Friday, July 1, 2011

Throw a Green BBQ this 4th of July!

For most Americans, the 4th of July brings to mind grilling out with friends and family, cold beer and fireworks. Here at Healthy Home Market, we support these traditions and would like to share some ideas for making your 4th celebrations healthier for you and for the environment.

Tips for the Grill:

Choose Healthy Meats The best meats are grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and wild-caught or organically farmed seafood. Wild-Caught Alaskan Salmon is a good lean choice, which is high in Omega-3's (it just so happens to be on sale this month.) Lean meats are best as Heterocyclic amines (HCA) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), both know carcinogens, are primarily formed when fats are heated to high temperatures or fall into the flames and create smoke.

Practice Grill Safety

First off, always make sure your grill is clean before beginning. Not only will your food taste better, but this will lessen the amount of char that you consume. The charred parts of food can cause free radical formation in your body and since free radicals are linked with premature aging, disease, and tissue damage, it's best to reduce your exposure as much as possible. When grilling, use low to medium cooking temperatures. As stated above, cooking meats at high temperatures is dangerous. This will also help prevent char from forming because of flare-ups.

Marinate and season using a combination of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic has been shown to reduce the formation of cancer-causing agents by up to 99%! Marinating food in red wine or beer for six hours has also been shown to substantially reduce the formation of HCA's. In addition, Scientists at the Food Safety Consortium project at Kansas State University have discovered that basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, oregano and sage will do the same. Use any of these methods or a combination of several for a healthier grilling experience.

Don't Forget the Veggies (or Fruit). Vegetables and fruit are delicious on the grill! Plus, they add lots of flavor, fiber and nutrients. Our favorites include pineapple, portabello mushrooms, asparagus, eggplant and peppers of all kinds. Another favorite is roasting garlic right on the grill with the skin on; the result is a delicious, melt-in-your-mouth treat that can be eaten as is, spread on bread or used in a sauce.

Drinking Eco-Responsibly

For those of you who don't know, we have an exceptional beer selection here at Healthy Home Market. Here is a list of several of our popular eco-friendly choices:

Sierra Nevada - they power almost their entire brewery with 10,000 solar panels and 4 co-generation fuel cells

New Belgium - these guys were the first brewery to utilize wind-power and they have created Team Wonderbike, comprised of consumers who have pledged to ride bikes instead of drive whenever possible, the team is currently 10,000 strong

Brooklyn Brewery - Wind turbines generate all of the electricity for both their headquarters and brewery, making them the first company in NYC to be powered entirely by wind power

Great Lakes Brewing Company - this company practices "closed loop" recycling, meaning everything that would be considered waste is put to use somewhere else in the factory. Their packaging is 100% recyclable and they also run their distribution trucks on vegetable oil

Please be sure to also check out our great selection of local craft beers: Mother Earth Brewing Co., Kind Beer, Highland Brewing Co., The Duck-Rabbit, Thomas Creek, Carolina Beer Co., Big Boss, Catawba Valley, Olde Mecklenburg and Craggie Brewing Co. The latter three are all available in growlers which are returned to be reused by the companies. Buying local reduces our carbon footprint and supports our local economy!

Coming Soon: Eco-friendly Fireworks

Scientist are busy at work perfecting fireworks which do not contain toxic metals and which will create less smoke. A Japanese firm has also formulated a biodegradable firework shell and Disney is already using compressed air rather than gunpowder to launch their fireworks. It may be a bit before we see these eco-friendly fireworks on the shelf due to the increased production cost, but it's good to know that they are on their way.
And one final tip, protect your skin this 4th of July by utilizing natural sun screens and natural insect repellent. If you don't have any on-hand, come see us, we have plenty to choose from. Happy 4th from Healthy Home Market! Enjoy and be safe!

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