This summer, I’ve “invented” a new twist on the classic BLT sandwich.
I call it the bacon, avocado and tomato sandwich. Instead of lettuce that soon gets soggy, I use avocado slices. They are full of vitamins and minerals, healthy fat and fiber. They’re good for my bones, my eyesight and my heart.
The bacon, though, was a challenge…
Even though I buy bacon that’s low in sodium and free of harmful nitrites (see below), I limit my indulgence to once or twice a month.
But now, I’ve found an incredibly tasty, healthy substitute for bacon. But before I share this life-changing revelation, let’s talk about why you really need to think about giving up bacon for this much healthier substitute…
Is bacon really that bad for you?
First, let’s get the skinny on bacon…
Processed meat, including bacon, is linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Five years ago, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer issued a report based on their review of over 800 scientific studies.
Their finding? That eating less than 2 ounces of processed meat per day (think bacon and hot dogs) increases your risk of developing colorectal cancer by 18 percent.
Nitrites are the problem. All processed meat has them, and once they enter your body, they convert into compounds called nitrosamines, which have also been linked to an increased risk of stomach and throat cancer.
Now, don’t confuse these added nitrites with something called the dietary nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway — a natural occurrence in the human body that turns nitrates found naturally in some vegetables (especially root vegetables, like beets) to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide keeps blood vessels relaxed and pliable to control healthy blood flow and the supply of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin in your blood.
Added nitrites (yep, they’re an approved food additive) are not natural and healthy, and their purpose in the food industry is to help stabilize processed meats and to give them that pink coloration most have.
So, what’s a bacon lover to do?
Some people turn to turkey bacon as a safer alternative. But don’t kid yourself. It’s still processed meat, and it actually contains less protein and more carbohydrates than traditional pork bacon.
In stark contrast to the health risks of eating bacon, we have the major health rewards of eating carrots.
Carrots, you say? I thought we were talking about bacon?! Just stick with me…
The beta carotene found in carrots offers at least half a dozen major health benefits, including a lowered risk of lung and breast cancer.
Then there are, of course, the carotenoids and vitamin A found in carrots that can protect your eyes against macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness.
And because carrots are a root vegetable, like beets, they can help your body produce some of that artery-loving, blood-pressure-lowering nitric oxide I mentioned earlier!
So where am I going with all of this? There’s a way to make mock bacon using carrots. I’ve done it myself, and with a little seasoning and the easy cooking method I’ve detailed below, you’ll be a fan of baked smokey carrot bacon before you can say BLT…
Recipe for baked smoky carrot bacon
You’ll need a tool called a mandoline. No, not the musical instrument, but a tool that easily makes even, thin slices of vegetables and fruits.
If you don’t have one, don’t worry. You can slice your carrot lengthwise, as thinly as you can. You may just have to bake your carrot slices a little longer if they’re a bit thicker.
3 large carrots
2 Tbsps.grapeseed oil or refined avocado oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. salt
1. Heat the oven to 320°F.
2. Rinse the carrots, peel, and slice lengthwise using a mandolin. Lay the carrot strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
3. Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl and then brush the carrot strips on both sides.
4. Bake the carrot strips in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the strips become wavy and slightly crispy.
5. Enjoy your carrot bacon the same way you’d enjoy “real” bacon: in sandwiches and salads, alongside eggs or as a snack.
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Crispy Carrot Bacon Recipe for Those Who Want Bacon Without The Pork — theheartysoul.com
Is Bacon Bad for You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth — healthline.com
Nitrosamine and related food intake and gastric and oesophageal cancer risk: a systematic review of the epidemiological evidence — World Journal of Gastroenterology
Stomach cancer risk drops 26 percent by simply eating the right vegetable — Natural Health 365