How to Eat this B.B.Q. Season!

By Jason Fung, MD

Happy Canada Day, everyone!  Also, I would like to wish our American neighbours to the South a very Happy Independence Day weekend as well. I recently married a nice, young American chap, so I get to have double the celebrations this weekend!  So much food in one weekend!  These two holidays in North America mark the start of B.B.Q. season, which just happens to be my most favourite eating season of the year!

All I have heard from patients over the last two weeks is how scared they are for Canada Day to kick start three months of non-stop barbecue parties each weekend between now and Thanksgiving, especially those who live in seasonal climates.  We want to make the most out of our holiday season, but we don’t want to cause any major set-backs to all of the progress we have made with our health and diet over the last few months.  In today’s blog post we are going to talk about how to barbecue safely, and I will share some of my favourite tips with you guys!

Just a heads-up, today’s blog post is LONG.  Bare with me today.  I am making up for lost time folks… 

Summertime Chaos

Summertime chaos was the subject of my last IDM long distance group yesterday afternoon.  Almost all of the patients in that particular group joined the program last fall.  Their children were in school. Vacation time was over and done with.  They all live in seasonal climates so it was starting to get cold out. which really slows down your social life to some extent.  A lot less people want to be driving across town in a snowstorm or when it is -40 degrees outside.  You will most likely have a lot more control over what you are putting into your mouth since you will be eating at home a lot more.

All of these things are great for generating and nurturing a stable routine.   But what happens after fall and winter?  Summertime!  The kids are out of school.  They have a billion and one activities and have parents running around town like chickens with their head’s cut-off.  People want to enjoy the warm weather and take vacation time.  You are either stuck at home surrounded by food (I know all about that fridge calling your name) or you are out with people, who most likely think this fasting stuff is ridiculous and you should eat 6 times a day like them.  Since the mounds of snow have melted too, you want to go out and be social.  Unfortunately, social often means eating out.  You are sick and tired of the walls inside of your house and you want out.

Every year I hear the same story of the summertime chaos causing my patients to derail.  They get so frustrated and feel like they either have to choose between living life or being healthy, and what used to be their favourite season is now their least favourite.  I have bad news for you guys – summer happens every single year.  It really happens every single year.  Your routine is going to go out the window.  Your friends are going to want to be social, and you will likely be eating more each and every summer for the rest of your life.  What can you do to prevent yourself from taking 10 steps back each summer time?

  • You need to accept you will be eating more and not beat yourself up for it.  Like I said above, summer is going to happen every year.  Just make sure you are eating healthy and most importantly consciously.  Take 15-seconds to look at what is in your hand or on your fork before you put it in your mouth.  Stop and really, really look at it.  Is it something you should be eating?  Are you just having a stressful day because the kids are driving you up the wall?  Are you just wanting to eat this particular item because everyone else around you is?  Think about it.  Half of the problem is that we eat so mindlessly we don’t think about what has gone into our mouth until it is in our stomachs, and then we feel regret.  Stop and think about that last regret you had?  Was it worth it in the long run?
  • You need to fast on your down days and skip meals here and there.  You know you have leftovers from Sunday night’s family feast stored in your internal refrigerator.  You know if you let them stay there your fridge is going to start to get full and things are going to start to go bad making you sick.  You need to empty that baby!  If you think you consumed two dinners in one, then try to skip another dinner within the next few days to force yourself to get rid of the leftovers. There is really no excuse to not be able to skip a meal-or-two throughout the week.  One of my patients on Tuesday went on about how he had three parties last week and he has three parties this week, and he just could not fast because of it.  Three days of the week still leaves the potential for four days for fasting.  It is simple math.  And unless you are unwell, THERE IS ALWAYS TUESDAY!  How many Tuesday day or night parties do you attend?  Come on now.  THERE IS ALWAYS TUESDAY.  Fasting at least once a week is a heck of a lot better than not fasting at all throughout the week.
  • Take advantage of the nice weather and make social excursions not about eating.  My husband and I will often go hiking instead of sitting at the dinner table every night.  We come home from work, change and hit the trails.  We can talk to each other about our day or whatever else we would normally talk about during  sit down dinner.  We invite friends to come along with us from time-to-time.  There are so many festivals too this time of year for you and your friends.  Of course there is food but there is a lot more to do at these things also.  If your spouse or friends are eating, there are a million other things going on to distract you.  Also, my husband I occasionally go for scenic drives in the evening time so we are not stuck in front of the TV watching food commercials every 3 minutes.  Get outdoors and invite your loved ones to join along too.

B.B.Q. Time!

Now back to what you can eat…  My favourite season of the year is B.B.Q. season because there are so many low carbohydrate options!

