Parenting is a responsibility that nearly 150 million Americans share, and it requires a great deal of dedication that often can go unrecognized. So while Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June remind us to pay gratitude to the ones who raised us up in the world, Parent’s Day comes in the following month to re-remind us of just how much our parents do for us.
In 1994 President Bill Clinton signed a congressional resolution “recognizing, uplifting and supporting the role of parents in bringing up their children.”
The legislation stated that National Parents Day “is a chance to create a positive tradition based on a core axiom -that the role of parents is crucial in the nurturing and development of children, and thus requires investment, focus and commitment.”
National Parents Day is now celebrated on the fourth Sunday of July as a day to recognize and promote positive parenting and the effects it has on the community as a whole. It is a day that is recognized and promoted by local, state and national governments and the Parents Day Council.
The council recognizes individuals who are nominated for leading notable examples of responsible parenting. Parents from each state are nominated for the title of “National Parents of the Year.”
The council accepts nominations from the general public based on the following criteria:
  1. Couple exemplifies qualities of sacrificial love.
  2. Parents have overcome major obstacles (emotional, physical, financial, etc) to provide for children’s personal development and happiness.
  3. The couple exhibits qualities of personal moral virtue and/or religious commitment.
  4. Parents have a noteworthy record of contributions to their family and community.
According to the National Parent’s Day Council, “studies have consistently shown that this family model, having both a father and a mother, provides the best possible foundation for children’s growth, security, and lasting happiness.”
Here are some ways to celebrate National Parents Day as a family:
  1. Go on a family hike
  2. Organize a picnic
  3. Have a family game night
  4. Take a day trip to the beach
  5. Bake together
  6. Go out to dinner
  7. Scrapbook together
  8. Go for a family bike ride
  9. Take a family trip to the zoo
  10. Make art projects together
 

Gone are the days when the taste of vegan ice cream could be described as chalky, gummy, fake, or as having a bitter aftertaste. We’re living in a golden age for all things vegan, ice cream being no exception.

You know it has come a long way when familiar non-vegan brands such as Haägen Dazs, Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s, Talenti and others have started offering vegan flavors and continue to add to their vegan assortment of options.

When Ben & Jerry’s launched their vegan ice cream line in 2016, they heralded a movement to meet the rising demand for Nom-dairy options. Now, we see non-vegan and vegan companies alike have ramped up development of vegan products, as told by the increasing selection found in most major grocery stores. This rising demand continues, and is driven by lactose intolerant consumers as well as eco-conscious and vegan consumers.

Their first non-dairy line, which included Fudge Brownie, PB&J Cookies, Chunky Monkey and Coffee Caramel Fudge, had been two-and-a-half years in the making, according to the announcement in Time Magazine. The line was created in response to a change.org petition with nearly 28,000 signatures in 2014, called “Tell Ben & Jerry’s You Want Non-Dairy Ice Cream Options.”

The petition touted Ben & Jerry’s as an ethical company, known for its fair trade policies and commitment to improved animal welfare, but also as the company that “sets the ice cream agenda.” It referenced a “scientific consensus” about the harmful environmental effects caused by animal agriculture, and proposed that “it would be a huge sign of Ben & Jerry’s support for action against climate change if they offered a non-dairy ice cream.

Once Ben & Jerry’s accepted the challenge, their focus on preserving the signature indulgent taste they were known for was a major focus. This set a precedent for what is now a wide variety of delicious vegan ice creams we have available to us today.

Some of my favorites include:

  1. So Delicious – comes in cashew, soy and coconut milk options. My favorite – the sugar-free coconut milk line- has the creamy richness of dairy ice cream, since coconuts are known for their rich consistency. There is a slight coconut taste, which tastes great if you like coconut as a topper. Comes in sugar-free flavors of chocolate, vanilla bean and butter pecan.
  2. Nada Moo! – the variety of vegan flavors this brand has created will make you an ice cream person even if you aren’t one! According to Nada Moo! CEO, Daniel Nicholson, market research and customer feedback plays a major role in influencing the products the company makes. Birthday Cake, Snickerdoodle Dough, Caramel Cold Brew & Cookies, Strawberry Cheesecake and Cookie Dough Fudge are some of the flavors you can find by them.
  3. Hakuna Banana – my kids are vegan and sugar free, so finding treats for them that I know are good for them, but that they’ll also enjoy, can be tough. Hakuna Banana vegan ice cream is naturally sweetened with whole fruit and has no added sugars. Rather than start with a dairy base, these ice creams start out with a base made from mashed bananas and flavors are added. They come in fun flavors such as Banilla, Choco Choco Chip and Cashew Cookie Dough.
  4. Coconut Bliss – while keeping a commitment to the rich texture of a coconut milk base, Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss makes a wide variety of ice cream flavors that you can buy in pints, or you can try their variety of ice cream bars and ice cream sandwiches. Cinnamon Chocolate Fusion, hard dipped chocolate covered raspberry acacia bars, Mint Galactica, Ginger Cookie Caramel and Cappuccino are just few of the flavors.
  5. Soy Creamy – found in Trader Joe’s, when it comes to plain vanilla ice cream, this version comes very close to the real thing according to sources online. The texture is smooth, not too overpowering, and perfect for creating a sundae with your favorite toppings.
  6. Reveri – this new plant-based line of vegan ice creams is one you should know about. All of the flavors are no sugar added and sweetened only with whole fruit. Not even stevia or low calorie sweeteners are added, yet the natural, quality ingredients, such as Belgium cocoa and dates for sweetness, add such a rich and satisfying flavor. Reveri steers clear from processed fats and instead incorporates healthy fats found in avocados, cocoa and cashew as part of the simple ingredients. You can enjoy these 60-90 calorie treats without the guilt, and even get some nutrients from them.
  7. Froozer – another treat made from 100% whole fruit, these make great treats for my kids on the summer months. They are a nutritional snack with 35 calories that my kids enjoy, and that I feel good giving them!

