ .
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