Heartland Revival

holistic

Interview: SOL Sweat

Interview, Out and AboutAmber BransonComment

As a wellness coach, I like to have a "toolbox" of holistic health modalities that I take part in regularly as part of my self-care routine. My latest obsession is sweating it out in infrared sauna! I've always wanted to try out a sauna but for some reason was never able to find one that wasn't hidden in a very expensive, private gym. Enter SOL Sweat! While searching on a whim a few months ago, I could not believe my eyes when I found a studio dedicated just to infrared saunas. I promptly made an appointment to check it out and try my first session. The studio is easy to find and very accommodating, with 3 rooms dedicated to saunas (one even being for couples who are open to sweating together ;) ).  Each room also provides a water cooler to stay hydrated, chairs and hooks for your belongings and my favorite part, a cool washcloth infused with essential oils to help you feel refreshed after your session. Needless to say, I am hooked and wanted to share the love!

Stacy Sullivan is the genius behind the operation so I reached out to her to learn more about SOL Sweat and learn her wellness necessities. See her thoughts below and check out the beautiful space she has created: 

Q: What compelled you to open SOL Sweat? I have always loved heat, hot yoga, and going to spas. My body and mind relax when I sit still in heat. After joining an expensive gym and only using the steam room and sauna, I had an idea to open an easy access sauna studio that doesn’t require a membership.

Q: What are the top three reasons someone should incorporate infrared saunas into their holistic routine?  The top 3 reasons an infrared sauna should be added to any holistic routine are:
1. Stress relief
2. Self-care and sweating out toxins is very important to our well-being
3. To feel the radiance of the sun’s rays without exposing oneself to UV rays.

Q: What are the top three questions asked by your customers?  
1. What is the difference between a traditional gym sauna vs an infrared sauna? (A gym sauna is usually a hot room, where an infrared sauna penetrates the body and it is a gentle, more effective way to experience heat therapy.
2. What do I wear in the sauna? People can use the towel provided, a swimsuit, or light cotton clothing.  
3. How often should I go? We recommend 2-3 times a week, if working on a specific lifestyle change or wellness initiative. However, 1 session will bring relaxation and stress relief. Everyone’s needs are different - it comes down to time and budget.

Q: If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ (websites, books, local businesses) you’d recommend, which would you include and why? I am very open-minded to all new activities that stimulate the mind, body and spirit. I am always reading the paper and checking out Facebook events for happenings around the city. Float, Yoga Buzz, Grand Basin Yoga, Women’s Weekend, Sym*Bowl, Sound Healing with Anu French and Southtown Yoga are my favorites.

Q: What is a non-negotiable in your self-care routine? Why?  Sleep. I absolutely need 8 hours of sleep to be motivated to be my best.

Thank you, Stacy for sharing your thoughts! For more info on SOL Sweat, follow along on Facebook, Instagram or book a session at gosweattoday.com

 

Hello 2015

At HomeAmber BransonComment
Namaste Everyday goals (on and off the mat) written on the studio wall!

Namaste Everyday goals (on and off the mat) written on the studio wall!

Hello friends! I hope your Holidays were filled with good food, good company and good health! I am finally back into the swing of things over here and can't wait to start putting my plans for 2015 in action. I know resolutions are always a touchy subject, some people make them and then some people are vehemently against them. I like to think I'm somewhere in the middle. I like to start right into the New year with a few goals that I know I can complete or get started on in good time. Work, life, etc gets in the way so why not make some short term resolutions that are do-able and will ultimately have a lasting impact? Here are my goals for the beginning of 2015:

Complete the Namaste Everyday Challenge - My favorite Yoga studio is hosting a challenge where you practice yoga every day for the month of January. My goal with this challenge (besides completing it) is to establish a better yoga practice and continue to go a few times a week once the challenge is over.
Read  - This one is pretty self explanatory and I have no excuse considering I received some great books for Christmas (see below).
Travel  - So far my guy and I have a trip planned to Chicago in the spring and then have talked about the possibility of taking a longer trip in the fall.
Devote time to documenting my cooking + health adventures - I finally invested in a good camera! Now I can actually enjoy playing with my food as well as show off the healthy places that St. Louis has to offer.

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