The Best Smokeless Fire Pits for Outdoor Entertaining
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The Best Smokeless Fire Pits for Outdoor Entertaining

Stoke the flames but skip the smelly, eye-stinging smoke.

By Kelsey Ogletree
Wed, Aug 4, 2021 11:34amGrey Clock 3 min

JILL BARTNICK had always wanted a fire pit to cozily roast marshmallows and grill hot dogs with friends. What she didn’t want: the smoke such stoves inevitably spew. “Any time I go to a buddy’s house and we have a bonfire, it’s so much fun, but we reek until we wash our clothes and hair,” the Atlanta customer success manager said, adding that she also worried about smoking out nearby houses in her densely packed community.

To achieve her bonfire dreams without lapses of etiquette, Ms. Bartnick opted this spring for a new, smokeless Solo Stove. It burns ordinary logs or wood pellets, but, unlike typical fire pits, has a double-wall design that traps smoke and ash inside. Bonus: At 19.5-by-14 inches, the petite pit doesn’t crowd her townhome’s small outdoor space. “It just made a ton of sense.”

The Solo is just one of a new class of standout, sleek smokeless fire pits on the market. Equally suitable for small balconies and giant backyards, the devices promise to help keep you and your fellow fire admirers warm into the brisker months.

Marshmallow toasting is a must but you can also use many of the pits for grilling. Michael Dutton, who supports his wife, chef Erin French, in running the Lost Kitchen restaurant in Freedom, Maine, began cooking on two Breeo X Series 30 last summer when the restaurant moved their dining experience outside. Thanks to the pit’s add-on grilling kit ($380), the couple was able to cook three items at a time: charring meat on the Searplate, sauteing vegetables in a cast-iron skillet on the lower grill and toasting buns on the upper. “We’ve all grilled on barbecues outside at home,” Mr. Dutton said, “but this is a much more versatile and, in my opinion, attractive option.”

Here, our top three smoke-free fire picks.

For Heavy Use

Built from rugged Corten steel commonly used in industrial projects like bridges, the 47-pound Breeo X Series 19 is designed to hold up to the elements. (Plus, the Corten develops an aesthetically pleasing natural patina over time.) Though the device burns wood, it incorporates a raised-vent airflow system that minimizes smoke for as long as you want to keep it burning. Replace the standard rim with a Searplate (approx. $110) to cook burgers or toast taco shells right on the pit. Or upgrade to a full-service package (approx. $320) as the Lost Kitchen did to convert the device to an adjustable grill. $470, breeo.co

For Backyard Chefs

The no-assembly-required Solo Stove Bonfire can handle regular wood just like the Breeo, but employs a double-wall design to save your eyes from smoke. And, at only 9 kilograms, it’s light enough to pack in the car for a weekend camping trip. The stove works by drawing in oxygen through vent holes on the bottom, creating a “secondary burn” for an extra-hot fire. The device doubles as a cooker when paired with a new accessory bundle (approx. $432). Just place the cast iron cooking surface over the stove to elevate your burgers to a chef-approved 8 inches above the fire. approx. approx. $345, solostove.com

For Driveway Parties

The 20kg Tiki Brand Patio pit measures nearly 60cm across, making it less portable than the Solo but arguably better for gathering around with friends. To stay low-smoke, the stove burns proprietary “Tiki Wood Packs” filled with upcycled wood pellets. Just light the bag with a match—no need to stoke a flame. The downsides: a four-pack of bags costs US$36 and each burns for only 30 minutes. (You can also sub in traditional firewood, though you’ll sacrifice smokelessness if you do.) And if you have kids, watch them closely while the Tiki is in action: The flames dance high. approx. $470, tikibrand.com

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: August 3, 2021.



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Anger Does a Lot More Damage to Your Body Than You Realise

We all get mad now and then. But too much anger can cause problems.

By SUMATHI REDDY
Fri, May 24, 2024 3 min

Anger is bad for your health in more ways than you think.

Getting angry doesn’t just hurt our mental health , it’s also damaging to our hearts, brains and gastrointestinal systems, according to doctors and recent research. Of course, it’s a normal emotion that everyone feels—few of us stay serene when a driver cuts us off or a boss makes us stay late. But getting mad too often or for too long can cause problems.

There are ways to keep your anger from doing too much damage. Techniques like meditation can help, as can learning to express your anger in healthier ways.

One recent study looked at anger’s effects on the heart. It found that anger can raise the risk of heart attacks because it impairs the functioning of blood vessels, according to a May study in the Journal of the American Heart Association .

Researchers examined the impact of three different emotions on the heart: anger, anxiety and sadness. One participant group did a task that made them angry, another did a task that made them anxious, while a third did an exercise designed to induce sadness.

The scientists then tested the functioning of the blood vessels in each participant, using a blood pressure cuff to squeeze and release the blood flow in the arm. Those in the angry group had worse blood flow than those in the others; their blood vessels didn’t dilate as much.

“We speculate over time if you’re getting these chronic insults to your arteries because you get angry a lot, that will leave you at risk for having heart disease ,” says Dr. Daichi Shimbo, a professor of medicine at Columbia University and lead author of the study.

Your gastrointestinal system

Doctors are also gaining a better understanding of how anger affects your GI system.

When someone becomes angry, the body produces numerous proteins and hormones that increase inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation can raise your risk of many diseases.

The body’s sympathetic nervous system—or “fight or flight” system—is also activated, which shunts blood away from the gut to major muscles, says Stephen Lupe, director of behavioural medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s department of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition. This slows down movement in the GI tract, which can lead to problems like constipation.

In addition, the space in between cells in the lining of the intestines opens up, which allows more food and waste to go in those gaps, creating more inflammation that can fuel symptoms such as stomach pain, bloating or constipation.

Your brain

Anger can harm our cognitive functioning, says Joyce Tam, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. It involves the nerve cells in the prefrontal cortex, the front area of our brain that can affect attention, cognitive control and our ability to regulate emotions.

Anger can trigger the body to release stress hormones into the bloodstream. High levels of stress hormones can damage nerve cells in the brain’s prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus, says Tam.

Damage in the prefrontal cortex can affect decision-making, attention and executive function, she adds.

The hippocampus, meanwhile, is the main part of the brain used in memory. So when neurons are damaged, that can disrupt the ability to learn and retain information, says Tam.

What you can do about it

First, figure out if you’re angry too much or too often. There’s no hard and fast rule. But you may have cause for concern if you’re angry for more days than not, or for large portions of the day, says Antonia Seligowski, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who studies the brain-heart connection.

Getting mad briefly is different than experiencing chronic anger, she says.

“If you have an angry conversation every now and again or you get upset every now and again, that’s within the normal human experience,” she says. “When a negative emotion is prolonged, when you’re really having a lot more of it and maybe more intensely, that’s where it’s bad for your health.”

Try mental-health exercises. Her group is looking at whether mental-health treatments, like certain types of talk therapy or breathing exercises, may also be able to improve some of the physical problems caused by anger.

Other doctors recommend anger-management strategies. Hypnosis, meditation and mindfulness can help, says the Cleveland Clinic’s Lupe. So too can changing the way you respond to anger.

Slow down your reactions. Try to notice how you feel and slow down your response, and then learn to express it. You also want to make sure you’re not suppressing the feeling, as that can backfire and exacerbate the emotion.

Instead of yelling at a family member when you’re angry or slamming something down, say, “I am angry because X, Y and Z, and therefore I don’t feel like eating with you or I need a hug or support,” suggests Lupe.

“Slow the process down,” he says.

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This stylish family home combines a classic palette and finishes with a flexible floorplan

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