5 Simple Ways to Enjoy a Vegan Memorial Day BBQ

Vegan Memorial Day BBQ-Stars_and_Stripes_by_DivineDesign-660x240

A vegan Memorial Day BBQ may seem like somewhat of an oxymoron, but it’s time to break away from tradition and get healthy and creative!

Memorial Day generally involves barbecue grills loaded with racks of ribs and burgers,tables full of macaroni salad and chips, as well as coolers full of beer, wine, and sugary cocktail mixers.

Have you ever experienced something like this? As you are being invited to a BBQ, the invitation ends with an uncomfortable, “Oh yeah, but you don’t eat meat.”

Here’s the Deal

A Memorial Day barbecue does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza. I look at barbecues as an opportunity to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!

The Bottom Line

You can have a vegan Memorial Day celebration that is healthy, delicious, and fun if you keep these five simple tips in mind.

1. Fill up on veggies first.black-bean-burgers-grill

As cliche as it may be, bring a veggie and hummus platter to the party. Celery, cucumber, carrots, broccoli, cherry tomatoes, and cauliflower with a couple different types of hummus is the perfect way to fill up on satisfying, guilt-free food, leaving less room for the unhealthy stuff. People actually end up appreciating having a healthy option in the midst of all the junk food.

2. Replace the meat and dairy with vegan alternatives.

There are so many incredibly tasty vegan products on the market today to choose from. There’s simply no need to put disease-causing animal products in our bodies or support the cruelty of the meat industry. I recently wrote a whole blog post highlighting my top picks for store bought veggie burgers. I also have a post on the best vegan cheese brands on the market to date, so check those out for suggestions.

Of course if you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving. There are tons of awesome vegan recipes out there to try!

3. Drink plenty of water and avoid sugary drinks.

Sugar is enemy number one when it comes to a healthy immune systems and attempts to prevent weight gain. By remembering to drink lots of water, you will help yourself stay hydrated and avoid other unhealthy liquids. Soda, sweet tea, and juice will only make your calorie intake and blood sugar levels skyrocket. Not good! If you drink alcohol, keep your intake moderate and avoid sugary mixers, including juices. If you really want a mixed drink, try using soda water and fresh lemon with your liquor for a low calorie, sugar-free alternative.

Vegan memorial day workout

4. Get in an intense morning workout.

Burn off those extra calories in advance with an awesome workout in the morning before the festivities begin. Working out not only helps keep you on track for your fitness goals, but also boosts your mood and energize you for the rest of the day. Even if your gym is closed for the day, you can train in your own home or outside with effective body weight exercises you can do anywhere.

5. Say no to preservatives and artificial ingredients.

Synthetic additives and preservatives sneak into so many of the foods on grocery shelves, and they can wreak havoc on our bodies. The key here is reading nutrition labels—but that can be tricky (learn how to tackle tricky labels in the “How To Go Vegan Beginner’s Guide”).

Labels are your friend. Always read them to find out what you’re really eating.

Now relax & have a blast!!!

And if anyone has links to recipes you have tried and love, feel free to post a comment to share!

*Header art by Mitchell Lazear

Celebrating Independence Day

Vegan Independence Day

July 4th is all about celebrating the pride we have in our country and being thankful for our freedom. I want to share how incredibly grateful I am to live in a country in which I am able to speak my mind and do all I can to follow my passions. I am able to dedicate my life to improving the wellbeing of animals, humans, and the environment by educating, motivating, and inspiring people to eat a plant-based diet. In a world of so much turbulence, hatred, and destruction, at least I have the right to fight for what I believe in and make a difference! As cliche as it may sound, it’s true, and these quotes sum it up well:

“A real patriot doesn’t unconditionally stick up for his government—he stands up for freedom.
” ― Jarod Kintz

“What’s right about America is that although we have a mess of problems, we have great capacity – intellect and resources – to do some thing about them.” ― Henry Ford II

The highest patriotism is not a blind acceptance of official policy, but a love of one’s country deep enough to call her to a higher plain. – George McGovern

And now let’s talk about celebrating July 4th, Sexy Fit Vegan Style!

