Spring has finally sprung here in good ole Toledo, Ohio. Even though there’s a brisk wind and the temperature’s only in the 50’s today, everyone in the city is already thinking about warmer weather and all the glorious times to come. The stores are putting out bathing suits, sand buckets and shovels, pool toys, etc. This particular blog is going to point out a few things we may not think of when we head out for a summer picnic, or to tidy up the garden/yard, or just to soak up some of that glorious sunshine.
Spring/Summer Tips for Health:
- Food safety and the outdoors.
Spring and summer is a great time to share food with one another. Potlucks, picnics, family reunions are all very common in the warmer months. Pasta and potato salads are a huge hit for BBQs and picnics. Traditional salads use mayonnaise and/or sour cream as a base for the dressing. Food safety is extremely important. Opt for foods/ salads that use oil and vinegar as the base or dressing. This ingredient swap will allow for the dish to remain outdoors without the need for ice and no worries about if the dish will spoil or not. But, if you love that recipe that Aunt so-and-so gave you and don’t care for the swap, go ahead and make it, taking extra care to keep it properly stored. Food borne illness is a huge bummer that you don’t want hanging out at your party!
This no-mayo recipe sounds DELICIOUS! Plus, there is zucchini listed in the ingredients and who doesn’t LOVE zucchini?! This is a great way to use up some of your homegrown veggies! Thank you to The Cooking Photographer for this recipe:
- Don’t grill that meat too long.
Who doesn’t love the taste and smell of barbequed food?! There’s something nostalgic and wonderful about getting the family all together and grilling out on a sunny summer day. But, in the midst of all that summery goodness, carcinogens lurk. Evil little things. According to Beth Sumrell Ehrensberger, MPH, RD, ” Two classes of carcinogens, or cancer causing substances, can be found in high concentrations in grilled meats. Heterocyclic amines (HCAs) are formed when muscle meats, including beef, pork, poultry and fish, are cooked at a high temperature, as they are when grilled. Another class of carcinogens, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), are formed on the surface of meats by smoke and flame flares which occur when fat and juices drip down onto the heat source below.” (Healthcastle.com) So how can we avoid these cancer-causing substances? Don’t grill too long. If you like burnt meat, or extremely well done, maybe consider cooking it less or use another method of cooking. You want to make sure these chemicals don’t have time to compound on the meat. Also, marinating your meat (particularly with rosemary, thyme, or other herbs) can greatly reduce the amount of HCAs that form in your food. Use lean cuts of meat with minimal grilling time (make sure its safe, though) or try a veggie-based alternative. Vegetables and/or veggie burgers have decreased or minimal carcinogens when grilled. You can still enjoy your favorite summer foods, just keep in mind these tips on grilling to ensure the safest food is being consumed.
- Make your own sunscreen.
Throw out that bottle of name brand sunscreen. Take the time to research the chemicals listed on the bottle. There are many companies out there that make non-toxic, paraben free sunblock. You can also find many recipes online on how to make it yourself. Making your own sunscreen is simple and will save you the harsh chemicals in conventional sunblock. I, myself, was a victim of conventional sunscreen. Every summer, every year, my mom would slather the highest SPF you could find on my body. Fast forward 20 years, I am in the dermatologist office with basal cell carcinoma on my forehead, abdomen, and back. I did my research after having those areas removed and was angered to find that these sunblocks do more harm than good. No more will I waste my money on those products. Be sun smart! Read more about the toxic truth here: http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com/toxic-sunscreen-ingredients/
- Natural pest repellents.
I love bugs as much as the next guy (well girl, but whatever), but that doesn’t mean that I want mosquitos flocking around me. I’m not a fan of those bug sprays, with the DEET and all…for those of you that don’t know, DEET is the active ingredient most commonly found in bug repellent sprays. This ingredient is also known to have negative effects on the nervous system and cause neurological damage. I choose to avoid it, especially when there are alternatives that work just as good, if not better. You can also plant herbs and flowers that repel certain pesky insects. Citronella, marigolds, basil, rosemary, and lavender are just a few that can repel mosquitos and other buggy bugs. Plant these in combinations in planters around your patio and enjoy the outdoors in peace 🙂 And, get some fresh herbs while you’re at it!
This recipe is from DeliciousWife. Bug Be Gone Spray:
- Don’t spray your lawn with chemicals.
There’s a war on dandelions and I, for one, am not going to be a part of it. I happen to love everything about dandelions and every other “weed” in my yard. Perfect, manicured lawns are boring. Not to mention, full of chemicals. These weeds not only have medicinal and nutritional benefits, they also provide a balanced ecosystem for our friends- the butterflies and the bees. I urge you to look up the devastating facts and statistics concerning these important creatures. If certain “weeds” bother you, look up organic and non-toxic alternatives. Vinegar, Epsom salts, organic fertilizers, and compost are all just a few natural ways to keep your lawn healthy and free of whatever irks you, if you so choose. If you would like to read more about the bees and butterflies and their disappearance here’s a great link to check out:
Happy and Healthy outdoor adventures! 🙂