There's Something In The Air

healthy-grilling1

Yes, fair reader, you guessed it. The answer is spring—spring is in the air. And fortunately for us, spring typically smells like the sizzle from a succulent grilled paradise. I’m temporarily blinded just thinking (and looking) about it. And while baseball may be the official pastime of spring, I, for one, can hardly imagine fully enjoying the sport without a serious grill-laden tailgate or two.

However, here’s where the two traditions diverge: while baseball is supremely healthy, keeping participants active, engaged, and alert, we cannot in good conscience always reciprocate the same good vibrations about the ubiquitous spring grillfest. Rife with hulking burgers, fatty hunks o’ steak, or piles of processed meats, like any baseball team, a license to grill can turn ghastly if not managed well. So heed the forthcoming scouting report from the grizzled vets at wellness360 to ensure your team of spring cuisine is more Rays (quite good) than Rangers (endless disappointment).

Are you grilling? ARE YOU GRILLING UNHEALTHILY? There's no unhealthy grilling advice in blogging!

Are you grilling? ARE YOU GRILLING UNHEALTHILY? There's no unhealthy grilling in blogging!

Start by taking the necessary steps to eating foods produced locally as much as possible. In the linked article from The Daily Green, you’ll find hordes of tips on integrating local foods into your spring schedule, like applications that find local farms and farmers’ markets in your area or suggestions for seasonal food substitutes (for example, replacing sweet corn with in-season grilled asparagus). Real Simple has a sleek and savvy interactive tool that not only guides you through all of the in-season fruits and vegetables but also reveals how to best cook and store them. Healthline further comments on unofficial grill season, doling out six easy tips to creating a delicious grill spread that’s good for you too.

Come on, meat. Grill lean and choose baked beans over high fat and high calorie coleslaw or potato salad. It's more democratic.

Come on, meat. Grill lean and choose baked beans over high fat and high calorie coleslaw or potato salad. It's more democratic.

Since friends are proven to be good for your health, it’s important that you repay the wellness you receive from the gallery of good buds gathering around your grill. Remember to smile—according to BeliefNet, it lowers your blood pressure, makes others comfortable, relieves stress, and enhances respiratory function. Furthermore, when you choose fresh, healthy ingredients to grill, you and your friends heed more of BeliefNet’s advice to live fresh. Finally, while enjoying the spring sunshine with your closest pals and a crackling grill, be aware of RealSimple’s common phrases to avoid in conversation (like “wow, you’ve lost a ton of weight!” or “how are you still single?”); if you don’t observe proper etiquette, you may sabotage your social life even though you’re clearly the master of healthy grilling.

You grill meat like a SLOB!

You grill meat like a SLOB!

As a grill master, you should be in tune with the results—and meaning of—our nation’s annual health report card. According to Healthline, death rates from heart disease, stroke, and cancer have decreased because of better diagnosis and treatment, not because people aren’t contracting the diseases. Remember that juicy tidbit the next time you grill up a seemingly innocuous slab of red meat—according to Yahoo! News via the National Cancer Institute, large amounts of red and processed meats increase one’s mortality risk (mostly due to heart disease and cancer).

There, there—calm down. Before we collectively careen off the ledge, let’s listen to some of Healthline’s meaty advice: they explain how much red meat is too much, how much experts recommend for regular consumption, and how to realistically scale back your red meat intake rather than eliminate it. From there, Women’s Health expounds upon Meatgate with ten packaged meat secrets revealed: if you’ve ever wondered what meat claims like “No Retained Water,” “Air Chilled,” or “All Naturalreally mean, they’ve got the goods.

Ladies, if all this meat controversy makes you want to take a drink, before you hastily imbibe, at least familiarize yourself with another National Cancer Institute study that correlates alcohol and cancer risk among women. However, if you’ve already staggered down to your favorite watering hole, Men’s Health recommends the best and worst bar foods (mojitos over Long Island Iced Teas, barbecue sauce over ranch dip) while RealSimple gets interactive with a handy and healthy food and wine pairing guide.

Knowledge about healthy food and drink: don't steal home without it.

Knowledge about healthy food and drink: don't steal home without it.

Now that you know how to protect yourself against meat-centric, heart disease-related mortality (whew!), let’s delve into another issue of high health importance: high blood sugar and insulin. According to Dr. Ben Kim, you need about one teaspoon of sugar floating through your blood vessels on a regular basis. Excess sugar, as we can infer, foreshadows excess insulin, which risks weight gain, sodium retention, reduction of good cholesterol, and an increase in triglycerides. As a deterrent, Dr. Kim recommends activities and exercise that build or maintain muscle tissue, and the Global Health Center suggests that where you live can have an effect on your abiilty to lose weight. Check out WalkScore to see if where you live is conducive to a healthy lifestyle, and understand the calorie burn difference between running and walking.

Fortunately, friends, everywhere we turn—from our grills to our friends to our neighborhoods and communities—there are simple and effective ways to safeguard and enhance our bodies and our minds. Let’s challenge ourselves, dear readers, by taking care of ourselves.

Everybody loves an underdog

Everybody loves an underdog

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