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Holiday Weekend Grilling Hacks

Holiday Weekend Grilling Hacks

    Memorial Day. July 4th. Labor Day. Heck, maybe even Thanksgiving if the weather is exceptionally balmy.

    In America, holiday weekends mean just one thing: time to grill! After all, It’s just not a party unless there’s meat sizzling over charcoal.

    But anyone can grill. It’s rarer to find someone who can grill like a master, who knows every tip, trick, and grilling hack in the book. If you want to dazzle your guests at your holiday BBQ, here are some pro tips you need to add to your repertoire.

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    1. Keep Food From Sticking to the Grill

    Left Eye has a quick, easy, and flavorful hack that helps to prevent food from sticking to the grill, while also imparting additional flavor to the meats or fish you are preparing.

    Left Eye’s advice specifically related to fresh salmon, but can be used for other foods as well: “Cut two pieces of a large onion and cook a small fillet between it. It will keep the fish from sticking to the grill without using a ton of oil. It helps keep the fish moist and tells you when to flip it — when the bottom onion is cooked through.”

    2. Avoid Carcinogens

    The website Healthcare Hacks warns fans of the holiday weekend BBQ that backyard grilling can be bad for your health.

    When red meat is cooked over high temperatures, this “results in the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCA), which have been found to be carcinogenic in animal models, and may increase a person’s risk for numerous forms of cancer…When grilled meat is cooked to the point of char-broiling, it can lead to the formation of something even worse: polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH). PAHs are the same cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco smoke.”

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    So how do you avoid the formation of these carcinogenic compounds?

    Well, there are two schools of thought, but they both come down to added flavors.

    The team at Healthcare Hacks suggests that certain spices contain known antioxidants that reduce levels of HCA in cooked meats, sometimes by as much as 40% when they are added before cooking.

    “The spices in question include cumin, coriander seed, galangal, fingerroot, rosemary, and turmeric,” they explained. “The last three had the highest level of HCA-inhibiting activity, with rosemary being the most effective.”

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    Left Eye suggests that you “marinade any protein (meat, chix, fish, etc.) for at least 15-minutes before throwing it on the grill. A quick dunk in simple sodium solution will reduce HCAs — cancerous byproducts of searing by almost 90%.”

    A related article on Shine adds, “Marinating can reduce HCA formation by as much as 92 to 99 percent, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR). One study in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showed that marinating red meat in beer or wine for two hours significantly reduced HCAs. “

    3. Give Your Grill Plenty of Time to Preheat

    You need to preheat your grill before cooking on it for best results; a hot grill will cook food faster and more evenly.

    The amount of time that you should be preheating your grill depends entirely on what sort of fuel you prefer. If you’re rocking a gas grill, 15 minutes should suffice. However, if you are using charcoal briquets or hardwood chips, up that time to a full half hour for best results.

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    Oh, and make sure you keep that lid on tight while you’re preheating. Otherwise, all the heat will escape.

    4. Don’t Squander The Residual Heat

    The grill is gonna stay warm for quite a while after you turn it off, and it’s a shame to not take advantage of that residual heat. One great tactic is to keep burgers, dogs, buns, and other nibbles on the covered grill to keep them warm.

    Another use for a hot grill is for making desserts. Try campfire favorites like S’mores (laid out over a foil-covered grill) or a banana boat: cut a banana (in the peel) lengthwise, stuff it with marshmallows and chocolate chips, and wrap the whole thing up in aluminum foil. Leave it on the grill, and 30 minutes or so later, you’ll have an ooey gooey treat that will get the kids out of your hair and take very little effort.

    Do you have any grilling hacks or tips? Share them in the comments below!

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    Tucker Cummings

    Writer and social media professional sharing productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on December 9, 2019

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    5 Simple Ways to Relieve Stress Effectively

    Everyone experiences mental stress at one time or another. Maybe you’re starting a new career, job, or business, or you feel incredibly overwhelmed between work, parenting, and your love life (or a lack of it). It could even be that you simply feel that you have way too much to do and not enough time to do it,  plus, on top of everything, nothing seems to be going the way it should!

    Yup, we all experience mental stress from time-to-time, and that’s okay as long as you have the tools, techniques and knowledge that allow you to fully relieve it once it comes.

    Here are 5 tips for relieving mental stress when it comes so you can function at your best while feeling good (and doing well) in work, love, or life:

    1. Get Rationally Optimistic

    Mental stress starts with your perception of your experiences. For instance, most people get stressed out when they perceive their reality as “being wrong” in some way. Essentially, they have a set idea of how things “should be” at any given moment, and when reality ends up being different (not even necessarily bad), they get stressed.

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    This process is simply a result of perception and can be easily “fixed” by recognizing that although life might not always be going as YOU think it should, it’s still going as it should—for your own benefit.

    In fact, once you fully recognize that everything in your life ultimately happens for your own growth, progress, and development—so you can achieve your goals and dreams—your perception works in your favor. You soon process and respond to your experience of life differently, for your advantage. That’s the essence of becoming “rationally optimistic.”

    The result: no more mental stress.

    2. Unplug

    Just like you might need to unplug your computer when it starts acting all crazy, you should also “unplug” your mind.

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    How on earth do you unplug your mind? Simple: just meditate.

    It isn’t nearly difficult or complicated as some people think, so, if you don’t already meditate, give it a try. Whether you meditate for 5 minutes, 30 minutes, or 2 hours, this is a surefire way to reduce mental stress.

    Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax your body (resulting in less mental stress), while also reducing anxiety and high blood pressure.

    3. Easy on the Caffeine

    Yes, we know, we know—everyone loves a nice java buzz, and that’s okay, but there’s a fine line between a small caffeine pick-me-up and a racing heart and mind that throws you into a frenzy of mental stress.

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    Try giving up caffeine for a while and see how you feel. And, if that’s completely out of the question for you, at least try to minimize it. You might find that lots of your mental stress mysteriously “disappears” as your caffeine intake goes down.

    4. Attack Mental Stress Via the Back Door

    That’s right: your body and mind are part of the whole being, and are constantly influencing and affecting each other. If you’re experiencing a lot of mental stress, try to reduce it by calming your body down—a calm body equals a calmer mind.

    How do you calm your body down and reduce physical stress? A  great way to reduce physical stress (thereby reducing mental stress) is to take natural supplements that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety while lifting your mood. Three good ones to look into are kava-kava, St John’s wort, and rhodiola rosea:

    • Kava-kava is a natural plant known to have mild sedative properties, and you should be able to find it at your natural health food store or vitamin store. It’s available in capsules or liquid extract form.
    • St John’s wort is a natural flower used to treat depression. Again, it’s found at your local health store in capsules or liquid. Because it uplifts mood (enabling you to see the brighter side of all experiences) it helps relieve mental stress as well.
    • Rhodiola rosea is a natural plant shown to reduce stress and uplift mood, and Russian athletes have been using it forever. Like the other two supplements mentioned, rhodiola rosea can be found at your natural health store in capsule or liquid form.

    While these supplements are all natural and can be very helpful for most people, always check with your health care provider first as they can cause side-effects depending on your current health situation etc.

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    5. Good Old-Fashioned Exercise

    This tip has been around forever because it works. Nothing relieves mental stress like running, kickboxing—you name it. Anything super-physical will wipe out most of your mental stresses once the exercise endorphins (happy chemicals) are released into your brain.

    The result: mental stress will be gone!

    So, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or just plain stressed, try using some of the above tips. You can even print this out or save it to refer to regularly.

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    Featured photo credit: Radu Florin via unsplash.com

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