Friday, June 27, 2008

Is Grilling Safe?

I love to grill. In our house, we grill OUTDOORS year round, regardless of the weather.

Lately there's been a lot of focus on how this fat-free cooking method may actually be harmful due to the presence of cancer-causing chemicals known as HHAs and HCAs. These chemicals are produced by 1) charring and burning which turns meat from something edible to something yucky, and 2)flare ups, as fats drip down onto the coals, the coals release toxic fumes. Charring, burning and flare ups are usually due to "poor grilling techniques," if you will.

If you take the time to properly prepare meats (trim fat and use marinades to keep meat moist) and your grill (be sure coals have cooked off and cook over medium-medium high heats on a clean grill), and stay present and in the moment (and most importantly WITH your grill so that you can immediately extinguish flare ups), you can probably eliminate most of these issues. Also consider grilling something other than meat, or grilling thin cuts that take less time to cook.

Always pair lots of nutrient rich and antioxidant foods (like this Red Cabbage, Fennel, Apple Slaw) and beverages (like this Pomegranate Mint Spritzer) with your grilled meals to help tip the scale in your favor -- both literally and figuratively.

There's a good article on the Real Age website. So be sure to give it a quick look-see.

Happy Grilling!


Parker said...

Thanks for the tips. I know that grilling can be harmful if precautions are not taken, but it is such a wonderful flavor and fun to do. Thanks again.

asata (a.k.a. Life Chef) said...

I agree! It's a great way for friends and family to come together and enjoy food AND the weather. I guess it's like any other cooking method in that for the best results you need to be mindful of what you're doing. Wishing you happing grilling this summer!