It's easy to focus on what you eat, but what about how you cook it? The method chosen can have a real impact on your health - so is barbecuing a healthy method of cooking?
What is barbecuing?
Barbecuing (also known as grilling) is a method of cooking food using fire and smoke, by placing it on a rack above open flames or charcoal.
Cooking with fire is a method which has been used for millions of years - as opposed to more modern methods utilising ovens and electric kitchen appliances.
In the UK where the sun does not grace us with its presence quite as often as we'd like, barbecues are usually saved for the summer when they can be enjoyed outdoors.
However, in many cultures and countries which enjoy warmer weather and less rain - barbecuing is a popular method of cooking year-round.
The ancestral way of cooking
It might be hard to imagine life without your air frier but our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not have much of a choice when it came to cooking; they did it nature's way - with fire and stone.
Before the development of agriculture around 10,000 years ago, all humans got their food by hunting, gathering and fishing. Stone Age hunter-gatherer tribes used sharpened stones to cut and prepare meat, before cooking it on an open fire.
With no means to store food and limited means to preserve food, it was eaten fresh and cooked soon after the hunt. We don't have to do all the hard work these days, but we can still enjoy the end result!
If you're new to barbecuing or want some recipe inspiration, check out our article below.
5 Health benefits of cooking on a barbecue
- Cook using natural, healthy fats
We love nothing more than an organic, grass fed steak that is marbled with natural fats. Not only do natural fats bring bags of flavour to the table, but they also help to cook the meat - just like adding any fat when cooking does.
Good quality meat cooked over flames will release its fats when cooking. This has a practical advantage, providing nature's own non-stick mechanism, but also provides a source of healthy fats, not to mention amazing taste and a juicy, tender piece of meat.
- Reduce your toxic load
Cooking on the barbecue simply with natural flames and grill bars means that you don't have to use pots and pans. Not only is this good news for the washing up, but it also means that harmful chemicals sometimes used to make these pots and pans can be avoided.
For example, many non-stick pans such as Teflon are made using something called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is a chemical which has been linked to increasing the risk of infertility, neurodegenerative disorders and is even said to have carcinogenic properties.
Reducing our exposure to harmful chemicals such as this is a useful way to minimise our toxic load and protect overall health.
- Cook fresh and unprocessed food
The best way to enjoy a barbecue is using fresh ingredients, which go straight from farm to fork with no artificial ingredients, preservatives or additives.
Just like our Palaeolithic ancestors we can cook fresh meat, fish and vegetables using fire and smoke - no need for any processing or introducing hidden nasty ingredients to the food chain. By cooking on the barbecue you can control exactly what you're eating.
- Enjoy the benefits of nature & socialising
Dining al fresco is a great opportunity to reconnect with nature and enjoy the great outdoors. A summer barbecue goes hand in hand with activities that keep us moving rather than sat sedentary indoors.
Spending more time outdoors is also a great way to protect our mental health with the advantages of socialising and connecting with nature.
If you're planning a BBQ this summer, why not organise some fun and games to work up an appetite whilst your meat marinates? That way you can introduce health and mood-boosting movement to your barbie too!
Overall, cooking on the barbecue is a great way to enjoy some time out, a great meal and to reconnect with our ancestral roots. We may not always be blessed with the weather, but when it is fine - there are some great reasons to get your tongs out and fire up the barbie!
Hunter & Gather Unsweetened Sauces
You can't have a barbecue without condiments, but there's no reason why you would spoil a Keto, Paleo and real food barbie with sugar-laden artificial sauces or highly processed vegetable oils.
Instead, stock up on your barbecue favourites with our real food range of unsweetened sauces - made with 100% real food ingredients, with no added sugar, dates or sweeteners.
Our unsweetened sauces are made using perfectly ripened tomatoes which are blended with all natural herbs and spices. You can choose classic, chipotle or smokey barbecue flavour - perfect for dolloping alongside your BBQ creations.
Cold pressed extra virgin avocado oil is also ideal for barbecue cooking - with a smoke point of 255°C which can withstand the high heat of flames. You can also marinate your meat in both your chosen sauce and a drizzle of avo oil, ready to sizzle and enjoy when you are!
All information provided on our website and within our articles is simply information, opinion, anecdotal thoughts and experiences to provide you with the tools to thrive.
It is not intended to treat or diagnose symptoms and is definitely not intended to be misconstrued for medical advice. We always advise you seek the advice of a trained professional when implementing any changes to your lifestyle and dietary habits.
We do however recommend seeking the services of a trained professional who questions the conventional wisdom to enable you to become the best version of yourself.