Odacité Kind of Girl: Amie Valpone, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional ‘Clean Eating’ Recipe Developer, and Celebrity Chef and Writer
Amie and I share similar stories in which we both experienced life-changing diagnosis that has led us to living an organic, “Clean” lifestyle. She has healed herself from a decade of chronic pain, some including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), Hypothyroidism, Adrenal Fatigue, leaky gut, and Lyme Disease. She shares her full journey as well as how to create a clean and healthy lifestyle over on her blog The Healthy Apple.
She has turned her passion of helping people adopt a healthy and clean lifestyle into her career by working hands-on with individuals and groups as a Personal Chef, Food Allergy Concierge and Healthy Family Pantry Stylist to guide people through their transition into a healthier lifestyle. Additionally she is the author of the new best-selling cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.
We are so excited to feature Amie as an Odacité Kind of Girl. Her amazing work is based on the idea that clean eating and detox can help heal your body to make you feel as amazing as possible, and she does so in a way that makes it easy and inspiring.
Tell Odacité beauty lovers a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to begin a mission to change the way people eat.
When something painful happens that’s big enough to make you question your entire life, all the wounds that are trapped in your body, come out to be healed. After suffering for 10 years from chronic illness, I learned that somewhere within the healing and recovery is a way to fill our lives with new meaning. I quit my corporate job 7 years ago and followed my heart to inspire thousands of people with my journey to wellness. Today I’m the founder of The Healthy Apple, LLC. and author of the new best-selling cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.
Ten years ago I found myself in a corporate job out of college when my body started to shut down. You name it, I had it. You name the doctor, I saw them. Over 500 doctors, Mayo Clinic, two bone marrow biopsies, muscle biopsies, Lyme disease, PCOS, Candida, Leaky Gut, C-diff Colitis, Hypothyroidism, Epstein Bar….the list goes on and on and on. I was put on pain killers, steroids and water pills at the age of 22 and was told that was all doctors could do for me. I felt lost; I felt confused and most of all I felt like no one was on my team. I had to figure out how to be a team of one and heal my own life. As I started to research how to heal, I landed on disability from my job and was given 24 hours to live with C-diff colitis. I laid there looking at my bag of morphine dripping into my arm with a terrible dagger pain in my colon and I promised myself that if I survived, I’d dedicate the rest of my life to inspiring others who were struggling with their health to never give up and to stay positive. And so I did just that. I survived, quit my job, launched my own business and started to learn how to listen to my body instead of listening to everyone else for the first time in my life. Discovering what fed my soul (without even knowing what that meant at the time), was like finding the most incredible world inside my computer asking me to come out and have fun. It was a place for me to talk about my pain but also my healing and it attracted readers who were deeply connected with my story. I share my story with you today because I know there are so many women suffering and I want them to know they're not alone and they can heal.
All of us here at Odacité are extremely moved by your story of healing yourself from a decade of chronic pain through an Organic High Quality Clean lifestyle. Can you describe how the changes have shaped who you are today?
Toxicity. It’s becoming an important topic in our culture because of the increase in chemicals and toxins in everything from our air to our water, foods, cleaning products and more. Until recently, I didn’t understand what toxicity meant aside from seeing the chemical warnings on the back of a cleaning product. Turns out the majority of our bodies are toxic and it’s the cause of many unwanted symptoms from arthritis to acne.
After years of western medicine (including numerous bone marrow biopsies, CT scans, MRIs, colonoscopies and more) that yielded no real answers, I discovered integrative and functional medicine and embarked on years of self-study. What they discovered was fascinating. I was “toxic” - a term western medicine didn’t understand. You name it. I had it. I was diagnosed with a handful of chronic issues and was off the charts for heavy metals, mold and practically everything else they tested me for. What I needed was a full-blown detox, in the truest sense of the word—not a trendy 2-day juice cleanse. Funny thing is that I thought I was healthy (no drinking, drugs or fast food), however I learned toxins come from countless places— pesticides, toothpaste, dish soap, laundry detergent, perfumes, shampoo, processed foods, car exhaust, cosmetics and more. While the word detox is thrown around a lot and is often misunderstood, functional and integrative medicine use detox practices to reset your digestion and reduce the exposure of toxins.