My Top 5 Summertime B.B.Q Tips and Suggestions:

  • Salad.  It is hot out and we don’t really want to be eating a lot of hot dishes.  This is a great time of year to experiment with making some out-of-the-box salads and trying different leafy greens.  There are so many of them: spinach, arugula, lettuce, kale, etc.  They all taste different, which really allows you to get creative with your salads.  Mix in different fruits and nuts.  Use things like cottage cheese whipped with some strawberries or other fruits, herbs or spices to make a really nice and fatty salad dressing that isn’t oil and vinegar.
  • Fruit.  Consuming it as a whole can run us into some problems.  I know someone who broke down to me yesterday and told me about her cherry binging.  Half of the time I feel like I’m a priest hearing patients confessionals, and the walls of my IDM Clinic exam rooms have heard a lot about cherry and mango sins in recent days.   Make these fruits part of your meal.  Add some berries to a salad.  Mix some mango in with some salsa.  That way you are getting a little bit of what you like but not too much, and you are not snacking on the fruit either.  It is actually part of your meal.
  • Vegetables.  You do not need the potatoes or corn.  Repeat you do not need potatoes or corn. This is a great time of year to roast and/or grill a whole bunch of vegetables.  Things like bell peppers, mushrooms, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, some beans and a few carrots are great.  You can grill slices of eggplant and treat them like crackers.  Load them up with other veggies, hummus or cheese.  I love asparagus wrapped in bacon.  I wrap everything in bacon.   You can slice the veggies up raw and dip them in guacamole, hummus, different olive oils and vinegars, sour cream, salsas and cottage cheese blends.  Load them up with fat and cook them or eat them raw!

  • Avocados.  Always be that person to volunteer to bring guacamole to a party.  You have a safe dip for veggies.  You have a healthy fat spread for meats like burgers.  You can never go wrong with guacamole (unless you have high potassium levels, then stay away from guacamole).  I always pack an avocado in my purse too if I am on the go and am not sure what is going to be served at these parties.
  • Burgers, hot dogs and sausages.  First, there is no law out there that says burgers, hot dogs and sausages need to be consumed with a bun.  We wrap our burgers in lettuce (butter or Boston lettuce are my favourites for this).  We wrap hot dogs and sausages in bacon (surprise, surprise).  Second, it is so easy to add fat to these items,  We LOAD them up with condiments such as mayo (olive oil or coconut oil based), mustard (a diabetics best friend), pickles, bacon, guacamole or slices of avocado, some tomato, some onion and high fat cheese.
  • Chicken and steak/beef.  Step one: butter, butter, butter.  Add lots of it.  Add different herbs to it.  Rub your meat down in it.  Enjoy the way it melts in your mouth.  Step two: bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon.  Wrap everything in bacon.  Step three:  Slice it up and make lettuce wraps.  You can add guac, veggies, salsas, sour cream, cheese, nuts, etc. to add more fat.  We often have fajitas with lettuce wraps instead of tortilla shells.  We load them up with all kinds of fat, and they are incredibly filling.

  • Whipping cream (35%+ fat).  Whip this stuff up!  Add some pure cocoa and maybe a drop or two of pure vanilla, and place it in the freezer.  It tastes like soft serve ice cream.  We actually prefer this to ice cream now because we can taste all of the nasty added sugar.  Add in some fruit, nuts and seeds, and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

My Favourite Chocolate “Ice” Cream Recipe

Serving size: 2 portions

  • 1/2 cup of heavy whipping cream (at least 35% fat)
  • 100% pure cocoa powder (optional – I like more milky chocolate, so I add a tsp.  If you like more dark chocolate add 1 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract (optional)
  • Crushed nuts (optional – I like almonds and walnuts and add 12 of each)
  • Berries (optional – I like adding 4 strawberries, 1/3 cup of raspberries, 1/3 cup of blackberries, and about 8 blueberries since they are higher in sugar)
  • Chia seeds and ground flax (optional – I add 1/2 tbsp of each).
  • Cinnamon (optional)


  1. Add 1/2 cup of the heavy whipping cream into a bowl.  Add in any vanilla or cocoa powder.  Use a hand mixer on medium to whip the cream until a creamy consistency is achieved.  This usually takes about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Place the bowl of the whipped cream into the freezer for 15 to 30 minutes.  You don’t have to freeze it either.  Freezing it just gives it a nice chill on a really warm day.
  3. Chop up any berries and nuts and mix into the whipped cream.  Add in any chia or flax.  Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Have a safe and happy holiday weekend!

 Please eat and drink responsibly.

By The Fasting Method

For many health reasons, losing weight is important. It can improve your blood sugars, blood pressure and metabolic health, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. But it’s not easy. That’s where we can help.

Jason Fung, MD

By Jason Fung, MD

Jason Fung, M.D., is a Toronto-based nephrologist (kidney specialist) and a world leading expert in intermittent fasting and low-carb diets.

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