Giving Up The Picnic Burger, UnAmerican?
Summer Holidays In America
American holidays can be super stressful for the non-wheat-eater and the non-meat-eater alike.

Wheat and gluten containing products are pervasive in our society. Gluten is in most products from hamburger buns to soy sauce. Eating safely around the family grill can be a real trick at summer holiday gatherings. Many Celiacs and gluten-intolerant have become adept at reading labels and making arrangements in advance because they know the personal consequences if they”cheat”. 
However, being vegetarian or vegan is far more socially awkward. Not eating hamburgers and hotdogs at the picnic can put a real political and social strain on everyone. Eating meat is considered “American”, a part of our liberty and freedom. And in some respects, that is true.
Why This Association With Meat & American Pride?
The United States has a lot of land and we have been farming that land for over 200 years. One of the key differences in “American” life described by immigrants in the 1800s was the fact that even the poor could eat meat every day, virtually unheard of in European countries. In many European countries, that delineation between the rich and the poor accented by meat consumption was by design. Meat was simply not available in porter areas, instead it was whisked off to the wealthier areas so that it could be sold for a better price.

In the United States, however, meat was offered to everyone. Of course there was a difference in cut and quality between economic strata but it was attainable in the “land of the free”. As time went on an entire industry catering to inexpensive meat cuisine cropped up; we became a fast food nation. And meat consumption became woven into our very self-identity as a country.

The height of beef consumption the U.S. was in 1976, at the country’s 200 year “birthday”. It has been declining ever since as Americans search for the “healthy diet that promises longevity. 

Letting Go Of The Past And Sharing Our Separate Meals!
Since then, many documentaries and books have come out that expose the practices of the fast food industry, the cruelty of the farming industry and the health implications of eating a rich, meat laden diet. And many Americans have turned to vegetarianism and vegan-ism in response.

In the light of the trail-blazing thinking most associated with being American, I propose that we, as a country, take another look at our values and the icons we use to express them.

Freedom comes in so many forms. When it comes to family picnics, enjoy your freedom through expressing your political views, playing within the safety of our state parks, and choosing any food you want to eat, for health and enjoyment without reproach. This amazing nation is beg enough to handle our minor differences and I like to think that we are a loving and tolerant people. So whether the person next to you looks different from you or eats differently from you, buck up and be inclusive. You might be surprised what you earn from the experience.
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About The Author
Donnalynn Riley is a Health Coach, Quantum Biofeedback Specialist and food entrepreneur. Her primary purpose is to bring ease and joy into the world through powerful programs designed to address body, mind & spirit. Happy Body, Happy Family, Happy Work-life, Happy Play-life, Happy Spirit!
Donnalynn Riley, Founder
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