I reveal this detox journey in my book Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, where I go into great detail on how to detox your food, cleaning supplies, personal care products and beauty products because we often forget our skin is our biggest organ. Being healthy isn’t just about eating clean, it’s about living clean. What we put on our skin gets absorbed into our bloodstream and our liver has to filter these toxins to keep us healthy! What I soon realized is that many of the symptoms that we suffer from can be reversed by cleaning up your gut health (where almost 70% of your immune system lives) and supporting your liver on a daily basis to remove toxins from our lifestyle. Most of us were brought up with the mentality that a drug or topical ointment is prescribed to get rid of our symptoms, however these aren’t addressing the underlying causes as to why the symptoms appeared in the first place. In my book, I list the most trusted resources for integrative and functional tests that get to these underlying causes—something I wish I had handy 10 years ago. So, how can you start detoxing today? Eating clean, reducing your exposure to toxins and being aware of the toxins in your environment is a great way to start the detox process. Here’s a few ways to get started:
1. Read Labels. Especially on condiments, beverages and any processed food! There is sugar lurking in the ingredient list in everything from tomato sauce to salsa! Refined sugar is highly inflammatory and is often the cause and trigger of many health issues.
2. Drink Filtered Water. Get yourself a high quality water filter that removes fluoride, chemicals and heavy metals from tap water. Surprisingly, drinking these chemicals and metals interferes with our gut health, which as you know is where the majority of our immune system lives.
3. Eat Detoxifying Veggies. Add in more detoxifying whole foods such as broccoli, cauliflower, dandelion, arugula and Brussels sprouts. These foods can help support your liver to remove excess toxins that we’re exposed to on a daily basis.
4. Remove Refined Oils. Refined oils such as canola oil are highly inflammatory; you can replace them with healthier oils such as extra-virgin organic olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.
5. Eat More Healthy Fats. Don’t fear fat! Fat is not the enemy unlike what we’ve all been brought up to believe. Our bodies need healthy fats to survive and function optimally. These fats keep you from being hungry, speed up your metabolism and help your body lose weight. Toss the margarine and instead reach for avocados, walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, almonds, wild salmon, grass-fed meat, omega 3 organic eggs, and the healthy oils mentioned above.
Could you share one of the first pieces of advice you would give to someone who is thinking of living a healthy clean lifestyle or may be finding it difficult to make the transition.
Trust. It’s a tiny five letter word but it’s so powerful. Sadly, it’s not a word we’re familiar with when it comes to our bodies. We’re so bombarded by advertisements in magazines, on TV, and on the radio as well as social media telling us what to eat, how to eat and why we should or shouldn’t eat it. The mixed messages can be incredibly overwhelming. There comes a point in our lives when we have to turn off all that ‘noise’, go inwards, and focus on ourselves to learn how to listen to what our body wants and needs. Your body is smarter than you think- most of the time when clients come to me with stomach problems such as bloating or gas or constipation, it’s because they’re been listening to what everyone else is telling them to eat and drink instead of listening to their own body.
For instance, some people heal from eating vegan and plant-based lifestyles, while others heal from eating paleo and animal proteins. We are all different so why should we eat the same thing that someone else is eating just because it’s what we’re told to do?
Life is about learning to trust your own body and focus on what it’s asking for. If you get quiet and tune into yourself, even if it’s for five minutes a day to lay down or sit before you make your lunch or dinner, you’ll start to become in tune with your body. Some people need more carbohydrates, and so they can eat more whole grains such as quinoa, lentils, beans, wild rice, black rice and sorghum to feel energized, while others like myself need more healthy fats and proteins to feel satisfied such as avocados, walnuts, almonds, wild salmon and coconut oil. Some of us do better with oatmeal and carbs for breakfast while others, like myself, need protein and fat. The point is to take a step back from all the ‘noise’ out there and learn how to trust yourself so much that you know what your body needs. I assure you, when you start to check in and see what your body is really wanting, many of your unwanted symptoms will start to fall away. It may seem scary, yes. I’ve been there. I had a fear listening to my body for over a decade when I was in a health crisis and I didn’t even know how to listen to my body. We’re not taught these things growing up so it’s our job to teach ourselves and listen to our own inner guidance and intuition.
