Thriving Magazine Men's Health Issue

Dive into topics and resources that support men's health and help you thrive.


2 Invest in You! 4 Health Should be a Man's Number One Priority 6 Four Exercises You Should be Doing... Differentl 8 Six Plays for Men to Stay at the Top of Their Game 9 Thriver Love Note 10 Rediscovering Balance and Peace: A Man's Guide to Self-care 12 A New Perspective on Low Back Pain 14 Get Your Energy Flowing 15 Why Breathing Into a Balloon Will Improve Your Golf Game 18 Level Up Your Grilling with Marinades Helping Our Fellas Become Healthier and Live a More Balanced Life

invest in you!

Most of us have, at least, a vague idea of what we need to do to live healthy lives. We may also have the best intentions to take action to make ourselves healthier. Unfortunately, we may not be successful because many of us, though ambitious, set ourselves up for failure. Our goals are too vague and unrealistic, the changes we make are not sustainable, and we do not view our goals as a journey to healthier lifestyle changes. Instead, we latch onto quick fixes that, onc achieved, lead back to our same old behaviors. The great news though, is that you have the power to make decisions about your health. You can commit to investing in yourself. And just like when you’re investing money, you’re looking for growth over the long-term, adding more years of life, and for more of those years to be healthy, productive years. So, exactly how do we add years to our lives? How do we keep doing the things we love even as we get older? How do we push back against disease and death? By going back to basics. This edition of Thriving Magazine is all about men’s health and wellness, and how making small changes to your every-day routines can greatly influence you overall health. Let’s make it fun by experimenting and exploring. Let’s try some easy ideas we can implement today. Let’s uplift ourse ves and each other by investing in our well-being!

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Chiropractic Care • Assists with proper alignment of the hips, sacrum, pubic bones and spine, and can increase proper circulation, which can increase oxytocin levels and improve overall vitality. • Helps the body for optimal alignment and functioning. • Helps align the spine, allowing signals from the brain to flow more easily to all parts of the bo y, thus boosting energy and sexual response. Naturopathy & Functional Medicine • Can help men lead longer and healthier lives by providing highly personalized healthcare focused on preventive care. • Naturopathy & Functional physicians create an individualized health plan, which may include diet and lifestyle changes, non-prescription therapies, and patient education. • Address top men's health complaints such as: sexual dysfunction, heart disease, diabetes, chronic pain and depression. Nutrition & Health Coaching • Empowers you to take control of your health by implementing nutrition and lifestyle changes that contribute to the achievement of personal wellness goals. • Assists in the understanding of how food and lifestyle affect verall health. • Provides education on blood sugar balance to help you understand what foods to pair together. This will fuel your body properly for more energy; improve sleep; improve skin; provide fewer cravings; provide a happier, calmer mood. Fitness Training • Helps you to be pain free and move well by integrating functional breathing patterns and posture into an individually-programmed workout. • Promotes moving better, in order to improve energy, power, and physical vitality during all seasons of life.

Acupuncture • Beneficial for pain management and rec very from sport injuries. • Can lessen anxiety and boost mood. • Targeted energy points during your sessions assist with male health and general vitality. Energy Healing • Calms a dysregulated nervous system to manage stress. • Soothes the sense of being overwhelmed and anxious. • Results in more energy, better sleep, and more joy. Physical Therapy • Physical therapists work with men of all ages, from young athletes to andropausal men. With our specialized understanding of the postural, mechanical and muscular balances of the body, we evaluate and treat the musculoskeletal disorders that may occur at any stage in a man's life. • Physical therapy can help improve the strength and function of pelvic floor muscles and all viate pain, weakness, and dysfunction. Treatment will stretch the muscles if they are short and contracted or apply resistance if they are weak and dysfunctional. Massage • Helps promote good gut health and assists with overall wellness. • Reduces stress, helps recover from injury, relieves sore muscles, reduces aches/pains, and promotes healing, all which help to improve energy. • Essential oils with your massage can help improve circulation, reduce inflammation, reduce anxiet , relax senses, and reduce overall pain/tension. • Reflexology opens up energy flow within t body, clearing up stagnation and improving nerve transmission and efficiency in the b y.