Who doesn’t love blueberries?! Not only are they visually appealing and convenient to serve and eat, they are packed with nutritional benefits that help our bodies thrive in areas such as immune system and brain health. They can promote weight loss, reduce the risk for cancer, reduce acne, lower blood pressure, strengthen bones and reduce inflammation.

Whether served fresh, frozen or dried, blueberries are a must-have snack for the summer. I made a vegan blueberry ice cream using just bananas, blueberries and a food processor. You have to try it! Then read on about the long list of health benefits of adding blueberries to your diet.

Refreshing Blueberry Ice Cream
Ingredients :
4 Large Bananas
2 Cups Frozen Blueberries
For garnish, coconut flakes and more blueberries

Directions :
First add the bananas to a food processor. Blend until smooth.
Add the blueberries in as soon as they become creamy. Blend together until combined.
Served immediately or add to a freezer safe container in the fridge and freeze for at least 2-4 hours.
Enjoy!

Blueberries contain compounds called anthocyanins, which contain anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and increase brain signals to improve memory. This makes them a great aide in promoting brain health to defend against diseases such as dementia.

Researchers at the department of food and nutrition and Korean Institute in Korea published a study in 2009 which also cited these anthocyanins as being responsible for protecting the skin against damage from exposure to UV-B rays. This leads to healthier skin and resilience against aging.
When it comes to antioxidants, blueberries are a great source. They contain five times the amount of dietary antioxidants C and E as raisins. They also contain a plant compound highly rich in antioxidants, called pterostillbenes.

Without a sufficient supply of antioxidants, the body becomes susceptible to cancer and heart disease. Pterostillbenes contain properties which have the ability to slow and stop the growth of cancer cells, ultimately making the body more adept to fight off serious diseases.

When the molecules in your body interact with other molecules, they can produce unhealthy byproducts such as free radicals. In addition, the body produces free radicals when it reacts to stressors such as sunlight and air pollution. When these free radicals interact with other cells, they produce a type of damage called oxidated stress, the accumulation of which can lead to cancer or atherosclerosis, according to a report in the Pharmacognacy Review.

Atherosclerosis is a disease in which plaque builds up inside the arteries, hardens and ultimately narrows them.
The body needs plenty of antioxidants, such as those found in blueberries to fight off such illnesses.

Blueberries are also very high in Vitamin C, which not only makes them a great source of protection against illnesses such as the common flu, but according to the Linus Paul Institute, it also prevents free radicals from damaging proteins, fats and DNA. Vitamin C, just like antioxidants, are crucially responsible for protecting the body against serious diseases.

One cup of raw blueberries contains 14 milligrams of Vitamin C.
The same cup of blueberries also contains 500 milligrams of flavonoids, which are substances produced by plants that protect your health by acting as antioxidants and regulating cellular communication. Flavonoids are also known to enhance mood and can act as an anti-depressant.

Rich amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, zinc and vitamin K promote strong, healthy bones, while the high fiber content promote satiety (the feeling of being full) and dissolve the LDL, or bad, cholesterol, which makes blueberries a dietary supplement for weight loss and healthy digestion.

My family and I have always loved the Fourth of July! Not only is it a great time to gather with friends and family to celebrate summer, but it represents the independence we are so blessed to have here in America. The declaration of independence, which was adopted on July 4, 1776, signaled our separation from the British Empire and the beginning of the United States of America. The thirteen colonies which founded the United States of America were bound by their shared ideals. They believed so strongly in freedom that they risked everything they owned to break away from the oppression they experienced under the tyrannical system which characterized the British Empire.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

These are the values I hope to promote and instill in my followers through developing content designed to empower and inspire you to become the healthiest version of yourself so you can thrive and live the life God intended for you to live. I believe it takes a dedicated effort to uphold these values for you and your family in the midst of the messages we are fed by the mass media. The Fourth of July gives us a great opportunity to take a break and reflect on our precious freedoms, which so many people have risked their livelihood, and even their very lives, to protect.

My family has a signature recipe that we bring out for the Fourth of July. It’s light, refreshing and festive, and it’s always a major hit when people come around. I hope you enjoy!

 

Ingredients:

5 ears fresh corn, husked with silks removed

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 teaspoons kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 pint halved cherry tomatoes (about 2 cups)

1 small red bell pepper, cored and finely chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon agave

1 teaspoon paprika

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

 

Cooking Instructions:

Grilling Corn:

  1. Grill the Corn with the husk on and make sure it is “Char’d” a little.
  2. Remove from grill and allow to cool.

 

Preparing Dressing:

  1. Mix  in a tighly- lidded container, lime, oil, Agave, Paprika, salt, black pepper and onion powder together. Shake well.

 

Assembling Salad:

  1. Once corn is cooled, use a sharp knife to cut corn away from the cob. Add cut corn to the green onions, tomatoes, and bell pepper, and mix. Pour about 3/4 of the dressing you made over the salad, stirring gently to mix. Add more dressing to taste.
  2. This salad can be made ahead of time and allowed to sit out for about an hour to let the flavors meld.
  3. Best served the same day, but leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.