Our 4 Top Tips to Green Grilling this Summer

Our 4 Top Tips to Green Grilling this Summer

We have all the green grilling tips and nutrition tricks to make your favorite summer meal an eco-friendly, healthy one! 

Biting into a refreshingly sweet, juicy watermelon slice. The savory, messy experience of eating ribs off the bone. Buttery corn on the cob displayed on red-and-white checkered tablecloths. You heard us: it’s Barbecue Season!

Has the seductive scent of barbecued meals reached the yards of your neighborhood yet? We know we’ve been hit with the BBQ bug. Whether it’s for a party overflowing with burgers and beers, or a family tradition of summertime meals, people across the country are setting up their grills.

We are more than ready to let the good times roll, but we care about practicing eco-friendly and natural grilling to protect our planet and health. We refuse to kiss our favorite BBQ traditions goodbye, so we dove into research. Here, we’ve condensed everything you need to know about green grilling and threw in some expert health advice from a nutritionist. Fire Up the Barbie!

Eco-friendly Grilled Vegetables
Eco-friendly Grilled Vegetables

Grilling Blues

We know, grilling doesn’t sound like the worst of our carbon footprint troubles, right? There are enough planes, trains, and automobiles out there to fill a lifetime’s worth of environmental concern! Well, just hear us out.

According to the Environmental Resource Center, “60 million Americans will fire up the grill during summer holidays.” When you consider the astounding extent of grilling in our country, it’s no wonder the Air Quality Research Center of UC Davis concluded in a study that backyard grilling is one of the most toxic sources of air pollution.

Frying Away Your Health

We hate to say it, but the problems don’t stop there. When you barbecue your food, the high heat increases the production of modified proteins and fats, called Advanced Glycation End Products (or AGEs). According to Clinical Professor of Medicine, Dr. Joel Kahn, consuming a high content of AGEs can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

Wait, Come Back! Please stop trying to sell your grill on Craigslist. There’s no need to give up hope! You are not destined to a lifetime of boring yard parties, serving only coleslaw and fruit salad. There are loads of easy, effective ways to protect the environment by greening your grill. Add some healthy tricks to reduce harmful toxins in your food, and your diet will stay as clean as your grill is green! Read on, and we promise you can keep that party going.

green grilling
eco friendly ways to green your summer grilling

4 Eco-Friendly Tips to Green Your Grill

  •  Lose the Petroleum Based Lighter Fluids and Self-Lighting Coals
    • They release harmful petrochemicals into the air. Switch to these safer alternatives:
      • Charcoal Chimney (we like: Drop Bottom Charcoal Chimney at Williams-Sonoma).
      • Electric Charcoal Starter (we like: Master Forge 550-Watt Electric Charcoal Starter at Lowe’s).
  • Choose a Gas Grill
    • They produce less pollutants and waste, burn cleaner, and are more energy efficient.
    • Take it up a notch with a grill that uses natural gas, by far the cleanest fossil fuel (we like: Weber Grill 2-Burner Stainless Steel Natural Gas Grill at Home Depot).
  • If You Must Use Charcoal – Select a Natural, Lump Kind
    • This fuel is greener, because it is made from hardwood materials with no chemical additives, and it creates less ash (we like: Big Green Egg Natural Lump Charcoal at Sears).
  • Clean Your Grill Regularly and Naturally
    • When excess pieces of food and grease clog up your grill, it produces more smoke.
    • Toss the petroleum based cleaner and replace it with a natural, nontoxic version (we like: Goo Gone All Natural Grill Cleaner at Walmart).

A Nutritionist’s Top 3 Ways to Keep Grilling Healthy

Now that you’re no longer hurting the environment, let’s make sure you’re not hurting your diet. Follow these tips by Clinical Nutritionist, M.S., Alex Swanson, to make your barbecue season as healthy as it is happy!

  1. Homemade marinades can reduce the risk of HCAs (heterocyclic amines – toxic compounds created when meat is cooked on high heat) by 90%!
  2. To cut down on those nasty AGEs, add antioxidant-rich fruits, lemon juice, herbs, and spices to your meat.
  3. Avoid commercial tomato and sugar-based barbecue sauces – these can double or triple chemical formation.

See, it’s simple: healthy planet, healthy body.

We Smell Hamburgers

Who knows, we may just be imagining it from all this barbecue talk. Regardless, we’ve got to run … grilled hot dogs and corn bread are asking for us!

Price Comparisons for Natural and Eco-Friendly Laundry Soaps

Price Comparisons for Natural and Eco-Friendly Laundry Soaps

Over at Keeper of the Home today, I have posted a laundry soap review done by myself and 4 other moms. All of the brands that we tested and reviewed are considered to be natural and eco-friendly.

We compared brands based on cleanliness of clothes, scent, ease of use, how clean they rinsed, how they worked for cloth diapers, and whether we would purchase them or not. You can see the entire review here.

I also wanted to compare prices, because no matter how well something works, for most of us price is still a major deciding factor.

Below is a chart that compares the 6 major brands that we looked at, showing their prices on various websites or through the natural foods co-op I buy from.

Here’s the final price comparison, starting with the cheapest:

  1. Country Save10.6 cents per load
  2. Earth’s Berries Soap Nuts (and they might actually be the same as Country Save, considering that this one is in Canadian dollars)-  10-13 cents per load
  3. Charlie’s Soap17 cents per load
  4. Nellie’s Laundry Soda– just under 24 cents per load
  5. Seventh Generation Laundry 2x Liquid– just over 24 cents per load
  6. Rockin’ Green30 cents per load

I have compared based on their average size package, or the smallest packaging that I could find on each website. It should also be noted that I based my per-load cost on the amount that would be used by a regular washer, not an HE washer (which uses only 1/2 the amount of soap, for most brands, though not all).

Some of these brands do come in very large bulk: Charlie’s Soap has a huge bucket, and so does Nellie’s. Seventh Generation can be bought in large cases on many sites (Amazon and Soap.com, for instance), or in much bigger sizes from a co-op (plus they often have coupons).

Country Save can be purchased in massive boxes and Earth’s Berries soap nuts can be bought in up to 300-400 wash packages. Rockin’ Green does also have a 90/180 load size, which breaks down slightly cheaper.

For those mamas who are happy to make their own laundry detergent, none of these can hold a candle to a cost-per-load of potentially $0.03!

This review really just looked at a smattering of the brands that are out there, but I always find it so eye-opening to do this kind of detailed cost analysis and really see the numbers for myself!

What brand of laundry soap do you use? How much does price factor into your choice and where do you get the best deals on it?