Amie Valpone of The Healthy Apple teaches fellow New Yorkers how to cook themselves healthy
You only eat organic. What are some brands that you like?
Earthbound Farm is an organic, pre-packaged salad line. They’re everywhere and are pre-washed. That’s what makes eating organic so easy. That literally saved my life. Another great brand that I love is Applegate, their packaged organic turkey and chicken are sold everywhere. Whole Foods Market has every offering you can even imagine. And now they’re opening two more locations in the city. It’s incredible and the prices are actually cheaper than other food stores. It used to be that their products were really expensive. Now, it’s cheaper than going to a regular food store.
Besides Whole Foods, you also frequent farmers markets on the Upper West Side and in Union Square. How do you suggest people shop outdoors?
Stick to simple things like collard greens, kale, Swiss chard, apples, and Brussels sprouts. You don’t have to make anything crazy. Just chop them up, put them in a steamer bath for five minutes until they’re wilted, add sea salt, pepper, olive oil, and lemon juice, and you’re done.
Explain the illnesses that you had.
I was 95 pounds, and my legs started swelling up to 40 pounds of water weight every day. I was working at Vogue magazine and had to go on disability. I had everything from C-diff Colitis, where they gave me 24 hours to live, to having bacteria overgrowth in my gut. I had candida, hypothyroidism, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease six months ago after 10 years of false negatives. My hormones were all messed up. I was on $500 worth of really high quality anti-inflammatory vitamins every month.
What kind of changes did you make in your lifestyle?
I had heavy metal accumulation in my body, so I had to get my mercury fillings removed. Then I detoxed everything, my food, my cleaning supplies, my beauty products. I was using Giorgio Armani lipstick for years and it’s all full of lead. I had to get all organic makeup, and all organic cleaning products in my apartment. I cannot eat anything out of a box, literally. Not out of a can either, because of the metal. If I do, my body swells up. I eat like a caveman, one-ingredient foods.
After quitting your job, you decided to study nutrition.
I was on disability for a year, and ended up quitting after the hospital gave me 24 hours to live. I said, “Life’s too short.” I’m not a registered dietician, I’m a celebrity chef and culinary nutritionist. I have a column in Glamour Magazine, on the Food Network, and in The Huffington Post.
In January, you started hosting clean dinner parties downtown. What do they entail?
Daphne Cheng and I just started them and they’ve been amazing. It’s all clean eating. Everything is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, vegan, and vegetarian. It’s a six course meal. KitchenAid is nice enough to give us their products, so we raffle them off. I work with a lot of food brands, so I do gift bags for everybody filled with fun things. Anybody can come and it’s always a new group of people.
What are some dishes served at these parties?
We’ll make gluten-free pasta, which, actually, does not taste like cardboard. Last time, we made Black Rice Tortillas from Food For Life, and filled them with roasted vegetables with a quinoa dish. For dessert, coconut milk ice cream, almond milk ice cream, vegan chocolate chips, these great macaroons. That’s another great brand, Emmy’s. They make organic macaroons and are sold everywhere. They’re gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, and vegan. And they’re clean, with like five ingredients, and come in a million flavors.
I read on your website that you’re not a vegetarian.
No, I’m not. I was for a little while when I had colitis and couldn’t digest meat. I have a hard time with grains sometimes, so I have organic chicken or turkey. And tons of healthy fats. People don’t eat enough good fats, like avocado and nuts. They don’t realize that eating a peanut is not the same as eating a walnut or an almond. Peanuts are actually legumes, so they can be inflammatory. Almonds are high in so many nutrients and walnuts are high in omega-3s which are anti-inflammatory. You need fats for your hormones and to keep your body working.
Another fact I learned is that you’re a big tea drinker.
Oh my gosh, I drink so much tea, I keep tea brands in business. My favorites are Numi Organic and Organic India Tea. I buy seven boxes a week!
Join Amie at her next Clean Eating Cooking Class on March 31st. Visit www.thehealthyapple.com for more information.
Follow her on Twitter: @TheHealthyApple
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