On any given weekend, various members of the Lifeway Team can be found in cities all over the United States, talking kefir, probiotics and gut health. Along the way, we meet some of the most interesting and enthusiastic people imaginable, all of whom share our passion for healthy living through healthy eating. Sometimes (our favorite times) we make strong connections and form lasting bonds with these individuals. We develop what we refer to as Kefir Crushes.
What is a Kefir Crush? Far from romantic, it’s the term we use to describe our appreciation for and excitement with what an individual is working on or doing — someone we know we want to work with. To spread the love, we’re going to feature our Kefir Crushes periodically on our blog. Today, we’re crushing on Amie Valpone, Editor-in-Chief of TheHealthyApple.com
Meet Amie Valpone
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, is a lifestyle writer dedicated to healthy living through healthy eating. She is a Manhattan-based personal chef, culinary nutritionist, professional recipe developer, food photographer and writer. Amie specializes in simple gluten-free and “clean” recipes for the home cook, and, of course, is a fierce kefir advocate!
Before starting The Healthy Apple, Amie had a typical (or not so typical, however you like to look at it) job in corporate America. She worked way too many hours and spent way too much of her life sick. In her own words:
I started The Healthy Apple after suffering with digestive issues for years, finally receiving a life-changing diagnosis that would alter my life. After years of being told nothing was wrong with me, through the help of Integrative Medical Doctors, I learned that I was suffering from heavy metal accumulation, hypothyroidism, adrenal fatigue, an IGA deficiency and was born without the gene to absorb folate, MTHF, which is key in detoxification.
After 10 years of medical mysteries, I was diagnosed with Lyme Disease. I learned that my body couldn’t digest gluten, soy, sugar and many other foods. I began to realize quickly that medicine could only do so much – it wasn’t offering my body what it needed to heal. I needed to overhaul my lifestyle.
Through research and the help of Integrative M.Ds, I decided to adopt an organic, ‘clean’ lifestyle. Using methods such as acupuncture, yoga, meditation, herbal medicine, and organic, fresh, unprocessed foods, I’ve restored and replenished my body and have remained symptom-free ever since!
Pretty cool, huh? You can see now why we’re kind of in love with her!
Why We Love Her
We love Amie for a lot of reasons, but we’re especially drawn to her simple approach to healthy eating and living. In a world crowded with messages about what to eat and what not to eat to be fit, fabulous and wealthy, Amie simply sticks to this: if it doesn’t make you feel good, don’t eat it! That’s it!
Of course, that’s easier said than done, and takes time, but it’s a simple first step we can all make toward living a healthier, happier life.
What She Thinks About Kefir
Probiotics are a huge part of Amie’s diet and she credits them to helping keep her gut in check and happy. She regularly consumes fermented foods including kefir, kimchi and sauerkraut. “They’re especially effective if you have any sort of antibiotic therapy, or consume anything that contains chlorine,” Amie says.
Amie says she chooses Lifeway for her kefir fix not only because it tastes delicious, but because it contains less added sugar than any other commercially available kefir, and is made with milk from cows raised at coop farms. She’s also a big fan of Lifeway President and CEO Julie Smolyansky’s mission help end global childhood hunger.
It’s impossible to choose just one of Amie’s recipes as a favorite, but we love her Simple Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad (topped with Farmer Cheese, mmm!), her Gluten-free Snack Bars (obviously with a tall glass of kefir) and these tasty Sesame Almond Cookies.