Summer is a time for family, good friends, good food, and good times. It is a special time of the year that we set aside for hanging out in the backyard and chowing down on food cooked on our grills. It is a tradition that we love and looking forward to it helps get us through those cold winter months that seem to last forever.

Now, we hear horror stories about grilled meat and carcinogens. It is a hard pill to swallow knowing that something we love to do may be killing us in the process. We may be serving food to family and friends that is killing them.

Men, do not hang up those “World’s Greatest Backyard Cook” aprons just yet.

If you love to grill with family and friends but love your family, enough to consider giving up on it so that you can be around for them, don’t worry, there is yet hope on the horizon. We have five healthy ideas to help you grill your way to a long and healthy life spent in your favorite place with your favorite people.

  1. Healthy Living starts with Healthy Choices

Healthier grilling starts with healthier choices. When you are thinking about what you want to grill, try not to remember past barbeques or cookouts that turned out so good you want to try it again. Instead, look forward to new tastes experiences and new triumphs. Choose healthy, organic, top quality protein sources such as 100% grass fed, pure pasture raised beef, and 100% organic, free range chickens with no antibiotics.

  1. Take the No Char Pledge

So you think that you know your way around a grill. It is funny how it is the little things that we do not know are the big things that kill us. It took us thousands of year’s worth of grilling to figure out that there are carcinogens in the juice that comes from charred meat. We used to make the flames flare up onto the meat on purpose because it cooks it faster and gives it flavor. Now we know better. Here’s why.

When those coals flare up and char the meat, they are also producing Heterocyclic Carcinogenic Amines, (HCAs for short) which causes cancer in humans. When the juices from meat drip down and cause our grills to flare-up, the flames, and fumes from the flames swamp the meat in these toxic HCA vapors. What we always thought of as a way to add flavor is the worst thing that we can do. (At my house, we called them the flavor flames)

It may be time to develop a few new techniques. Here are a few tips to reduce risk.

  • Start using that meat thermometer that sits in the kitchen drawer and only sees the light of day every third Thursday of November. We simply cannot overcook our meat anymore
  • Try not to check the meat’s internal temperature until towards the end of the cooking cycle to avoid puncturing the meat, causing it to drip and flare
  • Use fewer brickets or lower the burners on your gas grill. Do not stop there… raise the rack so your meat is not so close to the heat source and let’s slow down the cooking process
  • The meat must be done to perfection. Both under cooking and over cooking can kill you in one way or another
  • Turn the meat frequently using tongs or a spatula so that you do not puncture and cause dripping and (Flavor) flames
  • CLEAN YOUR GRILL AND RACK REGULARLY because carcinogens build up on the rack and inside of the grill.
  1. Do Not Ignore the Side Dishes

It would be a shame to work so hard to prevent illness from the meat only to die from the side dishes. We have to keep an eye on what we serve with our steaks and burgers this summer. That mayonnaise packed coleslaw or potato salad that we love so much can be substituted for a nice organic salad or other healthy choice.

The fact is that the pasta salad that Aunt Susie is so popular for is probably the worst thing to eat with your grilled feast. Today’s wheat flour has been so chemically altered that it will raise your blood sugar levels to dangerously high proportions all by itself. Instead, make something with sauerkraut. It is delicious, compliments any meat, and has a natural bacteria that it contributes to your digestive system to help you process other foods. Whatever kind of vegetables you enjoy, purchase organically grown or… grow it yourself!

  1. Is that Bread or a Heart Attack waiting to Happen?

Hot dog buns and hamburger rolls contain GMO wheat, which as we said before, is a genetic form of our grandfathers pure wheat and it is killing people left and right. If you are shocked by what you find in this post… you should be. Try these healthy alternatives…

  • Purchase Gluten Free bread
  • Turn your burger into a burrito burger with lettuce wraps
  • Wrap your burger in cocoanut for an extra tasty treat
  • Why not just have your burger on a plate with all the trimmings
  1. Do Not let those Killer Condiments Sneak up on you

It would be a shame after all that to load up on catsup, mayonnaise, and other killer condiments. So far, we have a high protein meal that is really good for us. In the old days, before we were born, people made their own condiments right here at home. Now, we just purchase them with no questions asked. If we asked, and were told the truth, we would still be making our condiments at home.

Did you know that you can make mayo at home in just under five minutes with ingredients you may already have? (Provided you buy organic) The condiments we buy today are high in GMO, a mutation cooked up in a lab. (Genetically Modified Organism) If you want to live longer through healthy eating, especially grilling outside this summer, purchase organic foods and condiments. (Or make your own) You will feel so much better if you do!