Today's interview with Amie comes courtesy of Kristen Joy in NYC (see bio in author section).
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is the #1 best-selling author of Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body, Functional Medicine Nutrition expert, columnist, spokesperson, and motivational speaker. I work with and cook for a variety of clients all over the world including celebrities and athletes. It’s my passion to help struggling women find balance in their lives and with their health (including hormone balance, gut health, weight gain, autoimmune disease, fatigue, thyroid, adrenals, food allergies/ intolerances, and more).
I've spent half of my life in California but I still consider myself a New Yorker. Partly because I was conceived in Williamsburg, Brooklyn but also because I lived in NYC for almost a decade and some of my closest heart and soul connections still do. Not to mention the fact that I sometimes accidentally say “cawfee” and “whatta” and I’ll admit it “sawta” makes me proud when I do.
I was super excited to get one of my favorite New York wise women on the phone recently to share about our mutual journeys of self-healing through diet and lifestyle. If you don’t know Amie, you should. Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is the best-selling author of Eating Clean: The 21-Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body. She is also a Functional Medicine Nutrition & Wellness expert. She caught my attention on Instagram with the wise yet approachable knowledge she shares from her own healing journey of using food and heart connection as medicine. And it didn’t hurt that she was hanging out “down the shore” either.
Here are some of the highlights from our chat.
Kristen: What would you like people to most know about who you are, what you do and your message?
Amie: I am trying to make people’s lives easier and more meaningful... and more delicious... with food. For me, it is all about the experience — deepening the connection with my readers through the unconventional wisdom I’ve learned throughout my decade of chronic illness. I realized that 30-something year’s worth of what I had learned from the western medicine model was not the only way. In many ways, modern medicine saved my life but it also led to many complications (ex: I was given way too many antibiotics, which ripped apart my gut and caused awful hormonal imbalances and weight gain). It really turned my world upside down to realize there’s a whole other paradigm that focuses on healing the body at the core and that led me to experience another (healthier) way of life.
Kristen: What does it feel like to be you?
Amie: High energy, love life, ridiculously playful. Even when I wasn’t well and was really shut down, I had this underlying drive towards curiosity. My father told me when I was little, I could do anything I put my mind to and both my parents really ingrained in me the practice of never giving up. I used to be hardcore into sports and business (in corporate jobs at Vogue and Ralph Lauren) and I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur because I just enjoyed being an assistant. When I hit rock bottom with my health and the universe kicked me on my butt, I just wanted to keep empowering and helping myself. If that had never happened, I’d probably still be in a corporate job instead of doing this work, which is what I am truly passionate about. I figured out the puzzle of how to heal the body myself and now I want to empower other women to do the same for themselves. I want to shortcut their journey because no one should ever have to go through half of what I went through to get healthy.
Kristen: What does being a woman mean to you?
Amie: To me, being a woman is about being strong, independent and standing in your true power (not allowing anyone to put labels on what you should/shouldn’t be — just do you!). It's being vulnerable (not closed down, which is how I was for far too long because of past traumas) while feeling worthy of who you are simply because you exist. So many of us feel unworthy because of what we have experienced through society, caretakers, bosses and friends and it puts us in an awful place. I walked around for years feeling unworthy of love because of a college breakup that destroyed my worthiness. I want other women to realize that no one else can destroy your worthiness AND that it’s up to you to shift your mindset into realizing that you and only you can control how you feel. That is a HUGE part of the healing journey that many people don’t realize. Your emotions, how you feel and your thoughts and beliefs are ALL tied to your health. It is all connected. This is a huge piece of my work with my clients that doctors do not address. Being a woman is also about being in charge of your life and taking the wisdom you’ve learned to help other women who are struggling.
Kristen: What do you wish ALL women knew to be true?
Amie: Life will open up in magical ways when you are following your heart. I NEVER EVER EVER believed this. It’s true. Your life knows where you’re supposed to be going — you just need to listen to what lights you up. You have a built-in GPS system called intuition. Use it! It will lead you to exactly where you are supposed to be. I’m not saying it’s easy or that it happens overnight, but I assure you that when you shift your perception and start following intuition, your life with shift in magical ways. I’m living proof. I also believe it’s important not to worry about what other people think because it will veer you off course. You are in charge of your life — not them. Other people can give you advice and tell you what they think but that’s from their experience — you must listen to YOU! Listening to your heart is the biggest piece of this but it’s not our societal model. We’re not brought up to listen to and trust ourselves so we’re too scared to do so. We are told to trust everyone outside of us (doctors, advertisements, TV, etc) and now we are seeing so much “fake news” that it makes us realize that a lot of what we’re told is not even true. If you want to be healthy and in charge of your life, empower yourself enough to trust yourself. More here: https://thehealthyapple.com/how-to-trust-yourself-why-you-need-your-own-trust-to-be-healthy/
Kristen: How do you most effectively inspire and motivate your clients?
Amie: I make it fun and playful. I don’t preach to them because I relate to them. I was where they are for over a decade, struggling in a really dark place with my health where no one could help me — not even the best doctors in the country. It’s like “I’m you, you’re me. Let’s help each other. I’m an open book.” That helps empower them to take control of their life and their health!
