Spruce up Your Health, Home, and Heart This Summer

Half a year away from this and next years’ New Year’s resolutions, the motivation for a better you may be falling flat. Whether you’ve hit a plateau, rut, or refusal to step on the treadmill one more time, the onset of summer should be inspiration enough to get you going. Fortunately, summertime offers plenty of refreshing options for getting your health, home, and heart back on track.

Summertime Grilling for Good Health

Grilling meats is a healthier alternative to pan-frying, as fat drips off the meats while cooking. A reduced fat intake can positively contribute to weight management, improved cardiovascular health, and lowered risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. Be sure to trim the fats off your meats and choose the leanest possible grassfed cuts. Grassfed meats have approximately 1/3 the amount of fat of regular meat, added heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and the highest possible sources of fat and cancer fighting conjugated linoleum acid (CLA).

Grilling vegetables or veggie meat alternatives is a great idea, as shorter cooking times than sautéing or baking help lock in veggies’ healthy vitamins and minerals. And don’t forget, summer fruits, like peaches, plums, and pineapples, make delicious and healthy grilled desserts.

While grilling has gotten a bad rep over the past few years for cancer-causing properties, there are several steps you can take to ensure the healthiest possible grilling. Coating your meats in acidic marinades, like lemon, vinegar, or white wine, as well as antioxidant-rich spices, like rosemary and turmeric, not only ensure added flavor but reduced HCAs (heterocyclic amines) – which have been shown to cause cancer in animals. Clean your grill before and after cooking with a “green” and non-toxic grill cleaning product and avoid overcooked (especially charred) sections of meat. Electric grills are the most energy efficient grills, gas/propane grills burn the cleanest, and if you just can’t give up that charcoal taste, be sure to avoid charcoal with additives, like coal dust, sawdust, limestone, sodium nitrate, starch, and petroleum.

Maximize Your Summer by Rethinking Your Outdoor Space

Whether it’s a yard, patio, or small balcony, summer is the best time to revamp your outdoor living space. Summer sun is conducive to gardening, so why not grow flowers to admire on lazy afternoons or herbs and vegetables for delicious summer salads? You can’t get more local than your own backyard!

Because of improved weather conditions, summer is also a great time to repaint the exterior of your home. Instead of staring at dirty walls during your 4th of July barbeque, use the cool month of June to refresh your paint. No need to call an expensive painter, Paint Zoom’s Ultimate Professional Painting Sprayer gets the job done quickly, affordably, and with minimal mess.

Don’t Waste Precious Sun Time at the Gym

Take advantage of the mild summer climate by bringing heart-healthy exercise outdoors. Skip the treadmill and go for a jog around the block, say no to spin class with a family bike ride, swim for cardio and strength, or lay your yoga mat on the grass – send your sun salutations to the actual sun for once! The best part, exercising in the sun (with sunscreen, of course!) leaves you with a gorgeous summer glow that is both slimming and muscle defining.

Don’t sing the tune of Nat King Cole’s Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer this season. Instead of devoting the most beautiful months of the year to “soda, and pretzels, and beer,” take advantage of what summertime has to offer your health, home, and heart!

About the Author

Lynn Maleh is a graduate of University of Southern California’s Master of Professional Writing program. She regularly blogs on a variety of topics, including health, lifestyle, and eco-living.

Photo Links:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mccun934/5891465574/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregslandscaping/4843990896/sizes/m/in/photostream/