In part one of our series we took a look at the word “detox” and its actual meaning:
A process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances.
According to Amie Valpone, author of the new book Eating Clean, “detoxing” isn’t necessarily the process of ridding your body of toxins by eating and drinking specific foods, but rather can be a process of choosing to not consume certain foods or substances. In other words, you can “detox” by removing unhealthy foods that don’t serve you.
In part two of our series we took a look at what to add to your diet to provide your body with the tools it needs to work at its optimal level (something needed to fill the void left by the junk food you let go of in week one, after all). We suggested ample servings of foods rich in probiotics (like our kefir), prebiotics, vitamins and antioxidants.
For week three, we’re going to some of our best tips – things that work for us – for continuing journey.
Spring Clean Your Diet with Amie Valpone Part 3: The Refill
For most people, including Amie and many members of the Lifeway team, having a healthy eating and healthy living lifestyle comes with many twists, turns, ups and downs.
“I suffered from chronic pain and digestive issues for more than a decade,” says Amie. “I understand how difficult it can be to create a healthy and clean lifestyle for ourselves. I understand how hard it may seem to find the time in our hectic lives to make home cooked, nutritious meals. But I am here to tell you that it can be done and it is SO worth it!”
From physical illness to change in location, the weather or simply a difficult season of your life, getting back on the wagon after a short tumble can be difficult. This is totally normal and expected, says Amie. What’s important is to remind yourself that the changes you made are for long-term health, and that as with most things in life, nothing worth doing is easy.
The following practices have been crucial for Amie, and for many of the Lifeway team, to live a happy, healthy, fulfilled life:
Learning to Cook
The very first step in changing the way you live is changing the way you eat. Once you learn to navigate the grocery store and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, the next step is to learn what to do with them.
“If it doesn’t taste good, I don’t want to eat it,” says Amie. “I’ve spent countless hours in the kitchen experimenting with flavors and recipes (my favorites you can find in my new cookbook and on my blog). I’ve had my share of failures, for sure, but there’s a sense of accomplishment that can’t be beat when you sit down to the table and eat something that’s as nourishing as it is delicious. It’s also the easiest way to be sure of what you’re eating.”
Finding Exercise You Enjoy
Not too much and not too little, the key to exercise (and to most things in life) is balance. Like you need different foods to provide you with the nutrition your body needs to function at its optimal level, you also need to move your body in different ways to keep it healthy and happy.
If you’re new to exercising, or haven’t exercised in years, reach out to your doctor or physical therapist for advice. Not all exercise is appropriate for everyone and every fitness level.
Getting Your Friends and Family On Board
Or at least on the same page. “Your family can be your biggest champions or your biggest advisories,” says Amie. “Explain to your loved ones clearly what your goals are, why they’re important to you and that you want and need their help and support. I’ve found that to be the best way to approach the subject, especially if you’re surrounded by people who aren’t yet willing to change.
Even more, having the people closest to you help you along your health journey will motivate and encourage you to continue on. You might even teach each other a few things.
Trusting Your Gut (Within Reason)
One of our favorite sayings, trusting your gut encompasses the core of our Spring Clean Your Diet mission: know yourself and do what’s best for you.
Over time, your diet and exercise needs will change. Listen to your body for those signals and again speak to a medical professional for help when appropriate. Whether it’s introducing or removing foods or changing up your exercise routine, your body will adapt as it grows and changes, which is a good thing! Stay confident and keep going – you’ll get to where you’re heading.
Kefir Green Goddess Soup
We couldn’t think of a better way to conclude our Spring Clean Your Diet series than by sharing with you Amie’s flavorful recipe for Kefir Green Goddess Soup. Spring is officially here, which means warmer weather is on its way. When the temperatures start to rise, we turn to crisp and crunchy salads to keep us feeling fresh and full. Give it a try!
- 1 cup Lifeway Organic Lowfat Plain Kefir + more to garnish
- 2 large ripe avocados, peeled, pitted and diced
- 1 head finely chopped kale, stems removed (about 2 cups)
- 1 large cucumber, diced
- 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons raw, shelled pumpkin seeds, for garnish
- Drizzle of fresh lemon juice
- Large pinch chili powder
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients, except for the pumpkin seeds, in a food processor and puree until smooth.
Transfer to a large bowl, cover and place in the refrigerator for at least two hours or until ready to serve.
Transfer soup to serving bowls and top with a swirl of kefir and the pumpkin seeds. Serve with thick, crusty bread and protein source of choice for a heartier meal.
This recipe originally appeared online at SELF on June 16, 2015. Reused with permission from Amie Valpone. Source.
Meet Amie Valpone
Amie Valpone, HHC, AADP, author of the new book Eating Clean, is a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer, Food Photographer and Writer specializing in simple Gluten-free, ‘clean’ recipes for the home cook. A long-time Lifeway Kefir fan, she has continuing education certifications from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition and Columbia University as well as the Drugless Practitioners of America. Learn more about her by visiting TheHealthyApple.com
A brief disclaimer: we’re not doctors and we don’t know you personally. These tips, suggestions and ideas are what work for us, but you know yourself best. Be sure to speak with a medical professional or nutrition expert who knows your history before undertaking a new eating plan.