Healthy Grilling, Happy Summer

Topics: Wellness and Health

For those of us in the USA, this weekend marks a turn into warming temps and the start of prime grilling season. Is your grill ready for it?

While there are many grill-cleaning solutions on the market, you can get by without them if you’re willing to get creative.

One option is to spray a mixture of distilled white vinegar (1:1 ratio) and water onto the grill and let sit for up to 60 minutes; then, clean as you normally would with a grill brush or sponge.

Another technique is to run half of an onion (cut-side down) along the grates of a hot grill. This will help dislodge some of the grime, allowing for an easier clean afterwards.

Lowering Carcinogens in Grilled Meats
Once your grill is ready to go, you’ll want to get your ingredients ready. Ideally, this step will include a plan to incorporate marinades that can help lower carcinogens in grilled meats.

The combination of heat and meat allows for heterocyclic amines (HCAs)–cancer-causing chemicals–to form. Frequent consumption of HCAS has been linked to increased risk of colon cancer, as I talked about in this video.

There’s one simple way to cut exposure to carcinogens. The good news is that the strategy also happens to add great flavor, too.

All you have to do is marinate your meats. This pre-grilling step can cut your HCA exposure by 77 percent. Antioxidants in rosemary are particularly effective and reducing chemical buildup.

For this reason, one of my favorite go-to marinades for chicken and beef is two tablespoons of olive oil, two tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and 1/2 teaspoon of fresh crushed rosemary. (I shared additional marinade ideas with Men’s Fitness, which you can find here.)

And the marinade featured in my Ginger Sesame Salmon can be used on most types of fish and seafood.

Cheers to healthier grilling this summer!