My daughter love love loves bacon. I think she would eat it every day if she could. The American classic BLT sandwich (with avocado) is her favorite, but that tried and true trio is not just for her sandwiches. She creates (or requests is more accurate) BLT anything – wraps, burgers, salads, breakfasts, and so on. But is bacon healthy for our bodies? A lot of controversy surrounds bacon and whether or not its high fat, sodium, and nitrate/nitrite content is good for you.
My personal bacon thoughts: First, I’m not a big pork eater – of any kind really. When I decided to change my way of eating, the first book I read was called The Maker’s Diet by Jordan Rubin. It was my first holistic nutrition read, so I was SO overwhelmed! But the one thing I can remember vividly was the reasons not to include pork or any split hooved animals that do not “chew the cud” in my diet because they are unclean (they’re nasty when you really think about them!). Rob also grew up disliking pork for the same reason – not because he read The Maker’s Diet, but just because he thinks pigs are gross. I could never make him a pork chop when we first got married, and I remember not understanding this when I didn’t pay any attention to what types of food I put in my body. So pretty much our whole marriage, we have been a pork-free family.
But, then I started studying the Paleo Diet, and those people eat a lot of bacon!! Although I do not adhere to a strict paleo or primal diet, I do find the foods listed on the diet are pretty much the same foods I eat. However, my eating “pyramid” does not have animal protein as a base or highest percentage. In fact, I have meals and entire days when I eat no animal products whatsoever. For me, it’s been all about finding the right place for them in my diet, so I feel good, energized, healthy, and strong.
Ok, so back to bacon. Where am I at with it right now? I do eat traditional bacon, but I am careful to choose the most natural bacon available – uncured and without nitrites/nitrates. The best bacon is fresh (any food is best fresh!) from a local farmer, but I do not always have that on hand. I no longer “fear the fat” but because of its sodium content, I do not eat bacon every day. But, I do enjoy it for the occasional treat – especially when joined with tomato, lettuce, and avocado. I am striving for moderation in my gluten free diet rather than focusing on a long list of “bad” foods, and I always put an emphasis on those naturally gluten free foods and the huge variety of colorful vegetables as the foundation for any meal.
Westin Price and those who eat a Traditional Foods Diet also eat a lot of bacon, insisting that the type and amount of fat in bacon is actually good for us. But if you prefer to avoid bacon and the fat that comes with it, go the turkey bacon route by choosing nitrate/nitrite free versions by Wellshire Farms and Applegate Farms.
I used a cauliflower crust for my pizza as a great way to incorporate this liver loving cruciferous vegetable and to add another color of food to the meal. I added pine nuts for a little nutty flavor, and ground flax and eggs to help the crust stick together. A couple of tips when making this crust: first, process the cauliflower and the pine nuts until they are very finely ground to accomplish the best texture of crust (I wasn’t able to do this, as I dropped and broke my food processor – a sad day – and had to use my Vitamix dry container instead), and second, be careful to bake the crust until it is crispy in the middle as well as around the edges.
- ½ head cauliflower
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ½ cup finely ground flax seed
- 2 eggs
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tomatoes, sliced into thin slices
- 6 strips bacon, cooked and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup or one large handful lettuce, chopped
- ½ tablespoon plain Greek yogurt (can substitute olive oil and vinegar)
- 1 avocado, peeled and pitted and cut into cubes
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Add cauliflower and pine nuts to a food processor, and process until finely ground.
- Transfer to a medium mixing bowl, and add flax seed, eggs, sea salt, and pepper.
- Spread mixture onto a parchment lined baking sheet in the shape of a pizza crust about 9 or 10 inches in diameter.
- Bake for 18 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and brush a teaspoon of olive oil on the crust. Lay another sheet of parchment paper on top, and gently flip the pizza crust over and remove the parchment paper that was on the bottom.
- Brush a teaspoon of olive oil on this side of the crust as well.
- Bake for 18 more minutes or until the crust is crispy throughout.
- Remove from oven, and brush another teaspoon of olive oil on the crust.
- Layer sliced tomatoes, sea salt and pepper to taste, and bacon pieces, and return to the oven for 8 more minutes.
- While pizza is baking, use your hands to massage the Greek yogurt into the lettuce.
- Remove pizza from oven, and top with lettuce mixture, avocado, and salt and pepper before serving.