Food diaries: Ali Shapiro of 'Truce with Food'

Philadelphia-based health coach Ali Shapiro, MS, CHHC, has been described as a swiss army knife of wellness. She’s a nutritionist, psychologist and personal trainer all wrapped into one.

Combining her background in functional medicine and holistic nutrition, Shapiro created an innovative health-coaching model called Truce with Food. The bi-annual 4-month program, will help you uncover the physical, emotional and spiritual side of food.

“I’m a big believer in the fact that we’ve taken all of the fun out food,” said Shapiro, who preaches to her clients that food is not the enemy.

For Shapiro, her healthy eating journey launched about 11 years ago when she first moved to Philly. Tired of yo-yo dieting, Shapiro threw in the towel and decided she didn’t want to fight with food anymore.

“When I used to diet, I was cheating everyday by 3 p.m. and the paradox became that because I was constantly focusing on food, I wasn’t eating well at all,” said Shapiro. “After a series of messy dieting surrenders, I opened myself up to other ideas and started to realize that the motivation really wasn’t the weight loss, but the fact that I could wake up in the morning and have twice as much energy in a day.”

After exploring her relationship with food, Shapiro now feels freer and trusts in herself that she can make smart food decisions on her own, without a diet dictating what she should and shouldn’t be eating.

Below, in her own words, Shapiro shares her typical day of healthy eating:

8 a.m.: Lemon water.

Great to gently wake up the body and help detoxify the liver after all of the “house cleaning” it does while we are asleep.

8:30 a.m.: Fat almond pancake with a 16 ounce green smoothie.

For the fat almond pancake, I used this recipe with 1/2 cup of cashew flour, 1/2 cup of almond meal, replaced yogurt with full-fat coconut milk and used blueberries. If I don't have a vegetable-based smoothie (cucumber, lettuce, mint, basil, ginger, pineapple, avocado) in the morning, I am hungry much sooner as my blood sugar drops from not having the extra fat. I also don't do well with dairy so I replaced the yogurt with coconut milk. Having healthy fats in my diet is crucial to keeping my appetite and focus stable.

9:45 a.m.: Iced green tea.

It's summer and keeping the body cool is really important as I don't do well in the heat. I try and eat more cooling foods like mint, coconut milk, water, iced drinks like unsweetened green tea and lighter proteins like nut flours and fishes overall. If I don't cool my body, I crave things like Yogorino or ice cream more as a way to cool myself off.

1:00 p.m.: 6 ounces of Wild Alaskan salmon, red cabbage, baby bok choy, brown rice.

Lunch is always my biggest meal as that is when digestion is strongest. I always need a protein, lots of veggies, a healthy whole grain and healthy fats otherwise my lunch won't last me until dinner.

I was at home on Friday so was able to cook. Since I had plans to eat out for dinner, I cooked up an extra serving of veggies because I didn't know if I'd have any veggies later in the day. I always eat veggies at night when I'm the one cooking.

I heated up frozen brown rice from Whole Foods with grass-fed butter, dressed the cabbage with olive oil, sea salt and apple cider vinegar, and sautéed the bok choy in sesame oil. The butter, sesame oil and cabbage dressing are critical fats to make me feel satisfied. They also help absorb all the great nutrients from the veggies. While butter is dairy, the high quality small and amount doesn't effect me and adds so much incredible flavor.

Tip: My weekly schedule is random so, if I'm not at home, I have three go-to spots where I know there are healthy options available: Sweetgreen, Agno Grill, or Pure Fare.

6:00 p.m.: KIND caramel sea salt bar

Normally I eat dinner around this time but friends were in town and we couldn't get reservations until 8:30 -- which meant eating around 9. After a bikram yoga class at 3:30, I needed something to hold me over. I had KIND’s new caramel sea salt bar so I wouldn't over eat when we went out.

I love this bar because it has less than 5 grams of sugar, no artificial sweeteners or sugar alcohols, is GMO free and the protein is real nuts so I can actually absorb it and feel satisfied. Plus, it tastes so so good! 

8:30 p.m.: Dinner at El Vez. 

The group shared chips and guacamole to start and I ordered black bean enchiladas for my dinner (caramelized onions, chihauhau sauce, smoked yellow tomato sauce). When I’m eating out, I don't like to order meat or fish unless I know for sure that it was raised, source pasture-raised, or wild. I try and remain dairy free for the most part but the small amount of cheese in this wouldn't affect me that much.

Dessert: 1 margarita. 

I ordered the drink at the end of dinner because I knew drinking it before eating would have dropped my blood sugar and probably made me eat more with the blood sugar/less inhibition combination.


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