You can trust yourself and start listening to your body today. You know yourself better than anyone else. I wish my 20-year old self had the courage to listen to my body more and to stop giving my power away to others who kept guessing about what I should eat and what protocols I should do to heal. I never want anyone to go through the painful, exhausting and expensive decade I went through trying to figure out how to be healthy in a real way. A well-rounded healthy life isn’t just about eating clean- it’s about revitalizing ourselves from the inside out. Giving ourselves the compassion we need to grow, believing in ourselves, being patient with ourselves, and treating our bodies with respect.
You are the Best-Selling Author of Eating clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. Could you give us an insight on who it is most suitable for and what your favorite section to write was and why.
For starters, I realized a lot from my 10 year healing journey. I've learned that unraveling isn’t a bad thing. I’ve realized it’s not about feeling broken. It’s about letting go and surrendering to release the things that have held me back, revealing who I was always meant to be. It still amazes me that my own unraveling brought me to a place of discovering self-care and self-love. My health issues were the catalyst for something so much bigger than me. It was as though there was a purpose to my health crisis- to wake me up and allow me to realize all the beauty that life has to offer and that’s what comforts me and led me to trust that life is always working out for us, even if we can't see it every step of the way.
My cookbook is plant-based and free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, refined sugar and all inflammatory foods. But that doesn't mean it's flavor-free. It's full of ice cream, pizzas and crackers that are clean and made from whole ingredients. No xantham gum, no binders, no fake ingredients. All whole foods such as chickpea flour, coconut flour, almond flour, avocados, gluten-free whole grains, fruits and veggies. This book is for anyone who is suffering from unexplained symptoms and wants to learn how to detox their cleaning supplies, beauty products, personal care products, food and their life from chemicals that are causing inflammation and health issues.
Could you share with us an exclusive detox plant-based recipe for our readers.
Yes of course. I'd love to.
Text excerpted from EATING CLEAN, © 2016 by AMIE VALPONE. Reproduced by permission of HoughtonMifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.
Golden Bell Pepper Soup
Serves 6 to 8
Dipping your spoon into this bell pepper–sweet potato combo is like dipping into a bowl of sunshine. It’sstunning—and the perfect antidote to a gloomy winter’s day. This soup also freezes well, so if you’re notserving a crowd, store the leftovers for a later date (or make a double batch). I like to enjoy this soupaccompanied by my Massaged Kale Salad with Spicy Hazelnuts.
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ small onion, diced
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste8 yellow, red and/or orange bell peppers, chopped
1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 teaspoon finely chopped fresh marjoram
1 recipe Gluten-Free Herbed Croutons, for garnish
Sliced avocado, for garnish; optional
Finely chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish; optional
Drizzle Seriously Sensational Sriracha Sauce, for garnish; optional
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, carrot, celery, and a pinch of salt and blackpepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 4 minutes. Add the bell peppers and cook until soft,about 6 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and broth. Season with salt and black pepper, cover the pot,and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and add the marjoram. Simmer until the vegetables are tender,about 20 minutes.Let the soup cool slightly, and then, in batches, transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. If needed,thin the soup with water. Adjust the seasoning with salt and black pepper if necessary. Return the soupto the pot to keep warm until serving. Serve garnished with the Herbed Croutons and, if desired, theavocado and cilantro on top and Seriously Sensational Sriracha Sauce on the side.
Last but not least, could you tell our readers what your all-time favorite Odacité product(s) is and how you use it in your skincare regime.
I honestly use Odacité every single day. And I'm not just saying that because this is your interview. I reached out to your company 3 years ago and I've been using your products ever since. In my 20's I only used moisturizer and I was so scared to put oil on my face thinking I'd break out with acne or that my face would look oily! But, I haven't used moisturizer in over 3 years and all I use is oil all day long and before I go to bed. I apply the oil after I get out of the shower when my skin is still damp, but dry. I gently massage my face upwards and my neck, as well. I do the same at night before bed after washing my face. It's heavenly. My skin glows and I know it's because of Odacité and their beautiful products. I've got all my girlfriends hooked on these oils- they're so good that once you try them, it's hard to use anything else on your skin! xxx