Celebrating a Happy, Healthy Fourth of July

Dr. Clayton Lawrence, CEO, shares his thoughts in a weekly column focused on overall wellness in an otherwise toxic world. (Always consult with your own physician before beginning any new diet/exercise routine).

Happy Fourth of July! Across the country, folks will be celebrating their freedom with backyard barbecues, picnics with friends and family, and fireworks that light up the night sky. We are fortunate to live in a country that provides opportunities to be who we choose to be and live in a way that expresses the special people we have in America.

As you’re celebrating, keep in mind that, where large groups gather and where fireworks are involved, accidents can happen. Here are a few ways to stay safe and some healthy, yummy treat suggestions.

 

Remember that even traditional fireworks, like sparklers, can reach 1,000 degrees F, so watch children and bystanders closely.

Attend local fireworks, rather than setting them off at home.

Keep in mind that fireworks have been known to cause severe injuries and serious burns.

Keep a water hose and/or buckets of water nearby.

Don’t forget that it’s the beginning of July, which means hot, hot, hot weather for the majority of the country. Stay hydrated with plenty of water and eat fruits that are packed with water, vitamins and fiber.

When hydrating, stay away from sugary sodas and juices, and alcoholic beverages, which only counteract your efforts.

Squeeze in some exercise by participating in some fun group activities, like Frisbee, whiffle ball, volleyball and Badminton.

Try to stay in shady areas or keep skin covered during peak ultraviolet hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Apply sunscreen every two to three hours during outdoor fun.

When spending time ON the water, review safe boating practices with children and adults, and keep life preservers on or nearby.

When spending time IN the water, remember that a drowning can occur in just a few inches of water. Keep a close eye on children.

Eat light when spending the days outside. Heavy meals will only make you feel hotter in the sun. Think veggies/dip, fresh fruits, gazpacho and salads.

Store perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice to prevent bacteria from growing in the hot sun.

Make sure the grill is kept a few feet away from the house, deck or branches to prevent fire.

Looking for an impressionable contribution to a picnic? This red, white and blue layered drink is the perfect sweet treat. The magic of the layering is based on sugar content, with the highest level being added first, so be sure to check the bottle. Ingredients: Blue G2 Gatorade, Sprite, Hawaiian punch. Fill each glass with ice. Add Sprite to 1/3 of glass, add Hawaiian punch to the next 1/3 of glass, top off with Gatorade. Enjoy!

A great way to customize a healthy meal is to create shish kebabs. Chop up plenty of veggies, like squash, zucchini, mushrooms, onion, tomato, peppers, and corn. Offer chicken or beef as a protein and each guest can create an individualized, light and healthy meal.