Ten ASCENT-ial Ingredients
- Eat Six Times A Day
- Control Portions
- Balance Meals and Snacks
- Drink a Daily Green Smoothie
- Eat 3 Raw Vegetables or Nuts
- Limit Processed Junk
- Eat Sweet, Naturally
- Consume Whole Grains
- Limit Dairy Products
- Eat Organic Lean Meats
First ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Eat Six Times a Day
Regulating your metabolism is key to melting fat, maintaining and regulating blood sugar, and energizing the body throughout the day. We suggest an eating schedule consisting of three meals and three snacks every day, two – three hours apart in order of “meal, snack, meal, snack, meal, snack.”
Tony the Trainer’s Tips – I know. It’s hard to consider bringing a snack to work. But is it? Really? People get smoke breaks all the time, so maybe you should get an apple with natural peanut butter break. Just sayin.
Second ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Control Portions
Anything consumed in excess, whether it is healthy or not, is converted to fat because your body simply doesn’t use it. An understimulated metabolism also causes the body to hold onto fat. Think of this as starvation mode. The body says “Hey, if you’re not going to eat enough, then I’m going to slow down my digestion, so I can save some of those good calories and survive.” Both of these scenarios want to be avoided.
Since meals and snacks will be consumed on a more consistent basis, serving size plays a crucial role. A serving size for every food group, except olive oil and condiments, should be the size of your fist or fit in the palm of your hand. This is roughly a true serving size for most foods, and it’s a “handy” measurement tool.
Vegetables are limitless. They’re good for the body and proper digestion. Eat all you want!
Third ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Balance Meals and Snacks
Eating balanced meals will keep glucose from spiking, which causes excess fat storage, and it provides your body with the essential nutrition throughout the day. Each meal consists of a handful serving of protein (meat, poultry, fish, or eggs) a handful portion of carbohydrate (whole grains or fruit), and limitless vegetables.
Snacks can be a handful portion of a carbohydrate or protein or a piece of fruit. Snacks are one to one and a half servings. Here are some good examples:
- Handful of almonds
- Small apple and two Tbsp. of all natural peanut butter
- Carrot sticks and two Tbsp. of hummus
- A piece of fruit
Fourth ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Drink a Daily Green Sludge Smoothie
Thinking it’s hard to get all those veggies and fruits in a day? A Green Sludge Smoothie is one of the best and most efficient ways to get nutrients directly to the cells, while also cleansing the system. What constitutes as a Green Sludge Smoothie? Well, it’s easy, and all you need is something to blend these fantastic ingredients. Here are the basics:
- 3 – 4 vegetables of your choice
- 1 – 4 fruits of your choice
- Water and/or ice cubes
- No added protein
- No Milk Products
- No Added Sweeteners
Heads up – it looks like sludge, but it tastes like happiness! We suggest these ingredients, fresh or frozen: kale, spinach, cucumbers, parsley, pineapple, apples, berries, bananas, and kiwi.
Fifth ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Eat Three Raw Vegetables or Nuts Every Day
By raw we mean completely raw, not heated, steamed, boiled, or grilled. Do not eat it from a can, bag, or freezer (unless it’s fruit). Raw foods include fresh produce and nuts that have not been roasted or salted. Go crazy on the serving size for vegetables. If eating nuts, keep the serving size to one handful because too much of something great like nuts adds too much fat to a nutrition plan. One green sludge smoothie satisfies this daily ASCENT-ial Ingredient.
Suggested raw components are the Cleansing Smoothie, carrots and hummus, green salad, a handful of raw almonds, and any raw vegetable.
Sixth ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Limit Processed Junk
Why would you want to keep putting “junk” in your body? You know, the kind of stuff that can clean a car engine but also wakes you up during a long day at work? If it cleans rust off of a car wheel imagine what it does to your insides!
What’s processed junk? A processed food is any food that has been chemically altered through the following: flavor enhancers, binders, colors, fillers, or preservatives. We understand that with the busy lifestyles it is very hard to eliminate all processed junk. However, avoiding the below ingredients is a step in the right direction.
- High Fructose Corn Syrup
- Trans Fat
- Saturated Fat
- Bleached or Enriched White Flour
- Artificial Sweetener (Acesulfame Potassium or Aspartame)
- Hydrogenated or Partially Hydrogenated Oils (Canola Oil, Corn Oil, or Margarine)
- Anything that says “has been added to preserve freshness”
- If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!
Seventh ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Eat Sweet, Naturally
Enjoy the sweet life; just make sure you do it the natural way! White or refined sugar is one of the most addictive “foods” out there. You can even go as far to compare it to cocaine…Yes, cocaine. Just google it.
Many people try to limit refined sugars by using artificial sweeteners like Splenda or Equal to keep the sweet, but lose the calories. The problem with artificial sweeteners, however, is that they have been shown to increase the craving for sweets! Put simply, sugar and artificial sweeteners are a no-go. Try natural sweeteners like agave nectar and natural honey, but stick to the serving size, and only eat them one time per day.
Eighth ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Consume Whole Grains
A 2011 Archives of Internal Medicine study suggests that eating more whole grains lengthens our lives by reducing risks of cardiovascular, infectious, and respiratory diseases. Lengthen your life by eating more whole grains. Whole grains supply energy.
Here’s a list of the whole grains you can enjoy, and remember, a serving size is about as big as your fist.
- Whole Grain Pasta
- Whole Grain Bread
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain Couscous
Ninth ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Limit Dairy Products
One of the main reasons to limit dairy is because it is hard for our bodies to digest. There is no “reason” we need to consume dairy products. Dark green leafy vegetables supply all the calcium we need. Add onto that a calcium chew, or a multi vitamin, and you’re set! Try on life without milk for a couple weeks, and your tummy might thank you for it. You might find alternative milk options, like almond milk, coconut milk, rice milk, coconut almond milk, or soymilk, easier to digest.
We understand, however, that dairy is a large part of life, especially in the cheese head state, so we ask that you enjoy dairy in moderation. Limit dairy products to less than ten servings each week to satisfy this ASCENT-ial Ingredient.
Careful – the “handy” measurement tool will not work on dairy. A serving of dairy is one cup cows milk or yogurt or one ounce cheese. An ounce of cheese is a cube about the size of two regular dice.
Tenth ASCENT-ial Ingredient – Eat Organic and Free Range, Lean Meats
Organic is more expensive, and, at times, it’s hard to find. However, nonorganic meats contain growth hormones and antibiotics. This is a guide to The ASCENT-ials Clean Eating Approach, not the “Growth Hormone and Pesticide Eating” plan. Choose lower fat options, like poultry and lean meats. Low fat options are:
- Chicken Breast
- Lean Beef Roasts or Loins
That’s the basics, and that’s what will get you into a clean eating, healthy lifestyle for the long-term. Focus on these ten ingredients, and you’ll slowly make clean eating a habit.