July 2nd, 2012

4 Tips for a Healthy Fourth of July

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Groovy Green Livin Fourth of July

When I was young I remember spending my Fourth of July impatiently waiting  for the sun to go down so the fireworks could begin. To this day the Fourth of July still tops my list of summer highlights. In addition to fireworks we generally incorporate a local parade showcasing every imaginable type of truck or car predating 1999. My kids can’t get enough. They bring reusable bags ready to collect candy thrown from the floats, cars and trucks. Their eyes pop as they watch the Shriners mini trucks driven by full grown men spin round and round making crazy figure eights. One year we stood with author Stephen King and his grandchildren who were vying for the same candy as my kids.

This Fourth of July try these simple tips to make the holiday a summer highlight that’s safe and healthy for all.

Green your grilling

As delicious as grilling is, research has shown that cancer-causing compounds are formed when protein foods (meats, poultry, and fish) are cooked at high heat. HERE are a few tips to keep your grilling green and healthy.

  • Don’t keep the food on the grill longer than necessary.
  • Grill at low temperatures.
  • Flip your food frequently to prevent it from burning.
  • Try to avoid smoke and flame flare ups from grease.
  • Marinating meats first has been shown to reduce the formation of cancer-causing substances.
  • Try grilling other foods-vegetables, fruits and tofu.
  • Choose lean meat or get rid of the fat off the meat before grilling.
  • Try kebobs-the smaller pieces of meat will cook faster and are less likely to form cancer causing compounds.

There are also plenty of green grilling accessories to help create a delicious and safe meal.

Safe Sunscreen

There’s no question, the best form of sun protection is to stay out of the sun (although a little outdoor time is recommended for much needed Vitamin D). The next best form of natural sunscreen is to cover up and wear a big floppy hat. As we head to the Fourth of July parade we know that it’s not realistic to stay out of the sun or cover-up 24/7 so we need to turn to sunscreen for some additional protection from the sun’s harmful rays.  There are literally hundreds of sunscreens to choose from. Make sure you find a sunscreen that’s safe and provides the best protection possible. Our sunscreens of choice this summer continues to be Purple Prairie and Dolphin Organics.

Non-toxic bug repellent

DEET bug repellents can be toxic if we apply too much and leave it on our skin too long. Thankfully there are a quite a few bug repellents out there that are DEET-free. There are even plants that can be strategically placed around your yard that act as natural bug repellents. Our DEET-free bug repellent of choice this summer is Buzzaway.

Healthier hot dogs

Nothing screams Fourth of July more than fireworks and hot dogs. In this country we have a deep love for many variations of the traditional hot dog. If you’re willing to spend $5.99/pack for USDA Certified Organic turkey hot dogs you will generally get hot dogs made of healthier ingredients. These expensive dogs have healthier ingredients but they still contain nitrates, as do their non-organic relatives. Studies have found that the consumption of hot dogs can be a risk factor for childhood cancer. Nitrates have also been linked to diabetes, heart disease and colon cancer. Hot dog advice: enjoy, buy organic and eat in moderation.

What are your plans for the Fourth of July this year? Do they involve any of these four tips?

5 Responses to “4 Tips for a Healthy Fourth of July”

  1. I have some of my family visiting over the Fourth. We’ll probably do some grilling, most likely there will be hot dogs, and I have plenty of sunscreen for when we decide to brave the heat. Don’t have any bug spray but we haven’t been bothered by the bugs yet.

  2. No 4th of July this year. We celebrated Canada this past week-end! I had grilled veggies!

  3. That’s right Stephanie-back in Canada! It rained a lot stateside this year. Hope the move back and settling in has gone well.

  4. You are so lucky that the mosquitoes haven’t found you Marsha. They are awful by us. Enjoy the 4th with your family!

  5. […] low temperatures, flip it frequently and don’t leave it on the grill longer than necessary. While grilling your food this Fourth of July make sure to use green accessories to help you create a delicious and […]

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About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

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