How to Have a Healthy July 4th: Tips and Recipes to Support Your Health Journey

How to Have a Healthy July 4th: Tips and Recipes to Support Your Health Journey

Healthy July 4th recipes and tips

 

It’s almost America’s birthday and your dream would be to celebrate it without worries of bloating, pain, or gluten exposure. Let’s make that happen!

 

For most, July 4th brings about thoughts of fireworks, BBQs, sunshine, and pools, but for you it may bring about food fear, bathroom fear, and travel fear. Will you be able to eat anything at the BBQ you were invited to? What if you’re out for the day, eat something bad, and need to get to a bathroom, will there be one nearby? What if you’re sitting in the car, a train, or a plane for hours and don’t feel well – what now?

 

The holidays and travel are some of the toughest time for us digestive health warriors — as much as we want to push through and put a big smile on our face, deep inside we’re not thrilled about it all.

 

Having navigated the complexities of holiday meals and traveling with a digestive health condition for 10 years now, there’s a lot I’ve learned along the way to keep my body healthy before, during, and after these times. With July 4th around the corner, I specifically want to arm you with several healthy, anti-inflammatory recipes you can make and other things you can do to stay healthy and truly enjoy America’s birthday!

 

A Few Pointers…

Going into any trip or holiday, there are a few foundational things you want to be sure to do to support digestion and protect your body. These include:

  • Take Vitamin C (or eating vitamin C rich foods) before and during your trip to keep your immune system strong (especially if you have an autoimmune condition). If you choose to supplement, I recommend  Vitamin Code Raw Vitamin C, Gaia Whole Body Defense, or Dr. Mercola’s Liposomal Vitamin C.  
  • Take a probiotic to support the beneficial bacteria in your gut and keep your digestion running smoothly. Good bacteria are the backbone of nearly every digestive function, so either eat fermented foods like these or take a good quality probiotic (my favorites here).
  • Stay hydrated! Whether you’ll be in a car, train, or plane for a long time or out in the sun all day (or both!) make sure you stay hydrated to aid your body in flushing out any toxins you come in contact with, avoid headaches, and stay cool. I recommend purchasing a water bottle with a filter (like Life Straw) to ensure that no matter where you go, you have a clean water source.
  • Bring digestive enzymes with you. If your digestion is compromised (you feel bloated all the time, it feels like food sits too long in your system, etc.) you may need extra support breaking down food. Especially when you’re eating out of the home, you can introduce additional foods your body may not be used to processing. I recommend taking a digestive enzyme like this one to help. And if you’re very gluten sensitive and afraid of what will happen if you accidentally get exposed, have these on hand – they’re a lifesaver!
  • Reduce stress & ENJOY yourself. Traveling or big gatherings can often be stressful, which can have a big impact on digestion. Before embarking on your trip or attending a party, take a few deep breaths, think of a few things you’re excited about and focus on those, and smile! These three steps along can have an immense impact on your digestion and your mental wellbeing! And if you follow any of the steps above, thank yourself for preparing to have a healthy and fun holiday!

 

Tips for the Host

Hosting a July 4th BBQ or cookout party this year? Follow these tips to swap out common inflammatory ingredients like wheat, sugar, corn and dairy with healthier alternatives that will keep you and your family’s bellies happy.  Then, see the recipes in the following section for ideas on how to implement these changes.

  • Replace white and wheat flour with almond meal, coconut flour, or cassava root flour
  • Replace white sugar with palm (coconut) sugar or honey
  • Replace dairy with plant-based non-dairy products from coconut, hemp seeds, or cashews
  • Replace non-organic or non-pasture raised meats with organically fed, pasture raised meats. Consider finding a local CSA or butcher shop committed to animal welfare practices
  • Replace canola and palm oils with healthier alternatives like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil
  • Serve organic, sulfite-free wine such as from Dry Farm Wines (my favorite) and if serving other alcohol, try to find an organic and low-sugar option   
  • If you are grilling, DON’T use a wire bristle brush!! Often these are cheaply made and the wire bristles fall off onto the grill, get into the food and ingested! Instead, use a wooden scraper like this one (we have it and LOVE it!) 

 

Healthy July 4th Recipes

Looking for recipe inspiration? Below are a few of my favorite party-appropriate dishes to make. No time to learn a new recipe? Simply stock up on organic, grass-fed, pasture raised meats (chicken, beef, sausages, etc.) and organic fruits and veggies as well as gluten free buns or lettuce wraps. Same foods – better quality – simple as that!

 

Simple Guacamole

Serves 2

2 ripe avocados

1 green onion, chopped

1 small tomato, chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

1 garlic clove, chopped

¼ cup chopped cilantro

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1 cucumber, sliced

1 tomato, sliced

 

Directions

Mash the avocados in a bowl using a fork. Add the remaining ingredients. Mix well and serve on top of sliced cucumbers or tomatoes.

 

No Bean Hummus

Serves 2

2 zucchini, roughly chopped

1 teaspoon cumin

½ cup tahini

1 garlic clove, minced

1 lemon, juiced

2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

 

Directions

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor or blender.

