When the crackling sound of fat frying in a pan causes your mouth to water, your tummy to rumble and your nose to sniff towards the sky in hopes of getting just a whiff to satisfy your craving, you know you love bacon. Especially when what you’re hearing is a radio commercial for the oh-so-good strips of flesh. Who would have thought that this seemingly guilty pleasure could actually have health benefits? I didn’t have my first strip of bacon, or any red meat for that matter, until I was a teenager. I remember seeing commercials when I was young talking about “Beef. It’s what’s for dinner”, yet it never was. My mother used poultry and fish as our main sources of protein for my family and I never thought twice about it. How could you miss something that you never had? Plus, isn’t bacon bad for you?
Bacon: The Health Question
It was difficult to justify the consumption of bacon at first. I mean sure, it tastes great, but the news media bashes it, along with most saturated fats and scares us with it’s supposed link to cardiovascular disease. Turns out, it does more good than bad. Yes! Now please pass the bacon.
What about all the other saturated fats, like butter and coconut oil?
Bottom line – our bodies need fat. Saturated fats are necessary for calcium uptake for stronger bones, which is especially important for women. And I don’t know about you but I want to be walking tall for as long as possible. Plus, Lauric acid and myristic acid which are found in butter and coconut oil play a critical role in immune function by helping our white blood cells fight off viruses and bacteria. So now we won’t just be walking tall, but we’ll have a strong immune system to go along with our strong bones.
One of my favorite fats, second in line to bacon, is MCT (medium-chain triglycerides) oil found in coconut oil. It has a slew of benefits and is a fat used often in the Fit Living Foodies™ kitchen. MCT’s are a fast absorbing fat, making their energy immediately available. For this reason it’s a main ingredient in my morning coffee, along with a dash of heavy whipping cream. It helps spark ketone production (more on why this is important later), can increase cognition and has also been studied as a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. What’s even more exciting about saturated fats like coconut oil is that studies have shown how ingesting MCT oil can actually help you lose more weight by spiking metabolism, increasing thermogenesis, and help you burn stored fat through fat oxidation. Now I’ll be honest, when I first started my ultra low-carb adventure I was a little weirded out by the thought of eating coconut oil by spoonfuls, but once I saw the aesthetic and felt the physical results I knew there was something to it. Am I worried about high cholesterol or the other supposed health risks associated with a high-fat diet? No. Why? Because I’m a low-carber (at least until Carb Nite). I found myself wondering how my body functioned as well as I thought it did before making the switch from low-fat to low-carb. Needless to say I’m glad those days are over and I can continue my love affair with bacon.
How the affair started and why it will continue…
What’s wonderful about bacon is its versatility. Bacon can be consumed alone, as simple as it is. It can be the star of the meal, the main event if you will. It can be added as a flavor aid, in bits and pieces, crumbled in or on top of pretty much anything your heart desires. The flavor of bacon enhances just about any old boring meal and turns it into something scrumptious and mouth-watering. The smell of bacon radiates for what seems like miles. Then there’s the texture of bacon: For some people this can make or break what’s considered a delicious piece of bacon. Personally, I really enjoy it in its crispiest form, with just enough grease left on it that it shimmers. Maybe it’s the saltiness of the fatty strips that is so appealing and that adds an extraordinary amount of flavor to something that had no potential before. Take, for example, a plain chicken breast. There are only so many ways in which you can make chicken enjoyable, without rerunning your recipe book. But with bacon in the picture you can turn that boring chicken breast into a feast fit for kings. You can find one of my favorite recipes – Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breast – in Transforming Recipes The Ultra Low Carb Edition. The flavors are overwhelmingly yummy; it’s like having a party in your mouth. And, your stomach will thank you later too. Come to think of it, so will the rest of your body. The benefits of bacon simply enhance its naturally wonderful taste.
The newest bacon creation is our Bacon-Wrapped Meatloaf and if you’re excited as I was when I first opened the door to the oven, you can check it out here. We’ve taken Pigs-in-a-Blanket to a whole new level, by creating a Blanket-of-Pigs!