What I Ate Today & My Thoughts On Dairy, Grains, and Sugar

What I Ate Today

What I Ate Today & My Thoughts On Dairy, Grains, and Sugar

I’m trying something different today. Instead of one of my What I Ate Today videos, I’m sharing what I ate today, picture-by-picture.

Also, I get a lot of questions about my personal diet and today, I’m addressing one of them, which is, “What do you think about dairy, grains and sugar?

These types of posts are part of my new “Healthy Living” series, which you can access by clicking to the right of the blog. See the green bar that says HEALTHY LIVING? Yes, click that! Or bookmark this page.

First, here’s what I ate, well, yesterday…

What I Ate Today, January 9, 2017


  • 1 Coffee with cashew milk (cashew milk by Silk)
  • 1 Green Smoothie: 1/4 cup cashew milk, 1 cup chopped kale, 1 large banana, 1 spoonful of collagen powder, 1 tablespoon almond butter (Justin’s), 1/4 cup blueberries, and a small scoop of ice.

What I Ate Today & My Thoughts On Dairy, Grains, and Sugar


I was recipe testing for the blog all day, so I was taking bites here and there. Finally, I enjoyed these leftovers for lunch (Ginger-Coconut Chicken “Noodle” Bowl from the Whole30 Cookbook, but left out the chicken (the recipe originally calls for chicken) and added extra sweet potatoes. I like to keep my lunches mostly vegan/vegetarian.


Peppermint tea with steamed almond milk, a pear, and a handful of mixed raw nuts (cashew, pecans, sliced almonds, walnuts). For everyone who asked, I use this frother or I just place almond milk in a small saucepot and bring it to a boil!


Leftovers from the blog, these Southwestern Quinoa and Sweet Potato Noodle Stuffed Bell Peppers with Avocado (recipe coming to the blog soon!) I ate the stuffing with avocado, instead of having the stuffed pepper (I like to keep it dairy-free on the weekdays especially!) I had two servings!

After dinner

Watched the President’s final speech and had a couple cups of my favorite vegan cheddar popcorn from Skinnypop!

My thoughts on dairy, grains and sugar

Before I express my thoughts on dairy, grains and sugar, let me express this: this is just an opinion.

It’s my opinion, that’s derived from my own experiences. I’d never judge you for the way you eat, so don’t judge me. We’re a bit too accusatory on the Internet and tend to want to “enlighten” someone else when we think what they’re doing/eating isn’t the right way to do/eat. Be kind- there’s no right/wrong way. I’m just telling you my experiences and answering a question that I receive a lot about my diet.


I look to dairy as a treat. I’d say I abstain from it 90% of the time. During the weeks, I rarely ever have it and if I do, it’s a sprinkling of feta on a salad or a dusting of grated parmesan on a spiralized pasta. But, it’s rare – perhaps once or twice a month during the week. On the weekends, I’m a bit more lenient, but I’d say every other weekend I’ll indulge in dairy and if I do, it’s something insanely worth it, like pizza or manchego and crackers with wine.

If I’m ordering a veggie burger at a restaurant or a salad that has cheese, I always ask for no cheese. I usually ask, “is there dairy in that?” Sometimes I’ll just fib and say I’m allergic to dairy, which isn’t really a fib, because I feel allergic, since the after-effects of having dairy aren’t good!

Why don’t I like dairy? It bloats me, it gives me gas (TMI?), it makes my skin break out, it makes me tired, and scientifically, it creates an inflammatory environment in my body that I don’t react well too.


I love them, I eat them often, almost every day. My favorites are quinoa, whole wheat, brown rice, couscous, oatmeal, and farro. I eat a sandwich (on spelt or whole wheat bread) almost every single day!


This is a tough one. When I was vegan (2008 to 2010 about), I abstained from sugar. When I did this, I had the highest energy levels I’ve ever had, I didn’t drink coffee, my skin was its clearest, and my stomach was the flattest it ever was! Ever since then, I’ve looked at sugar in an entirely different way: as a poison to your body.

The key is training your taste buds NOT to crave sweet.