Time for Another Barbecue!

A BBQ is a popular way to celebrate this holiday but don’t worry, a BBQ does not have to be synonymous with a meat-eating extravaganza! I look at them as opportunites to spend time with friends, meet new people, play volleyball (there is often a beach v-ball court around here in South Beach), have a few drinks, a lot of laughs, and share my vegan lifestyle simply by being present and being me!
So when I am invited to a BBQ, I get the details first because for me personally, a pig skewered over a fire pit is simply beyond the boundaries of what I am able to handle. Then, if I accept the invitation, I of course offer to bring some food, which is never turned down! The friend usually mentions at that point that they are also planning on cooking up some veggies anyway.
If you enjoy preparing food, then please, have fun making your home-made vegan patties, potato salad, coleslaw, and whatever else you are craving! There are tons of awesome recipes out there to try! Some of my favorite websites for healthy recipes are:
Oh She Glows
Happy. Healthy. Life.
Fat Free Vegan
I usually grab portobello mushroom caps, veggie burgers and occasionally vegan hot dogs to bring, as well as a veggie platter with cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, celery, cucumbers (I chop ahead of time) and hummus.
My top vegan picks in terms of store bought products to bring are:
Amy’s California & Bistro Burgers (Great tasting, satisfying to meat-eaters and vegans alike, plus the California one is gluten free!
Gardenburger Black Bean Chipotle (love adding avocado to this one)
Lightlife Jumbo Smart Dogs (Perfect hot dog sub and Gluten Free as well.)
Vegenaise, Low Fat or Grapeseed (Texture and taste are both fantastic.)
Daiya Cheese Slices (cheddar, provolone, and swiss options.)
Believe it or not both the vegan burgers and veggie platter are almost always a hit at the party!

Sexy Fit Vegan Cocktail Tips

Cocktail- Lime Mint VeganSkipping the juice & refined sugar is the best way to cut down on the bad drink calories. Alcohol calories are basically empty calories, meaning no nutrients… Not helpful when sculpting a sexy fit body! But maybe you are like me and like to play hard (and train HARDER!) and yes, that involves having a few cocktails on special occasions. BUT there is no need to double the drink calories, especially by adding sugar calories that lead to weight gain and inflammation in the body. This means NO soda, NO juice (unless you juice the fruit right then and there and use just a splash), definitely NO sugar (mojitos for example, as delicious as they may be, are crazy high in refined sugar… the worst!), NO simple syrup (which is just sugar water), NO sour mix (the best margaritas are made with only fresh ingredients). You can also sweeten your drink by adding the tiniest bit of raw, organic stevia which has no calories (a little bit goes a LONG way). Also, keep in mind that the more “less-sweet” cocktails you consume, the more you will become accustomed to the taste and eventually you will be totally turned off by a sugary drink. Make the decision and be consistent and I promise, if you give it some time, it will pay off!
At least with wine and beer you are aware of the number of calories you are consuming and there are no hidden ingredients. With cocktails you have to really watch your back to avoid those awful additives. For mixers stick with soda water, fresh herbs like mint and basil, lemons, limes, a little fresh muddled fruit.

Pre-Celebration WorkoutsElla Magers Sprint Exercise

In order to relax and enjoy your Independence Day barbecue or whatever celebration you embark on, the best strategy is to get in several extra-intense training sessions in the days leading up to the 4th. Simple concept, you just have to DO IT! Tack on a few miles to your runs if you are a runner. Do 100 burpees a day for 3 days that week. Get in an extra cross-training session. Extend your normal park workout by 20 minutes. Step in up a notch and then enjoy your holiday knowing you have earned it!

Wishing you the Happiest Independence Day!!!