Digestive-Friendly Barbecue, It Can Be Done
Here are eight ways to get your grill on:
The Best Beverage: Water
If you have acid reflux, the best thing you can drink is bottled water—alkaline water if possible. "Many reflux suffers steer clear from soda because of the acidity, but what many don't realize is bottled iced tea and enhanced waters, are profoundly acidic," says Jamie Koufman, MD, co-author of Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure (www.refluxcookbook.com).
The Best Cocktail: Vodka on the Rocks With a Twist of Lemon
If you're going to a BBQ and plan to drink alcohol, you're better off with a cocktail, like vodka on the rocks with a twist of lemon. Koufman recommends potato vodkas like Chopin or Stolichnaya (not a potato vodka, but it has a low pH). "Beer has a lot of carbonation so you're only good for one drink. The same goes for wine: One glass is fine, but as soon as you get into two or three glasses, you're most likely going to reflux at night."
The Best Fruit: Watermelon
"One of the most reflux-friendly foods at a barbeque is watermelon," says Koufman. Such a small percentage of those with reflux have to avoid the fruit, making the melon a universal good choice. It's also a great dessert alternative—and refreshing on a hot day.
The Best Snack: Cheese and Crackers
A general rule: The higher the fat content, the more likely reflux is going to be, so skip the brie, and put a slice of swiss on a cracker instead. "All kinds of breads and crackers, and low-fat cheeses are okay," says Koufman. Just be careful of seeds in some crackers if they're a trigger food for you.
Another great option is low-fat hummus. All dips are fine as long as they're low fat, says Koufman.
The Best Meats: Poultry and Fish
Chicken and shrimp on the barbie—it's all good. But for an alternative, Koufman suggests buying a fresh turkey breast and slicing it into little steaks (each slice a little thinner than chicken breasts); then cooking as you would chicken breasts. "I'm telling you, it's fantastic," she raves.
The Best Steak: Filet
Veggie burgers are good, turkey burgers are good, beef hamburgers...not so good. They're too high in fat, says Koufman. Instead, she says, buy some filets. "They are usually too thick so I cut them in half. Then cook them fast and hot. I'll also cut the filets and put them on skewers with mushrooms."
The Best Salads: Lobster Salad
High fat? Not if you reduce the amount of mayonnaise in the recipe. "Most of the time, when people are making salads, such as lobster or chicken, they skimp on the expensive meat and add more mayo. If you're making delicious stuff for your guests and yourself one tbsp is plenty. When I make three pounds of lobster salad I use one tablespoon of mayo."
Potato salad is also good—again, just don't use a lot of mayo. You want to use good, flavorful fats sparingly. "One of the ways I spice up potato salad is to add diced dill pickles, a little bit of mustard, and celery. If you're going to make it with eggs, just use the egg whites and throw away the yolks. This will give it a nice texture and help moisten the dish," says Koufman.
The Best Veggie: Corn on the Cob
For a sweet side that doesn't need any butter or fatty sauce, Koufman recommends soaking the corn in the sink with the husks on for at least 30 minutes. Then tossing on the grill with the husks intact. She places paper bags on the patio so guests can peel back the husks and go at it. "If you can find some hickory chips to use with your grill, it's amazing."
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