However, I no longer 100% abstain from sugar, and thus, I have a sweet tooth, and I’m conscious of it, so I always read labels. I never buy a product for our home if it has sugar as one of the ingredients. So, you won’t find added sugars in our apartment, except, recently, I’ve started experimenting with coconut sugar. Having said that, I do keep honey and maple syrup in the apartment, for making dressings, marinades, pancakes, and adding to tea. It’s my little “compromise” and “everything in moderation.”

But you all know by now that I follow a strict 80/20 rule, so although you won’t find sugar in our home, if it’s the 20% time of my rule, I will indulge. Brownies, cookies, yes – all of it!

So tell me – what do you think of this new What I Ate format and what did you think of this healthy living post? Let me know if you have any follow-up questions below in the comments!


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Karen says:
I am agreeing with most responders here that since I do some of these things at work on my lunch hour, it is nice to be able to read through quickly and not have to take time to listen to a video... however, that said, an occasional video when a meal may need more technique demonstration, would be nice too. That way you can satisfy everyone! Or almost... realizing that you never can satisfy everyone all the time!
Sue Anna says:
I prefer pictures for time purposes. I love your what I ate and have gotten a lot of new and worthwhile info from them. I was interested also in the collegan info. Being a cancer survivor I do not do soy unless it has not been altered. How much protein does the collegan have. I follow a plant base diet and sometimes need extra protein. Love my dates. I have one every night as my treat - my chocolate! Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
Sandra says:
Hello Ali, Happy New Year ! Thanks for this new post. I gave up candies a year ago until today and now I feel like crap. I almost finished a pack of sour strawberry candies. But, tomorrow is another day and I'lltry to give up candies for good.
Kaitlyn Bitner says:
Hi Ali! I see you do some work with Whole 30! I have to say i have mixed feelings and go back on forth on trying whole 30 and was just wondering your opinion. On one hand i think it seems very doable and I eat mostly that way already! I avoid dairy and it's never in our house (my husband is lactose intolerant) and I am gluten free due to an allergy so I avoid grains in general, minus brown rice, quinoa, etc, and like you, I am seriously trying to eliminate all added or artificial sugar. That said, I don't know if I agree that quinoa is a "psuedo=grain" or that grains aren't good for you which is the message I get from whole 30. I also think it's important to limit servings of fruit as they are sugar as well but are all allowed on whole 30. Just curious what your thoughts were on their program and their 30 day stringent rules! Love your blog! Thanks!
Samantha Nuno says:
When you say you abstained from sugar, do you only mean refined sugars? Did you stay away from high sugar fruits as well, or juicing? I love adding bananas to my smoothies, and I enjoy fresh kale/orange/apple/carrot/ginger juices from my juicer every so often. I think I'm going to try going sans refined sugar/ coffee to see if my tummy gets flatter too. I love the Kale sweatshirt! I have a Kale shirt that I got from the farmer's market and I wear it all the time, especially when I work out. :)
Ali Maffucci says:
Yes, I meant refined sugars! I eat a LOT of fruit, actually!
Bonnie says:
Love this post! I became a vegetarian last year and found myself eating a lot more cheese than I did as a meat eater and boy is my skin telling me a story. I've cut out dairy myself for that reason and in 4 weeks I've seen a big change. I'm trying not to be too rigid and plan to indulge on occasion. I appreciate your opinion on this topic! Helps to keep me balanced knowing how others do it. :)
Sally says:
Hi Ali, I love these posts! I've gotten so many good ideas by watching your previous "What I Ate" videos! Do you ever include protein powder in your morning smoothies? Curious if you have a favorite brand that you can share. Thanks in advance!
Meg says:
Great question! I've also wondered if you ever incorporate protein powders?
Meg says:
Great post, Ali! I love the pictures and videos. I don't really have a preference, but I really love this new healthy living aspect of your blog. It's definitely what I'm interested in reading and staying up to date on. I love hearing about what other people are eating/not eating! I learn a lot from others experiences with certain foods and protocols. Thanks so much for sharing!
Cindy says:
I like this picture format also!!
Caroline says:
Really prefer this format. I usually only have time to read the articles I want when I wake up or before bed (when I'm in bed). Hardly ever saw the videos bc I had to listen. I love this format; please don't change it. I also like seeing pics of what you ate. It's more accessible for me. You inspire me. Keep it up!
Elizabeth King says:
Hi Ali, I agree with those who like this format rather than a video. Also liked your take on grains, sugar & dairy. Are you still attending nutrition school?
I enjoy reading your posts. I have seen a few of your videos of what you've eaten but as a busy wife and mom of four children, it's better for me to read, like I'm doing right now at 11:39 pm. I like that you're honest and real. I have your inspirdluzer and first cook book. I like them both very much! Keep up the great work and much continued success to you!'
Amanda says:
I like it Ali, thank you for the great post! Not that calories matter but I struggle with eating enough sometimes. Do you have an idea of how much you take in daily?
Kathy says:
Morning Ali, I have the milk frothier and use it daily - do you have a favorite brand peppermint tea? I am always testing different teas and enjoy hearing if there is a new one out there I need to try. I work at a health food store, I would love for them to carry your books. I make sample dishes for customers to get ideas of what they can do with a variety of foods. I love my spiralizer and I'm trying to convince them to let me show this in the store. Enjoying your ideas. Thanks for all you share
Laraine says:
I like your videos so please don't stop doing them. Your personality shines through! Can you do both to keep everyone happy? lol!!
Beryk says:
Yes me too!!!!
Kristin says:
Yes!!! Agree completely!
Elizabeth says:
Agree: I like having both.
Susan Staudt says:
I'm a reader and watch videos begrudgingly, so I like the reading format better. But I have watched probably more of your videos than any other! Thanks for sharing with all of us, no matter the format!
Emily Weir says:
I'm personally a fan of this format. Since I read a lot of your posts while at work (shh..my boss doesn't know), I was never able to watch the videos. Also, can't wait for the stuffed pepper recipe...sounds like one my hubs and I would love!
suzanne says:
I enjoy the posts unable to watch videos at work but can sneak in a quick peak . The stuffed pepper recipe sound delish. Can't wait
I MUST have the recipe for Southwestern Quinoa and Sweet Potato Noodle Stuffed Bell Peppers with Avocado!!! LOOKS SOOO GOOD! PLEASE HURRY and post asap! Thanks! Big kiss! xx
Kathryn says:
Ali, I like this format---I'm much more likely to read it than watch a video. I do have a question re. the amount of protein you consume per day----- It's seems that it's a bit short of the recommended daily value.
Amanda says:
When you make your smoothies are you using a blender or a nutribullet ? I did your recipe and mine is brown and not green like yours!? Any ideas why?
Allie says:
haha me too. I was hoping for the pretty green color:)
Karen W. says:
This format = Good for me. I can skip text if I want or need to, which helps in a busy schedule. I can go back to any piece of the newsletter whenever I need to without having to listen from the beginning. Short and sweet, and hopefully easier for you too!
Alice says:
I prefer text to video except when demonstrating a technique. I have a limited data plan because I live in the boonies, and that limits the number of videos I can watch. My time is also limited.
Elisa says:
I like the new format a lot. As long as you picture everything we will good to go. A picture is worth a thousand words as they say!! Thanks so much, love your site!!
Though it's convenient to read at work, on the commute, I miss your longer videos where you showed us exactly what and how you are making your meals, I loved getting a glimpse into your every day life and it also helped a lot showing how easy and uncomplicated the dishes were, it was really motivating and reassuring! :-) So I hope that besides these photo posts you'll keep on doing those journaling-type posts, I loved them!
Natalie says:
I really appreciate your thoughts on dairy! I'm considering ditching dairy as well, however, my reasons are more for weight loss. Do you have any thoughts on dairy and if it helps with weight loss? Thanks!!
Natalie Jacquinot says:
I really appreciate your thoughts on dairy! I'm considering ditching dairy as well, however, my reasons are more for weight loss. Do you have any thoughts on dairy and if it helps with weight loss? Thanks!!
Natalie Jacquinot says:
Also, do you have any good recommendations for dairy free cheeses? (my biggest obstacle with the whole "dairy-free" feat")

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