Making it Through the 4th, Secrets to Eating Right


You’re following my emails, blog posts and FaceBook posts giving hints and facts of eating to make you ‘brain smart’ and age ‘successfully’ and healthy. You’re feeling great. But now it’s time to go out to or host the BBQ gathering for the 4th.

Complete with BBQ pork ribs or pulled pork laden with sauce loaded with high fructose corn syrup, HFCS, and other preservative chemicals, a typical 4th of July food table will most probably abundantly host store made potato salad and cole slaw, potato chips, jarred spinach dip, corn chips, hamburgers and hot dogs for the kids, complete with water melon, maybe a box cake with red, white and blue icing and/or ‘gourmet’ cookies size of mini Frisbees.

And that is just the food.

What about ice chest full of sodas, red and blue dye sugar drinks, did you read my article We Are Dying Our Brains? get it here, various beers and low and behold pina coladas and daiquiri’s from bottled premix.

Of course this table and all its accoutrements is the center piece of any July 4th outing. Except for the watermelon and drowned cabbage in the slaw, the table serves no brain foods.

Okay, so what do you serve?

Here is a list of typical 4th of July foods, why they are brain bad for you complete with suggested substitutions.

Store Potato Salad
Why Bad: White potato is one of 5 White Brain Damaging foods. For the others check out the article I wrote here. Plus, what is that white stuff? Dairy? Oil? What type of oil?
Replacement Suggestion: If you have time to make homemade mayo and make your own pickles (some store bought are okay, read the ingredients!!!!) power to you and could you please come to my house? Like me, many of us are still trying to figure out if we invited everyone and who did we leave out along with what is the total to feed going to be and where is the grocery list again? much less cook all day for this event. So, tonight when you go to bed toss in the oven a couple of medium sweet potatoes cut into chunks with skin on and doused in olive oil, bake for about 30-40 minutes because you want them chewy smooth, not mush. Keep in the fridge or if ready to make the salad, add slices of apples (be sure to coat, maybe soak a bit first in real lemon juice so they will not turn brown), raisins and throw in some nuts, roasted walnuts or pecans and salt and pepper to taste. Viola! Great potato salad. (Yea, I always keep sweet potatoes in my refrige for quick go to side dish.)

Store Cole Slaw
Why Bad: Again, what’s the white stuff? Oil? Preservatives? Your brains don’t know how to digest all the hydrogenated oils and it is true torture to our brain cells. (Stay tuned for the how and why, that is my next big article.)
Replacement Suggestion: Buy your own cut up cabbage and add your own homemade mayo, recipe given below except add extra garlic or hot sauce or both. OR you could make a quick balsamic dressing with balsamic vinegar and EVOO (extra virgin olive oil). Not for the kids? What about ranch? Search the internet and make your own ranch dressing, yes there is a way, bit involved but taste is all natural and NOT commercial, so good for the kids!!! You’ll love it too!

Why Bad: Again, white potato problem, it’s a White Brain Damaging food. Why? How? Check out 5 White ‘Brain Damaging’ Foods article I wrote here. Plus it is cooked in hydrogenated omega 6 rich bad fat. Over time, omega 6 oils really do a number on your brain. (Again, that article is coming.)
Replacement Suggestion: if using for a base for a dip try sliced cucumbers, zucchini and yellow squash as crackers. For a snack,concentrate on serving good dips.  Keep reading, recipes coming.

Jarred Spinach Dip:
Why Bad: It’s a time issue, I get it. But there is nothing natural in that jar of spinach pulled off the rack by the potato chips. I mean really? Again, what is that white stuff.  To be honest, I am afraid to even read the ingredients.
Replacement Suggestion: Make your own spinach dip with homemade mayo, recipe below, and drained and thawed from frozen spinach from the grocery. Throw in few sprinkles of Cajun seasoning, be adventurous and add chopped water chestnuts, jalapeno peppers, cherry tomatoes or red bell pepper. No homemade mayo? When you make a batch once a week, there is no going back. Still no time, go to the gourmet deli cooler in the grocery, pick up spinach dip container and read the ingredients.
How to eat it? Celery hunks are GREAT for scooping, say NO to corn chips!

What about adding some of these following suggested items to your 4th of July table?

