Amie Valpone on Clean Eating & the Importance of Self-Care

Amie Valpone on Clean Eating & the Importance of Self-CareFavorite food: Avocados and walnuts

Favorite vacation spot: Soaking up the sunshine and spas in Palm Springs, California.

Favorite way to practice self-care: Making time for myself every day, whether that be an Epsom salt bath to detox, silent meditation/quiet time or saying ‘No’ to things that exhaust me.

Words to live by: We have so much more control over our health than we realize; you have the power to get your body working for you, not against you. I want to inspire people to OWN their health. This shift is what saved my life.

Tell us about your new cookbook!

Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, is a cookbook with over 200 recipes free of gluten, dairy, soy, corn, eggs, peanuts, animal products and other inflammatory ingredients such as white all-purpose flours, etc. It’s also a handbook on how to detox your cleaning supplies, personal care products and food from toxins that we aren’t aware of!

I talk about my journey from chronic illness, everything from Lyme disease to PCOS to Hypothyroidism, Candida, Leaky Gut, C-diff Colitis and so much more. What I realized during my healing journey- in and out of the best hospitals and doctors’ offices in the country is that too many of us accept a low quality of life.

Feeling foggy, bloated and tired is not okay. It’s not normal but society makes us think that’s normal advertising to us pills to help push the pain away. This book is about helping people get to the root cause of their health issues without a Band-Aid approach. Every little change I help you make in this book will have a powerful effect when done together. The fact is that nothing changed with my health (after seeing over 500 doctors) until I changed my food and my environment and started detoxing the ‘invisible’ toxins that were lurking in my home, water and food.

Could you have ever dreamed food could be such a healing part of your life?

Haha; never. I was a fashion gal; I was working at Vogue magazine and my life revolved around stress, fashion and working hard. I ate healthy but I didn’t realize the processed foods, cleaning products and personal care products that were full of chemicals I couldn’t pronounce- were making their way into my body and effecting my thyroid, liver, etc. Our skin is our biggest organ and we absorb what we put on our skin! When I realized that, I stopped using my conventional shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, sunscreen, lip gloss and makeup. I had to learn how to detox my entire home and my food from the seemingly harmless chemicals that surrounded me on a daily basis that were making me sick- but no one was looking at chemical exposure is beauty products or cleaning products- they look so pretty, don’t they?

Many western medicine doctors, as wonderful as they were for urgent medical care, were just treating my symptoms with drugs. After a few years of struggling on disability from my job in my 20’s, I was given 24 hours to live with C-diff colitis and as I laid there with morphine in my arm, I recall saying to myself, “If I survive, I will dedicate the rest of my life to helping people get to the root cause of their health issues.” At that point, I was on a cocktail of drugs and I chose a different path.

Soon I realized I wasn’t the one suffering- that thousands of women and children were dealing with awful symptoms, as well, and no one knew where to get started or where to turn for help. Instead of treating my symptoms, I learned how to address the underlying imbalances in my body. I had to re-learn how to eat and how to take care of myself. We have so much more control than we realize. That’s when I discovered integrative and functional medicine and learned how to heal my body with food and lifestyle by removing chemicals from my cleaning supplies, beauty products, personal care products, food and home. No one had ever taught me this! No one ever warned me of the chemicals that we’re bombarded by on a daily basis. That’s when I started my website, and started writing my book. I’m beyond grateful for the success of this book- I was honestly blown away by the people who emailed me (and wrote me personal letters) thanking me for being so authentic and vulnerable about my story because they could relate and they felt a sense of hope and inspiration from reading my story, tips and recipes.

How has your journey impacted others?

I wrote this book because I never want anyone to go through the hell I went through for ten very expensive, exhausting and traumatizing years trying to figure out how to figure out how to be healthy in a real way. I want to hand the keys over to someone else to save them time, money and suffering. I’d love to help people shortcut their journey with this book and I know it’s already done that for thousands of people. You don’t need to have the health issues that I had or the symptoms that I faced to benefit from this book; it’s a roadmap to detox and change your body and your life no matter what is ailing you. The fact is that you could suffer from any health crisis but if more people understood what an important role they can play in their own health, they could change their lives forever. There are a lot of people who are sick or suffering from unexplainable symptoms, even minor things such as headaches, bloating, PMS, acne, eczema, etc., and what many of them don’t realize is that they have the ability to reverse these symptoms by learning how to get your body working FOR them, not against them. You can have a lot of unwanted symptoms, however, the least you can do is support your body’s ability to detox on a daily basis.

Detox is not what you think; it’s not a cleanse. It’s not a juice fast. It’s about removing the toxic chemicals that we are bombarded with on a daily basis that I mentioned above in items that we aren’t even aware of such as the candles in our homes, the detergent we use to wash our clothes and our dishes, the dryer sheets in our dryer, the nail polish on our fingers and toes, conventional (non-organic) foods….the list goes on and on. The point is not to freak out and run around worried about every single toxin that you come in contact with, but to lessen your body burden on a daily basis so that you can live a cleaner, healthier life. How does that work? Well, the less the body burden of toxins coming into and onto your body on a daily basis, the less work your liver has to do to try to remove these toxins and the better you feel!

Any advice for someone looking to live his or her passion?

Yes! I am beyond grateful that I am able to work for myself. I love what I do and love helping others. It’s truly a blessing. I thought life was about working in a cubicle and pushing pushing pushing for things that we wanted such as a raise or a promotion, etc., but now I see that there is so much more to life and we can create our own reality. Never stop dreaming because if you want it enough, your dreams will find you. Set your mind on what makes your heart sing; what did you love to do as a kid?

What do you get lost doing where it feels like time slips away? Go do that thing! When you find your passion, it doesn’t feel like work and every day is about taking your ideas and putting them into action to inspire and help others. That’s the beauty of living your passion. Start journaling, get outside more often, enjoy nature, take a trip (even if it’s a day trip in your car) to explore different scenery and lifestyles and embrace it. That’s when your ideas will start to flow to you and you’ll feel a wave of ‘aliveness’ in you.

What would you like to go back and tell your 20-something self?

To take care of myself. If you met me in my 20’s you’d think I was the picture of health- I was energetic, working a corporate job in Manhattan, enjoying life, etc., however I never gave myself down time, I never stopped to think about what I was putting in my mouth and on my body, I never once questioned the chemicals in the products that were all over my home. I’m telling you: it makes a difference. My thyroid and liver finally normalized on my blood work when I started detoxing all the chemicals in my home, my food and my personal care products. Detox is about supporting your body’s ability to remove the toxins we’re exposed to on a daily basis from our car exhaust to our lipstick. It took me 30 years of toxicity to realize this!

What’s the biggest life lesson you’ve learned from your work?

When you figure out what makes you feel amazing, why would you not do that thing? Don’t you do what makes you feel good? I want to show people that eating clean and living clean feels good- not because they should, but because once they see life this way, they’ll never go back!

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