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Men have many roles: loving partner, superman father, bulldog at work, groundskeeper and maintenance man at home, expert golf player, volunteer at church, sports coach, financia planner, friend, neighbor, and the list continues. Somehow, with all of these responsibilities, the title of “health protector” often gets lost in the shuffle. Men are asked to be big and bold in m facets of life, and they often go 100 mph, rarely hitting the brakes to check in with themse ves. Why don’t men check in and make their health a priority?

When I started to write this article, I was blown away by these statistics: • In 2021, CDC research predicted the average lifespan of a woman is 79 years of age compared to 73 years for a man. • An article posted through the Kaiser Family Foundation stated more men die of diabetes per year than women. • An article posted by the Brookings Institution talked about how men are at a higher risk of dying from COVID-19 than women. • Per the National Institutes of Health, the cancer mortality rate is higher in men than women. • According to the American Foundation for Suicide prevention, men die by suicide nearly four times more often than women

NUMBER HEALTH should be a man’s


by Michelle Hilliard • Integrative Nutritional Health Coach OTR/L • BS Health Science

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Ditch the sugary drinks and minimize the alcoholic drinks. Instead, grab some water or electrolytes to keep you hydrated.

Make time to exercise; this may be in the form of the gym or

Prioritize annual visits to your doctor to get a baseline of labs, physical exam, and a snapshot of your current health.

These statistics are alarming!

walking with your partner after dinne each night.

Men are very powerful in many areas, but lagging behind in the health arena. In fact, research through the CDC shows women were 33 percent more likely than men to visit a doctor to seek out preventative care in order to minimize chances for chronic diseases. How do we improve these alarming statistics for men? We do it by starting small. Here are some small steps to take in order to help get you on the path to health and longevity. Men, you are the keeper of your health and longevity. Start at the top and work your way down the list, taking small

Honor your hunger with real, whole foods and less packaged food.

Find something you connect with that helps you decompress and find jo ; we all need to let the inner child out sometimes.

Create healthy work/life boundaries. You don't have to check your email when you're not at work.

Honor your mental health needs. This is where true inner peace is found.

If something is interfering with your sleep, it’s time to regroup and come up with a routine to regain your sleep.

Prioritize family dinner time to encourage good food on the plate and connection with the ones you love.

Stay connected with those who are most important in your life.

steps that create lasting, lifelong habits that will help you live a fulfilling life yo deserve.

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Four Exercises YOU Should Be Doing... Differently While our individual training goals may vary, men don’t generally talk about mobility or posture. We know we need to move better and increase flexibilit , but often in the gym, we just want to lift h vy weights. What if we told you, that by ensuring your body moves properly, you could actually lift he vier in the gym and appear stronger with having to do less? It’s true! With some simple tweaks and adjustments to four common exercises you may already be doing, you can enhance mobility and posture while also adding a challenge to your routine at the same time. These four specific m ves are ones every man can do to reduce tightness and limit muscle imbalances while increasing flexibility and strength


DON'T overextend and hold your breath DO set your posture by engaging your hamstrings and tilting your pelvis before the first rep continue breathing throughout

Alternating Dumbbell Press

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2 3 4


DON'T collapse into your shoulder blades DO reach your upper back to the ceiling while avoiding shrugging your shoulders


DON'T lock out your legs and overreach or round your back DO ensure that your hips and shoulders rise and fall together

Farmer’s Carry ONE UP/ONE DOWN • “UP” ARM AT 90

DON'T lean back to “prop up” the weight DO keep your ribcage down so your shoulder blade can be free, avoiding impingement

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SIX PLAYS FOR MEN TO STAY AT THE TOP OF THEIR GAME Hey man, you good? The power of positive thinking is, well, powerful. When you shift your mindset, you create momentum tha helps you reprogram your daily habits and cultivate more positive emotions in your life. It’s quitting time. A good night’s sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Your body and brain need time to restore themselves, allowing them to recuperate from the physical and mental stress you put on them throughout the day. Assess your stress. Your ability to acknowledge and modulate your stress response can influence your emotions and how yo cope with it. You can learn to reflect and better respon to stress rather than react in the moment or act on impulse. No man is an island. Relationships and social interactions impact our physical, mental and emotional well-being, and can propel us forward in our health journey. The Thrive community helps you make connections for motivation, inspiration, encouragement, growth and support. Get a move on. A daily dose of exercise is important for you to stay healthy and counterbalance any physical inactivity and negative life stressors you may have. You are what you eat. Nutrition is the fuel and medicine your body needs for healing and for the maintenance of your brain and body function. Healthy eating is about understanding how your food choices affect you on a cellular l vel, and impact your energy, mental health, mood, pain, stress levels and quality of sleep.

