Ali Maffucci, 28, is the author of Inspiralized. She made one simple change to her diet that helped her drop over 11 kilograms – adding spiral vegetables instead of pasta, rice and potatoes. She tells Nicola Dall’Asen how she did it
After eating courgette noodles recommended by her mother, Ali Maffucci fell in love with the spiralizing tool. Not long after, she took to the internet with her blog, Inspiralized, where she began creating and sharing recipes using spiralized vegetables.
Then in June of 2013, Maffucci quit her corporate job to become a full time blogger. While she was running the website and sharing healthy recipes with her readers, secretly she wasn’t practicing what she preached. Without the structure of her old job, Maffucci gained what she called her ‘blogging weight’ of ten kilos. She was in her apartment all day with her kitchen always nearby and she, the snacking that really did her in.
I told myself, how could I promote this healthy lifestyle if I wasn’t living it myself?
‘It wasn’t necessarily that I was eating unhealthy food, it was more that I was eating a lot of healthy food. I was eating a half a tub of almond butter instead of a little bit with an apple slice or the whole tub of hummus.’ Maffucci said. ‘I was snacking on many healthy things, but eating too many of them.’
She was constantly tired. ‘I felt like I was very lazy, even at night time. My fiancé would come home and I would make dinner for him, and by the time we were done I would be exhausted, and I would just lay on the couch and probably snack on more food,’ Maffucci said.
Later that month, Maffucci scored a deal to write a cookbook, which meant she would have to be photographed and featured in it. That’s when she knew she had to turn things around. The ‘blogging weight’ gain had left her at 12 stone and a size 14/16, and she needed to look fit and healthy for the book.
‘I told myself, how could I promote this healthy lifestyle if I wasn’t living it myself?’
She had until late August — about three months — to transform her lifestyle so she could look and feel fit and comfortable during the photo shoot. She made a plan to get to 140-145 pounds, and she was going to get there by consistently exercising and eating her own spiralized meals minus the snacks.
‘I said [to myself] I’m gonna eat healthy spiralized meals for lunch and dinner, and that kept me satisfied and kept me fueled. It’s such a fun way to eat, you never get bored of what you’re eating. It’s healthy and it makes you feel good,’ Maffucci said. ‘I felt satisfied all the time.’
It’s such a fun way to eat, you never get bored of what you’re eating.
Maffucci didn’t find it difficult to stick to spiralized food — it is delicious, after all, she says. ‘If you were to boil some pasta, drain it and then try to eat it, it wouldn’t really taste good; it’s sort of the same thing with spiralized food,’ she said. ‘What makes the dish delicious is the sauces and the cooking and the other things you put into it.’
By eating food she normally would, and replacing pasta, rice, potatoes and processed food with spiralized vegetables, Maffucci didn’t have to sacrifice her taste buds in the name of health. ‘I always tell people, you won’t notice a big change in your flavor profile but you’ll notice it in the way you feel afterwards and how full you feel, and you feel a lot lighter,’ she said.
You won’t notice a big change in you flavor profile but you’ll notice it in the way you feel afterwards.
Even weekend indulgences, Maffucci has mastered. ‘I think of all of the foods that I love to eat that aren’t good for me and I literally sit and brainstorm and say how can I make this inspiralized?’ she said. Her recipe for Blueberry Sweet Potato Waffles was one she came up with when she had a craving one hungover Sunday morning.
After sticking with the spiralized food and staying true to her exercise schedule, Maffucci reached 150 pounds by early August, extremely close to her goal. Now she rests at ten stone, size 8/10 and is working on toning instead of losing weight.
Compared to her old lifestyle, Maffucci is much happier, focused and energized.
‘After I lost the weight, I would do something as little as writing a thank you note that before I would push off because I was so exhausted or cleaning out my drawers at night instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV,’ she said. ‘My focus during the days was so much stronger too. Without that old laziness anymore I get so much more done now.’
Ali Maffucci is the creator of the Inspiralized blog and author of Inspiralized: Inspiring recipes to make with your spiralizer