Hot dogs and burgers and pies, oh my! The Fourth of July is a time of celebration, indeed. I don’t need to remind you that on that momentous day 239 years ago, the Continental Congress approved the final wording of the Declaration of Independence. (The Congress actually declared independence two days prior.) But surrounding the jubilation, the fired-up grills and fantastic fireworks, and the thanksgiving for our freedom, there is food…lots and lots of food…
Did you know that just a few years ago, in 2013, The National Sausage and Hot Dog Council (I could hardly believe there’s such a thing!) predicted Americans would eat 150 million hot dogs over the July 4th holiday alone, part of the 7 BILLION hot dogs eaten over the summer season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. And that’s just the hot dogs. When you consider that most Americans also indulge in delicious sides like potato salad, chips and dip, French fries, lemonade, ice cream and apple pie, it’s a wonder we’re not in carb-induced comas by the time the fireworks start!
I could fill this blog with healthy alternatives to your favorite 4th of July treats. I could tell you which foods to pile on your plate, which to enjoy in moderation, and which to turn and sprint from when you see them glistening with the glow of gustatory goodness on the buffet. But let us reason together: it’s the 4th of July! Okay, so that’s not exactly reasoning, but my point is, if there’s ever a day to loosen the reins on your diet (everyone is technically “on a diet,” by the way, as “Diet” simply means the foods that are consumed by a certain person or people group), it’s on the 4th! (And Thanksgiving, too 🙂 ) Enjoy the treats that your hosts and fellow patriots have provided, but of course, try to sneak some plain ol’ veggies and water-rich fruits onto your plate, too!
“ … everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.” – Ecclesiastes 3:13, ESV
In this article, rather than steering you away from the much anticipated, 4th of July feast, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to recover from it – how to de-bloat, regain your energy, and get back on track with your healthy, God-honoring nutrition and exercise schedule.
Tip #1 – Pray
I know that may sound trite, but it’s important to remember that honoring our bodies isn’t just a suggestion – it’s a command. First Corinthians 6:19 explicitly tells us that as as temples of the Holy Spirit, our bodies don’t belong to us. Therefore, we’re to be good stewards of them so that they’re strong and fit to do the works God has prepared in advance for us (Eph. 2:10) And in our busy, fast-based western society where fast food chains and nonnutritive processed products abound, fueling up properly and working out regularly is no easy task.
Praying daily – not just when we need a little extra encouragement or motivation – is key to keeping Christ at the center of all that we eat, drink, and do.
“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31, NLT
Tip #2: Start the day off on the right foot
I should back up and insert a Tip #1.5: Don’t box up leftovers to take home with you! Start fresh the following day by opening up a fridge full of your healthy meats, eggs, cheese, veggies, and fruit – not round two of barbecue and star-spangled cookies! Even if you don’t feel hungry, skipping breakfast is not advised as this could set you up to overeat later in the day. Cook a well-balanced breakfast composed of protein (e.g., eggs and egg whites, turkey sausage), good-for-you fats (e.g., almond butter, coconut oil, avocado), and healthy carbohydrates (e.g., a half cup of berries, a piece of fruit, no-sugar added oatmeal, Ezekiel bread), and 16 to 20 ounces of water with it. Which brings me to Tip #3…
Tip #3: Drink lots of water
More than half of your body weight comes from water. So it makes sense that drinking water helps combat the bloating that swiftly follows a night of overeating. Water can be the cause of bloating, and ultimately the cure for it. If you don’t drink enough water, your body tries to retain as much water as possible, which causes dehydration…and bloating.
After overindulging at the 4th of July BBQ, you may be a bit concerned about weight gain. When you drink water, your body works hard to warm up the water that goes into your system, making your metabolism work faster. At least two-thirds of Americans don’t drink enough water, so strive be among the third that does!
Water relieves bloating in two ways: 1.) The boost in your metabolism causes your body digest the unhealthy meal faster. 2.) Your body can remove the excess water in your belly through urination.
Aim to drink two to three liters throughout the day.
Tip #4: Breath deep
Taking, long deep breaths will assist your organs in the detoxification process and stimulates them for digestion.
Take a few minutes to become quiet and focus on nothing but your breath. Close your eyes. Place your hands on your stomach and gently interlace your fingers. Begin to breathe deeply into your belly.
Practice breathing with a slow, controlled, deliberate breath so that you feel the fingers slide apart on the inhale and back together on the exhale. As much as you try to expand as you take in breath, see how much you can expel as you breathe out. You may find that your fingertips slide together farther than when they started. Notice where you tend to rush or lose control, then work on evening it out.
Breathe like this 15-20 times, as deeply as you can without force or discomfort.
Tip #5: Get some cardio in.
Even if you’re feeling bloated and sluggish, doing high-intensity cardio session to sweat things out is some of your best defense against your case of bloat and “blahs.” I guarantee you’ll feel 100 times better after you exercise! Check out last week’s post for six less-than-20-minute workouts that are sure to help get you back into your fitness groove!
I hope these tips have been helpful! Please reach out to me with any questions or feedback you may have on Instagram @dianaandersontyler and Twitter @dandersontyler!
Have a wonderful 4th of July, and God bless America!
This nation will remain the land of the free only so long as it is the home of the brave. -Elmer Davis
 http://www.constitutionfacts.com/us-declaration-of-independence/fourth-of-july/ (accessed July 1, 2015)