Thinking Outside the Box

Wellness expert and clean eating advocate Amie Valpone shares her healthy tips!

This New Year, it’s time to think not just outside the box, but out of the bag and the can as well. My healthy and practical approach to a “New Year, New You,” attitude focuses on on how much your health can improve when you get your body working for, not against, you. A great way to do this is through detoxing by eating organically grown produce, which can address and correct imbalances that may be affecting your body, which medicine might cover up (or even exacerbate).

My journey to “eating clean” throughout the last ten years began when I was a healthy twenty-something whose life got turned upside down. I found myself bedridden, suffering from a range of ailments and utterly without a cohesive diagnosis. Thanks to a complete and total clean eating detox, I reversed my symptoms. I’m here to share my honest, incredible success about reclaiming my life with you.

The New Year is a time to focus on feeling good and taking care of your body. After an indulgent holiday season, it’s a great time to get your body back into balance by eating whole, organic, detoxifying foods from nature and companies Love Beets, by getting quality sleep, by lowering your stress levels by saying “no” more often, and by taking time for yourself. We all need quiet time to rejuvenate from being constantly on the go and being bombarded by social media, our phones, advertisements, television, and other sources of media.

It’s not about depriving yourself or counting calories – that will just leave you feeling empty inside and frustrated. To me, “eating clean” is about nourishing your body and realizing how important it is to put high quality, organic food into your body to optimize its function. Eating nutrient-rich, detoxifying foods such as arugula, beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and daikon radish allows your body to support your liver and remove the excess toxins that you’re exposed to on a daily basis.

It’s important to focus on getting high-quality anti-inflammatory organic proteins (chicken, turkey, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds), healthy fats (olive oil, avocado, walnuts, almonds), and fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) at every meal to keep your body satisfied and healthy. Filling your plate with different combinations of these components will help to maintain a healthy blood sugar level, manage your weight, and (most importantly!) satisfy your appetite.

The New Year isn’t just a time for focusing on what’s on your plate; it’s also a time to think about how you are living your life and where you are focusing your attention. Are you allowing yourself down time? Are you focused on what you want out of life instead of listening to what everyone else is doing? Are you feeling run down and exhausted from obligations? If you feel like you need to reboot, this is the perfect time of the year to allow your body to recharge.

You can start by planning time for yourself in your calendar everyday to do self-loving activities such as meditation, cooking, relaxing, practicing yoga, walking, reading – anything that makes you happy! The mind-body connection is so important to overall balance and wellbeing. It’s not about going to the gym and clocking hours on the treadmill, nor is it about counting every morsel of calories that you put into your mouth. Those practices will leave you feeling physically deprived and mentally exhausted, setting your body up for the side effects of being undernourished and overworked. Sadly, far too many people feel that way everyday.

Instead of focusing on how to make yourself happy on the outside by losing weight, getting a new car, swiping your credit card, or other material actions, why not make 2016 about balance? Taking the time for yourself to focus on what it is that your body is craving can have an enormous benefits. Do you want more play? More laughter? More cooking? More traveling? Life is about feeling, not doing. So many of us are in “do” mode and we don’t let ourself just “be” because we feel guilty about relaxing or about having down time at all. Our bodies need time to recuperate. Many of my clients find themselves with diagnoses, aches, pains, acne, stomach issues, insomnia — you name it! — and they don’t realize the correlation between their imbalanced life full of unhealthy food choices and their very real symptoms.

Together, let’s make 2016 the year to bring yourself back into balance. Approach each day with a focus on feeling good, whether that means taking time for a five minute meditation or running a sumptuous bubble bath before bed. You deserve it, and you deserve to feel new in the New Year.

For more tidbits and tasty recipes, check out Amie’s cookbook: Eating Clean: The 21 Day Plan to Detox, Fight Inflammation, and Reset Your Body.

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