How to eat bacon

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho doesn’t love the flavor of bacon.  Even vegans, apparently, who buy up fake bacon made out of soy beans, highly processed and tarted up with additives (colors, flavors, texturizers and so forth) to make the bland soy beans taste more like the real thing.  Frankly I’d rather eat the real thing, minus the processed fakery.

Bacon as diet food?

It’s my firm belief that people flock to diets that give them permission to eat the foods they want to eat anyway.  The Paleo Diet is Exhibit A for that theory.   Paleolithic humans were hunter gathers, who had zero bacon in their diets.  What meat they did eat was tough, lean and frequently eaten raw.  But that fact hasn’t stopped diet book authors and wishful thinking dieters, who managed to morph the primitive Paleo diet into a bacon fest.

Is this a problem?  Real bacon is high fat, high saturated fat and high sodium.  Compared to lean beef, turkey, eggs or dairy foods, it’s not a particularly good source of protein.  But there’s that undeniable deliciousness factor.  And if delicious food can help you stick to a lower calorie diet, maybe that’s OK.

So what’s the best way to eat bacon?  As a side dish with a giant stack of pancakes?  As another layer on your double bacon cheeseburger?  No, that’s just more unnecessary calories.  The best way to eat bacon is with greens.  Bacon in small amounts can make sautéed greens, or a green salad explode with flavor.  You end up enjoying the bacon flavor, but also eating really healthy greens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHere’s my favorite way to eat bacon, and it’s ridiculously easy and healthy, and can work as a really fast no-cook dinner:

  1. Buy a package of pre-washed spring greens (dark lettuces, arugula, spinach and other greens)
  2. Put the desired serving in a bowl.  For one person, that can be about 2 cups (or even more if you love greens).
  3. Crumble 2 slices of cooked bacon over the top.
  4. Grate some cheese on top, about 2 TB person of Parmesan, Manchego or other hard grating cheese
  5. Toss well with 1 TB olive oil, plus red wine vinegar, pepper and salt to taste.

Calories?  About 300-400, depending on how much olive oil and cheese you use.  It’s a filling meal.

Other ways to eat bacon:

  • crumbled on sauteed greens like chard, spinach or kale
  • mixed into a chopped salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, corn, sweet peppers and scallions
  • sprinkled over roasted brussels sprouts, broccoli or cauliflower.
  • crumbled over a vegetable-based soup, like minestrone.

You get the idea.  Because bacon is high fat and high sodium, it should be used as a condiment, ideally with greens and other vegetables, not on greasy cheeseburgers or on the side with a high calorie breakfast.

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