01 Jul Health Tips for the Fourth of July
Happy Birthday America! It’s time to celebrate, and ordinarily that would be with some good old fashioned hot dogs, some burgers, and loads of snacks and of course, alcohol. It generally goes without saying that these food choices may not be the best for your health, but there are some ways that you can navigate the festivities and scrumptious food with some health tips to stay clean on the inside. Its not as hard as you think either, most of these changes are easy to adopt, won’t require a lot of effort, and won’t impose on your hosts that spent all that time and money putting together the barbeque.
First and foremost is to stay hydrated! It’s number one because so many of us are not drinking
enough water as is, let alone during the summer months when temperatures are higher than the
rest of the year. But aside from basic hydration, how will drinking water help you maintain your
level of fitness and keep the waistline where you want it? It comes down to the stomach signals
that talk to your brain. It’s very easy for the brain to misinterpret thirst signals with hunger
signals, which then prompts you to snack and munch when you really should take a couple of
sips of water. Of course, filling up on water can also allow you to remain satisfied for longer,
reducing the temptation to graze.
The next tip is to practice some basic portion control. This is something that is talked about a lot
throughout weight loss programs and even by medical doctors assisting in weight loss. The
difficulty with portion control is knowing what portion size is right for you. One trick that you
can use regardless of age, size, or gender is to practice using your fist as a good judge of portion
size, at least when it comes to meat. When you’re heading to the grill to grab that piece of
chicken, try finding one that is about the size of your fist. Another quick way that you can reduce
your portion size when at a Fourth of July party is to opt for a smaller plate. You know, those
little plates that are about one third the size of a traditional plate. By simply using a smaller
plate, you overcome the psychological urge to fill your large plate; it’s an easy way to develop
ongoing portion control. When it comes to dessert, portion control is extremely important, be
sure to pick up the small plate!
Veggie it Up!
Just like filling up on water, filling up on veggies can leave you satiated and comfortable without
desiring to dive into any tempting junk foods. Since salads and grilled vegetables are low in
calories yet larger in terms of size and bulk, they satisfy your hunger without the additional
calories. Besides, grilled veggies taste amazing. Take a few organic zucchini or summer squash,
slice them length-wise and throw them on the grill with some Himalayan pink salt! Yummy!
Ditch the Bun
It’s not going to hurt to indulge a bit with a burger patty since ground beef is not necessarily
taboo, but it’s the condiments and the bun that goes along with a burger that can open up a
world of issues. The refined flours within the bun make it about the equivalent of white bread,
which has very little nutritional value whatsoever. By eating a tasty burger without the bun, you
avoid the insulin spike that would occur otherwise. That means that you are less likely to store
the burger as body fat and more likely to use it as energy. Although it may be out of your control
when at someone else’s house, eating organic and grass fed ground beef for your burgers can be
an amazing option that doesn’t carry with it all of the hormones and remnants of GMO corn that
Bite, Chew, Swallow
Slow down the pace just a tad, no one is going to steal your food! Eating a little bit slower can
give your body the chance to release a hormone called ghrelin, which is what regulates how full
you feel. If you eat too fast, that hormone doesn’t have time register with the body and can let
you over eat even when realistically, you’re already full. It’s easy to forget that digestion begins
in the mouth, so chew slowly and as much as you can. Doing this will increase your rate of
nutrient absorption and help fuel your body and fight inflammation.
BYOF – Bring Your Own Foods!
One of the things that are becoming more common in today’s society is bringing your own food
with you to parties or functions. It used to be a bit rude to bring your own choices of food to a
party or a guest’s house, but by and large it seems to be becoming more socially acceptable. This
is great news because bringing your own choice of side dishes or even the entire meal in general
can allow you to opt for your healthy meal rather than succumbing to the delicious treats that
are tempting you. Don’t be afraid to show up with some tupperware, people are more likely to
praise and respect you for caring about your health than they are to call you out.
Not all Chips are Created Equal
It is safe to assume that most everyone knows that potato chips are not a nutritious option,
especially if maintaining an anti-inflammatory body and managing your weight is a goal. What
about some of these chips that advertise that they are healthy alternatives? Are they really
healthy? It all depends, but most all of them have a high level of refined flours that make them
full of inflammatory gluten that can wreak havoc on your body. Even so called healthy chips like
pita chips are imposters. Since they are so dense, they contain a large amount of carbohydrates
that can quickly add up. The best options that you can make would be to opt for some sweet
potato chips (preferred home made where you know they are real sweet potato chips and not
sweet potato flavored chips), or get your fix of crunch from some organic carrot sticks
Think Before You Drink
One of most fun parts of Fourth of July is kicking back and enjoying an ice-cold margarita or a
beer with some good friends, so it is not necessary to entirely eliminate alcohol from your
holiday fun times, but be mindful. It’s less about the extra calories that you get from alcohol and
more about the decision making that happens after a few drinks. We all know how it goes, one
drink turns to two, and then three, and next thing you know you are in line for your third hotdog
and not even aware of it. It comes down to mental preparation before going out. Set ground
rules for you to limit it to one drink and only one drink. Research has shown that if you make a
verbal promise to yourself, that you are much more likely to stick to it! Of course, if you have to
indulge, choose a red wine so that you get the benefit of the anti-oxidant resveratrol, which is
derived from the skin of red grapes.
Lastly, but certainly not least, be safe this Fourth of July. Just because you are being
responsible, doesn’t guarantee that others are. Your health is the only thing that you have when
all else fails, so be smart about not only your diet decisions, but your social decisions as well.
There is so much that you can enjoy on this holiday, so embrace the healthy treats and celebrate
America’s birthday the way it should be in the 21st century; healthy and organic! So enjoy these health tips for the Fourth of July.