Summer Eating, Recipes, and Grilling Tips
By Jessica Yoches, MNT
What are the best foods to consume in the hot summer months? According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the body craves light, cooling, and refreshing foods in the summer, such as the abundance of fruits and vegetables in season.
Plants go through the cycle of sprouting, leafing, flowering, and fruiting. Sprouts and leafy greens debut in the Spring, followed by the flowering or fruiting of the plant in the summer when we get to enjoy broccoli “flowers”and fruits like peaches and watermelon.
Summer grilling is a popular way to cook both meat and vegetables as it is outside, out of the kitchen, and easy to cook for crowds or entertaining. Grilling is a healthy way to cook food if done correctly; a few tips for optimal grilling methods follow:
- Well done meat contains toxic compounds called heterocyclic amines, or HCAs, that are produced from the meat’s amino acids and sugars when exposed to high temperatures.
- Cut off the charred parts of the meat as they contain the highest HCA levels.
- Bacon and pork have the highest HCA levels, followed by beef, chicken, and fish.
- Grilled fruits and vegetables are non-toxic as they do not contain amino acids; they are fine cooked at high temperatures.
- Marinating meat, even just for a few minutes, significantly reduces HCAs.
- Use a vinegar-based but sugarless marinade; sugar from conventional barbeque sauces contain triple the HCA levels.
- Turmeric, garlic, spices, gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos, lemon or citrus, and fresh herbs are tasty and anti-carcinogenic marinade options.
At The Healing Center Denver we help distinguish individual food allergies and sensitivities . Because many of our patients have autoimmune conditions, such as Hashimotos, MS, Celiac’s disease, and Lupus, we see reactions to any type of food. We have protocols for eliminating foods and reintroducing them, so if you have a sensitivity to a favorite summer food, we can help get it back into your diet.
If you have questions, please contact The Healing Center Denver today to learn how we can help you as your Denver Functional Medicine specialist.
The following recipes utilize summers fresh fare. Enjoy!
- 2 Cubed Mango
- 2 Diced Cucumber
- 1 cup Fresh mint chopped
- Honey to taste
- Mix all ingredients together, add more of any ingredient to taste.
Mango-Cilantro Chicken Kabobs
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped into large bite-size pieces
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
- 3 tablespoons avocado oil
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos (a soy sauce alternative)
- 1 tbsp honey
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1/2 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp unrefined salt
- several grinds of black pepper
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- Avocado or olive oil
- juice from 1 lime
- ½ – 1 clove garlic – depending on how garlicky you like things
- salt and pepper to taste
TO MAKE MARINADE: Whisk together lime juice, oil, aminos, honey, garlic, cumin, and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.TO MAKE CILANTRO SAUCE: Blend together cilantro, mayo, lime juice, garlic, and salt and pepper in a blender or food processor until creamy smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.TO MAKE KABOBS: 2-4 hours before cooking (no more than 8 hours), place chicken pieces in bowl with marinade. Stir to evenly coat. Cover and place in fridge. When ready to cook, preheat grill to medium high. Remove chicken pieces from marinade and discard marinade. Thread onto skewers. Lightly oil grill grate and place skewers on grill. Cook for 8-10 minutes, turing once, until chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately with Cilantro Sauce.
Grilled Burgers and Vegetables Recipe
- ¼ cup organic veggies such as yellow onion, green onion, zucchini, yellow squash, chopped
- ¾ pound grass-fed beef
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- fresh, chopped garlic, other spices as desired
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Grilled pinapple (optional)
- Saute veggies over medium heat until tender (8-10 mins) in avocado or coconut oil.
- Combine veggies with beef and parsley in a bowl.
- Form into 4 patties an
- d grill until done.
- Serve with lettuce, tomato, onion and bean sprouts, avocado or other toppings as desired. Goes well with a grilled pineapple on top!