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Thrive was the only place that was able to determine the cause of my persistent pain and provide a solution to get me out of it . August 13, 2019. It was exactly one week before I would leave for my freshman year of college. I was at the beach with some friends, and we decided to try out the skim board. Within minutes, I had a partially-torn ligament in my ankle, which would require at least six weeks in a boot. While it was certainly disappointing, I wasn’t too worried about the long-term outlook of the injury. I had dealt with plenty of ankle sprains before—having played basketball competitively for most of my life—and thought that I would be back and ready to go following the six weeks, plus some time to complete physical therapy. What I did not expect was the pain, frustration, and confusion that would follow for the next three years. After a year’s worth of physical therapy following the injur , I saw no results. I was still in pain. My ankle still looked like it had been stuffed wit a tennis ball. At a doctor’s appointment more than a year following the injury, the doctor performed an ultrasound and remarked that the inflammatio

in my ankle was at the level that they would typically see immediately following a Grade 3 sprain. As a result, I underwent blood testing for juvenile arthritis and was sent to numerous internal medicine care centers for treatment. This led to several pharmacological treatments in the form of injections and oral medication, none of which provided relief from the pain or swelling I was experiencing. After two years of tr veling across state borders to different doctors, multiple rounds of physical therap , and trying treatments from massage to pharmacological interventions, I decided to try to figure it out on my own. And so started a string of many lat nights of research and experimentation. After a f w months of this I still could not find the type of relief that would allow me to run, jum , and participate in the activities that I love. However, my research eventually led me to discover the Postural Restoration Institute. Having lost trust in much of the surrounding medical and rehabilitation institutions, I decided to try to learn and apply their concepts on my own. I had no idea what I was doing. I finally g ve in and did a search for a PRI clinic in the Hampton Roads area. This led me to Thrive and my first appointment with Dante in April of 2022. It was absolutely life changing I could feel a difference within the first d , and the best part about the treatment was that there was hard proof my body was undergoing positive adaptations, with the tests in joint range of motion and muscle function improving after only an hou -long session. Within a few months of my first appointment, I was able to progres back into doing more dynamic and explosive activities. As of right now, I am completely pain free and back to sprinting, jumping, and liftin , after being limited in these activities for ver three years. Of all the treatments that I received over the course of three years, Thrive was the only place that was able to determine the cause of my persistent pain and provide a solution to get me out of it. I cannot thank Dante and the entire rehab team at Thrive enough for their help with my treatment over this past year, and will forever be grateful for the impact that they have had on my life. Not only is the team incredibly knowledgeable, but they are supportive, cooperative, and great people to learn from. The excellent experience that I had at Thrive led to me applying for the open fitness coach position, a role that I am currently transitioning int . I look forward to being able to help people improve their fitness and performance, as well as working with others who alue positively impacting the lives of everyone who walks through the door. ~ Jake Freeman

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Rediscovering Balance and Peace A Man's Guide to Self-care As a massage therapist, I've had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the transformati e power of self-care in men's lives. That’s why I feel so strongly about self-care for men, especially in a society that often places a premium o ambition and achievement, while neglecting our own well-being. Let's talk about the importance of finding balanc and peace, breaking free from societal conditioning, and embracing practices such as massage and meditation as essential tools for self-care. Escaping the "Get Ahead" Mentality

From an early age, men are often conditioned to beli ve that success is solely measured by accomplishments, wealth, and career progression. We push ourselves relentlessly, chasing the next promotion or deal, often a the expense of our physical, mental, and emotional well-

being. Society's expectations can make us feel guilty for taking time to care for ourselves, labeling it as indulgent or weak. However, I'm here to tell you that self-care is not a luxury; it's a necessity.

