I haven't always abstained from eating pork.
When I was young, I was raised eating pig meat. And like most people, I loved it. I loved pork chops, I loved ham, and I loved bacon. But, then I got to learn where bacon comes from and got to meet cute little pigs in person, and eventually I just couldn't eat them anymore. I have an early memory of meeting a cute little piglet on a class trip to the farm in the first grade. I feel this memory has helped to instill the negative feelings I have towards slaughtering these darling creatures.
For a long time meat wasn't on the menu at all, but then I abandoned my vegetarian diet once again and started eating red meat and poultry once again. I still won't eat pig, but sometimes I catch a whiff of bacon frying and can't help but desire a taste.
Then last year I was introduced to turkey bacon. I had known of its existence, but I was afraid it just would not compare and make me miss traditional pork bacon all the more. Guess what- I was mistaken! It's great! It tastes very similar, and much less fatty!
Now you too can have your questions and concerns answered if you've been thinking about making the switch, just read on!
Q: Why is turkey bacon better for you than "regular" bacon?
A: It has far less saturated fat and calories than pork bacon.
Q: But, what about the often higher sodium content?
A: Even though in most brands of turkey bacon there is a higher sodium content, the benefits of eating less saturated fats far outweighs those of eating less salt. There are even brands available that should have less salt than others, just read the labels. If you have a problem with high salt intake, you should be cutting back on salty meats to begin with. Everything in moderation!
Q: What else should I be aware of when choosing turkey bacon over pork bacon?
A: Choose organic over conventional as a healthier choice that is also more sustainable, and also look for "nitrate-free." Nitrates when cooked at temperatures high enough to be burned can cause cancer-causing carcinogens to form. Eating turkey also leave a slightly lighter carbon footprint on the planet.
Q: How do I cook turkey bacon?
A: You can cook it the same way you cook regular bacon- by frying it to desired crispiness, or by baking it. Baking it is healthier and less greasy, plus can make it even crispier if that's how you like it! Cook in oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on baking sheet, turning once half way through.
If you switch to turkey, you will see it is just like using pork bacon, and you will be helping your health and the planet :) Of course, simply cutting back on meat or out of your diet completely is an even better choice, but I think most people who read this blog are omnivores!
Pigs are also treated very poorly in factory farms, to an extent that would break any person with a conscience's heart. They are kept in cages where they can barely move, just to be fattened up before their slaughter. Piglets are taken away from their mothers just weeks after birth, only to be crammed into other cages just as their mothers were. The air is over-polluted, the animals suffer from disabilities due to lack of exercise, and the environment not only breeds poorly treated animals, but poorly produced food for consumption. Just read here and see if it doesn't make you reconsider your supermarket shopping list.
This is not to say that turkeys are treated any better, but if you are a meat-eater and want a healthier choice, turkey is the way to go. Choosing organic, cage-free, antibiotic-free turkey will help to ensure you are getting the best offering out there.
Currently, my favorite way to enjoy turkey bacon is lightly frying it up in a pan then sticking it in between 2 slices of multi-grain bread with smoked cheddar. Grill or fry in pan- yum! Another yummy way is to wrap up asparagus spears in it and bake. Click image below for recipe.
Have a good weekend! Check back soon!