Summertime simplicity doesn’t have to be complicated when you want to be gluten, dairy and soy free! Just ask culinary celebrity chef, Amie Valpone, from Manhattan, NYC; serving not only herself but a clientele of celebrities and busy people on the go.
She’s the author of the book, Eating Clean and she’s the founder of The Healthy Apple. If you have a busy lifestyle or plan to be on the go this summer, be ready to enjoy healthy, organic whole foods quickly and simply.
With your background, have you always been a “clean eater”?
Amie: I was not always a clean eater, and when I was in my twenties I started to experience health issues. I went through 10 years of chronic illness so one of the first things I started to really look at was my food. Even though doctors weren’t sure food would help me, I really knew that it would. And so I started very slowly cutting out some inflammatory foods and adding in some really healthy foods. Learning how to eat clean – meaning, looking for one ingredient whole foods. So what’s in an avocado? An avocado. What’s in an apple? An apple. You can base your entire day, all your meals, all your snacks and all your beverages around these 1 ingredient whole foods. You don’t need to look for the processed packaged foods with the ingredient list that is this long, which I’m sure you know you probably can’t pronounce half those ingredients, right? So clean eating is really about eating these foods in their whole form.
Where do you source your organic, whole foods?
Amie: I buy a lot of my organic foods at the farmer’s market and I also go to my local food store. A lot of local food stores now carry organic so you can look or you can ask the supermarket to carry some varieties of organic and they will.
When it comes to creativity, how do you come up with your signature recipes that make them so irresistible?
Amie: I love making creative recipes especially since I can’t do gluten, dairy or soy. So what I do is I get very creative with a few ingredients. For instance, I find something like a clean juice, such as the Art of RW Knudsen Just Juice line. The only ingredient in this is juice – just juice. That’s it! No added sugars, no artificial flavorings, no artificial colors; nothing like that, so it’s a whole food. It’s clean eating. I’ll take something like that and use it in my baked muffin recipe. So instead of adding the water to the batter for my baked muffins, I’ll add a little bit of the Just Blueberry or Just Cranberry for a natural sweetness which has no refined sugars in it. So you’re getting that amazing natural flavor without all of that added sugar.
Would you share some of your simple recipe ideas for busy parents on the go, especially when it comes to picky eaters?
[yumprint-recipe id=’71’] Amie: I have my favorite one here. It’s actually my Smoothie Bowl, which is super easy to make. You can make a smoothie in a blender on a Sunday night and Monday mornings are always crazy for moms; they’re trying to feed the kids, get everybody ready for school and get ready for work.
So, the best thing to do is take the smoothie out of the fridge, pour it into a few bowls and let the kids have fun. Put out a few different toppings: fresh fruits, nuts, seeds, and some unsweetened coconut flakes. Then the kids can go ahead and decorate it. But most people get tripped up on the actual recipe for the smoothie. You want to make sure you’re using whole ingredients.
I use yogurt, bananas, and some Just Juice and that’s it. You don’t need to use processed products for something like this. They can be so basic. Then you can use any leftover smoothie mix that you still have in the blender and put it into popsicle molds, freeze it, and it’s a delicious clean dessert for yourself for the week.
What flavor enhancers are best when it comes to eating clean and healthy?
Amie: I love using sea salt and freshly ground pepper – they do wonders. So remove your refined table salt and your regular pepper – the amount of flavor that you will feel and taste is incredible. The same thing with fresh herbs. Basil and cilantro and parsley, you can use all of these fresh herbs to add flavor. Same thing for freshly squeezed lemon juice and freshly squeezed orange juice; you can drizzle a little of them, use them like a marinade, or put them into a salad dressing and make it very simple with a little bit of olive oil or sea salt and pepper. Maybe try some fresh basil and a few tablespoons of Just Juice so it’s naturally sweet, there’s no added sugar – nothing fake about it.
Seasonal eating is great, but how do we really get creative during the winter and spring months when it seems like the “harvest” isn’t here yet?
Amie: I love frozen fruits and vegetables. All you have to do is go to the frozen food aisle, look on the back of the package and make sure it’s just the food. If you’re buying frozen broccoli make sure it just says broccoli, frozen pineapple make sure it just says frozen pineapple. Always look to make sure there’s no other ingredients hidden on the package.
What is your favorite “go to” recipe to get dinner on the table fast, easily and deliciously?
Amie: A very quick marinade! Like I mentioned before, take a little bit of Just Juice, a little bit of almond oil or avocado oil or any kind of oil that you’d like – coconut oil, some sea salt and pepper, a little bit of freshly squeezed lemon juice and any herb of choice. Then put that over whatever you’d like, such as chicken. Grill it and an evening dinner is made in less than 5 minutes. It’s just something that is simple, is very easy and convenient anytime and can be made any time of the year.
Please share a little bit about your book, Eating Clean, and where it is available.
Amie: My new book, Eating Clean, is available in stores nationwide and also on amazon.com. It has over 200 recipes that are all free of gluten, dairy, soy and other inflammatory ingredients and it shows amazing ways to create flavor using whole 1 ingredient foods.
You can find more information as well as this amazing Smoothie Bowl recipe on the RW Knudsen family website.