Bacon– The Gateway Meat.

A tiny taste, a single crispy savory slice, and before you know it, you’re hooked. Bacon is the gateway meat.

Bacon.

Bacon.

Call it meat candy.

Every single vegetarian, vegan, raw foodie I know, including myself and my husband, who has evolved into another way of eating, a more omnivorous way, begins the journey with a slice of bacon.

There are many reasons for becoming a vegetarian. In my case, I became a vegetarian for philosophical reasons, i.e., I didn’t want to eat animals. I like animals. I think they are cute. I don’t like the notion of eating anything that plays when it’s a baby.

But getting back to bacon… Bacon doesn’t seem like meat. It’s a kind of meat that pretends it isn’t meat at all. It’s sort of a yummy undefined food stuff that leads one to more specific animal-derived food stuffs.

Regardless, here’s what I’ve come to believe– The healthiest diet includes meat and animal fat and minimizes carbs and sugars. Now, my diet always included cheese and eggs and butter- never stopped eating those things- because I realized even at the age of fourteen that fat is essential for brain/body health. Fat is essential for proper nerve function. Children of all ages need fat. I was clear about this, therefore I never ever made my children eat the way I do, or rather did, although vegetarian food was always available to them. They ate their fill of eggs, cheese and butter. And I learned to cook meat. I wasn’t particularly adept at cooking meat, but I did it for them and their growing brains.

Here’s what I think, and since this is my blog I can say what I think– And I’ve given the matter a lot of thought.

A raw foods diet is unhealthy. You want to stick to a raw foods diet? Be my guest. You’re entitled to eat whatever you want. I’ve come to the conclusion it is unhealthy, especially for children.

I’ve also come to the conclusion that a vegan diet isn’t especially healthy either, but it’s better than a raw foods diet.

A vegetarian diet that includes plenty of saturated fat and minimizes carbohydrates can be healthy and well-balanced, a vegetarian diet built around pasta and rice and tofu, not so much.

The first meat I ate when I strayed from the vegetarian path was bacon. The first meat my two sisters ate when they strayed from the vegetarian path was bacon. My husband had always eaten a little meat , he simply pretended he didn’t realize he’d eaten meat. Pork egg rolls for example, or moussaka– I’d kick him under the table and say, “That’s lamb. You’re eating lamb,” but he’d pretend he didn’t hear.

The first meat my youngest daughter ate when she became an omnivore was bacon.

Nowadays we continue to eat plenty of fresh vegetables- some raw, some lightly steamed. We eat fruit, but fruits too are full of sugar so we are judicious about our intake. We eat a few whole grains, very little in the way of processed grains like white rice, white bread, processed cereals. We eat beef, pork, lamb, duck, some chicken and turkey, fresh fish. I no longer buy lean cuts of meat – it’s full fat skin on or nothing. I cook with duck fat, lard, and butter and I continue to use olive oil as a dressing or drizzle. Seed oils, aside from sesame oil for flavoring Asian dishes, have been banned from my house.

Saturated fats is the way to go. You’ll see. Conventional wisdom still says one should eat nonfat/low fat. I suspect within a decade conventional wisdom will be turned on its head.

And therein, folks, lies the secret of the French Paradox. It ain’t the wine, people. It’s the fat.

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11 thoughts on “Bacon– The Gateway Meat.

  1. anny cook

    I’m with you! My entire life we had real fats!
    Then I joined the low fat, aspartame, diet this and that crowd and ballooned up about 250 pounds–eating healthy. Now…I’m slowly working my way down.

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  2. Jaye

    Mmm, bacon (cue Homer Simpson drooling).
    I have a friend who is a total health nut and a strict vegetarian (will not eat anything with eyes), but when she was pregnant, bacon broke her. She “confessed” to me, in tears, that she could not help herself. She had to have bacon. Heh.

    Keep up the good educational work, Julia.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Jaye, when I was pregnant with my second I was extremely anemic. The doctor wanted to put me in the hospital and give me blood transfusions, that’s how sick I was. Instead I went with 2 cheeseburgers a day – but only from Christie Creme! I understand your friend’s craving.

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  3. Diana Stevan

    Interesting perspective, Julia. As you know, I have a Bachelor of Science in Home Economics, so nutrition was a subject I took and something I’ve watched carefully throughout my life. I’m a believer in following the Canada Food Guide, which doesn’t rule out meat. I like meat, but have found as I’ve gotten older, that I feel better when i don’t indulge in it every day. Now, it’s more likely that I’ll have red meat once a week, if that, and rely on poultry and fish more and of course, vegetarian meals. But I do think fat is important in our diet, for energy, so I wouldn’t rule out bacon. I like the taste and occasionally indulge. I have fat in my organic milk. My thinking is everything in moderation. Why deny yourself what you love.

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  4. Marylin Warner

    I never thought of bacon being the Gateway Meat, Julia, but you’re right. Several of us go out to the Omelet Parlor for breakfast on Thursdays, and I take horrible kidding. While they all order Eggs Benedict, cheesy omelets and French toast, I’m the “healthy” one who always orders the steel-cut oatmeal…and a side order of their thick, hickory smoked bacon. Breakfast is my favorite meal out, and bacon is a must.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Totally, Marylin! Funny, I’m not an omelet eater but I love eggs, especially eggs Benedict if I’m at a restaurant. I can’t poach an egg to save my life! But I always order crispy bacon instead of Canadian bacon. Gotta love bacon!

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  5. jpkenna

    I’ve always ignored “conventional wisdom” when it comes to food. I’m two months shy of turning 70 and am (thus far) healthy as a free-range pig. I remember when the health cranks condemned eggs. And when butter was bad and margarine was good! One came from a cow and one had the texture and flavor of industrial garbage. Why do we need experts to tell us how to eat?
    My recommended diet? Beer, lots of fatty meats, especially pork. Wild-caught fish.Lots of bread, including white bread as a special treat. Vegetables, so long as they’re sufficiently cooked and slathered in butter. And potatoes! I could live on potatoes alone–decked out in butter,of course. Must be my Irish heritage. And there should always room for ice cream, cake or pie.
    And bacon? The fact that it exists in this world is proof enough that, when push comes to shove, God does love us.

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