Dieting vs. Lifestyle + My Favorite Smoothie Recipes

This blog post was actually a request from a reader! I don’t share much about our healthy lifestyle (CrossFit + what we eat), but if you know me personally, you know that Andrew and I are a bit of health nuts. We try to eat relatively clean and live an active lifestyle. We do CrossFit 3-4 days a week which is a great combination of strength training, gymnastics movements, and cardio. We were both collegiate soccer players, but I’m in way better shape now than I ever have been!

I’ll start by saying, we are pretty anti-diet. In fact, I don’t believe in diets at all. I believe in living a healthy lifestyle that meets your own personal needs. That said, I get asked ALL of the time what we eat to stay lean. Honestly, I think it’s more about what we DON’T eat and drink. Yes, we 100% indulge in burgers, pizza and too many beers once in awhile, but the key here is “once in awhile.”

We never buy junk food or soda for the house. Ever. Period.

Why? Because if a bag of chips makes it into this house, I’ll eat the entire thing in one sitting & then crave another bag for a week straight. And don’t even get me started on soda. Soda is TERRIBLE. A lot of soda drinkers will consume their daily calorie intake JUST IN SODA. And the sugar… oh the sugar. SO MUCH SUGAR. One can of Coke contains 150 calories and 39 grams of sugar. Imagine if you drink three a day… That is 450 calories and 117 grams of sugar. All I can say is, “gross.” Soda is a very, very special treat for me and once in awhile I will crave a Coke.

If I’m really craving something for a few days, I never tell myself “no.” I live a healthy lifestyle. I do not diet.

Keeping crap out of your house is the #1 way to live a healthier lifestyle. Avoiding eating out is probably my #2. Now, I’m not saying NEVER go out to dinner. I LOVE going out for a nice meal once in awhile. What I’m saying is:

STOP swinging by the McDonalds on your way home. STOP leaving your house to go get something or ordering a pizza because you don’t feel like cooking.

We go to the grocery store about once a week. Since most of our food is produce, we try not to buy too much at once, otherwise we risk it going bad and wasting it. I’ve broken it down into staples items (we buy once in awhile), weekly produce & miscellaneous items, and then the meat we buy (I explain more on how we buy meat below).

Staple items we keep in our pantry:

  • Coffee (We drink way too much)

  • Oatmeal (for breakfast + smoothies)

  • Granola (eat like cereal or in smoothies)

  • Protein pasta (we buy it at Meijer)

  • Jasmin rice (spice it up if you like)

  • Quinoa (great for making bowls)

  • Peanut butter (check sugar on the label. Some are worse than others)

  • Almond butter (same as above)

  • Raw honey

  • Assorted nuts (snacks + smoothies)

  • Protein powder (Andrew swears this one is the best)

Our weekly grocery hauls look more like this:

  • La Croix (only thing we drink besides tap water/milk/OJ)

  • Strawberries (smoothies + toast)

  • Blueberries (smoothies + toast)

  • Bananas (we bake a lot of banana bread as a treat)

  • Apples (honey crisp + granny smith)

  • Asparagus

  • Broccoli & cauliflower

  • Brussel Sprouts

  • Spinach Leaves (for smoothies + pasta dishes - I hate salads)

  • Assorted carrots (the colorful ones not in packaging)

  • Avocados (on toast, with eggs, in smoothies)

  • Bell Peppers (red, yellow & orange)

  • Summer squash & zucchini (I always cook these two together)

  • Onions & mushrooms (cook everything with these)

  • Milk (Andrew drinks organic whole & I buy lactose free)

  • Eggs (we buy the free range 18 eggs in compostable cartons)

  • Cheese (Andrew is weird & eats whole blocks of cheese)

  • Coffee creamer (every damn time)

  • Greek yogurt (I used to use this in smoothies until I found out I was lactose intolerant)

Yes, we eat meat!

  • Chicken breast

  • Shrimp

  • Tilapia

  • Pork chops

  • Steak

  • Hamburger

Meat is pretty much the only thing you will find in our freezer. I always look for organic meat that’s on clearance. You can get a WHOLE organic chicken for $7 bucks when it’s on clearance. We will bake the entire thing, shred up the meat and use it in pasta or on sandwiches for the week. We are currently cutting way back on red meat. One, to save money and two because chicken is just a much better meat for you.

We avoid the freezer aisles at the grocery store like the plague. A frozen pizza is a total treat for us once in awhile when we are exhausted & get home super late from the gym. It happens all of the time, but we cave to picking up a pizza maybe once a month. Everything is fine in moderation. Don’t kill yourself obsessing over what you can and especially cannot eat. You KNOW in your gut what is good and healthy for you. Stick with that & forget about the crap.

Smoothie Drinker for Life

I mentioned smoothies about 100x in the list above. Smoothies are my absolute go-to. You can jam pack them with good nutrients and antioxidants. I make fruit smoothies, protein smoothies, and green smoothies throughout the week depending on the time of day and what I need.

Healthy Green Smoothie Recipe with Spinach and Apple

Having a good blender is ESSENTIAL if you want to start making smoothies on the regular. I used to have a cheap crappy blender & it was a pain in the butt to blend ice. I invested in a Ninja blender and was worried I wouldn’t use it enough to get my money’s worth, but I use it ALL of the time. It makes prepping and blending smoothies a total breeze.

My blender came with two smoothie cups with lids. You actually blend the smoothie in the cup itself, so it makes no extra dirty dished, and you can prep two smoothies ahead of time, toss them in the fridge and pull them out when you want one. If you wanted to prep more than two at a time, you could always buy extra Ninja blender cups. Here are some of my typical smoothies that I make:

Go to Green Smoothie

  • One granny smith apple

  • Tons of heaping spinach

  • Some almonds

  • Four ice cubes

  • Top with juice

Fruity Green Smoothie

  • Handful of strawberries

  • Handful of blueberries

  • Heaping spinach leaves

  • Almonds

  • Four ice cubes

  • Top with milk or juice

Berrylicious Smoothie

  • Handful of strawberries

  • Handful of blueberries

  • Handful of blackberries

  • Some almonds

  • Four ice cubes

  • Top with milk or juice

Mango Pineapple Smoothie

  • One diced up mango

  • Frozen pineapple

  • Four ice cubes

  • Top with juice of choice

Strawberry Banana Protein Smoothies

Chocolate Strawberry Protein Smoothie

  • A bunch of strawberries

  • Big, huge scoop of almond butter

  • One serving of chocolate protein powder

  • Four ice cubes

  • Top with chocolate milk

Peanut Butter Protein Smoothie

The key to feeling better, eating healthier, and looking your best is NOT a diet. Diets deprive you and put you in a mindset of lack and constraint. Try shifting your mindset to one of abundance. Abundance of physical activity, stuff that grows from the ground, and an overall mentality of a healthy lifestyle. Fill your life up with stuff that makes you feel good in the long haul. Not stuff that makes you feel satisfied for a few moments.