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Ask the Expert: Anti-Cancer Grilling Tips

Thanks to guest blogger Pam Braun, author of The Ultimate Anti -Cancer Cookbook for providing these tips! Pam will present a Healthy Eating Workshop and Demo for cancer survivors and loved ones at the Cancer Support Community in Westlake Village on Tuesday, April 14, May 5 and May 21. RSVP required; click here for details.

Spring is here and summer is just around the corner. However, here in Southern California we don’t wait for summer to fire up the barbeque. We grill all year round. Vegans and vegetarians can still enjoy the barbeque experience. Throw some skewers of veggies and/or fruit on the grill. Nothing says summer better than a marinated, grilled artichoke with a nice creamy dip. There are plenty of foods other than meat that we can throw on the grill.

However, caution needs to be taken when grilling any kind of meat, including red meats, chicken, and yes, even fish. Cooking meats or fish on high heat produces carcinogenic compounds called HCAs (heterocyclic amines).  HCAs have been proven in laboratories to cause cancer. If you are a meat lover (or weaning yourself away from meat) you can minimize the chances of carcinogenic compounds forming when using the grill. So here are some “I can still enjoy the grill” tips and recipes. Enjoy yourselves and the season!

Meat Grilling Tips

  • Avoid flare-ups from fat dripping on the grill. You can do this by:
    • Using a less fatty meat or fish.
    • Keeping a spray bottle with water next to the grill, and dousing the flare-ups as they happen.
    • Not placing the meat/fish directly on the grill, but rather on a piece of foil that has a few holes poked in it.
  • Use a marinade. Marinating the meat/fish prior to grilling has been proven to greatly reduce the production of HCA’s.
  • Do not char or burn the meat. (Flipping the meat/fish often helps.)
  • Use a smaller portion so it doesn’t take as long to cook.
  • Precook the meat before placing it on the grill.
  • Keep the BBQ on a low heat.

Healthy and Delicious Grilling Recipes:

Grilled Marinated Artichokes

artichokeThe little artichoke is an antioxidant giant! It is one of the highest ranked foods in antioxidants per serving.

3 large artichokes or 6 baby artichokes, trimmed and cleaned

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Juice of 1 lemon

¼ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon pepper

Cover the bottom of a large pot with an inch of water and place the artichokes in the pot. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until artichokes are par-cooked (about 30 minutes). When done, remove from pot and allow to cool. Split in half lengthwise and remove hairy choke. Set aside.

Prepare marinade by whisking all the other ingredients in a bowl. Dip each artichoke half into the marinade and then place cut side down in a 9” x 13” baking dish. After all have been dipped, pour remaining marinade over them, cover, and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 hours to overnight.

Place artichokes on medium-hot grill. Cook for about 5-10 minutes on each side to create grill marks. Serve warm with Garlic Dip.

Serves 5-6

Garlic Dip

¼ cup nonfat sour cream

¼ cup plain nonfat yogurt

1 clove garlic, minced

Juice of ½ lemon

1 teaspoon raw brown sugar

Pepper to taste

Whisk together and chill until ready to serve.

Grilled Fruit Kabobs With Chocolate

Fruit Kabob2 mangos, peeled and cut in 1 inch pieces

2 bananas, peeled and cut in 1 inch chunks

2 peaches, cut in wedges

1 cup cherries, pitted

½ fresh pineapple, cut in 1 inch chunks

Skewer fruit pieces randomly onto six 12-inch skewers. Place on a clean, medium-high, oiled grill and cook until fruit is soft and caramelized, about 5 minutes on each side. Using a pot holder or oven glove, remove skewers and place on a large platter. Drizzle with the Melted Chocolate.

Serves 4

Melted Chocolate

1 cup dark chocolate (at least 70% cacao), cut into small pieces

Place the candy in the top pot of the double boiler and stir until the candy melts and becomes smooth. Be careful not to splash any water into the chocolate in the top of the double boiler or the chocolate will seize and become unusable.

PamBraunPam Braun, a former chef and restaurant owner, was diagnosed in 2004 at the age of 52 with late-stage fallopian tube cancer. She was given a 15% chance of survival and a 75% chance of recurrence. Her fierce determination to do all she could through her cancer journey, in conjunction with traditional medical treatment, compelled her to begin researching the science of food and its relationship to cancer. Her research has led to the development of The Ultimate Anti -Cancer Cookbook, endorsed by Dr. Mary Hardy, bringing her combined passions for good food and healthful living together. Pam currently lives happily, healthfully, and cancer-free in Los Angeles.

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