In my new cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, I talk about how to start cleaning up your food and your life from chemicals and toxins that are lurking in everything from your ketchup to your toothpaste.
My journey to eating clean started ten years ago when I was suffering from a dozen health issues. Throughout these last ten years I have learned how to heal my body from a range of symptoms and diagnoses from c.diff colitis to Lyme disease. I started my blog, TheHealthyApple.com to help people suffering from everyday ailments like a headache to chronic illness and my hope is that my new book helps change lives and gives people hope that they can heal and find the light at the end of the tunnel.
The fact is that nothing changed until I started to clean up my food and my environment (personal care products, cleaning products and beauty products) because our skin is our biggest organ- so it’s important to look not just at what we are putting in our bodies but also what we are putting on our bodies, as well.
Detox is not what you think. In this book I outline what you need to do to detox your body on a daily basis and how to eat clean to support your overall health. I want to show you that eating clean feels amazing- not because you should, but because once you see life this way, you’ll never go back. There’s not a processed piece of candy I’d choose to eat over how incredible I feel. If more people realized what an important role they play in their own health, they could change the quality of their life forever.
I’m sharing 10 tips with you today about how you can eat clean in 2016 and four tasty recipes from my new cookbook that are wholesome, fresh and delicious without the gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, corn, refined sugar or processed foods. My cookbook is filled with more than 200 recipes that are free of these foods as well as a guide for how to detox your pantry, cleaning supplies and beauty products so you can start 2016 off on the right foot.
1. Choose one ingredient foods: Focusing on one ingredient foods should be the basis of your meals and snacks. What’s in an apple? An apple. What’s in an avocado? An avocado. Build your meals and snacks around one ingredient foods. It can be done- I’ve been doing it for 10 years. Nothing processed that’s going to create inflammation in your body.
2. Focus on fiber: I’m not talking about fiber from a processed cereal- I’m talking about real fiber from fruits and vegetables and gluten-free whole grains like quinoa, millet and wild rice. That’s the fiber you need daily to flush out toxins from your body and help you detox.
3. Snack smart: Three meals per day will set you up for blood sugar spikes and drops and will leave you ravenous. Instead, snack every few hours on raw nuts and seeds, carrots with hummus, crackers (I have a handful of grain-free crackers in my cookbook) with guacamole which will keep your blood sugar stable and will keep you happy (and not reaching for the vending machine by 3 p.m.).
4. Fat is your friend: Don’t fear fat! Our bodies need fat to function properly and your hormones need fat to be at their optimal potential. Trust me, I’ve had hormonal issues for years and fat has helped me tremendously. However, it’s important to focus on healthy fats like raw nuts and seeds, avocado and extra-virgin olive oil.
5. Fight inflammation: Reach for anti-inflammatory foods such as walnuts and flaxseeds, which are rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that help fight inflammation.
6. Remove: Remove any foods that cause you symptoms- be mindful because some sensitivities from foods occur up to 48 hours after you eat it so be sure to take notes when you get bloated or a headache or a rash or feel tired- those are all classic symptoms of a food sensitivity and everyone experiences different symptoms.
7. Be smart about oils: My suggestion is to use coconut oil and extra-virgin olive oil in place of vegetable oils and canola oil, which are refined and often filled with GMO’s.
8. Replace: Replace problem foods such as gluten and dairy and soy with whole foods such as making spreads and "cheeses" out of nuts and seeds.
9. Choose sea salt: Remove that refined table salt and use sea salt and Himalayan pink salt instead of a dose of minerals! Say good bye to that white salt shaker you see on every restaurant table.
10. Season with fresh herbs: Add more flavor to your meals by enjoying fresh herbs in your meals to cut down on salt and condiments that you don’t need. Try chives, scallions, cilantro and parsley to jazz up your flavor anytime of the year.
Here is a very tasty and anti-inflammation recipes from my new cookbook, Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body:
Serves 6 to 8
Dipping your spoon into this bell pepper–sweet potato combo is like dipping into a bowl of sunshine. It’s stunning—and the perfect antidote to a gloomy winter’s day. This soup also freezes well, so if you’re not serving a crowd, store the leftovers for a later date (or make a double batch). I like to enjoy this soup accompanied 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 taste 8 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 black pepper. 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 soup to the pot to keep warm until serving. Serve garnished with the Herbed Croutons and, if desired, the avocado and cilantro on top and Seriously Sensational Sriracha Sauce on the side.
Amie Valpone is a celebrity chef and nutrition expert who healed herself from a decade of chronic illness. She is the author of the new cookbook Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body and the founder of TheHealthyApple.com. Amie has been featured in numerous magazines and TV. Visit Amie on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.