It’s almost July 4th so time to start planning the holiday snacks! These past couple of years have been another complete overhaul of the previous complete overhaul of my dietary habits. Though I was still eating chicken, fish and cheese, I cut out all red meat in 2015. A year later, I also eliminated chicken and became mostly vegan, but still ate fish.
After a couple of stays and on the advice of the wonderful Aruyvedic doctors at Yo1 Wellness, I started intermittent fasting in January 2019. I do a 16:8 fast every day from 8pm to 12 noon or 7pm to 11am. I released 51 lbs of unwanted extra weight and maintained it for another year and a half. However, in February 2021, I started having bad tummy pains and bloating every time I ate. It turns out that my bout with Covid_19 in March 2020, left me with celiac disease! And worse, I gained back 10 lbs as I navigated gluten-free products, a lot of which are very processed. I have also been alcohol sober for 12 years and I only indulge in occasional edibles and alcohol-free cocktails.
Since this is the second 4th of July that I have to eat gluten-free, I am reviewing the best gluten-free foods, snacks, and alcohol-free bevies to help others with the same dilemma.
Ming Bings Plant-Based Cheeseburger Bing
I am mad for these. Mings Bings plant-based Cheeseburger Bing is a hand-held pocket with UNCUT® plant-protein and vegan cheddar. Chef Ming Tsai has updated this American classic by celebrating traditional flavors and using delicious vegan ingredients to create a fresh cheeseburger experience worthy of the health and climate conscious American consumer. This Bing contains less than 1/2 the fat of fast food chain burgers and a gluten-free brown rice wrapper removes the need for a carb-heavy bun. Plus, Bings are great on the grill!
While I don’t eat Beyond Burgers frequently because they are very processed, I love them on special occasions and when I go to BBQs. I am having a Beyond Burger for dinner this July 4th!
Yeah Dawg Vegan Gluten-Free Hot Dogs
I was previously a Lightlife Smart Dog gal but they recently and inexplicably added gluten, so I googled to find these yummy amazing plant based hot dogs. Yeah Dawg, made of a blend of fresh beets, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, sunflower seeds, gluten-free flours, herbs and spices, these dogs are the vegan bomb and great on a bun with toppings. This is my 4th of July lunch.
Spudsy Spicy Ranch Sweet Potato Puffs
The best plant-based version of Flaming Hot Cheetos, Spudsy’s Spicy Vegan Buffalo Ranch Sweet Potato Puffs are my go-to snacks right now. These are so yummy that I crave them all day, every day and had to cut back to avoid weight gain. Even writing about them now made me go bust a bag open. They are that addictive!
Lesser Evil Organic Popcorn
I always take a bag of Lesser Evil Popcorn with me to the movies and it is my second fav snack right now. Completely vegan, the summer flavors — Watermelon Hibiscus, Lemonade, and Pink Grapefruit — are delish. And I always have a bag of either the Himalayan Gold or the Avocado on hand.
Snyder’s Of Hanover Gluten-Free Pretzel Sticks
Made without dairy, egg or milk, this is all the yummy flavor of Snyder’s of Hanover in a gluten-free option. Even those not following a gluten-free diet will love these.
For years, if you did not drink alcohol, you were stuck with only seltzer water or sugar packed or worse, poisonous sugar-free, sodas. But now, there are a host of great non-alcoholic brands. I also love the cannabis-infused drinks that have come out. Here are my fav three.
There are four yummy varieties from this brand. I am going with No.4 as my July 4th cocktail option.
Curious No. 1 is a riff on the Negroni, with the added benefit of rhodiola and gentian to boost energy. Best served on a large cube in a rocks glass, garnished with an orange slice or twist.
A chance encounter between a spicy margarita and a dark & stormy resulted in Curious No. 2. This flavor contains the aphrodisiac damiana as well as ginger and citrus to help settle any butterflies. Serve up on the rocks with a lime wedge and a salted rim.
Curious No. 3 — some say French 75, some say Cucumber Collins. The choice is yours, but either way you’ll be enjoying the de-stressing benefits of ashwagandha*. Curious No. 3 is best enjoyed over a large cube or neat, garnished with a lemon peel.
Curious No. 4 is best described as a Sicilian Blood Orange Green Mandarin Spritz, invoking both the ever-popular Aperol Spritz with the delicate effervescence of Prosecco. Enjoy the de-inflammatory properties of ginseng and turmeric, as well as holy basil to reduce stress. Serve in a wine glass, on the rocks, or neat, garnished with an orange slice.
Good Stuff Beverages Lemonade
Since I don’t drink alcohol, these cannabis-infused lemonades are a welcome and relaxing beverage additive to make cocktails with. I stick with the lemonades because they are gluten-free. Produced with great tasting, all-natural ingredients, Good Stuff Beverages make everything better by making life tastier, healthier and more enjoyable as a healthy alternative to other brands’ sugary cannabis-infused drinks. They use only the best all-natural ingredients combined with high quality cannabis. Only available in Cali right now, I am hoping they make it to NYC soon. Go very slow though. You only need a couple of capfuls to elicit a light relaxing buzz.
If you want to go the soda route, Zevia is the best option. I wish that Whole Foods would include more of this brand. l am living for the Dr. Zevia but can rarely find it. The best way to get a nice variety is to order their rainbow pack.
Simple Mills Brownies and/or Pamela’s Cake and Brownie Mixes with Bob’s Egg Replacer
I make these cakes and brownies for my friends and neighbors every holiday. I prefer the Simple Mills because their mixes are lower in sugar and I use Bob’s Egg Replacer to keep them totally vegan.