Heartland Revival

healthy

Drink To Your Health

Food for ThoughtAmber BransonComment
Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of zirconicusso at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

For many people who are eating healthy, their beverages can be sabotaging their efforts to achieve the level of health and vibrancy they desire. Are you drinking empty calories that prevent you from losing weight? Are you putting toxic additives and chemicals into your body? Upgrading your beverage choices can be the key to taking your health and wellbeing to the next level.

Making the switch to a healthier diet came pretty easy to me. I loved researching the benefits of plant based food and experimenting with new recipes. But for a long time I could never kick my diet soda habit. I was in total denial about the harm it was doing to my body. I still get a craving, especially when I am stressed and honestly, sometimes I cave. For the most part though, I can say that I feel good about the choices I make when it comes to hydrating. Here are a few switches and tips so you can drink to health:

  • Instead of reaching for the coffee pot the moment you wake up, try a cup of warm water with fresh lemon juice (about 2 tablespoon). This invigorating beverage supports liver detox – with fewer toxins in the body, you have more energy. Moreover, coffee promotes blood sugar fluctuation and sugar cravings – both of which can send you on the spike and crash energy roller coaster.
  • If you drink coffee throughout the day, you can transition yourself off caffeine more gradually with beverages that contain less caffeine instead of going cold turkey – e.g. black tea, green tea or green tea.  Green tea and white tea, in particular, have much less caffeine and are rich in health-promoting antioxidants.

  • Sugar in soda can cause a lot of health issues. Diet soda is no better – artificial sweeteners are toxic to our body, causing many health problems including weight gain and low energy. Instead of sugary soda, try mixing sparkling mineral water with pure fruit juice – start with a 1:1 ratio and as you get used to the less-sweet taste, increase the amount of sparkling water. Eventually, you will feel satisfied with just a splash of juice or a squeeze of lemon.

  • For those on the go, try having packets of green juice powder handy. They are great for boosting energy and provide a ton of antioxidants and micronutrients that are essential for vibrant health. I recommend the Daily Good Greens from Aloha.

  • In social occasions when you desire a drink or two, alternate your alcoholic beverage with water or sparkling water (add a twist of lime and it looks like a gin and tonic!) to help you reduce your alcohol intake while stay hydrated.

  • Don’t forget water! Clean water is the most healthful beverage. Dehydration can cause headache, low energy, sugar cravings etc. Carry a water bottle with you and sip often. 

I hope you enjoyed these tips and tricks for choosing beverages that benefit your health! Stay tuned for the next post of the "Healthy Eating for Busy People" series. I'll be talking about eating healthy while traveling..

Interested in learning more on how to break unhealthy habits and change your life? Let's talk! Contact me for a complementary session to discuss how we can work together and transform your health. 

Online Gift Guide 2014

At HomeAmber BransonComment
/// All images were found on the individual product websites

/// All images were found on the individual product websites

Still looking for a unique gift for the health-minded people in your life? Here are a few of my favorite gift ideas found online!

1. Mandala Coloring BookSometimes meditation can be hard with our busy lives. This coloring book will help calm the mind as you focus on the mandalas, putting you in a zen state. Plus, who doesn't want to feel like a kid again?

2. Purple Lettuce UmbrellaJust a little reminder to eat your greens on a rainy day... a little bit of a splurge, but how can this not make you smile? It also come in green too.

3. Coconut Milk CaramelsUsually store bought caramels are made of ingredients such as corn syrup, refined sugar, preservatives and food coloring. These caramels, made with coconut milk, will satiate your vegan sweet tooth without all the bad stuff.

4. Root for Vegetables Tote BagThe perfect tote for Farmer's Market hauls and a little reminder to eat your vegetables! Note: occasionally this item says no longer available. Usually if you wait a day, it will become available again.

5. Beet T-shirtDon't just eat your veggies, wear them!

6. SpiralizerWith people being more mindful of the carbohydrates they eat, the spiralizer is the new "it" kitchen gadget. There is even an entire blog based on recipes using a spiralizer. (we are obsessed with zucchini pad thai at our house)

7. Himalayan Sea Salt LampThese lamps naturally ionize the air, benefiting allergy sufferers, as well as helping to reduce the amount of electro-magnetic pollution caused by electronics in the home and at the office.

8. Fermenting CrockThe benefits of probiotics are finally known mainstream so the next thing is to make your own kimchi or sauerkraut at home!

Happy Shopping!
Amber
 

 

Pumpkin picking + Red, White, Green "Hen" Chili

At Home, In My Kitchen, Out and AboutAmber BransonComment
pumpkinpicking2015

Happy Halloween! On Sunday, we made our annual trip to a pumpkin patch to pick out the perfect pumpkins for our stoop. We visited a new-to-us patch, Stuckmeyer's Farm Market, since it was closer and we were short on time. For some reason we always seem to go on the hottest day in October so we didn't hang around too long, just enough to find our pumpkins and for me to gawk at the chickens for a bit. Once we got home we each started a pot of chili (meat for him, no meat for me) and let that simmer while we carved away.

