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Healthy BBQ Recipes and Ideas

natural health vancouver healthy bbq foodsSummer is flying by, and we want to take full advantage of it, making time for barbeques and picnics, ballgames and beaches. Personally, I’ve put my yoga studio membership on hold so I can spend my active time outdoors–hiking, doing the Grouse Grind, kayaking, and cycling. So far, I’ve also been to one Vancouver Canadians game and one Whitecaps game. There simply isn’t enough time to do as much as I’d like (which means my blogging has also fallen by the wayside, as this is my first for the month of July).

I love the summer and all it’s glorious fresh food options. My fridge is full of berries. Right now I have strawberries, blueberries, and tayberries (yes, tayberries–so many delicious berry options!). Farmer’s markets are in full swing, so you can stock up on watermelon, corn on the cob, peaches, cherries, a wide array of greens, and perhaps some foods you’ve never tried.

Healthy BBQ Recipes and ideas healthy foodBut, sometimes I feel like food options are so limited when I head to a ballgame or barbeque. Would you like a burger or hotdog? Vegetarians (sometimes) get the choice of veggie burger or veggie hotdog. I find it a bit crazy that Crohn’s and Colitis Canada is encouraging people to host one of 150 BBQs as a fundraiser this summer. Don’t get me wrong. They do great work to raise awareness and funds for research and treatment, and BBQs are not a bad idea. But their image for it shows foods that would be hard for most IBD sufferers to handle–steak, hotdog, burger, and sausage. What about all the other options for barbequing? Or BBQ side dishes? Haven’t they read the research on cancer as a result of the chemicals produced when meat is cooked at high temperatures, like barbequed meat?

Here are some healthy things you can bring or do at the next BBQ, ballgame, or picnic you attend.

Other BBQable foods

While the charred parts of barbequed foods are delicious to many of us, you really shouldn’t eat too many of those, as those yummy burnt bits may contain polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). BBQ’d (and cured/smoked) meat is even worse, as it also contains heterocyclic amines (HCAs). Since both PAHs and HCAs can cause changes in your DNA that may result in cancer (not mutant superpowers), you want to avoid those. Or, at the very least, limit them.

If you want to enjoy BBQ food, here are some simple options:

  • Don’t overly char any of the following. You can scrape off the bigger burnt bits too.
  • Grill skewered veggies (so many choices for grillable veggies, from zucchini, cauliflower, and asparagus to eggplant, squash, and even romaine lettuce). Marinated or not, they are delicious, and you can get just a very light char and still enjoy them.
  • Speaking of grilled vegetables, portobello mushrooms make the best burgers! I’ve shared this portobello burger recipe already.
  • I like the mushroom burger I just mentioned because it’s super easy. I’m a bit too lazy to make my own veggie burgers, but if you’re a better chef than me (you probably are), here’s a great vegan, gluten-free black bean burger option. Or, try this one even I managed to make awhile back. Or, get creative and give this pumpkin burger a try (let me know what it’s like, if you make this one!).
  • Grill fruit. Yup. So many options. Peaches, watermelon, avocado (drooling now), even berries on a skewer. 
  • Make tin foil packets of fish and veggies to throw on the BBQ.
  • Grilled veggies gazpacho. Yes, gazpacho is normally made with raw veggies, but then there’s this. A bit more effort, but yum.
  • Salsa is delicious year-round, but the use of fresh seasonal corn makes it that much more scrumptious. Grilled corn salsa, get in my belly!

Potato salad and coleslaw alternatives

Yes, I like both of these. But, no, I don’t like them saturated in mayonnaise. I find I lose the subtle flavours of the fresh produce if someone is overly generous with the mayo. Here are some recipes I found that would make great side (or main) dishes at a picnic or barbeque.

Snacks to take (sneak) into the ballgame

Ok, so don’t blame me if you get caught carrying in food at a “no outside food allowed” event. But, if you’re allowed (or really good at hiding contraband food), here are some finger foods you can enjoy. 

  • Crispy roasted chickpeas. This site lists a bunch of recipes. Or look for great options of pre-made ones in your local grocery store.
  • Your own mixed nuts and seeds or bulk food bin gorp (i.e. trail mix). Mine always has to have just a bit of dark chocolate (unless the temp outside is too hot and melty for the mix), and I also love to add in goji berries.
  • Bean chips, rice chips, crispy peas. There are a growing number of choices for healthier (in small amounts still) or bagged snacks.
  • Protein balls. This one with a nut butter base or this also modifiable one I’ve made many times over. I usually press them into a square or rectangular pan and then cut them into squares, instead of rolling into balls (takes longer).
  • If you can take in a cooler, and if it’s a hot day and you’re craving a freezie, make your own with tea or juice. I made kombucha popsicles.

healthy summer food recipes natural health

 

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Summer’s here!

We’ve feel like we’ve been waiting for awhile here in Vancouver for this week to arrive. The sun is out and beautiful!

But with temperatures in Vancouver reaching 30+ today and soaring to the mid-thirties (and feeling even hotter) in some other areas of Canada, not everyone is loving the heat.

If you’re one of those feeling a bit miserable about the heat or miserable about listening to others complain about it, I’m reposting a previous blog I wrote about easy ways to cool off.

Click here to read that blog: http://www.activetcm.com/blog/summer-heat-cooling-off/

This one looks particularly appetizing to me:

Ingredients

         
  • 2 tablespoon(s) fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoon(s) Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup(s) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon(s) extra-virgin olive oil, combined with above olive oil
  • 1/4 cup(s) snipped chives
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 can(s) (1/2 ounce each) Italian tuna in olive oil, drained
  • 3  celery stalks with leaves, thinly sliced on the bias
  • 2 can(s) (15 ounces each) butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) drained capers

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the mustard, then slowly whisk in the olive oil. Stir in the chives and season the lemon-mustard vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss the drained tuna with the sliced celery, butter beans, and capers. Add the lemon-mustard vinaigrette and toss to coat the salad. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.
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Summer Heat, Cooling off

Vancouver is in a heat wave now and many are feeling uncomfortable. On the news tonight there was a report about how using ice cream and frappuccinos–or other such high calorie, high sugar, high fat, or all of the above food and drink–is unhealthy and quickly add up the pounds.

So, I looked up some other options. Here’s my modification of a healthier recipe I found online:
* 1/2 cup milk (I’d try soy or rice milk)
* 1/4 cup honey
* 1/2 tsp cocoa
* 1 tsp vanilla (may also add a little nutmeg, hazelnut syrup, and/or coconut extract as well to spice it up)
* 2 T. coffee substitute (like Pero or Roma) or 1 tsp instant coffee
Mix all in a blender, then add about 2 cups crushed ice (or 3 cups cubed). As soon as the drink gets thick, like a milkshake, you can stop adding ice, and it should be perfect.

And, this site has lots of healthy options: http://www.wikihow.com/Cool-Yourself-Without-Air-Conditioning

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