As the owner of a popular green smoothie website who posts a new recipe every day on my Facebook page, I get asked by a lot of people if I only drink green smoothies.
Well, let me set the record straight:
I Do Not Just Drink Green Smoothies
While I love my green smoothies and drink two of them every single day, I love to eat too!
Green smoothies provide better, longer lasting health and weight loss results when they are combined with a healthy, whole foods diet. When I am not drinking a smoothie, I eat healthy whole foods for my other meals.
Which brings me to another common question I get asked: What do I eat when I’m NOT drinking a green smoothie?
Well, the way I eat can be summed up this way…
Low-Fat, Plant-Based, Whole Foods Diet
I emphasize whole foods, preferring foods as close as possible to their natural state.
What’s a whole foods diet? Simply put, it’s a way of eating (NOT really a diet) that emphasizes healthy, natural foods that are not made in factories and packaged, boxed or canned.
You may have heard the terms “real food” or “clean eating”, too. These terms essentially describe the same thing.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, beans and legumes, quinoa, brown rice, lean proteins – these are the stars of the whole foods lifestyle.
Pasta, pizza, donuts, canned whatever – these are all the foods that brought you to my website in the first place, so it’s best to replace these unhealthy, processed foods with cleaner, more natural alternatives.
When I say “plant-based”, I am not necessarily describing a vegan diet. I believe that it is important to base your diet around plants. I believe that it is healthier to eat less meat and focus more on plant-sources of protein, but it is not critical to become vegan.
While I was vegan for over three years, I incorporated small amounts of meat and eggs during my pregnancy. Even after I gave birth, I have continued to eat eggs from pasture-raised chickens (my sister has backyard chickens), and wild caught fish on occasion. I still avoid dairy and I don’t eat red meat.
I prefer a diet that is lower in fat. I keep my fat intake under 20% of my total calories, which I find works very well for me. I eat a lot of healthy, whole food carbohydrates (the kind that DO NOT make you fat) such as fresh fruits, quinoa, brown rice, beans, and oats.
I have a sample meal plan that shows you exactly how I eat. Feel free to skip to the bottom of this post if you are already familiar with what a whole foods diet is.
If you are new to whole foods, keep reading!
Why Whole Foods?
Whole foods, that is, foods that are in or closest to their form at harvest, are less calorie-dense than most processed (canned, boxed, pre-packaged) foods. This means that you can eat until you are satisfied without fretting over calories. And you generally do not need to scrimp on portions, feeling like you are depriving yourself.
Whole foods like apples, quinoa, brown rice and black beans have no added sugars and no added fat. There are no chemical additives, dyes, or preservatives (watch out for canned versions of these foods, though!).
Whole foods are full of fiber, which not only helps you feel full, they facilitate your body’s natural cleansing functions.
Whole foods like fruits and vegetables are hydrating and full of antioxidants. And what these foods lack in excess calories are made up for in super-doses of nutrition.
And no, you don’t have to eat dull “twigs and grass” flavored meals. Whole food meals are delicious, with bold, interesting flavors and look great on your plate. Just look at some of these mouth-watering, super-healthy meals:
But Isn’t A Whole Foods Diet Expensive?
A lot of people think that switching over to a whole foods way of eating is cost-prohibitive. I’ve certainly noticed that groceries cost more these days than they used to.
Keep in mind, however, that you are not buying extra foods on top of what you currently buy. Instead, you are replacing unhealthy packaged, processed foods with healthy, unprocessed versions. And no, you don’t have to buy everything from the expensive grocery store that many have dubbed “Whole Paycheck”.
And let’s face it – most of the boxed and pre-packaged foods in grocery stores are, in fact, more expensive than a bag of quinoa or black beans, and even most fruits and vegetables. A frozen pizza provides 1-2 meals. But a bag of quinoa will make dozens of servings or more, and often, the bag of quinoa is cheaper than the frozen pizza.
Joining a warehouse club like Costco or BJ’s is an excellent way to save money while buying whole food ingredients. I buy a lot of my organic produce and pantry staples (rice, quinoa, etc…) from BJ’s.
But I Don’t Have Time To Make My Meals From Scratch
Neither do I! That’s one of the reasons I LOVE the whole foods way of eating. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time to make healthy meals.
Green smoothies are one of the quickest and easiest meals to make. Toss some fresh fruits in a blender with a couple handfuls of leafy greens, a tablespoon of flaxseed or chia seeds, and a scoop of protein powder and zzzzzzzzzzip! – breakfast or lunch in under a minute.
Whole foods snacks are quick and easy, too. Almond butter on celery, a piece of fruit, or my peanut butter cup pudding, (pictured above) take little time to prepare.
And for dinner? Planning ahead makes dinner a breeze. Did you know that you can cook up a large batch of brown rice or quinoa, then portion it out and freeze it for later use? I do this all the time so that I can make quinoa salads, maki rolls, and re-fried black bean-quinoa tostados in minutes.
If you have the right recipes, a whole foods diet is not only super healthy, but super convenient as well.
Okay, So Here Is Exactly What My Daily Diet Looks Like:
Now that you know a little more about how I eat (and why), I’d like to invite you to try my diet out for yourself for FREE.
I have put together a sample 1-day meal plan that I call the 1-Day Reset. Go ahead and click on the link to view the breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack recipes and grocery shopping list, or download the whole lot as a PDF file.
This meal plan is from my Reset 28 program for energy and weight loss, and it reflects exactly how I ate when I lost 40 pounds, lowered my cholesterol by 45 points, and cleared up my skin through diet and lifestyle changes.
Tracy Russell is the creator of RESET 28: A 28-Day Program For Energy, Weight Loss & A Healthy Glow, and founder of Incredible Smoothies. She has been helping people take control of their health and well being with green smoothies, a whole foods diet, and fitness since 2009.