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10 Global Healthy Grilled Recipes To Light Your Summer Fire

10 Global Healthy Grilled Recipes To Light Your Summer Fire

Forget greasy, charred burgers and those hot dogs that score a nutritional zero. Getting out your grill doesn’t need to mean you have to pile on the fat or calories. In fact, grilling can not only be one of the healthiest ways to cook, it’s also one of the tastiest. By taking global flavors straight to your backyard, you can enjoy all the charred, smoky goodness of healthy grilled recipes with a side of smug self-satisfaction.

Turkish Chicken & Vegetable Kebabs

The Turkish have been perfecting the art of healthy outdoor barbecuing for centuries now, so giving one of their favorites a whirl on your summer BBQ can make a nice, healthy change. Marinated, low-fat chicken breast is skewered on to kebabs with vegetables and grilled up to perfection. If you want to stretch the meat out a bit or get more veggies on your plate, just slide a few extra vegetables on. Serve it up the Turkish way with plenty of chili sauce and some cooling cacik dip, along with grilled pita and a lovely salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and parsley.

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Asian Grilled & Marinated Tofu

OK, so you knew that tofu was going to make it onto this list somewhere. Tofu certainly has its fair share of fans and foes, but grilling it might just change the mind of a hater. Low in both fat and calories, it’s perfect served between a bun as a burger, or even topping a salad of beautiful summer greens. If you’re unsure about the amounts the chef in our example video is using for his marinade, try this Asian ginger marinade that is great for tofu (and even meats as well!). Try it with a colorful vegetable stir fry and rice for a heartier meal.

Fiery Caribbean Scotch Bonnet Grilled Shrimp

When the temperature climbs higher in Jamaica and other Caribbean islands, it seems that the spices get even hotter. We don’t pretend to understand why, but it works at cooling you down. Shrimp are a great source of protein and pretty easy to score throughout most of the country. Did you know that hot and spicy foods can also get your blood pumping, helping to keep your heart healthy and your metabolism in full drive? Try staying with that island vibe by serving this up with some traditional rice and peas, a cooling salad and lots of fresh fruit at the end.

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Mexican Grilled Fish Tacos

Ain’t no party like a taco party! Tacos are the ultimate food for a get-together, as everyone can customize their own taco, they’re perfectly munchable, and are quick and easy for any host to throw together. While many joints deep fry their fish for tacos, this recipe goes with the grill, making it an infinitely healthier choice. Be sure to serve with lots of homemade guacamole, homemade salsa and extra hot sauce for those who like it a bit more fiery. Even though the fish gets the lime treatment in the beginning, an extra wedge or two of lime never goes amiss here, either.

Make The Switch From Beef

You may love your tasty steaks and burgers, but have you ever considered any of the alternative meats out there on the market? Both ostrich and bison nutritionally knock out beef in everything from lower fat content and fewer calories to a higher ratio of protein, ounce for ounce. Their flavor is quite rich and beef-like, meaning you won’t really even need to miss that juicy burger you’re craving. You can try it as a steak as the chap above is doing, or simply use either ground ostrich or bison meat to make your favorite burger recipe. Both your heart and your stomach will thank you.

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Falafel Sliders

Made of healthy chickpeas and spices, falafels tick all the right boxes. That is, until you dunk them in boiling hot oil and fry them off. Fortunately, this slider recipe can stand up to the mighty weight of the grill with little to no trouble. Though the demo will show the chef pan-frying these, you can easily do this with some aluminum foil on the grill and by oiling the patties before you put them on the foil. It also helps if you form the patties and give them a quick visit to the fridge for about 30 minutes before cooking, just to firm them up. Serve these as you would regular sliders, or go all Middle Eastern with plenty of chopped veggies, grilled pita and a tahini sauce.

Grilled Vegetable & Pesto Stuffed Sandwich

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q77zcCjCYJs

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While it’s easy to make for two, this brimful-of-veggie sandwich could easily be doubled or even quadrupled with a bigger loaf of bread and would make an excellent party treat. Don’t be afraid to really hollow out the inside of that bread and cram it full of the good stuff. The more you stuff, the better it will taste. This is also easy to make a few hours before and keep in the fridge until the party is getting going. Give it a quick heat up in the oven, and presto — snacks are served.

Beer Can Chicken

Wait a minute, have we lost our minds? Beer? And chicken? Nope, we haven’t. Grilling up your chicken this way is actually extremely healthy, as it uses the steam from the beer and a minimal amount of oil just to have the spices stick. What you end up with is exceptionally moist, delicious tender chicken, all while getting that sizzling brown love from the heat of the BBQ. We promise it won’t taste like beer, and it’s also okay for the kids, as the alcohol evaporates in the process.

Indian Lamb Kebabs

If you love the spices of Indian food, then you’re sure to fall in love with these lamb kebabs. Actually made of minced lamb, the heat of the grill will be getting rid of most of the fat and calories, leaving you with a delicious and nutritious meal. These hold up surprisingly well to the heat of the outdoor BBQ, and go particularly well with an extra squeeze of lemon at the end. Try serving these with fluffy naan bread and some mint riata, along with lots of fresh coriander/cilantro for sprinkling on top.

Grilled Eggplant Parmesan

You can pull this one right out of the “You Can’t Do That On A Grill” book, because it not only can be done, but it’s healthier and decidedly moreish to boot. Slices of eggplant get a lot less oil when exposed to the heat of the grill, and also take on a smoky, charred flavor that’s pretty irresistible when paired with tomato sauce and a bit of strong Italian cheese. If you’re making this for a dinner party, try doing your eggplant in advance so your baking on the night is as easy as pizza pie.

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Published on November 14, 2018

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

Symptoms of Fatigue

Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

  • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
  • mental blocks
  • lack of motivation
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • muscle weakness
  • slowed reflexes and responses
  • impaired decision-making and judgement
  • moodiness, such as irritability
  • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
  • reduced immune system function
  • blurry vision
  • short-term memory problems
  • poor concentration
  • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

Causes of Fatigue

The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

  • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
  • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
  • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
  • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

Medical Causes of Fatigue

If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

Anemia

Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

Diabetes

Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

Thyroid disease

An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Too much sleep 
  • Alcohol and drugs 
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
  • Poor diet 

Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

  • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
  • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
  • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
  • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

Psychological Causes of Fatigue

Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

  • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
  • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
  • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

1. Tell The Truth

Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

  • How you feel
  • What time of day it is
  • What may have contributed to your fatigue
  • How your mind and body reacts

This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

2. Reduce Your Commitments

When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

4. Express More Gratitude

Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

5. Focus On Yourself

Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

7. Take a Power Nap

When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

8. Take More Exercise

The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

9. Get More Quality Sleep

To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

10. Improve Your Diet

Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

11. Manage Your Stress Levels

Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

12. Get Hydrated

Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

The Bottom Line

These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
[2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
[3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
[4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
[5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
[6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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