How and Why Should You Eat Bacon? + My Bacon Breakfast Bowl Recipe (AIP, GAPS, Paleo, GF, DF)
To bacon or not to bacon?
That is the question these days, isn’t it?
We’ve got people on the bacon bandwagon, potentially going a bit overboard & we’ve got the bacon haters who are still sure it’s a total junk food.
So is bacon good for you or bad for you?
The realistic holistic point of view considers that bacon may be an excellent (and delicious!) source of healthy fats IF its coming from healthy animals who lived a healthy life and ate natural foods.
This means that you want to be looking for pastured (not pasteurized, but pastured!) bacon. Ideally, uncured as well.
I would also consider that if you’re starting your day with a whack of fats, you may want to avoid consuming sugar at the same time. When we consume high amounts of fats and sugar at the same time, you’re more likely to store one or the other as fat because they are both energy nutrients. This is where the negative impact on heart health may crop up as well. This means why might have to say bye-bye to our maple bacon… or at least avoid regular consumption.
Still not convinced?
Let’s check out some of the benefits of eating pastured pork (and how it compares to conventional pork) and why going with uncured bacon is optimal!
Why Eat Pastured Pork?
If you’re a bacon lover already, it important to make the switch to pastured in large part because of the difference it makes to the quality of the fat.
A pigs fat is determined by their diet. In the wild, a pig’s natural diet consists of roots, grass, leaves, grubs, nuts, berries, and insects.
Factory-farmed pigs, on the other hand, consume a base of GMO corn and soybean meal along with a shocking combination of waste products (include their own manure), arsenic, antibiotics, hormones and anything else they can sneak into their mouths to increase their weight.
In this wild diet, the pigs are getting more beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, while they are getting more inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids in a factory farmed diet. This means that the fat in pastured pork is more likely to be anti-inflammatory, while the factory farmed pork will be inflammatory.
Furthermore, just as humans do, pigs accumulate toxins in their fat. That means that whatever toxins they consumed through their manure, as well as the arsenic, antibiotics and hormones are all accumulating to some degree in the fat of these factory farmed pigs. When we eat that fat, we are eating all of those things too. Not ideal.
This is in large part because of those omega-3 fatty acids, so the factory farmed stuff really won’t do that for you… and might, in fact, do the opposite. However, it is also in part due to the high concentration of choline, a nutrient that may protect your heart and promote brain health. A diet that contains sufficient choline is correlated with reduced rates of memory loss over time.
Bacon may also improve energy levels due to it’s wide range of b-vitamins.
I also recommend it for my clients dealing with hypothyroidism as a typical serving of bacon (about 100g) contains up to 89% of the RDA for selenium, an important mineral for converting T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone). It also contains decent amounts of zinc, which helps this process along as well.
Why Eat Uncured Pork?
A butcher cures pork using salt, sodium nitrite, sugar, and perhaps sodium or potassium nitrate. Nitrates are conisdered a carcinogen and are no longer considered safe. Nitrites are formed int he breakdown of nitrate and are even naturally occuring in celery salt. These can lead to the formation of nitrosamines, another carcinogen, as the bacon is curing or in your gut bacteria.
Uncured bacon does not have added nitrates or nitrites. Technically calling it uncured bacon is a misnomer because the meat is still cured, but they use other types of natural brine to do so. By USDA’s definition, however, uncured meat is categories by that which does not contain any added synthetic nitrates nitrites. So uncured bacon uses a type of natural nitrate found in celery powder or juice and sea salt to get a similar taste without having to use potentially harmful chemicals such as sodium nitrite.
Natural nitrates are generally considered much safer. In fact, we also consume natural dietary nitrates and nitrites from vegetables and fruit and a 2009 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests they may have health benefits including lowering blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Pastured, uncured bacon is the absolute best way to go for overall health.
If you can’t afford it, forget about uncured and try for just pastured.
If you can’t afford that look for at LEAST antibiotic & hormone free options.
If you can’t afford any of the above, that’s when I would suggest avoiding bacon.
But if you’re like me and you feel it’s worth it to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned bacon in the morning, check out this AIP recipe!
Bacon & Veg Breakfast Bowl
(AIP, GAPS, Paleo, GF, DF)
TIME: 30 minutes
1 head cauliflower
1 clove garlic (minced)
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp thyme
1 1/2 cups mushrooms
4 cups arugula
8 slices pastured bacon
3 tbsp coconut aminos
2 tbsp avocado oil
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt (divided, to taste)
1) Chop cauliflower into floret and place in a large steamer basket over a pot of water. Bring to a boil, cover and steam for 10-15 minutes, until cauliflower is overcooked.
2) Transfer cauliflower to a high-powered blender. Add garlic, coconut oil, thyme and sea salt. Process until you get the texture you want!
3) Heat avocado oil in a pan over medium-low.
4) Slice mushrooms in half and add to pan. Cook slowly over low heat.
5) When mushrooms are well cooked, pour the coconut aminos over the pan to deglaze and develop a caramelization.
6) Remove from heat and sprinkle with some sea salt while the glaze is still wet.
7) Preheat oven to 375 F
8) Lay bacon on a parchment lined baking sheet. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, until crisp.
9) Remove bacon from cooking sheet and set aside to cool on a paper towel.
10) Once bacon has cooled, rough chop and store until use.
11) When ready to assemble your bowl, divide ingredients evenly between bowls and drizzle with olive oil. Add a little more sea salt if your like it as much as I do & enjoy!
This is the perfect AIP breakfast to make in a big batch. You can cook and store all the ingredients separately (as above) and simply assemble as much as you’d like of each in the morning. It heats up beautiful in the oven or the microwave, but I’m not gonna lie, I love it cold too!
If you make this recipe, please feel free to take a pic and tag me on instagram @realistic.holistic and use #realisticholistic :) I’ll be sure to share your culinary adventure!
COMMENT below if you have any questions about the article or the recipe! I’m always here to help!
SHARE this with a friend who is still confused about bacon or who just needs a great AIP, GAPS, or Paleo breakfast recipe!