Red, White, and Blue Paleo Foods to Round Out July 4th
Do you have plans for the 4th? Tomorrow, over 300 hundred million Americans will be celebrating Independence Day and many of them will be doing so by hosting a barbecue, attending a fireworks show, and possibly overdoing it on the drinking.
AAA reports Independence Day is statistically the most deadly where more people lose their lives in motor vehicle accidents on July 4th than any other day of the year. Most happen at night and 50% involve alcohol.1 Of all the obvious risks, gathering for a meal outside at the beach or in the backyard presents little to none. Except, that is, if you’re prone to overeating.
This is no joke. People have actually died from overdoing it with way too much of the wrong food in one meal. Let’s set the stage and face facts: many Americans use this holiday to eat like there is no tomorrow.
On any other day of the year, you might ask for a lettuce wrapped burger, prepared lean-style, but on July 4th, throw in the cheese and buns, and wash it all down with sweetened lemonade or beer. Oh, and don’t forget the corn slathered in butter; a side dish of mac and cheese, pasta salad, coleslaw swimming in soybean oil-laden mayo, apple pie a la mode for dessert, followed by the inevitable food coma.
Even if someone brought a green salad, chances are it was left sitting off to the side to be attacked by flies as guests rationalize that on July 4th, the iceberg lettuce, tomato and onion on top of the bacon and cheeseburger count as veggies.2
It doesn’t have to be this way! It’s easy to create a healthy, festive 4th of July celebration with an abundance of proteins and veggies cooked over an open flame, fresh fruit-based desserts and perhaps even a special occasion signature cocktail, made with a potato vodka like Chopin or the grape-based Ciroc.
And why not keep it in sync with the holiday by going red, white and blue? Gone are the days (I hope) of baking a white cake from a mix, topped with Cool Whip and the American Flag represented with canned cherries and blueberry pie mix from a can.
Let’s bring in some actual food and keep it real!
Keep it organic with these delicate little guys, which are not actually berries, but accessory fruits. In these fruits, the surrounding flesh around the seed isn’t derived from the fruit’s ovaries but from the receptacle in which the ovaries are found.3 Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants like vitamin C, other than a quick wash, they require no prep and are perfectly delicious eaten on a salad or frozen and then chucked into the Vitamix for a quick and easy way to make sorbet.
A rich source of vitamins A, C, and folic acid, tomatoes contain a wide array of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants, including alpha-lipoic acid, lycopene, choline, folic acid, beta-carotene and lutein.4 Try them served on a platter with fresh basil drizzle with a good amount of extra virgin olive oil.
RED BELL PEPPERS
Get five times the vitamin C with red bell peppers than a cup of orange juice5 without the blood sugar spike and crash. Cut them in half, take out the seeds and grill. Wrap in foil and then when cool, remove charred skin and whiz with fresh walnuts in the food processor for and awesome dip for crudités or topping for that grass fed burger.
Grass-fed red meat is a top option to add to your Paleo repertoire of proteins. Rich in Omega 3s and CLA6, and delicious to boot, this is a must-cook at your holiday gathering. Go for a combination of grass-fed short ribs and grass-fed chuck, and grind your own meat for the ultimate burger.
One of the very few white foods we want to include in our Paleo regime, this crucifer lends itself well to accompany many flavorful proteins due to its own mild flavor. Take it up a notch by quartering it, slathering it with rendered duck fat and throwing it on the BBQ for an outstandingly simple delish side dish. No room on the grill? Take it indoors and whip up my Whole Roasted Cauliflower for another tasty variation.
Cool, crisp and a nice alternative to same old celery and carrots to use as a vehicle for ranch dip, why not try slicing up some of this tasty Mexican root veggie and serving it with homemade Paleo guacamole?
GRILLED CHICKEN BREAST
Commonplace maybe, but no need for this rich protein source to be boring. Make sure to source only pasture raised chicken, and even though many of your guests may still be getting their head around eating the dark meat or even, gasp, the guts, do yourself a favor and eat all those tasty bits, too! Nose to tail is of utmost importance.
Try rubbing a small amount of baking soda into the very well dried skin of the chicken before grilling for a crisp skin7 that’s out of this world!
Need I say more? Who doesn’t love garlic? An herb best known as a flavoring for food and for use as a medicinal plant to prevent or treat a wide range of diseases and conditions, garlic is at its healthiest when eaten raw, but perhaps most delicious when cooked to smooth perfection.
Place a whole bulb in foil after rubbing with coconut oil and place it on the grill. Remove when soft and after cooling, press the tasty little morsels out and eat them on their own or spread them on top of your favorite Paleo protein.
Low on the glycemic index scale,8 making these berries a part of your Paleo diet now and then is a healthful fruit option. When available locally and in season, they’re a fantastic way to add a hint of sweetness to any salad, smoothie, or special occasion treat. Try pairing them with your favorite raw, dark 100% chocolate.
BLUE SWEET POTATOES
When timed appropriately, a little starch can fit nicely into a Paleo regime. If you have a long run or bike ride planned the day after the 4th, adding a bit of fire roasted blue sweet potatoes to your protein and veggies can be just what your body needs to stoke the fire and provide you with all the fuel you’ll need to go out fasted in the morning!
Be safe and have a wonderful holiday!
 4th of July Independence Day Is Deadliest American Holiday.” HULIQ. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2015.
 3 Deadly Things Lurking At Your July 4th BBQ.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 01 July 2015
 Foodbeast. “JUST IN: Strawberries Are Not Berries, Yet Avocados and Watermelon Are.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, n.d. Web. 01 July 2015.
 Medical News Today. MediLexicon International, n.d. Web. 01 July 2015
 “12 Foods With More Vitamin C Than Oranges.” Health.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2015
 “Health Benefits of Grass-Fed Products.” Eat Wild. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 July 2015.
 Cook’s Illustrated n.d.: n. pag. Print.