Summer time is grilling time!
When the weather changes, people head out of their stifling hot kitchens and go into their backyards, local park, or rooftop, to spark up the grill and cook outside.
It’s a natural migration for us humans.
Unfortunately, grilling (especially meats) has gotten a bad rap over the past couple of decades. Cooking meat on a grill drips fat onto the hot coals, and this forms polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). And, cooking meats until they are charred creates heterocyclic amines (HCA). Both of these chemicals have been linked to higher rates of cancer.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Grilling can be fun, delicious and good for health.
Below are 3 tips to keep your grill (pun intended here) happy and healthy:
- Marinate your meat: The Cancer Research Center of Hawaii found that marinating meats in a vinegar-based sauce reduced HCA’s by 67 percent. Marinating also helps make meat more tender and easier to digest, as well as way more delicious. By including antioxidant-rich herbs like rosemary into your marinade, you can reduce HCA’s by a whopping 90 percent!
- Opt for medium rare NOT well done: Cooking meat until it’s blackened is not the wisest choice. The char is where many of the carcinogens are formed. Medium or medium rare would be a better option. Also, grilling meat until it’s well done tightens the proteins. If you have a strong digestive fire, you can easily process tighter proteins, but if you have weak digestion your body will struggle. If you don’t like eating medium rare meat and will only eat it well done, braise those meats in liquid for long periods of time instead of grilling.
- Choose meat wisely: It’s not just how you cook it, it’s the quality of meat that matters most. Choose meat from animals that have been naturally and sustainably raised, and have access to sunshine and pasture. If the meat you eat is unhealthy, it doesn’t matter how you cook it, it won’t benefit your body. Food is medicine, including meat. Sustainably raised meats contain less fat, have higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and beta carotene than factory farmed animals. Purchase meat from your local farmer, or an ethical company you trust like Butcher Box; all of their animals are humanly raised, antibiotic and hormone-free, and are grass fed. Plus, they deliver ALL over the USA.
One final note; always remember to balance out grilled meats with lots of juicy fruits and veggies. This Watermelon and Tomato salad with Summer Herbs would be a great choice.
Have a fun and delicious summer!