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We all know barbecues are an American summer staple. The sizzle of the grill can be heard anywhere if you listen closely! But did you know your summer barbecues are adding hidden toxins to your body? From heavy metal exposure to chemical additives in foods, our summer barbecues are a mine field of toxins we’re better off avoiding.

Here’s a few tips to avoid hidden toxins before they make their way into your body:

  • CLEAN YOUR GRILL REGULARLY We all know smoke is bad for our lungs, but it’s bad for our food as well. Excess smoke from burning fats and juices create polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs that can be absorbed in your grilled meats and veggies. We already take in a lot of these PAHs from car exhaust, cigarette smoke, air pollution and fires. As charred bits of fat and leftover food particles build up on your grill, they promote more smoke and more PAHs. Cleaning your grill before and after each use will help prevent excess PAH absorption in your foods. It is a hassle, but your body will thank you!

  • DON'T USE A WIRE BRUSH While wire brushes can be great for removing stuck on fat and juices, they could also be leaving behind bits of metal in the process. If you use a wire brush to clean your grill, those bits of metal can attach to food and end up in you. Instead, use lemon wedge and coarse salt to clean your grill. Lemons are a fantastic non-toxic option for cleaning; the acidity in lemons makes them antibacterial. Coarse salt makes a great abrasive to help scrub those troublesome bits left behind on your grill. Simply cut lemons in half and dip the exposed ends into salt. Heat the grill to high and rub with the salty lemons.

  • STAY AWAY FROM ALUMINUM FOIL Although we use it regularly in our households, aluminum is a toxic metal that has been linked to Alzheimer’s and other neurological conditions, as well as increased fatigue, bone pain, nausea, and arthritic pain. Research has shown that heating aluminum [such as food wrapped in aluminum on a BBQ] allows the toxic metal to seep into our foods, and adds to the already high levels of heavy metals we’re exposed to daily.

  • AVOID CHAR ON YOUR MEAT Charring on meat produces toxic heterocyclic amines, which are a known carcinogen. These are created when creatine in meats combine with glucose at high temperatures. The reaction is increased when we use marinades and sauces that already contain sugar. Keep your meat light, and keep the grill low. You can also partially cook the meat prior to grilling.

  • STAY OFF THE SAUCE Store bought barbecue sauces and marinades contain additives, oils and sugars that our bodies can’t handle. They make us bloated, break out and throw our systems out of balance. Try making your own marinade with lemon juice, olive oil and herbs instead. Check out these healthy alternatives:

  • MEAT CHOICES MATTER With the increased hormonal imbalances we see with our clients due to toxic exposure, the last thing you need is to be getting extra hormones from your meat. While choosing the highest quality organic meat can be expensive, try to at least look for hormone-free and antibiotic-free meat. Hot dogs and sausages are highly processed - that means nitrates, additives, and preservatives, and animals raised with growth hormones and unnatural diets. The solution here is simple; buy nitrate-free sausages and hot dogs and try to stick to grass fed meats or meat-free options at your next barbecue.

  • CHOOSE YOUR COOKING TOOLS WISELY Nonstick pans and cookware can often contain teflon and other known carcinogens. Stay away from non-stick, and instead use olive oil or coconut oil to grease your pans.

After this past year we are all beyond excited to get back to vacations, BBQs, and enjoying connecting with our friends and family once again. Grilling has always been a wonderful way to celebrate summer, food, and the people we love.

While there is a lot of talk about the dangers of grilling, knowing how to avoid hidden toxins can help us make healthier choices. A little extra thought and effort can go a long way towards a healthy and happy summer!


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