Photo credit: history.com
The sound of children's laughter, music floating through the air, and bursts of color lighting up the sky. The 4th of July has almost arrived again, and these are just a few scenes that come to mind. It is a day of celebration, which unfortunately, like many holidays, has become synonymous with overeating (unhealthy foods) and over-drinking (alcohol). There are plenty of red, white, and blue foods that don't involve sugar, artificial food coloring, and a host of other murky ingredients, and plenty of refreshing non-alcoholic drinks to cool you off on a hot day.
This holiday, like all others, is a great day to spend with family and friends. Normally, when people get together, food or drink is involved. But why is the tradition to always serve unhealthy food? We gorge ourselves on grilled (sometimes blackened) processed meats sandwiched between processed white bread followed by cookies and cupcakes topped with mountains of artificially colored icing, and if you're lucky, there might be a bowl of strawberries only because their color helped them land the job.
Instead of feeding the people we love with foods that create disease, let's take initiative and serve foods that promote wellness. It is absolutely devastating when a close family member or friend passes away from diseases which are easily preventable. Things like heart-disease, diabetes, and cancer can be controlled with diet. Yet, we continue to eat the same way and pass on those bad habits, and continue to fall into the genetics trap. It is too easy to blame genetics for our misfortunes. We need to take responsibility of our own health, make changes, and reverse the bad habits that may have been passed onto us.
More and more, people are realizing that diet is important, and that we should have been taking care of ourselves all along. It's easy to excuse yourself for one day, and think, well, it's
day. But one day
affect your health in the long-run. Imagine if you chose to eat unhealthy 3 days out of the week. That's almost 150 days out of the year that you're damaging your body. Our bodies are not invincible. We only have one life to live, so start taking control of your life and promoting health around others.
If we want to celebrate this great country, we also need to keep it healthy. We spend over
dollars every year on diet-related diseases. Imagine a healthier country, where people get sick less, use less sick days at work, and depend less and less on medicine and more and more on feeding their bodies right. From an economic standpoint, we would have more productive workers and thus, a healthier, more productive economy.
There are many great tasting, healthy options that you can serve at your July 4th picnic. Summer brings a bounty of fruits and vegetables. Try cutting up watermelon, or a mixed berry salad with strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Last year, I posted my
, which are also a great option. You can also try veggie kabobs in the oven and season them with black pepper, cumin, and a touch of cayenne. Or check out this raw vegan fruit tart I made, with fresh berries and a coconut vanilla cream. It's also red, white, and blue! Whatever healthy dish you choose, be safe and have a Happy 4th of July!