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Weight loss or maintenance is never fun.

It can involve crazy diets or a grueling amount of exercise that no one enjoys.

Recently, Courtney & I decided to begin a 7 day smoothie challenge in order to safely get into beach-ready shape.

We recently purchased a new blender, a Vitamix, and I was eager to put it to the test. In case you were wondering, this blender ROCKS and blows our old — but beloved — Ninja out of the water. I thought we were spoiled by the Ninja, but the Vitamix pulverizes any vegetable into pure liquid love. Amazing. It happens to be one of the entry level Vitamix’s but, from what I’ve read, it has the same blending capability but less of the “automatic” settings. We purchased the refurbished version and it came looking brand new. I highly recommend it.

7 Day Smoothie Challenege
7 Day Smoothie Challenege

So let’s start with the boring but necessary stuff. Any time you change your diet, invite new foods, or do something drastic as a smoothie challenge — you should consult your doctor. We are not doctors, we only speak from personal experience, and we have no medical or scientific background. Most importantly, listen to your body and be safe. Your health is your number one priority.

Now that that’s over with, let’s talk smoothies. We have always loved smoothies and have done short smoothie cleanses in the past. Personally, any time I go on a mostly liquid diet my mind goes crazy and I begin to crave chewing. It sounds so bizarre but out of all things I actually missed chewing food the most — and this was after a THREE day smoothie challenge. We were about to start SEVEN days. Yikes.

So, I wanted to set ourselves up for success. I knew I couldn’t do 100% smoothies, so why try? I knew I would give in on day 4 or 5 because I remembered how I felt after 3 days. So we modified the diet to have crunchy snacks throughout the day — but of course these snacks needed to be healthy and low calorie.

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    Another thing I remembered from our previous attempts at this was how boring the meals got. You NEED to mix up the type of smoothie you are having. And I’m not just talking about changing one ingredient and calling it different, it needs to taste drastically different from the last one. This variety will keep you going — I promise.

    Now let’s get down to the shopping list. We kept this simple. Now, you need to assume you will go grocery shopping 2 or 3 days during this 7 day stretch. Fresh produce goes bad quickly. But the good news is, it’s OK to use overripe fruit in smoothies. For those afraid of those little imperfections that make it clear a fruit needs to be eaten or tossed soon, smoothies don’t mind and will come out tasting, as well as looking, the same.

    You’ll want to get fruit, vegetables, protein powder, milk (we use almond milk). For fruit, it’s okay to use frozen fruit because this will make the smoothie cold and add consistency. Check out our article about how fruit affects weight loss for tips on what types of fruit to get.

    The fruits we opted for include blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. We also grabbed some spinach, kale, celery, avocados, and apples. We don’t like adding bananas to our smoothies because they make them much thicker, especially when paired with avocados.

    We also went with a Vegan protein powder. We aren’t Vegan ourselves, but we are gluten free and dairy free and a lot of the other protein powders contain one or the other. I prefer Vanilla flavored in my smoothies because I feel it does not overwhelm the smoothie like chocolate does — but that is 100% personal preference. Protein powder is important because it adds nutrients to the smoothie that you will be lacking without it. It also helps make you feel full, which will prevent you from giving in during snack time.

    So lets talk about snacks. Remember that crunchy craving? We solved that with almonds and popcorn. Almonds are great because they really fill you up with a small quantity. Popcorn is kind of an empty food, but it satisfies that snack craving and tastes good. Of course, stay away from buttered popcorn (sorry) and only grab plain or salted. As a little treat, we like adding nutritional yeast to our popcorn. It has a parmesan cheese flavor that pairs well with just about anything.

    Here’s everything in list form for easy shopping:

    One thing you’ll love about this 7 day smoothie challenge is the lack of dishes and easy of shopping. Grocery shopping this week, although more often, will be quick and easy.

    To construct your smoothies, pick a few items each time. It really is just trial and error based on what you like to eat. The 100% staples of every smoothie are your milk and protein powder. Everything else is interchangeable.

    In your blender, start with your milk. For each smoothie, I recommend starting with 6 ounces of your milk and 6 ounces of water for a total of 12 ounces of liquid. After that, add your protein powder followed by your fruits and veggies. Blend, starting low and working your way up to high, for about 45 seconds — or until in liquid form. Ta da! You have a smoothie.

    One piece of advice — clean your blender immediately. It will rinse off super easily at first, but if you delay this it will harden onto your blender and make your next smoothie take that much longer to make.

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      In between your smoothies, allow yourself a serving of almonds and a piece of fruit. We save the popcorn for at night (movie night every night!).

      This 7 day smoothie challenge is tough but I have found it very rewarding. We are currently on day 7 and ACTUALLY thinking about going on to next week as well. What did I get myself into?

      Let me know what your favorite smoothie combination is! I’d love to hear from you!

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      Brian

      family chef, craft beer connoisseur, and writer

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