Enjoying your BBQ with tomato salsa salad

Giant tomato salsa salad with lentils

It’s that time of year.  Come hail or shine, we naturally start thinking about dusting off the barbeques for summer and firing them up for some seriously tasty meat and fish.  However, burnt and char grilled meats do bring with them some health risks, particularly in the form of cancer causing agents calledheterocyclic amines (HCAs). Many cancer society’s around the world recommend people to avoid these so how can we enjoy our barbeque and still look after our health?

I believe that health is about enjoying a variety of foods; food brings us together as family and friends more than any other medium. So rather than avoiding the BBQ this summer, keep in mind some of these basic principles. In order to get the full picture, I got some great tips from BBQ expert Sebastian Schulze, the head chef at River Lee Hotel.

Firstly, remember to choose quality unprocessed fresh meats and fish for your feast.  Marinating meat can help to greatly reduce the amount of HCAs produced by your char grilling and marinades made with acidic juices such as lemons or limes also make the meat easier to digest. Sebastian suggests using whole herbs, chilli or crushed garlic to impart the flavour. Marinating is best done up to 48 hours before cooking and remember to wipe all marinade off the meat before cooking.

Secondly, balance the BBQ meat with plenty of plant based foods. Foods such as fruits and vegetables are packed full of anti-oxidants which help to counteract any damage caused by burnt meats. Plant based foods such whole grains and beans and lentils, are packed full of fibre and these help to keep the meat moving through the digestive system nice and quickly – it saves the undigested meat hanging around in the system for too long and causing trouble!

Thirdly, your salad dressings and marinades can also be filled with immune boosting spices and herbs that support the livers in doing its detox work.Garlic, ginger, and curry powder not only add flavour, but they add a cancer-fighting punch of valuable nutrients. Other good choices include turmeric, basil, rosemary, and coriander. Even the simplest salad comes alive with fresh herbs chopped through it and Sebastian recommends wholegrain mustard for flavour. He warns to always roughly chop your herbs to keep in all of the flavour!

Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry Sauce


  • 250 ml fresh orange juice
  • 1 tsp minced root ginger
  • 1 tsp minced orange zest
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 340 g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 100 g crushed pineapple
  • 50 ml honey


  1. Bring orange juice, ginger, zest and cinnamon to boil on a high heat.
  2. Rinse cranberries if fresh and add to liquid once boiling.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and cook uncovered for about 10 mins.
  4. Add crushed pineapple (you can crush with a fork Or place in a food processor depending on the ripeness) and honey and remove from heat and allow to cool.
  5. Check the taste. I like this sauce to be quite tart but if you want to sweeten a little, add a bit more honey.
  6. Wheat free, gluten free, dairy free

My programme allows us to rebuild your daily practice of self-care together.


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