Amie Valpone, founder of the Healthy Apple website, and author of the new bestselling book "Eating Clean," encourages us to realize that we have more control over our health than we think. And it all starts in the kitchen.
After years of suffering from digestive issues and chronic pain, Valpone found her way back to vibrant health through diet and lifestyle changes. Now, she shares all her tips, tricks, and tactics to reclaim your health in ways that are delicious, social, and fun.
Organic Authority caught up with Amie Valpone to learn more about her inspiring new cookbook. Bloat be gone. And say hello to all the vitality and energy you can handle.
Organic Authority: What do most people not know about food that you wish they did?
Amie Valpone: Food is a form of connection and nourishment. I got to the point in my early 20s that I couldn’t eat anything without getting sick. I felt isolated and lost until I started using food to heal my body. 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! The fact is that you can suffer from any health crisis or symptom such as headaches and bloating, but if more people understood what an important role they play in their own health, they could change the quality of their lives forever.
OA:What is the easiest way to get started?
AV: The Getting Started section of "Eating Clean" outlines how to start this process without feeling overwhelmed. Aside from that, make a commitment to yourself that you want to help your body be its best. Then after you figure out what makes your body feel amazing, do that every single day. Don’t you want to do what makes you feel good? I sure do! Too many of us accept a low quality of life filled with headaches, bloating, insomnia… and it’s not okay. You should feel amazing every day. If you reach for Advil or Tums your just putting a Band-Aid approach on symptoms and ignoring the problem.
OA: Is there lot of re-learning on how to cook and what to eat to detoxify?
AV: Detox is not what you think. I’s not a juice fast! It’s about cleaning up your food and your life to remove chemicals so your body can function at its optimal! Instead of treating everyday symptoms, I teach you how to address the underlying imbalances in your body and how to get your body working for you, instead of against you.
If you have issues in your body that make you feel awful, you can fix them by supporting your body’s ability to detox. But no one will tell you to do that. No one told me! I had to figure it out on my own. There are people like me who are sick or suffering and they don’t know why. You don’t need to have any specific health issues to benefit from this book. I take you step-by-step through what you need to do from your kitchen to your bathroom. You can make this your new life, not an overnight detox diet that you read in the tabloids. I want to help people realize that we have more control over our health than we think. And it starts in the kitchen.
OA:What are some early signs that you have a food allergy or sensitivity? And what can you do about it?
AV: Food sensitivities can appear up to 72-hours after you eat the food. They are unlike food allergies, which your body reacts to right away. So food sensitivities are very tricky to pinpoint. You may experience a headache, bloating, muscle and/or joint pain, feel tired or get dark circles under your eyes. Everyone is different and symptoms uniquely manifest in each person. In my book, I outline the 21 Day Elimination Diet Plan to remove the top 13 common food triggers that can be causing inflammation in your body. And show you how to identify which foods are the culprits.
There are also 3 full pages of functional/integrative medicine testing to help you understand how western medicine testing is completely different from functional/integrative medicine testing. These tests for food sensitives help identify which foods bother you. Listed is every test that helped me find the root cause of my symptoms. I wish that someone told me about these tests over ten years ago when I started feeling sick. I want to shortcut your journey to restore your health, save you time, money and suffering by letting you know what tools are available to you.
OA: What are some common blocks we have to "Eating Clean" and how can we overcome them?
AV:Some find it hard to cut out gluten, dairy, corn, refined sugar, and eggs. But that’s why I put together an entire handbook in this book to help people (before they get to the recipes) make easy swaps and show them how to take baby steps on their journey. This is not about perfection. Or fearing food. It’s about finding the foods that work for you and your body. Not the foods that work for your friends. Or the latest fad diet. Or what the magazines claim works. The goal is to see which foods help you feel amazing. "Eating Clean" gives you the tools you need to start slowly without overwhelm and to ease into eating clean as a lifestyle. Not as a quick fix or a diet.
From the Organic Authority Files
OA: What can we expect to experience when we start "Eating Clean?"
AV:Depending on your symptoms, you will surely see weightless and less inflammation, bloating, fluid retention and brain-fog. Many people see that their acne goes away and they stop having joint pain as well. Again, everyone is so different so it depends on their specific symptoms. Inflammation symptoms can range from headaches to insomnia and more; so cleaning up your diet and your life can have profound effects on your well-being. You’ll start to notice changes and feel incredible.
OA: What is your ultimate Healthy Apple day?
AV: Waking up around 9AM (still healing my adrenals by sleeping in late), making a breakfast recipe from my new cookbook—probably the chia pudding! Then meditating, checking emails, having conference calls and going to a few meetings around Manhattan with clients, cooking for clients and having lunch with them. Then coming back home to make myself dinner, take an Epsom salt bath to detox from the day, read a nice book and get into bed early!
OA: Why do you suggest 21-days for your Detox Plan?
AV: Three weeks is a great place to start to reset your body. You might feel better before the 3 week period for sure But most people don’t see results in less than 3 weeks for their major symptoms. This way you can ensure your body is reset and you are ready to start the 7 day re-introduction period. I outline a ton of tips and steps people can do to not get overwhelmed or feel like they have to eat steamed broccoli all day. There are brownies and ice cream and cookies and more in this book and the amazing news is that every recipe in this book- over 200 of them- are ALL detox-approved. Pretty fun, right? No deprivation at all!
OA: Any tips on what to say to waiters or friends when going through your 21-day detox to stay social but also on track?
AV:I have an entire section dedicated to that in my book! Such a good question. Here’s a little tip: Stop worrying about what your friends think and what your waiter thinks of you. Order what will make you feel good. If you order something to please them, you’ll pay for it later and feel awful. These people don’t go home with you. Or have to deal with the crappy feeling the next day that you get from eating those foods. It’s key to be yourself and do what makes you feel you're best. I had to put on my big girl pants and do this in my 20’s - even when my friends thought I was crazy for not eating soy sauce since it was full of gluten and it would leave me sick in bed for days!
OA: Why is detoxing our environment just as important as "Eating Clean" for our bodies?
AV:Our skin is our biggest organ and many of us don’t realize this. Everything that we put on our skin from our chapstick to our sunscreen to our shampoo and makeup is full of chemicals and parabens! When I learned about this, I wanted to cry. No one warned me about any of this and I was shocked that my parents didn’t even know this. I had to literally learn how to detox my personal care products from my deodorant to my toothpaste and my cleaning products along with my make up and my home environment to ensure that I was keeping myself healthy.
It’s not just about what you eat. You can eat all the kale in the world and still not be well. It’s about a lifestyle approach and it’s more than just your food, which is why I included a handbook in "Eating Clean" on how to detox your cleaning products, personal care products, make up, food and home environment and office. They don't teach you this in school. And it’s so important for our overall health and to keep our bodies running at their optimal levels! We don’t need chemicals interfering - on a daily basis - with our hormones and other systems. Plastics alone cause huge issues in many of my clients with hormonal imbalances.
OA: Anything else thatyou want the world to know?
AV: It took me 10 years to figure out how to be healthy in a real way. I stopped listening to magazines, websites and what everyone else was telling me to do and started listening to my body.
Start listening to your body and less to what everyone else is telling you that you should eat. The goal is not to label yourself. Just eat whole one-ingredient foods to round out your meals and snacks for the day. I’ve been eating that way for 10 years. And I feel great! There’s not a white bagel in the world that I’d eat to give up feeling as amazing as I do right now. I’m living proof you can feel incredible each and every day. I hope this book inspires you to put your health in your own hands and makes you realize you have more power than you think!
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Images courtesy of "Eat Clean"