It is the unofficial start of summer with Memorial Day Weekend and many of you will be enjoying some delicious BBQ. BBQ doesn’t have to be unhealthy and there are things you can do to make it more alkaline and healthful.
Firstly keep in mind that charred meats done on the BBQ contain carcinogenic heterocyclic amines (HCA's), however you can reduce this effect by marinating meats for at least several hours in a marinade containing rosemary, thyme, garlic, oregano and other spices. Marinating adds flavor and also makes the meat taste delicious. Also, the more well done or charred the meat, the more HCAs it will contain. In addition, if you like meat, remember organic and/or grass fed beef is always best and wild (not farmed) fish is the way to go.
Add Some Alkaline Vegetables to your BBQ.
The possibilities are endless here and they help to balance out some of the acidity from the meat. Try some of the following:
1. Grilled asparagus. This makes an easy alkaline addition to any barbecue. Just trim the bottoms of a bunch of asparagus, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with Himalayan sea salt, fresh pepper, and other herbs of choice and grill for a few minutes turning regularly.
2. Veggie kebabs. Put all of your favorite vegetables on a skewer, wipe with a little oil such as avocado oil or olive oil and grill on medium. You can also add tofu or a little fish to the skewers if desired.
3. Grilled fish. If you eat fish, salmon is great on the barbecue. Using a cedar plank gives a wonderful flavor. Just make sure your salmon is wild and not farmed. Add some fresh squeezed lemon juice and some salt and pepper and grill until desired tenderness is reached.
4. Grilled corn. Sweet corn cooked on the barbecue is one of my favorites. You can pre-boil the corn a little first then finish on the barbecue or leave the corn in it's husk and grill directly on the barbeque. Avoid the urge to add butter. Corn is in season now and is super sweet so why ruin the taste and make it acidic by adding butter?
5. Baked potatoes, sweet potatoes or yams. Easy and delicious! You can wrap them in foil and cook. However, I don't like to use foil as it migrates small amounts of aluminum into the food. I like to use a grilling basket for my potatoes instead. You can add sea salt, pepper and various herbs like rosemary or parsley, then drizzle with olive oil, place in your grilling basket and grill on barbecue over medium heat. Avoid the butter and sour cream but feel free to use fresh chives.
6. Grilled portobello mushrooms. Wipe them with a little olive oil, place on the grill and cook for a few minutes. Can be chopped and served as a side dish or eaten as a burger.
7. Veggie Burger. Make your own veggie patties using alkaline ingredients or buy organic burgers. Grill on the barbecue and serve between romaine lettuce or on a sprouted bun.
Don’t Forget your Greens
A great side dish to serve during a barbecue is a dark, leafy, green alkaline salad. Add all of your favorite vegetables like peppers, carrots, cucumbers and sprouts. Feel free to add flax seeds and pumpkin seeds for extra alkalinity. Other good salads include tabouli salad and quinoa salad. Another traditional barbecue side dish is baked beans. Try making your own to ensure they are the healthiest and most alkaline. You can also offer wild rice or brown rice as a side. The possibilities are endless so experiment and enjoy!
10 Foods for Brain Health
1. Strawberries are not only rich in antioxidants which helps protect and boost the brain but they also contain anthocyanins, a type of flavinoid which is known to work in critical areas of the brain such as in memory improvement. They also contain quercetin which is another brain boosting nutrient. It is best to grow your own strawberries or buy them organic as they are on the dirty dozen list of foods which means they are highly sprayed with pesticides. Eat them within a day for the best taste but refrigerate any leftover berries and don’t wash them until you are ready to eat them to prevent spoilage.
2. Fatty fish like salmon, sea bass, halibut, albacore tuna, cod, trout, mackerel and sardines are jam packed with omega-3 fatty acids, specifically DHA, which protects the brain and supports its development and functioning. Always buy fresh fish where possible and avoid farmed fish. Frying fish reduces many of its health benefits so choose healthier ways of preparing it.
3. Green tea contains a polyphenol called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) which studies suggest protect the brain by lowering the amount of protein that builds up as plaque. This plaque has been linked to the type of memory loss and nerve damage seen in people with Alzheimer’s. Green tea naturally contains caffeine so use it in place of your morning coffee. Two cups a day will enhance your memory and your ability to concentrate. If you do not like the taste of green tea, you can always take a green tea pill or a powered form like Matcha.
4. Leafy greens contain omega 3 fatty acids and are rich in vitamin E and carotenoids. They are also high in iron and iron deficiency has been linked to impaired memory. Some good leafy greens include kale, chard, bok choy, arugula, turnip greens, collard greens, dandelion greens and mustard greens. Leafy greens are at the foundation of an alkaline diet so be sure to eat them regularly. Add them to your green smoothies or simply mix in a salad. The stronger tasting greens can be sauteed, steamed or added to soups and stirfrys.
5. Curry is a yellow spice used commonly in Indian food. It contains a mixture of spices including tumeric which is high in antioxidants which helps maintain cognitive function and fights free radicals in the brain. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, 2006, people who consumed curry "occasionally" and "often or very often" had significantly better Mental State Exam scores than did those who "never or rarely" consumed curry. Turmeric also contains curcumin which been proven to have anti-tumor, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Curry can be used as a powder or paste and makes a wonderful addition to vegetarian dishes or chicken.
6. Avocados are rich omega 3 fatty acids and contain 14 minerals including iron and copper which are necessary for brain health. Avocados are also high in vitamin A and B which are necessary for healing and are full of antioxidants that prevent free radical damage. Try using avocados in place of cheese on sandwiches, wraps and salads or make your own delicious guacamole.
7. Olive oil is rich in vitamin E, calcium and omega 3 fatty acids which fights inflammation keeping your cognitive abilities strong. Researchers at the Department of Neurobiology, Stockholm who gave Alzheimer’s patients omega-3 fatty acid supplements, found that they had a beneficial effect on the mental health of these individuals. Use extra virgin olive oil to make your own salad dressing. You can also use olive oil (not extra virgin) for cooking because it has a high smoke point and very little taste. Other oils rich in omega 3 fatty acids are avocado oil, hemp oil and flax seed oil. Stop using vegetable oils that contain obscene amounts of omega-6 and minute levels of omega-3 fatty acids (such as grape seed, cottonseed, sunflower, safflower, corn and soybean oils) and replace them with extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil or hemp oil.
8. Almonds are a concentrated source of vitamin E which is associated with healthy brain function. They are also high in essential fats like omega 3 fatty acids. Hazelnuts, walnuts and flaxseeds are also good for brain health. Nuts make a good snack or are a great addition to salads.
9. Microalgae like spirulina, chlorella and kelp contain over 100 trace minerals and are an excellent source of protein. They provide powerful nutrients to your brain and protect against oxidative damage. They are also high in chlorophyll making them highly alkalizing. You can get these powerful green foods in powdered form, capsules or flakes and simply add to your smoothies or sprinkle over salads.
10. Brussels sprouts are rich in choline, which is necessary for memory and brain health. They are also an excellent source of vitamin C, vitamin K and essential fatty acids which are critical to brain health. In addition, studies show that these green sprouts may boost DNA repair in cells and block the growth of cancer cells. You can steam Brussels sprouts or roast them with a little garlic and olive oil.
Many of us have been led to believe that soy is good for us. Soy milk, tofu and soy baby formulas are commonly marketed as health foods and many people still do not realize that these foods could be putting their health at risk. Take a look at 6 reasons to not eat soy.
1.Soy is highly genetically modified. Most soy in the United States is genetically modified (91%). This means that the soy crop itself is full of pesticides and is linked to allergies and possibly infertility. Read more...