Kristen: When a new client comes to you right from living the Standard American Diet and Lifestyle, where do you even begin???
Amie: Gosh, it’s a long journey from food to mind-body. I have a list of 13 inflammatory foods to cut out during a 21 day period. It’s in my Eating Clean book. I have them start there and they feel so good that they don’t want to go back. It really starts with bringing down that inflammation and then we move towards detoxing organs like the liver and fixing the gut. Birth control pills and other pharmaceuticals, as well as over-the-counter pills, negatively affect our livers and the lining of our guts. This healing and detoxing is especially important for women before pregnancy because you don’t want those toxins in your body when you are pregnant!
Kristen: How do you address clients “falling off the wagon”?
Amie: If they fall off, there’s something deeper going on on a subconscious level. It’s not about the food or the cookies… there’s always an emotional component that drives everything. It took me 14 years of chronic health issues to figure that out for myself and this is the biggest piece I work on with my clients now. In my opinion, food is only about 15% of healing and being healthy. The mind is what is controlling everything! We often get in our own way and that keeps us stuck and unwell. Sometimes we have to hit rock bottom to change from an unconventional way of doing things and finally heal! I am incredibly skeptical so I would have never believed any of this until I was at my rock bottom and desperate for relief.
Kristen: We both know everything is connected but, intuitively, was there a specific incident that started the initial downfall of your health?
Amie: Link to my post: The Trigger that Pops Your Balloon. It talks about how my college boyfriend cheated on me, which came out of nowhere. After that happened, I completely shut down and was numb and traumatized. There was so much PTSD from the event that it took me 14 years to realize it was my trigger. I was just going through the motions. This is how all of my clients are — they’re shut down on an emotional and energetic level. Let me tell you — you can eat all the kale in the world but it’s not going to fix those layers. You’ve got to go deeper into the physical, emotional and energetic layers to heal your health issues. In my opinion, healing isn’t possible without addressing each one.
Kristen: How do you stay inspired when life gets rough?
Amie: I lay in my bed and listen to beautiful music like by Snatam Kaur. I meditate a lot. I spend a lot of time alone cooking and reading or journaling. After years of protocols with my health, I got exhausted with protocols and workouts and all of that do-do-do lifestyle. I sit in meditation, visualize and open my mind and also do things that make me feel good. I’m a completely different woman than I was 10 years ago. I was a Type A corporate businesswoman climbing the corporate ladder and now I’m the opposite, loving where I am in my life now.
Kristen: How could you be kinder to yourself?
Amie: I have been working on this so much. Slowing down. I slow down so much now when I’m eating, when I’m talking and when I’m listening to people. And being kinder to myself often just means saying “no”, listening to myself and, of course, trusting myself. I created boundaries with people and I learned how to not feel badly for “being selfish” and taking care of myself. We’re taught it’s selfish to take care of ourselves and that’s what got me sick; taking care of everyone else and avoiding myself! It’s so sad.
Kristen: What questions have the most impact in helping people truly heal?
Amie: Where are you seeing limitations in your life? What is the unconscious piece that is driving that? I help them open this up and tap into the subconscious mind and reprogram the traumas and incidents that shut them down in the first place. This has been magical to watch because it works wonders for my clients! In my opinion, to heal, we have to go deeper than talk therapy to hit the subconscious layer. Where are the bad habits really coming from? Why are you doing this or that and how is it impacting your emotional health, energy levels, sleep and anxiety? It is all connected!
Amie and I chatted a bit more about men in today’s society and the uneasiness of outgrowing friendships. Perhaps we’ll share more about those hot topics someday. For now, if you’d like more support from Amie, please check out her website, follow her on Instagram at @TheHealthyApple and dive head-first (or rather, heart-first) into her book.
Join me at my next yoga and meditation workshop, Don’t Fall for the Flu, in NYC on October 29th. According to the CDC, last year’s flu vaccine was only 40% effective. I'll be sharing life hacks for improving those odds and staying healthy during the cold and flu season. We'll also meditate, do some yoga and learn about the power and pleasure of living a Voluptuous Life. Find me at VoluptuousLife.com for more information. And regardless of which coast you’re on, look me up. Maybe we can grab a cawfee.
About the author:
Kristen Joy; Helping Women Be Full of Themselves
Wellness & Meditation Guide and Speaker.
Like many others on the spiritual path, I have spent much of this lifetime seeking my true purpose. Although I had "successful" careers, lived in different cities and created decades' worth of beautiful memories with family and friends, I was not shining as brightly as I wanted to. I was also discovering that as I aged, I was starting to make decisions based on fear, rather than on what my heart and soul deeply desired. Some of those decisions led me to a time that I now "lovingly" refer to as the "Lifetime Movie Marathon". During this period of trauma, heartache and physical ailments I was led to my guru and my own personal healing began. Through meditation processes and powerful blessings, I started on the path of uncovering the layers and washing the blocks that were keeping me from knowing my true self. And instead of the lifetime of chronic pain, allergic reactions and pharmaceuticals doctors said was ahead of me, I discovered how to heal physical imbalances that traditional medicine had no solutions for. Today I use my personal experiences, formal training and continued education to help women, like you, create lives of abundant health and happiness.