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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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    Last Updated on October 16, 2018

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

    It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

    If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

    One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

    Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

    In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

    Why you can’t sleep through the night

    The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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    Stress

    If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

    Exposure to blue light before sleep time

    We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

    While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

    Eating close to bedtime

    Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

    Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

    Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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    Medical conditions

    In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

    The vicious sleep cycle

    The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

    Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

    You get a bad night’s sleep
    –> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
    –> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
    –> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

      You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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      How to sleep better (throughout the night)

      To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

      1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

      What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

      Here are a few suggestions:

      • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
      • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
      • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
      • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
      • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

      2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

      What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

      • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
      • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
      • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
      • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

      3. Adjust your sleep temperature

      Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

      Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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      Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

      Sleep better form now on

      Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

      I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

      As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

      Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

      Reference

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