Hi, I’m Amie Valpone, the founder of TheHealthyApple.com. After years of struggling with mysterious illnesses, visiting doctor after doctor, taking test after test, and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on my health, it all boiled down to one simple answer for me: toxicity.
Our bodies were built to deal with natural pollution created by digestion, respiration, and metabolism, but they’re not designed to handle the enormous amount of artificial pollutants we’re exposed to in today’s chemical-filled world. The only way to deal with this toxic overload is to assist the body’s natural self-cleansing mechanisms with detoxing. I’m so passionate about this topic, which is why I love Erbaviva’s products. Below I’m sharing a few tips from my best-selling cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body that helped me navigate my life and get my life back. I’m also sharing an anti-inflammatory recipe with you that can be served for lunch or dinner anytime of the year.
There is no one ideal diet.
I believe you can benefit from a cleaner, greener diet. But that doesn’t mean you need to eat exactly what I eat. While there are some precepts for clean, toxin-free eating, which I will explain in the following chapters, there are many ways to eat healthy.
I’m not into labels. This isn’t about being a vegan, vegetarian, or flexitarian. If you want to come up with a name for what this is, knock yourself out, but the most important thing is to eat foods that make your body feel good.
If a food makes you feel lousy, it’s not for you.
I don’t care what’s trending or hot or highly recommended by the buzziest superstar or bestselling author. You are the expert on what you can eat. Your friend, trainer, or mom may swear up and down that unpasteurized dairy is the golden key to health or that millet is king, but if it makes you feel ill, pass it up.
Same goes for animal protein: some people swear you shouldn’t eat it, but there’s no need to feel guilty if you feel your best after eating a grass-fed burger. The right foods for you should make you feel satisfied and energized, not sick and sleepy. There is no preordained, across-the-board “right,” just what’s right for you.
Detox is not the same thing as a juice cleanse. Not even close.
This is a common mistake. Take spinach, a powerhouse green and juicing favorite. It’s also one the most contaminated vegetables when it comes to pesticides. It’s on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG’s) Dirty Dozen list for that reason.
Apples are another example of a healthy food often used in juice cleanses that can be full of toxins. (Conventional apples rank number-one on EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. See page 000 for the full list.) Putting them in a blender together with other fruits and veggies and drinking the resulting mixture through a straw doesn’t make them healthier. You’ll just be delivering the toxins to your body in super easy-to-digest form.
The best way to detox, in my book, is to go organic and remove toxic exposures making you sick, fat, and bloated.
Detox is a way of life.
You can’t detox over a single weekend; there is no shortcut. If you care about your health, detox needs to be an ongoing process that becomes a way of life. Instead of approaching it in fits and bursts, it’s better to develop a deep understanding of the harmful environment we live in, and then bring that awareness to everyday life, gradually eliminating toxins from the body. Every. Single. Day.
There’s more to healthcare than Western medicine.
Western medicine (also known as conventional or allopathic medicine) has its place, no question. It saves lives every day. But where it excels in emergencies, it falls short on day-to-day lifestyle guidance.
Why? Your physician does not go home with you. (If he does, can I have his number, please?) No one knows what you experience but you. Most doctors are highly skilled in one area, but don’t have the time or expertise to know what lifestyle changes you need.
I highly recommend you do your homework on different kinds of integrative and functional medicine doctors. Check out my website, www.TheHealthyApple.com for more information on integrative and functional medicine. These are MDs who treat the body as a whole, looking not just at the physical self, but the mental and emotional self, too. I didn’t stop searching until I found an integrative medical team that could help me get my life back, and they did. So even if you are struggling, don’t give up! There are options beyond Western medicine.
One more crucial thing to keep in mind: you’re the expert on your body. Explore what methods and practices make you feel best, and share these notes with your doctor at each visit. You might just pass along something useful to someone else, and it will go a long way in enabling your doctor to combine his wisdom with yours. You and your doctor are a team. It’s time to start playing your part.
You can start playing your part by getting in your kitchen and serving yourself anti-inflammatory foods to naturally detoxify your body on a daily basis.
Roasted Cauliflower and Kale Salad with Lemon Tahini Drizzle
- 1 large head cauliflower, cut into 1 inch florets
- 1 Tbsp. plus 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 head flat/lacinato kale, finely chopped and stems discarded
- 1 cup chopped purple cabbage
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 large Honeycrisp apple, thinly sliced
- 1 large cucumber, quartered
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 Tbsp. raw pecans
- 1 tsp. fresh lemon zest
- Juice of 1 large lemon
- 3 Tbsp. tahini
- 2 Tbsp. warm water, plus more if needed
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Prepare a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place the cauliflower on the prepared baking sheet and toss with 1 Tbsp. olive oil, sea salt and pepper. Toss to coat the cauliflower and roast for 20 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender and golden brown.
- Meanwhile, place the chopped kale in a large bowl. Drizzle the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil into the bowl and use your hands to ‘massage’ the kale until the kale leaves become soft and tender and they are turn a dark green color. Add the cabbage, tomatoes, apple, cucumber, scallions, mint, pecans and lemon zest. Set aside.
- Remove the cauliflower from the oven and add it to the kale salad.
- In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice, tahini and water until it’s smooth and creamy to your desired consistency. Drizzle on top of the salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately.