For four and a half years, I've been blogging about losing (and gaining) weight. For just as long, I've been defending bacon. Rather, I've been defending my consumption of bacon while losing/trying to lose weight. It never fails: whenever I post a menu that includes bacon in any form, I get emails and comments from concerned citizens telling me I am making a huge mistake, and that no one, NO ONE can eat bacon and lose weight.
Well, I am not an expert on everything, so I can't tell you what other people can and can't do with bacon. But I *can* tell you that bacon is never, not ever, going "off the table" for me. And it's not because I adore bacon or it is my favorite food or I just "can't" give it up. No. It's not that at all.
It's because bacon is one of those very rare foods (for me) that
A) taste great
B) is low calorie, and
C) is not a trigger food.
I do not binge on bacon. Oh, I ate way, wayyyyyyy too much bacon back when I was on Atkins a decade ago, but that was because I had "permission." I ate it as a meal sometimes. Hey, it tastes good! But now (as in "over the past 4.5 years") I use bacon as a condiment. You know how some foods just make you happy? Bacon does that. One slice of bacon makes a so-so meal into a feast for me! It feels like 'normal' eating to me (I grew up eating bacon) and it also feels a bit indulgent when used in moderation.
I am aware that processed/cured meats are not the best for our health. In general I avoid that kind of thing. But let me tell you how bacon can save the day for me nutritionally.
A boring old salad turns into something I am eager to enjoy when I crumble one slice of bacon on top.
A bowl of cauliflower soup or sauteed green beans turns into an amazing comfort food with one slice of bacon crumbled into it.
Plain turkey burger wrapped in lettuce? Okay. Add a slice of crisp bacon? Heaven!
Low carb wrap with red ripe tomatoes and Romaine? Pretty good. Add a slice of bacon? Pure joy!
Seriously. A simple little thing like one slice of bacon can mean the difference between my feeling deprived and feeling truly satisfied. I think a breakfast of 2 eggs and some fruit is okay, but add a slice of bacon on the plate it and becomes one of my favorite meals ever.
I think we all have foods like that. And I think it is important to see the difference between a trigger food that calls to you and screws you over and a food that you love the taste of that enriches your meal but does not beg you to eat more. It is OKAY to have a slice of bacon, or a piece of cheese, or a square of dark chocolate if that is what works for YOU. I cannot do the cheese. But the bacon? I embrace. I ate it all the way from 278 pounds down to 214, stopped eating it for the most part on Medifast, and now am making it part of my life again. The key is moderation. The answer is finding things you like to eat that do not make you go over on your calories and do not drive you to want to eat more. Bacon, oddly enough, leaves me so satisfied that I don't want any more. The bacon I use is a pre-cooked, frozen, thin cut bacon by Hormel that has only 35 calories per slice. Where else can you get that kind of effect for only 35 calories?
Anyway, as I have looked over my menus to see what is working, what is not, what I should delete and/or add to my menus, bacon is a definite keeper.
2 hours ago