 

Spinach Dip

(adapted from The Raw Project)

Serves 2

¾ cup shelled hemp seeds

2 cups raw spinach

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 lemon, juiced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

¼ teaspoon sea salt

1 scallion

½ cup water

 

Directions

Add the ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until well mixed. Serve with raw vegetables or crackers.

 

Paleo Meatballs

Serves 4

1 cup zucchini, chopped

1 cup carrots, chopped

½ cup parsley, chopped

3 medium cloves of garlic, minced

¼ cup almond flour or almond meal

1 egg

1 lb ground chicken, turkey, or beef

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground pepper

¼ tsp chili powder

 

Directions

  1. In a food processor, pulse the zucchini, carrots, parsley, and garlic
  2. Place in a large bowl and add almond flour, egg, meat, salt, pepper, and chili powder. Mix well
  3. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  4. Evenly coat a baking dish with extra virgin olive oil
  5. Roll the mixture into round, golf ball sized meatballs (about 1 ½ inches in diameter)
  6. Place the balls in the baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm cooked through

 

Chicken and Pineapple Skewers

Serves 2

6-8 ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 ½ inch chunks

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp gluten free honey mustard

2 tbsp gluten free tamari

1 tsp lemon juice

Salt and black pepper, to taste

1 cup pineapple, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

1 onion, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes

2 carrots, cut into 1-inch slices

Wooden skewers

 

Directions

  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes
  2. In the meantime, combine garlic, honey mustard, tamari sauce, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and chicken to a bowl and marinate
  3. Preheat oven to 425 F
  4. Prepare the kebabs by threading the chicken, pineapple, onion, and carrots onto the wooden skewers
  5. Discard the remaining marinade. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place a cooling rack on top of it
  6. Line the skewers on the cooling rack and bake for 10 minutes
  7. Turn over and bake another 10-15 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked

 

Apple Kale Salad

Serves 2

1 bunch kale, chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 scallion, chopped

1 avocado

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 lemon, juiced

3 to 5 fresh sage leaves, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

1 apple, chopped

1 tablespoon hemp seeds

 

Directions

  1. Chop or tear kale into bite-sized pieces and add it to a large salad bowl.
  2. Add the garlic, scallion, avocado, olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, and sage to the bowl.
  3. Massage the contents until the kale is soft and wilted.
  4. Top with chopped apples and hemp seeds.

 

Spiced Chicken Burgers

Serves 4

1 lb ground chicken

4 scallions, thinly sliced

1 ½ tbsp chopped ginger

2 tbsp chopped cilantro

1 tbsp smoked paprika

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp coriander

1 tsp curry powder

¼ tsp garam masala

¼ tsp sea salt

¼ tsp cayenne pepper

1 ½ tsp coconut oil

Directions

  1. Mix scallions, ginger, cilantro, paprika, cumin, coriander, curry  powder, salt, garam masala, and cayenne in a large bowl.
  2. Add in ground chicken and mix well
  3. Let sit 15-30 minutes
  4. Form 4 patties and let sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm
  5. Heat coconut oil in a large skillet on medium high heat
  6. Add burgers and cook 3-5 minutes per side, or until fully cooked
  7. Serve on a gluten free bun or over mixed greens tossed with olive oil

 

Paleo Vanilla Cake

Here is a recipe for my favorite paleo cake that’s decor-appropriate for July 4th from MangiaPaleo! 

paleo vanilla flag cake

Fruit Medley

No time to bake a cake? Prepare a dish with blueberries, strawberries, cherries, bananas, coconut, or any other red, white, or blue colored fruits for a simple, healthy and festive dessert dish! 

july 4 fruit salad

 

Tips for the Guest

Attending someone else’s July 4th party? Here are a few ways  to prepare when you’re not in control of the menu.

  • If it’s a potluck style party, bring a dish you know you can eat, such as any of the below recipes, or a simple fruit or veggie dish
  • Eat a small meal in advance at home in case you cannot eat what is there
  • Eat just what you know works for you, such as a protein and veggie dish, and skip the rest
    • Pro Tip: Temptation can get the best of us, so I recommend first loading your plate up with veggies, leaving less room for less healthy options that may include gluten and sugar
  • Drink a lot of water throughout the day to keep yourself satiated and less apt to give into temptation

 

Or, here are a few easy on-the-go snacks you can take with you in the car or eat out at a party:

  •   Hemp seeds in a packet
  •   Healthy protein bars, such as chia bars or bars made with seeds and fruits (Go Raw and Health Warrior bars are some of my favorites)
  •   Healthy snack mixes like my homemade anti-inflammatory trail mix
  •   Fruit leathers, no added sugar
  •   Shredded coconut
  •   Protein powder to mix with water (I love organic pea protein, Vega, Hemp Protein, any dairy free protein powder is great).
  •   Flax crackers
  •   Nut butter and a spoon

 

I hope this July 4th you feel healthy inside and out and can truly enjoy yourself with your friends and family wherever you go!

 

Comment below which recipe(s) you’re excited to make and report back how you felt!

 

 

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