For years, I tried desperately to feed myself, in and out of my kitchen. But unresolved pain from my past left my soul parched, my thoughts tangled, and my belly starving. Shame shrouded everything I saw, did, and ate. To avoid feeling, I harnessed the hum of my restlessness to keep busy. Now I recognize that pushing myself to extremes was a way to avoid truths about myself and my life.

For decades, I’d kept a heavy lid on my emotions. By projecting self-confidence and strength, I tried to hide the void echoing inside me for as long as I could remember. I tried to eradicate it through self-punishment and denial.

Following a 14-year chronic illness journey, which I chronicled in my first book, Eating Clean, I came to realize that, all along, my mind and body had been using physical symptoms to draw my attention to unresolved trauma. By shutting down my body’s systems, my mind sought to spur the healing I needed—the quest to find “Amie” by digging through the rubble.

Trying to heal in a world that rewarded self-denial and heightened my shame made me retreat to my kitchen. Too scared to open a cookbook, I started playing apprehensively with the few ingredients my body could tolerate. A decade and a half of anxiety-fueled tinkering has since blossomed into a treasury of delicious comfort foods that feed my mind and body, and can nourish yours, too.

amie valpone on the cobblestone streets in nyc's farmers market.

No longer settling for my prior survival-mode existence, I’ve committed to actually tasting and savoring life—seeing my existence as art rather than a chore. Rewiring my brain and body has helped me explore how my home, food, and outlook can enhance each day instead of depleting it.

I hope you’ll join me for this next chapter, as I continue to allow myself to soften, awed by the simplicity of being present and healthy.

I invite you to share in the comfort, healing, and expansion I’ve nurtured in my own life through exploring the recipes and consciousness that have fueled me along the way.