Obstacles in a Work-Hard, Money-Driven Culture

In our fast-paced, work-hard, money-driven culture, men face unique obstacles when it comes to self-care. We may feel pressured to prioritize work over personal well-being, sacrificing slee , exercise, and quality time with loved ones.

The constant stress and pressure can lead to physical tension, emotional exhaustion, and even burnout. It's time to challenge these expectations and create space for self-care without guilt or shame.

The Healing Power of Massage

One of the most effecti e tools for self-care is massage therapy. Through the power of touch, massage can alleviate physical tension, promote relaxation, and release emotional stress. As men, we tend to hold stress in our bodies, often without ven realizing it.

Regular massage sessions can help us reconnect with our bodies, release built-up tension, and restore balance. Don't be afraid to seek out a professional massage therapist who understands the unique needs and challenges faced by men.

The Transformative Practice of Meditation

Meditation is another invaluable practice that can help us find balance and peace in our li es. Despite its image as a "new age" activity, meditation has been practiced for centuries and has numerous proven benefits

It allows us to quiet our minds, cultivate self-awareness, and tap into our inner strength. Regular meditation practice can help us manage stress, improve focus, enhance emotional well-being, and develop a greater sense of clarity and purpose.

Embracing Self-Care as a Masculine Act

It's crucial to challenge the notion that self-care is a feminine pursuit or a sign of weakness. In reality, self-care is a deeply masculine act. Taking care of ourselves allows us to show up fully in our lives, both personally and professionally.

By prioritizing our well-being, we become better partners, fathers, friends, and leaders. It's time to redefin masculinity to include self-compassion, emotional intelligence, and a commitment to holistic well-being.

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Let's embrace self-care as a masculine act and create a new narrative of holistic well-being, one that honors our true selves and allows us to thrive in all aspects of life. Remember, you deserve it.

A New Perspective On Low Back Pain Mor e oft en than not, with low back pain, the low back is not the fi st place to look.

In human movement, the hips and the low back work together.

In terms of muscle function and attachment, the hips and the low back are interestingly and inseparably interwoven. One affects the other and man muscles span both structures. In addition, the muscular system works in polyarticular muscle chains to move the body, as opposed to independently isolating and contracting one muscle at a time. Hips have strong muscles intended to be used as “prime movers” such as the glutes and hamstrings, and the hip is a ball-and-socket joint designed for motion. In contrast, the vertebrae of the low back are primarily set up for stability and the transfer of forces. Lumbar vertebrae do not have the range of motion of a ball-and-socket joint such as the hip. However, if the hip muscles are stuck or cannot function harmoniously, the low back is likely to have to work too hard. There does need to be some low-back motion in terms of lateral shifting an rotation for gait, but if you lack proper motion in your hips, and you are primarily using back muscles to propel yourself through your day, you’d rather go home and sit in your lounge chair instead of going out and have a fun night on the town. Ideally, stabilizer muscle activation and endurance (primarily obliques and transverse abdominus) are working to hold your torso in a neutral position, creating a pleasant, pain-free disposition, while larger hip muscles propel you where you want to go, with a smooth, graceful flo . A neutral torso position should enable relatively equal muscle activation/ contraction all around your abdominal wall: back, front, and sides.

Does your lumbar labor when you lumber?

For low back and torso optimal positioning, look

to abdominal conditioning.

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Tightness or limited muscular control in

The psoas muscle, commonly referred to as a hip flexor muscle (brings you knee up towards your chest), might initially not be of much interest. However, this muscle originates on your lumbar spine, giving a direct connection to pull on, compress, or twist your low back. There are some interesting theories that a healthy psoas acts more as a lumbar stabilizer and the iliacus is the primary hip flexo . But getting back to psoas... If this muscle is stuck in a shortened or contracted state, perhaps from you being in a prolonged static seated position (driving, flyin , working at the computer, etc.), when you stand up, the muscle’s lack of lengthening can pull on the attachments to your lumbar vertebrae, restricting your ability to extend into upright posture and keeping your lumbar spine pulled forward. This is a common culprit that can influence low back pain Releasing the hip flexors with targeted bo ywork such as ART can be powerful at restoring hip motion and taking pressure off the low back

the hips will oft en create low back pain, and not necessarily hip pain.