 

henofthewoodschili

Recently, we were given some hen-of-the-woods mushrooms that had been scavenged by my boyfriend's dad and when we discovered it had a meaty texture, I knew I had to use it for a mock white chicken chili.  I love white chicken chili but haven't had it since I became pescatarian. Once I started collecting ingredients, I realized I was unprepared and only h one container of white beans. So enter red beans, green chilies, bell pepper and tomatoes, making this a Red, White, Green "Hen" Chili.

Ingredients:
1 medium onion
1 medium bell pepper
2 cloves of garlic
2 cups hen of the woods mushrooms (any meaty mushrooms would work - such as portobello)
1 small can diced green chilies
2 containers of beans (26.8oz combined)
1 can or jar of diced tomatoes
32 oz vegetable broth
2 tbsp cumin
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 cup coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Dice onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Saute in stock /chili pot until vegetables are soft and onions are translucent. Stir in spices and saute for about a min until fragrant. Add beans, green chilies, tomatoes, broth and maple syrup. Stir and then bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to low. Simmer for at least an hour. About 15 minutes before serving, stir in coconut milk.

I topped mine with sour cream and some tortilla chips. Here is a cashew sour cream for you vegans out there.

Note /// Spices are very subjective so feel free to improvise. The chipotle chili adds some smokiness and then the maple syrup balances out the spiciness. I actually had added some cayenne pepper to my batch and it turned out very spicy so I omitted it here.

Be well,
Amber

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CSA: 3

At Home, In My KitchenAmber BransonComment
photo(14).JPG

Here is the latest and greatest from my CSA. This week's share had several items that I had never eaten or cooked with but I am up for the challenge. Using more ingredients sourced locally and in season has started to change my thinking when shopping at the grocery store. I can tell tremendously the difference in quality of foods out of season compared to in season. It feels good to be more in tune with nature!

Swiss Chard: Lemon Garlic Swiss Chard
Lettuce: Salads, of course
Bag of Lettuce Mix (not pictured): Same as above
Scallions: in stir-frys, salads, everything
Kohlrabi: Shaved with Apple and Hazelnuts
Bok Choy: Salad from CSA:1
Turnips: Caramelized, served with an egg on top. (made this for last Sunday's breakfast, SO GOOD)
Strawberries: In salads and in breakfast overnight oats
Peas: As a snack or in a stir-fry
Garlic Scapes: In salad dressings, stir-frys, wherever I would normally use garlic

What new vegetables have you tried lately? It's so easy to Google recipes and find how to prepare foods; there are no excuses with today's technology. Next time you are at the store or farmers market, purchase a vegetable that you've always wondered about but never had the courage to try it!

Making Recipes Healthier: A How-to

In My Kitchen, Food for ThoughtAmber BransonComment
Art found  here.

Art found here.

Often times I find recipes that sound awesome but can be made a little healthier (IMO). I wanted to show you how easy it is to deconstruct a recipe and rework for maximize health benefits. I keep these 3 questions in mind when customizing recipes.

  1. How can I add more vegetables?
  2. Can I make this with less sugar? Or with a different sweetener (honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar)
  3. Is there a more nutrient-dense or gluten-free grain to substitute with? (If the recipe calls for a grain)

Lets take this recipe I came across today. It sounds delicious, looks easy to make and I've been on a pineapple phase so this is right up my alley.

Here are the ingredients called for:

  • 3 cups cubed fresh pineapple
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, cubed (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into thin wedges (1 ½ cups)
  • 1 Tbs. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1 Tbs. dark or light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. sweetened coconut flakes, optional
  • 1 Tbs. lime juice
  • Serve over white rice

Here is what I would do differently:

  1. Reduce amount of pineapple (too much natural sugar) to 1 1/2 cups and add cubed zucchini (something green!) instead.
  2. Substitute vegetable oil for coconut oil. Vegetable oils cause inflammation (among other things) and the coconut oil will better complement the other flavors.
  3. Omit brown sugar as the pineapple has enough sugar. (reading comments on recipes that you've never made before can be helpful. many said that there was no need for additional sugar )

  4. Use unsweetened coconut flakes instead of the sweetened. Again, reducing sugar but not compromising flavor.
  5. Serve over soaked brown rice or quinoa instead.

There you have it! Cooking healthy food is not as hard as you think. What is a favorite recipe that you could rework to be healthier? Or what methods do you already use to make recipes healthier?

Let me know in the comments!

-Amber