I recently completed a major move of my entire household and family to Raleigh, North Carolina. I knew I needed both my physical and emotional strength during this time. The food choices and opportunities to prepare good food became somewhat limited. As each day of packing and loading the pod went by, my cooking resources slowly disappeared into the giant pod puzzle. I kept out an iron skillet that I used to cook just about everything in for a week and a half. My big cutting board was one of the last items to be stuffed into the pod. My go to vegetable was a big container full of homemade coleslaw that I could keep refrigerated and have with my protein source. Eggs, canned oysters, sardines, hard cheese were some my protein sources. I made pesto by hand chopping some leftover kale and pecans and a clove of garlic that I scrounged. I added olive oil, sea salt and ground pepper and this was as good as any pesto. 
It’s important to realize that taking care of oneself during stressful times is of the utmost importance. We need our health and strength more than ever during these times. Even the Army had the right idea when they supplied us with pre-natal vitamins during the Gulf War. Just the stress of moving creates a big drain on our body’s vitamin and mineral resources. Combine that with eating very little and eating fast food and you have a recipe for getting sick from the reduced immune system.I went through many grams of vitamin c during my move time.  At the bare minimum, take a suitable multivitamin and I highly recommend extra vitamin c and maybe throw back some CoQ10 (Ubiquinol). I also highly recommend completely abstaining from anything with added sugar and all processed foods. Being sick and weak can be a self inflicted condition if you make bad food choices.

On being Independent– After more than a thousand hours of extensive nutrition education, I earned my certificate from Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. I enjoy sharing the distilled knowledge that I labored to learn. Not only have I managed my own health by knowing how to apply these methods, I can teach this knowledge to others without having to teach them nutritional biochemistry like I had to learn. Much of this knowledge may have been common sense in another era, but is not very intuitive nowadays. Nutrition is supposed to be simple, and it once was, but not anymore. Food is now industrialized and is a very big business. Walk down any supermarket aisle and wonder at all the confusing array of food choices. This layout is by design and is what makes the supermarket and food companies money. Let’s face it, people have to eat and companies take advantage of it by appealing to our pleasure centers. They feed us foods that contain ingredients that directly stimulate our pleasure/reward centers without providing real necessary nutrients. Even fortified foods are not really natural and adding back vitamins and minerals is just a marketing tactic to make them appear healthy.
From this knowledge, I have learned to become more independent with my food choices and I take that to heart each day. I understand what industrial food does to the only body I will ever have.

This Independence Day, I encourage those reading to keep in the spirit by being nutritionally independent and breaking away from all processed food items. Don’t let the big food machine jeopordize your health. Break away from big Ag and the American food machine. Don’t eat food just because it is there on a plate at some party. Don’t eat crap food and use the excuse that this is a holiday so I’m entitled. The reward is just temporary. The reward for treating oneself to the right foods is long lasting and sustainable.  It is possible to thoroughly enjoy this holiday while eating nourishing fare. Try to eat as organic, seasonal and local as possible. Stay away from the store bought, pre-made pies and Franken foods that inevitably make it to those picnics and all foods containing added sugar. Enjoy the act of preparing and cooking the best food that you can find and enjoy the nourishment that it will provide. You and those that feast with you will be better off.

According to http://www.foodtimeline.org/, there are some accounts of meals that were served during some of the first Independence Day celebrations and picnics. I could find no research any further back than about 1847. I found it interesting to peruse these menus and ponder what foods were served over 200 years ago. There is actually a wide variety of meats from salmon to mule, and it seems peas and new potatoes were commonly served.

Based on this and in my opinion, one can serve whatever they like for this celebration of our nation’s heritage (just so long as it is all natural and without processed ingredients). I like to include some all American foods such as non-gmo corn and all natural hot dogs for the kids. This year I will cook up a vari

ety of foods, including some international flavors as well. My friend has graciously provided me with venison sausage sourced locally. I will do chicken and lamb kabobs because I have sourced a good place for meat and I have a method of cooking on my hot iron gridle that retains all the juices.  My son and I caught some fish here in Raleigh that I will grill over coals. I will make some different sauces to accompany the meats. Along with some fresh local vegetables, I must have a pot of good old American collards with plenty of local bacon.

While researching for this post I stumbled onto the Old Farmers Almanac  which contains a wealth of recipes and grilling tips . Check them out and use and/or modify to your advantage.

This 4th, stay strong and vibrant by taking control of your food choices. Learn a new dish or cooking technique. Enjoy the freedom that goes with that. Let me know your comments below. Happy Independence Day!