Homemade Hummus
How to make it easy: Once a month I soak, then boil up a bag of garbonzo beans, drain, cool, divide up and load one cup into a zip lock bag and freeze. When time to cook, I thaw out a bag night before and get up few minutes early and make the dip when I finish making breakfast. See another easy recipe below. Of course you have not done this for this forth gathering, but maybe next time or next event. For now, buy a can of garbanzo or chick peas at the store. Check the ingredients.
Replacement Suggestion: store bought hummus in the deli cooler, read the ingredients.
Dip with celery hunks, sliced cucumbers, zucchini and/or yellow squash.

Homemade Guacamole
How to make it easy: Easy is an understatement. Making fresh guac is time consuming. Actually peeling and seeding the avocados is the heavy time consuming part. So, next time, divide it up. Buy your avocados say week before needed. For the ripe avocados, peel and pull out the seed the night before you have to whip it up and serve the dip.  For storage, make sure you seal well so flesh will not brown. Then toss all ingredients together and poof, great guac at hand. I do have a great guac recipe but I do not have it ready at this article publication date. Stay tuned.
Replacement Suggestion: You can find all natural store made guac but I have not found one that is fantastic. If you have, tell us from what store and let’s try it out!


The 4th of July, it’s a fun event. I get it and it only happens once a year. But instead of grabbing or serving a box cake and Frisbee size cookies, celebrate the summer with blackberry almond/coconut flour cobbler or simple watermelon slices along with all your other foods you have made substitutions for.

If time is not on your side, just serve your best. Hopefully this article will plant a seed, giving other ways of eating healthy for both your brains.

Want more suggestions for everyday substitutions? Check out my three page white paper 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut-in-Gear, click here for the link.

Maybe you could make spinach dip and hummus your ‘go to’ quick and easy chip and dip food. Over time you will be able to snap them up and get good at improvising, adding different ingredients for additional flavors.

Concerned the kids or other family will not like it? They probably won’t, now. But if you keep serving all natural foods and making suggestions such as these given, they will have no other choice but to starve. Of course they are not going to starve, I don’t mean to be harsh, just making the point. Eventually they will come around, I promise! You are, you are coming around, right? Don’t give in, we all benefit from tough love.

Over time, your family and friends will want no one else’s _____________ (you fill in the blank) but yours.

Happy 4th of July and thank you God for giving us the freedom to make choices and substitutions.

Helping us Get our Gut-in-Gear so to keep our memory, have good brain health and age successfully.

Mayo Recipe
1 egg yolk
1 clove garlic
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice (got to be fresh or else taste is way off)
salt and pepper to taste
½ cup REGULAR olive oil (extra virgin is tooooo strong)
With an emulsion hand held stir blender, blend first five ingredients. Slowly drizzle in olive oil while blending. It will get very thick. If you want it a bit thinner, add little bit egg white back in. (Yes it is raw but the lemon juice and salt ‘cook’ the egg!) (What to do with extra egg white?  Throw it in your next smoothie!)

1 can (15oz give or take) drained garbanzo beans, sometimes called chick peas (really try and boil your own because can brine is taste displeaser)
3-4 Tablespoons lemon juice (juice from one large lemon, got to be real!)
1 large clove garlic
½ cup tahini (this is sunflower seed paste concoction found in many Mediterranean dishes, can get it at the store, check the ingredients, get as all natural as possible with no additives, some processors add soy and other preservatives, again read the ingredients!)
salt and 5 or so rounds of cracked pepper
¼ teaspoon cumin
2 Tablespoons water (you could use left over egg white if making mayo)
3 Tablespoons olive oil (can be EVOO, depends on your taste)

With hand help emulsion blender or in a lid covered blender, add all ingredients except oil. After you get a paste consistency, trickle in oil to emulsify. Next time instead of cumin, add z’atar seasoning or Cajun seasoning, or sundried tomatoes and basil or add a red bell pepper or loaded it up with just garlic.

PS—these are my tried and true recipes.  Hope you enjoy! Get my 5 Secrets to Getting Your Gut-in-Gear.  You’ll get a laugh and learn too!

The purpose of this information is to convey knowledge. It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure your condition or to be a substitute for advice from your main healthcare professional. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health.