Independence Day is this weekend. That means picnics with hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, watermelon--the All American 4th of July fare!
The thing is--hot dogs have been hijacked and turned into a factory farmed food, preserved with nitrates. But you can help to rescue the hot dog and restore it to its traditional form, which is healthier and more nutritious than it's modern imposter.
The American Hot Dog and Sausage Council estimates:
- Americans consume about 20 billion hotdogs per year! That averages to 70 hot dogs per person.
- Hot dogs are served in 95% of American households.
- In 2014, Amercians spent $2.5 billion on hotdogs in supermarkets, alone!
- On Independence Day, Americans will enjoy 150 million hot dogs, enough to stretch from D.C. to L.A. more than five times.
Grass-fed Beef Hotdogs
Grass-fed beef is from cows that are raised on grass that they naturally eat--not grain. The meat is higher in healthy omega-3 fats and naturally GMO-free. You can taste the difference! My favorite brand is Applegate Farms Grass-fed Organic Hot Dogs, which are available at Trader Joes and Whole Foods. (There are vegetarian hotdog alternatives available, too.)
Hot Dog Warning!
When preparing hot dogs for children 5 years and under, after heating, be sure to slice the hot dog lengthwise and then into small crosswise slices as a precaution against choking. Hot dogs are the size and diameter which can easily plug a child's throat. According to Johns Hopkins, hot dogs are the top cause of food related choking in children under 3.
Please drop the white bread hot dog bun. There isn't any nutritional value in that bun and it can spike your blood sugar. Food needs to be nourishing to fulfill its purpose. For those who are Not gluten free, I recommend eating sprouted whole grain buns or bread.
Food for Life makes a Sprouted Ezekiel Bread line that includes sprouted hot dog and hamburger buns. Their bread and hamburger buns are fairly easy to find, but the hot dog buns are a bit more difficult to locate. I usually just use their bread. It is always on hand and it actually costs less per slice than the buns.
Photo Courtesy of FoodForLife.com
- Low Glycemic
- Easier to Digest
- Have much of the gluten broken down (although still not acceptable for Celiac and severe gluten intolerant)
- Have increased nutritional availability--vitamins, antioxidant and increased mineral absorption
- Are a good source of fiber--slow baking preserves natural bran and fiber content
Storage tip: Healthy breads will go bad within a few days and are best kept frozen. Do not store bread in the refrigerator as it dries it out. I store my Ezekiel Bread and GF bread in the freezer and thaw it by the slice in my toaster.
OK, we all need to eat our vegetables. How do you easily include vegetables on your hot dog? Sauerkraut! Not just any sauerkraut--naturally fermented sauerkraut. Just like yogurt has all of those wonderful beneficial microbes, naturally fermented sauerkraut does, too. But it has different strains than yogurt. Naturally fermented veggies are becoming popular in the healthy food industry and this is how to dip your toe in the fermented veggies movement.
I recommend that you try Bubbies Sauerkraut that is made without vinegar, sugar or preservatives. You will find it in the refrigerated section in your healthy food store.
Gently heat this sauerkraut until the chill is removed, but do not make it hot because you want to preserve the benefical microbes.
If you are like me, you probably have a favorite mustard. Some like it hot and others do not. My favorite is Gulden's Mustard--l like just a bit of spiciness. Aim to select a mustard that has no added sweeteners, sulfites or preservatives and that contains turmeric--which is a powerful anti-inflammatory.
- Place your heated hot dog into it's bun or onto slightly toasted bread.
- Apply mustard directly to your hot dog.
- Top with naturally fermented sauerkraut that is heated just until the chill is taken off of it so as to preserve the beneficial microbes.
- Serve on a napkin or casual plate.
Have a fun 4th of July and don't forget to include the Great American Upgraded Hot Dog!
Lots of Love,