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Nutrition & Fitness Newsletter

Healthy Grilling

Finally, it’s summer and the weather is heating up.   This is a popular time of year for picnics and outdoor grilling.  Grilling, along with other high-heat ways of cooking meat can produce cancer-causing chemicals, called heterocyclic amines (HCAs).   In addition, as the fat from the meat drips on the heat source, the resulting smoke can coat cooked meat with another chemical called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), another cancer causing compound also found in cigarette smoke and car exhaust.  Not to be a party pooper on the outdoor grilling, there are ways to grill and reduce the production of these offending chemicals. 

    Please use these tips for a healthier way to grill:
    • Use Lean Meats - Cooking fatty meats to well-done and/or charred produce the most HCAs.  In addition, the fat dripping from these meats onto the grill produces more smoke which leads to more PAH exposure.  Use lean cuts of meat and trim off an additional fat to reduce the production of HCAs and PAHs while grilling.

    • Marinate the Meat - As it turns out marinating meat prior to grilling can reduce HCAs by 60-90%.  The herbs and spices in the marinade serve as antioxidants, thus reducing the cancer-causing substances.  Beneficial herbs and spices to use are garlic, marjoram, mint, rosemary, oregano, thyme and turmeric.  Citrus and vinegar added to the marinade can be advantageous too.  It appears sugar has the opposite effect , better to leave the sugar out of your marinades.  The longer marinating time, the better, and it will increase the flavor.

    • Cook Over Lower Heat - Turn down the gas or try not to cook directly over the hot coals while grilling.   Or raise the grill rack if possible.  The high heat in combination with the protein in the meat produces the most HCA's.

    • Don't Overcook - Flip the meat frequently to prevent charring and cook the meat only until it has reached a safe temperature.  These practices will reduce HCA formation.  If there is charring on the meat, cut away those parts and don't eat to reduce exposure to HCAs.

    • Go Vegetarian - Since the formation of HCAs and PAHs come from the exposure of high heat to the protein in meat, grilling vegetarian meals would eliminate this completely.  Grilled summer vegetables or homemade vegetarian burgers can be delicious and nutritious.  If going meatless is daunting, add some grilled vegetables to your meal for the antioxidant protection against these cancer-causing chemicals.

Please contact Sheri if you're interested in safe cooking and preparation tips, sports hydration, meal planning, grocery store tours or edible gardening for the season.  Sheri has various plans to meet your individual needs.  You can also learn how to live the "eco-nutrition" lifestyle.

Here are few reasons to see a nutritionist/personal trainer/health coach: assess nutrient intake, disease prevention through diet and exercise, maximize exercise performance, improve sleep quality, enhance mental clarity, optimize digestion and nutrient absorption, establish long-term healthy habits, meal planning for a whole foods diet and eat in a way to sustain the planet.  Please consider Sheri for nutrition counseling and/or fitness appointments to help you develop a healthier lifestyle for you and the planet. 


Save Your Brain

A recent study supports lifestyle changes that may slow cognitive decline from aging or dementia.  The three factors appear to be 1) managing blood pressure if you have high blood pressure, 2) engaging in physical exercise, and 2) cognitive training (exercise for your brain).  These are good reasons to stay active and eat nutritiously, both good for managing blood pressure too, and to challenge your brain.  It's a win, win!

Sheri is a Certified Nutritionist with a master's degree in nutrition, with over 14 years of clinical counseling experience, an ACE-certified Personal Trainer with advanced certifications in medical exercise and health coaching.  All nutrition consultations include exercise guidance, dietary analysis and meal plans to meet your individual lifestyle, calorie and nutritional needs.

Free introductory 15-minute appointments are also available.

To schedule an appointment with Sheri Mar, email:  or call:  206.789.6440

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