So what does this all mean? Strengthening your hips through their functional range of motion will make your every-day movements easier and less painful. In other words, targeting your hips with a strengthening emphasis on hip extension (glutes and hamstrings) as well as strengthening your abdominals to stabilize and hold your torso in a neutral position will help reduce hip flexor ver-activity. It will also help get you on track for a happy low back. Simply stretching, prodding or poking only your lower back area may have limited or temporary benefit

Thrive’s physical therapy, bodywork, and rehab techniques incorporate these principles and can help keep you strong and limber.

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I was on the treadmill at the gym this morning. My heart rate was 152 and the trainer told us to push harder for the last 60 seconds… Because anything you want in life, you have to work hard for. Although this may be true for strengthening your heart or increasing your muscle strength, it is not the truth for anything else you want to accomplish in life. Our culture teaches hard work is how you get anywhere in life, when in fact, the opposite is true. When we are relaxed and in an aligned state, life flows with ery little effort It’s all energy… YOU are energy. You don’t have energy fl wing through you; you are the energy that has a mind and a body. You are infini e, magnifi ent and capable of achieving anything you can dream. Alignment happens when you awaken to the fact that you are the energy and you learn to use the mind to serve that energy. The result is you awaken parts of your consciousness that have not previously been awake. You start living in your body more and in your head less. And the natural by-product of that is healing, happiness and an easy, fun life! Your life is flowing in direct reflection of h YOU, the energy being, is flowin . If you want to know more, book an energy session with me. Together, we'll get your energy fl wing so you can start realizing your dreams.

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Why Breathing Into a Balloon Will Improve Your Golf Game Jason Day’s back pain made the news during the 2019 Masters. While his back pain is nothing new, his trainer started incorporating some new and different exercises tha required the use of a balloon into his program. What? A balloon? How crazy is that? Actually, it’s not crazy at all. Those exercises may have been new to Jason Day and the news media, but they are secret-weapon, fundamental exercises to many other athletes… And also to our team at Thrive Proactive Health. No one should ever be embarrassed or feel silly blowing up balloons.

There is a profound science that explains the power of these balloons—it’s a science that can help millions of people if the media can help spread the word so it’s better understood.

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Good posture should be effortless It’s important to understand that good posture should not involve constant, active muscle engagement. You should not have to force yourself or work hard to hold your body erect. Many people hang on to too much tension in an attempt to achieve “good” posture. If you’re holding yourself with tension (meaning you feel unwanted tension or your muscles are working too hard), then that’s a sign you’ve compromised the postural relationship with compensatory strategies acting on your postural system. Good posture is built upon a postural frame that can breathe well. If you are looking to improve postural organization, then retraining breathing relationships should precede stretching or strengthening. Proper breathing improves postural balance and how the parts of your body stack up. By regulating the proper length and tension relationship of your diaphragm, retraining diaphragmatic variance and diaphragmatic support, your postural system can find its alignment. Your upper bo y and shoulders can find their home ab ve your lower body, hips and pelvis. This realignment occurs as hyperactive chains of muscles learn to let go and relax. By letting go of excessive tension in the wrong places, your body then generates tension in the correct places to hold your body frame upright.

First, proper alignment. Next, proper rotation. It is from that better place of alignment that your body can then rotate. When your postural relationships are stacked optimally, your shoulders can separate from your hips and rotation occurs without strainful effects o your lower spine. It’s these fundamental principles that Jason Day’s trainer understands and why a balloon is being incorporated into his exercise routine. The balloon is simply a biofeedback device and tool to train components of postural organization. The balloon helps to apply resistance to his breath just like a dumbbell would apply resistance to a bicep curl.

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With balloon activities, we observe the mechanics our clients use. We can see how the balloon challenges the resistance of the breath to better understand if the correct muscles are active and syncing for proper core activation. It is through the exhalation that key abdominals learn how to best support the diaphragm and spine. Our abdominals were designed to support the ribcage and mechanical respiratory system. It is through these key principles that core activation and proper dynamic spinal support originates. The abdominals wrap around

our core at varying angles because of how the core was designed to rotate. Many people misuse their abdominals and train them in anti-rotational ways, when in fact our core is designed to rotate. In order to rotate without compensation, your ribs must move. This is the principle many people are lacking. Rotation can be a vulnerable movement for people who do not have a postural frame that breathes well. Rotation is a basic fundamental need for your body frame—by retraining proper breathing mechanics, we can facilitate rotational support and coordination to better support your spine and core.

