Independence Day is around the corner, with fireworks, visits to the lake, and of course, the obligatory barbecue.
Who wants to be a kill-joy at the holidays? I mean, really, do you really want to be told what not to do, what not to eat? No! You just want to have fun, right?
Well, first I’ll give the dampening news, then the good news. Once you read on, you will be happy I’m giving you healthier alternatives. First, the dampening news – about those hot dogs you’re about to eat next Tuesday. If you care about keeping your heart being healthy and reducing your risk of cancer, this is for you.
Hot dogs are made from the dregs (lips, snout, fat, feet, etc.,) of pork, beef and chicken being ground together, reduced quite literally to a pulp. Once water is sprayed into that vat, the images become even more stomach churning, resembling ice cream or mud. Then nitrates (which are found in some vegetables, but in their natural form with all the enzymes needed to break them down) and other preservatives are added. And of course, some form of sugar is added, along with a nice heavy dose of sodium. Air is then vacuumed out of the mix before it is pumped into cellulose casings.
Okay, so you may be thinking “I don’t care, I just like the way they taste,” but consider this. In a study in The American Heart Association Journal Circulation, researchers from Warsaw University and the Karolinska Institute followed 37,035 middle-aged adult men with no history of heart disease, for over a decade. Participants who ate 75 or more grams of processed meat daily had an almost 30 percent greater incidence of heart failure than men who ate little (less than 25 grams) of processed meat.
And the more processed meat eaten, the greater the rate of heart failure; risk increased by 38 percent for each 50 grams eaten – the amount in a single slice of deli meat.
So, if you or someone you know eats processed meats, you had better know CPR!
But there is hope for a great cookout. If you do eat meat, make your own burgers using either ground turkey or lean ground beef (preferably the turkey). You can mix your own herbs and spices and they will taste so much better than a hot dog.
Also, try marinating skinless chicken breasts in balsamic vinegar and honey and grilling them. The marinade keeps them moist and delivers a great flavor.
And instead of filling up on potato chips and potato salad, consider cutting some potatoes in half, drizzle a bit of avocado oil on them, flavor them with herbs and spices and grill. And do the same with your favorite veggies – red, green and orange bell peppers are great for this, as are zucchini, eggplant, even tomatoes.
This way, you will eat more of the good things and cut down on the foods that contribute to heart disease and cancer. One step at a time to a healthier life.
I hope you choose healthy alternatives to the traditional hot dogs, and have a wonderful time celebrating Independence Day.