July 4th is all about celebrating the pride we have in our country and being thankful for our freedom. I want to share how incredibly grateful I am to live in a country in which I am able to speak my mind and do all I can to follow my passions. I am able to dedicate my life to improving the wellbeing of animals, humans, and the environment by educating, motivating, and inspiring people to eat a plant-based diet. In a world of so much turbulence, hatred, and destruction, at least I have the right to fight for what I believe in and make a difference! As cliche as it may sound, it’s true, and these quotes sum it up well:
“A real patriot doesn’t unconditionally stick up for his government—he stands up for freedom. ” ― Jarod Kintz
“What’s right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity – intellect and resources – to do some thing about them.” ― Henry Ford II
The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain. – George McGovern
And now let’s talk about celebrating July 4th, Sexy Fit Vegan Style!
Time for Another Barbecue!
A BBQ is a popular way to celebrate this holiday but don’t worry, a BBQ does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza! I look at them as opportunites to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!
So when I am invited to a BBQ, I get the details first because for me personally, a pig skewered over a fire pit is simply beyond the boundaries of what I am able to handle. Then, if I accept the invitation, I of course offer to bring some food, which is never turned down! The friend usually mentions at that point that they are also planning on cooking up some veggies anyway.
If you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving! There are tons of awesome recipes out there to try! Some of my favorite websites for healthy recipes are:
Oh She Glows
Happy. Healthy. Life.
Fat Free Vegan
I usually grab portobello mushroom caps, veggie burgers and occasionally vegan hot dogs to bring, as well as a veggie platter with cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, celery, cucumbers (I chop ahead of time) and hummus.
My top vegan picks in terms of store bought products to bring are:
– Amy’s California & Bistro Burgers (Great tasting, satisfying to meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus the California one is gluten free!
– Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle (love adding avocado to this one)
– Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (Perfect hot dog sub and Gluten Free as well.)
– Vegenaise, Low Fat or Grapeseed (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
– Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)
Believe it or not both the vegan burgers and veggie platter are almost always a hit at the party!
Sexy Fit Vegan Cocktail Tips
Skipping the juice & refined sugar is the best way to cut down on the bad drink calories. Alcohol calories are basically empty calories, meaning no nutrients… Not helpful when sculpting a sexy fit body! But maybe you are like me and like to play hard (and train HARDER!) and yes, that involves having a few cocktails on special occasions. BUT there is no need to double the drink calories, especially by adding sugar calories that lead to weight gain and inflammation in the body. This means NO soda, NO juice (unless you juice the fruit right then and there and use just a splash), definitely NO sugar (mojitos for example, as delicious as they may be, are crazy high in refined sugar… the worst!), NO simple syrup (which is just sugar water), NO sour mix (the best margaritas are made with only fresh ingredients). You can also sweeten your drink by adding the tiniest bit of raw, organic stevia which has no calories (a little bit goes a LONG way). Also, keep in mind that the more “less-sweet” cocktails you consume, the more you will become accustomed to the taste and eventually you will be totally turned off by a sugary drink. Make the decision and be consistent and I promise, if you give it some time, it will pay off!
At least with wine and beer you are aware of the number of calories you are consuming and there are no hidden ingredients. With cocktails you have to really watch your back to avoid those awful additives. For mixers stick with soda water, fresh herbs like mint and basil, lemons, limes, a little fresh muddled fruit.
In order to relax and enjoy your Independence Day barbecue or whatever celebration you embark on, the best strategy is to get in several extra-intense training sessions in the days leading up to the 4th. Simple concept, you just have to DO IT! Tack on a few miles to your runs if you are a runner. Do 100 burpees a day for 3 days that week. Get in an extra cross-training session. Extend your normal park workout by 20 minutes. Step in up a notch and then enjoy your holiday knowing you have earned it!