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Health at Every Size - these are the buzz words around the internet these days. Are you healthy? Do you want to be healthier?

What is health? The World Health Organization defined health in its broader sense in 1946 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity". Being healthier doesn't mean losing weight. To you it might mean:

We are very happy to announce that we have a Registered Dietician on staff who will be writing our Health At Every Size series as well as answering a reader's question each month. You can read about Shari's philosophy and experience on our staff page. If you have a question for Shari, please email us at

Disclaimer: This advice is not intended to be a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical, health or nutritional advice.

The Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Independence Day/Canada Day Celebration

Summertime... the season for firing up the grills! And with the traditional picnics and barbecues that symbolize Canada Day and the 4th of July, overindulgence is often on the menu. To help you stay on the health track, read on for a short list of tips (don't worry; I'm not going to tell you to stick to corn on the cob and watermelon!)

  1. Drink up! Wait - I'm not talking about those sugar laden sodas or Budweisers (light or regular). This first tip is about drinking about 16 oz of water at least 30 minutes before you start digging in your plate. This will not only help keep you hydrated now that the weather is getting hotter but a tall glass of water will also make it easier for you to eat less and make healthier food choices.

    Plain water is not your BFF? Then, jazz it up with some mint leaves and lemon wedges or some cucumber slices. You can also make some 'fruity' water by freezing fruits (berries, cherries, kiwi or orange slices) overnight and using them as ice cubes!

  2. Ditch the bun! As you probably know, most burger buns are high-glycemic carbs - the types that will raise your blood glucose quickly and keep it up there for a while. This means that your insulin levels will also spike and that's pretty much a guarantee that you'll gain some extra body fat - the kind that could increase your risks of diseases.

    That's not all, it seems like most buns are also loaded with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS). Bad news here: HFCS have been shown to cause insulin resistance which is a key factor in diabetes and could also increase risks of heart disease.

    Why not drizzle your beef with some mustard sauce and wrap it up with some crispy iceberg lettuce leaves?

  3. Consider grilled veggies as an entree. Were you tempted by that mayonnaise infused potato salad last summer? Then, why not bring your own side dishes this year?

    Great options would include some roasted sweet potato, onion rings and kale; some citrus slaw; a heart of palm and avocado salad or any greens you fancy.

  4. Forget those processed meats: A Harvard School of Public Health study showed that processed meats like bacon, sausage, cold cuts and hot dogs increased the risks of heart diseases. This review of 20 studies showed that for every 2oz of processed meat consumed daily, there was a whopping 42% increased risk of heart disease and a 19% increased risk of diabetes.

    Your best bet? Go for grass-fed beef cuts and why not some wild salmon steaks?

  5. Choose your meat cut wisely! High fat meats like ribs often create more smoke as the fat and juices from the meat drop on the grill. This smoke contains PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), potent cancer-causing agents.

  6. Reduce grilling time and flip often: Thaw the meat before placing it on the grill. A great idea would be to half bake the meat and fish to reduce cooking time and the risks of flare-ups. To prevent charring, flip often - the charred parts of meat and fish contain heterocyclic amines that have been linked to breast, stomach, prostate and colon cancer.

  7. Go for thin marinades: Thick marinades and those containing honey tend to burn which could increase exposure to cancer-causing chemicals.

    Opt for lighter marinades made from lemon juice or vinegar instead. If you really want the honey ones, then baste your meat with a light marinade first and once it's cooked, brush some honey on it; allow to grill for a few seconds and remove from the heat.

  8. Be mayo-wise! Nope, you don't really need that super rich mayonnaise to boost your meal's flavor - healthier alternatives would be pickles, mustard sauce, home-made salsa or a few avocado slices.

  9. Take a small slice of grandma's warm, moist pie. Yeah, that's hard to resist! To help you indulge with a purpose, have a bowl of frozen fruits first - that way there'll be less place for dessert.

  10. Wash your hands often! This may be last on the list but it's definitely not the least important tip - unless you don't mind your beef with a side of germs!

And as you eat, enjoy every single bite but remember to tune in with your body and you'll know when you've had enough. And once you're done eating, get away from the grills and food; go for a walk with your close ones instead.

Submitted by: Shari

Feel free to post about your own journey with Health At Every Size on our Facebook page or our Forums.

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