Heartland Revival

heartland revival

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. 

Local Gift Guide 2014

At HomeAmber BransonComment
*all photos used are either from the business' website, facebook, instagram or etsy shop with the exception of Maven and Cheryl's Herbs.

*all photos used are either from the business' website, facebook, instagram or etsy shop with the exception of Maven and Cheryl's Herbs.

Gift guides are all the rage right now so I thought I'd share some items on my wishlist but with a little twist... all local to St. Louis stuff! With Small Business Saturday this weekend, I wanted to show off some of the awesome, healthy gift options we have right here in the center of the USA; Heartland Revival style!

1. Perennial Herb Drying RackPerfect for your favorite gardener. Not only practical, it is made entirely of upcycled materials.

2. PuraVegan Treats — It wouldn't be the Holidays without some indulgence so why don't we indulge guilt-free? The treats at PuraVegan are organic and made with only a handful of ingredients!

3. Body Sticks from MavenConfession, I already have their deodorant but who can have too much of that? It's by far the best working aluminum-free deodorant I've tried. Now, the face oil cleanser I haven't tried yet but it has spirulina in it so that automatically puts it as a want. Both would make great stocking stuffers.

4. My Coconut Kitchen Everyone has heard the good word about Coconut oil but what about flavored coconut butter?! The Divinely Dark flavor would be awesome in bulletproof coffee!

5. Essential Oils from Cheryl's HerbsCheryl does 'em right. Their products are top quality and made in-house. My favorite is the Lavandin oil (stronger than Lavender oil) and their tea tree oil.

6. Missouri Cutting BoardMade entirely out of Missouri wood, this would make a great gift for the ultimate host in your life.

7. Body soap from Buddha Bath and Body Made from natural and sustainable ingredients, their soap is the most luxurious of homemade products I've found. BONUS, they just opened a store down on Cherokee!

8. Growler from Scratch BrewingEverything is good in moderation, right? If you're going to drink beer why not drink some that has been "brewed with home grown and locally farmed and foraged ingredients". (a little further from St. Louis than the others but definitely worth it)

9. Honey Masters HoneyA great organization as well as local. Good for your soul and immunity during the cold & flu season!

10. Sunflower Massage Gift CertificateNot all massage studios are created equal. This one is privately owned and all of the therapists are very professional and considerate of your health history and any concerns. And they use Cheryl's Herbs essential oils to boot!

11. ReTrailer TeaOne of my very favorite local brands, Lisa's teas are not only delicious but have Ayurvedic healing properties.

Please see either the websites linked or Facebook pages on where to buy. I know that I did not cover all the great, healthy gift ideas St. Louis has to offer so if you have anything additional to add, please share below!

Happy Shopping!

Sourdough English Muffins

In My Kitchen, At HomeAmber BransonComment

In our house, we try and limit the carbs but sometimes a girl just needs some bread. So the latest gluten-full thing I have been making are sourdough English muffins using my trusty old sourdough starter. Besides the occasional Ezekiel bread purchase, (ok, and that box of pumpkin cornbread I got at Trader Joe's the other day) I prefer to make homemade bread so that I have control of the ingredients and I know what I'm eating. After a quick recipe search, I came across this recipe and have since made it twice. Practice does make perfect but they taste delicious all the same. See my recipe interpretation below for some ingredient options in case you have a dairy allergy or want to make it vegan-friendly.

SourdoughMix

Here's what you need to make them:
1/2 cup of sourdough starter
1 cup of milk (use unsweetened dairy-free milk to make vegan. I prefer coconut milk)
2 cups of flour (whole wheat preferably)
1 Tbs of honey (or use maple syrup to make vegan)
3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp baking soda

Flour or cornmeal, for dusting

Stir the starter into the milk until it's dissolved and then add the flour.  Stir to combine, cover with a plate or plastic, and leave out for 8 hours or overnight. I have left it for only 6 hours and it's done fine.

Next, add the honey, salt and baking soda and mix well. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a few minutes with wet hands. Flatten it out to 3/4" thick and cut with a biscuit cutter or a drinking glass into rounds. Repeat with scraps until they've all been made into rounds. Place muffins on a surface dusted with cornmeal or flour cover and let them rise for about 45 minutes to an hour.

Spray skillet (or griddle if you're fancy) lightly with spray oil or add a little butter. (If it’s nonstick, you may not need any grease at all.) Heat to medium high and cook muffins for about 4 minutes on each side, or until browned on the top and bottom and cooked through.

Notes /// Using WET hands when touching the dough is very important! I also run the biscuit cutter under water to keep it from sticking.

Recipe adapted from here. For more information on a sourdough starter go here.

SourdoughProcess
SourdoughEat

These muffins make a perfect quick breakfast for me as I'm known to roll out of bed and head for the office. After cooking up a big batch, I let them cool and then go ahead and split them, individually wrap and then store them in the freezer in ziplock bags. When you're ready to eat one, just pop them into the toaster and top with your favorite nut butter. (or in my case, peanut butter with chia and flax seeds from Trader Joe's.) They are pretty great at other times of the day too. Mini pizzas with homemade sauce and fresh mozzerella? Done. Tuna or Egg salad? Easy-peasy. Quick snack to cure the hangries? Been there, done that. 

Interested in easy ways to implement a more-fun, fewer-ingredients way to eat? Contact me for a FREE session to go over all of your health and food desires.

Be well,
Amber

Revive: Sourdough Starter

Press, ReviveAmber BransonComment
HR_sourdoughstarter

One of my goals this year has been to try making more of my food from scratch and “revive” some skills that have faded with food production and technology. Bread has been at the top of my list for some time so after some research, I set out to catch some wild yeast and make a sourdough starter. I used instructions from Pinch My Salt but added more pineapple juice than called for so that the consistency matched more of what her photos showed. I would say it worked! I was unable to make bread right away from the starter so I put it in the fridge and plan on baking this weekend.

I also wanted to say a few words about me making bread in general. I do not have celiac disease and have no gluten intolerance so luckily for me, I am able to enjoy bread from time to time. My business is primarily Health Coaching and while bread is not usually seen as “healthy” there is still something to be said for made-from-scratch foods. Baking my own bread is a way for me to cut out unnecessary sugar and preservatives found in store bought bread (even “healthy” gluten-free bread usually contains added sugar) but more importantly to revive (at least in my personal life) an art form that has been around for thousands of years. Not to mention using only 3 ingredients and creating something so delicious and practical is very satisfying to me.