When Sea Girt native Amie Valpone began feeling sick in her mid 20s, so much so that she was actually bedridden with doctors telling her she had less than 48 hours to live, something in Valpone ignited. Forty-eight hours later, Valpone was still alive. She decided to get to the bottom of her illness, which had caused her to be unable to absorb nutrients, led to a low white blood cell count, swollen legs, and C. diff Colitis, a deadly condition of bacteria in the colon.
After performing her own research and speaking with integrative and functional doctors, Valpone discovered that her body was full of toxins, but that with lifestyle changes, she could recover. Her journey led her to create TheHealthyApple.com, where she posts pictures of enticing recipes that are healing to the body and now, her book, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. Think of it as a true go-to source for how to have a healthy lifestyle while cooking up easy, wholesome, and delicious recipes that will not only make you feel good, but will help you look pretty good, too!
“My illness sparked everything,” said Valpone who has lived in New York City for the past 10 years. “Before, I had no idea about anything. My mission is to change the way people look at food. Once you eat like this, you’ll never want to go back.”
The cookbook is filled with not only recipes including her mushroom, kale, and caramelized onion, to savory oats to chickpea miso soup, and even raspberry thumbprint cookies. It also covers a number of tips for creating a home and lifestyle that is completely nontoxic, from all-purpose cleaners to shampoo.
Back to the recipes. They’re short, simple, and full of ingredients that you can actually pronounce and find at your local supermarket. Valpone focused her recipes on using whole foods as ingredients instead of processed and packaged foods, which add a lot of salt, oil, and artificial flavors and colors that could pose potential hazards to your health. According to Valpone, everyone’s level of how they handle toxicity is different, so by learning to address your personal imbalances, you’ll be able to feel and look your best.
The 21-day plan that Valpone recommends in Eating Clean is not meant to derail people by creating impossible plans that require 24/7 attention, but instead it’s meant to help readers adapt to simple recipes with whole ingredients that will help remove toxins that can cause everything from bloating to eczema.
“I want to hand the keys over to someone else and show them how good it feels and how easy it is to be their best self,” said Valpone. “After just 21 days, people feel incredible and never turn back.”
Rght about now, you might be thinking, “But how is the food going to taste?” And, “This sounds hard.” Here’s what you need to know: there’s no calorie counting, no deprivation, and tons of flavor. Valpone, who currently works as a writer and recipe developer for magazines including Clean Eating, Self, and Vegetarian Times, gives countless tips for creating flavor in every bite.
“That 100-calorie pack of pretzels and a 100 calories of avocado may be the same number of calories, but the nutrition is completely different,” said Valpone.
The recipes in Eating Clean will make nutritious and quite delicious additions to your collection. The dishes (and I can attest to this) are simple to make and will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters (including your meat and gluten loving friends). Start off with a few recipes here and there or try the 21-day detox plan. As Valpone said, once you start, you’ll never go back.
Photo at top courtesy of TheHealthyApple.com.