With the warm weather now in full swing many people are starting to fire up their barbeques. As we move into the summer months, our diets also shift to outdoor friendly foods and patio cuisine. Unfortunately this often means more grilled red meat, cold treats and alcoholic beverages. A diet high in red meat has been associated with an increased risk of certain cancers. Most animal products increase the acidic load in the body and promote inflammation if eaten regularly. Long term acidity and inflammation can promote cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, cancer, arthritis and other diseases. Additionally, the process of barbequing and charring can cause the formation of potentially cancer-causing compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).
If you still want to eat healthy and enjoy classic summer foods this article will help you make the best food choices while still partaking in the summer tradition of backyard and cottage barbequing.
The following are 5 recommendations to cut down on the potentially harmful aspects of barbequing and increase the health value of your grilling food choices.
1) Don’t Over Cook Your Meat: Over cooking your food on the BBQ (especially meats) promotes the formation of HCAs and PAHs that are potentially harmful. The charbroiled flavor is tempting but is dangerous for your health.
2) Pre-cook Your Meats: This actually is a tip from top chef’s to make your meat more tender. Precooking (boiling or baking) reduces the time spent on the grill and avoids the use of high heat.
3) Cook on Low Heat: Just like indoor frying and sautéing, using high heat increases damage to the food and increases HCA and PAH formation. Try pre-cooking your meat or cooking it on low for longer. Meat cooked on low heat is also more tender and juicy.
4) Choose Organic meat: Even though organic meat is generally more expensive it is free from harmful antibiotic residues and hormones. These compounds can wreck havoc on your internal hormonal balance and further promote inflammation. The added bonus is that organic meat usually is much more tender and flavourful since the animals are fed with grass and not corn.
5) Marinate Your Meats: Using simple spices, olive oil and lemon juice or vinegar not only improves tenderness and flavor but also can help prevent the formation of harmful compounds produced during the grilling process. See Dr Hrkal’s famous marinade recipe below.
6) Make Healthy Substitutions: Hamburgers, hotdogs and streaks are the most common grilling foods but they are not the only options. Healthier choices are organic chicken, wild salmon, and lamb. They are generally lower in saturated fat and contain healthier types of fats. Veggie burgers are also another meat-free option however beware of hidden ingredients such as wheat, yeast extract and fillers.
7) Add Colour: Meat is not the only thing that can be grilled. Vegetables are great when done on the barbeque and they pack an antioxidant punch to offset the meat. Be sure to glaze them with olive oil and spices and not to over cook them. They should still be crispy and fresh on the inside. Some favorites are zucchini, peppers, eggplant, mushrooms and onions.
Despite the potential health hazards of barbequing I encourage you to still be involved in your summer traditions while still making healthy choices. By making simple changes to your barbeque process and substitute for healthy options you can still enjoy the fruits of the grill and maintain your commitment to healthy eating.
Bon Appetit and Happy Grilling!
Dr Hrkal’s famous BBQ meat marinade
1 tsp sesame seed oil
2 tbs organic soy sauce
1 bottle of your favorite dark beer
2 tbs ground pepper
1 tsp Worchester sauce
1-2 cloves garlic minced
1tbs honey (optional)
juice of 2 lemons
1 tsp course sea salt
Mix all of the marinade ingredients together and place in a non-reactive (glass) dish just big enough for the meat.
Pour in the marinade and be sure to turn the meat to ensure both sides are covered.
Allow to marinade overnight (or at least 6 hours)
Vitamins and minerals are the raw materials that allow our cells to function properly. Without them cells would not be able to produce enough energy for normal processes, repair damage and replicate DNA. Ideally we can get these essential nutrients through our diet but often, despite our best efforts we often don’t get adequate levels absorbed and delivered to our cells. Sometimes even a great diet may not translate to proper nutrition at the cellular level. There can be many causes of this, which may include: poor digestion, food sensitivities, chronic inflammation, poor immune function, chronic stress, toxicity or any disease or sickness. A vicious cycle ensues – our cells are not healthy and they need nutrients to heal but can’t get them delivered because of poor absorption. However, the nutrients are not available because our cells are too weak to transport the vitamins and minerals to where they are needed. This scenario describes a typical situation in which intravenous vitamin (I.V.) therapy would be indicated. I.V. therapy involves the administration of nutrients in high concentrations to rapidly aid cellular healing. The advantage of intravenous administration is that the nutrients bypass the stomach and intestines and get directly to the bloodstream where they are needed. This will allow the cells to rapidly repair and regain strength. Once this happens, the cells will be able to function normally again and begin to repair the disease process.
I.V. therapy can be effective in many situations. Typically it is used in situations were, as discussed, digestive function is compromised and/or there is urgent need to “kick-start” the healing process that would otherwise take much longer though diet and other supplementation or ultra high doses of vitamins are required to combat a certain disease process. A very common and effective use of I.V. therapy is using high doses of vitamin C in integrated cancer care. This has been shown to be preferentially cytotoxic to tumour cells, maximize tissue healing and minimize the side effects of chemotherapy. Such high doses can only be achieved through I.V. therapy that is supervised by a qualified Naturopathic doctor (ND).
A knowledgeable ND can tailor the I.V. protocol by varying the type and amounts of nutrients. When this is done, IV therapy can also be beneficial for: migraines, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, detoxification, allergies, asthma, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, depression, chronic diseases, and malnutrition. It can even be used periodically in healthy people to enhance overall well-being, prepare for surgery (to enhance recovery and healing) or as an extremely effective therapy to combat colds and flus.
I.V. vitamin therapy has been used for over 25 years to help people boost or regain health. It is an aggressive treatment, so the patient must be informed of all treatment details before commencing such a protocol. Nevertheless, when done by knowledgeable practitioner, I.V. therapy can provide very safe and effective results that may not be found in other therapies. When our cells are given the nutrients they need, they will be able to function properly and thus allow the restoration of our body’s inherent healing mechanisms.
For more information please contact Dr Paul Hrkal or pureBalance Wellness Centre.
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