Grilling on the Fourth?

IMG_3818It is that time of year again. As the weather gets hotter, the kitchen moves outside and you start to enjoy some of your favorite meals off the grill – a close cousin and to primal cooking. Last year, I wrote a blog all about the toxins associated with the active process of grilling, PAHs, HCAs, and AEGs. You can check that one out at But this summer, I thought we’d switch it up and talk more about the delicious creations being made on the grill.

When you typically first look at a grill what is it that you think of? MEAT. As our cavemen (and cavewoman) ancestors once did, many people still love the taste of freshly grilled meat. There is a difference, however, in what our ancestors were eating and what we are currently grilling up for our summer dinners and celebrations. Between CAFOs, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (Pronounced KAY-FOE), pollution and overfishing in our waterways, and meat processing ingredients there is more to consider than our ancestors did while on hunts.

For many in the meat industry, quicker growing animals mean more money for the business but more toxins for the average American to be consuming. For example, Zeranol is a hormone given to animals to grow bigger faster but it is also a known endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) where studies have shown when it is exposed to cancer cells, it not only causes animals to grow meatier and quicker but also cancer cells too.

In fish, our waterways have been polluted heavily by many toxins, especially ones that bioaccumulate in fat. This is a major concern for fish that are on the top of the food chain as their fat accumulates all the toxins of all the fish that they eat and the fish that they ate before being eaten. Some of these concerning chemicals include Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) (EDC and Probable Carcinogen), Mercury (Possible Carcinogen), and Dioxins(EDC and Carcinogen).

And what about our deli meats and hot dogs? Processed meats contain large amounts of additives to keep them fresh, but that isn’t always what’s fresh for our bodies. Nitrites/Nitrates and Propyl Gallate are two of the concerning chemicals being a carcinogen and EDC respectively. Yum. (Yes- Sorry this is a scary paragraph but keep reading)

For all you omnivores and non-meat eaters out there, I am the meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetable researcher for Protect Our Breasts and I must tell you, that grilled apples and onions (as pictured while cooking for my family) are delicious! That’s right – fruits and vegetables deserve their time on the grill too, but only if they are organic. While trying to live an organic lifestyle, avoid buying conventional items from the EWG Dirty Dozen list.


As I like to end all my blogs, this seems scary and doesn’t seem like there are really any ways to avoid these toxins, but there are and the more that you demand these safer options, the more change and options you will see in the marketplace. So, what can you do?
-Buy grass fed, certified organic beef for your burgers;
-Limit your consumption of high fat meats to avoid bioaccumulating chemicals;
-Check out the Seafood Watch for updates about fish buying whether they should be caught wild or farmed;
-Choose organic fruits and vegetables to avoid nasty pesticides.


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