Happy 4th, y’all! This year has 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 doing a 16:8 fast every day from 8pm to 12 noon or 7pm to 11am. I released 51 lbs of unwanted extra weight and have maintained it for another year and a half. However, this past February, I started having bad tummy pains and bloating every time I ate. It turns out that my bout with Covid_19 last March 2020, has left me with celiac disease! And worse, I have gained back 5 lbs as I navigated gluten-free products, a lot of which are very processed. I have also been alcohol sober for 11 years and I only indulge in occasional edibles and alcohol-free cocktails.
Since this is the first 4th of July that I have to eat gluten-free, I am reviewing the best gluten-free foods and 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.