Rotational mobility is important for golf, and for everything else you do. Golf is a sport where rotational mobility is important, but even more important is how the full-body rotation is controlled and sequenced. Without adequate control or correct postural setup, the way that your body rotates during a round of golf can influence how you m ve in other areas of your life. In an article, the media described Jason Day pulling out his back while he was going to lift his daughte , but you better believe that had everything to do with his ribs and pelvis not working well together to rotate, bend, and flex The motor control required to rotate is dictated by neuro- respiratory influences that need training just as othe traditional muscles need training in golf fitness. When th right body parts are in sync with one another, rotation is effortless

When body parts are unorganized and misplaced, rotation can be straining, stressful and aggravating, leading to pain and injury. We should be training muscles to synchronize and sequence well to best support our posture. In closing, I hope you get my point: Rotation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Rotation is regulated through the weight shift and frontal plane. When I say frontal plane I’m referencing the side-to-side weight shift when you body transfers weight from left to right (or vice ersa). The frontal plane movement at our ankles and hips influence the power and momentum that our core can generate to rotate properly throughout a golf swing. Frontal plane organization and synchronization is the prerequisite to rotation. Prerequisite to frontal plane control is the quality of movement available to our mechanical breathing system. Jason Day’s routine of breathing into balloons is directly related to that last piece. His trainer was helping him to find his foundational requisite so he could rotate withou excessive compensation.

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Level Up Your Grilling with Marinades Marinade for Your Proteins ¼ cup apple cider vinegar ¼ cup coconut aminos 2 tbsp oil (avocado or olive oil preferred)

Marinade for Your Veggies ¼ cup of olive oil or avocado oil 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp dried basil 1 Choose vegetables and slice. My favorites are zucchini, squash, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, eggplant, or bell peppers. 2 Turn on the grill to medium heat. Preheat for a minimum of 15 minutes. 3 Combine all marinade ingredients and mix well in a glass container or jar, set aside. 4 Grilling vegetables can be tricky due to size, so if you have a grill pan or grill mat, grab it for ease. Place vegetables on the grill in the grill pan or grill mat for about 8 minutes on each side. The key is to not overcook them; you don’t want them to be mushy. 5 Remove vegetables from the grill and place in a glass bowl. 6 Toss vegetables with the marinade, and let it soak in for about 10 minutes. ½ tsp onion powder 1 tbsp of lemon ½ tsp salt ½ tsp pepper

2 tsp garlic powder 1 tsp onion powder 2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp paprika 1 tsp sea salt

1 Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 2 Marinate protein: grass-fed beef, organic poultry, or vegan option of Tofu in a glass container. My go-to choice of meat for this recipe is a flank steak 3 Place marinated meat covered in a container in the refrigerator for a minimum of 20 minutes, and up to 24 hours. 4 Pull out and cook when ready.

by Michelle Hilliard Integrative Nutritional Health Coach OTR/L • BS Health Science

Four Fun Food-Grilling Tips

Instead of using a brush with bristles that can break off int the grill and possibly end up in your food, cut an onion in half to clean your grill. Afte the grill is heated, take the onion half and stab a fork into the large circular end of it. Using protective hand mitts, hold the fork in the onion and scrub the grill with it to get old/dried food off of it. Bonus it leaves a yummy taste for your food.

When you are cooking something like fish o vegetables that have a

If you are grilling in the evening and mosquitoes start to ruin the party, before turning off your grill, tak a few sage leaves and grill them. The scent from the smoke will minimize the unwanted mosquitoes.

Grilling your citrus (lemons, limes, oranges) that you want to drizzle on your fis or vegetables will maximize their tanginess. You can use the same technique for your drinks as well; it's a sure way to add extra tanginess to your homemade lemonade or margaritas.

tendency to stick to the grill, use the starch of a potato to keep the food from sticking. Here’s how: After the grill i heated, cut a potato in half and stab the potato with a fork on the skin side. Using protective hand mitts, hold the fork in the potato and scrub the grill in order to prevent food from sticking to the grill when cooking.

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