This past weekend where I live, the annual Bacon Fest was held. Vendors gather at a local venue with live music, and everything bacon. Other meats wrapped in bacon, bacon ice cream, chocolate bacon, I’m sure bacon beer, you get the idea. For obvious reasons this is one festival I have never attended. Don’t get me wrong, back in the day, bacon was one of my favs, probably one of the last meats that I ever let pass my lips too. I get it, the salty, slightly sweet, crisp smoky flavor paired up with a fresh juicy summer tomato on toasted bread, add in a chunk of crisp lettuce and slice of onion… yep I am drooling a little, but just like most meat dishes, it is often what we pile on said meat that makes the dish so yummo!
But what is in bacon, is it good or bad for you? Bacon is a processed food, and while in the times of our ancestors when pigs were left to eat a “normal pig diet” there were some good things in the pig. Good fats, protein, and even a good amount of B vitamins (but hey, they eat and wallow in dirt). The not so good news, because bacon contains a high amount of fat both good and bad, about 50/50 it increases cholesterol, leading to coronary artery disease, which can lead to strokes and heart attacks. One of the biggest problems however lies in the dreaded processing of bacon… it can lead to cancer, hmm enter in my thoughts on how many people are now diagnosed with cancer daily! UGH! “And NO amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research” this from the ever popular site WebMD. While WebMD, is not a source I normally choose, but I know others do, they continued to suggest “healthier options” which usually was a processed food… ugh, speaking out of both sides of the webpage.
One thing you will hear me say repeatedly is EAT REAL FOOD! Over processed “stuff” is not FOOD!
The other thing that I say often since going plant-based, vegan, veghead, is that I really don’t like what a lot of vegans call transition foods. The “imitation meats,” tofurkey? What are these things… again, many of these are filled with not so great ingredients, always read your packages and eat real food!
Which leads me to my search for “bacon.” In my green world of food, I hesitate to call some of the things I eat, by their imitation of the carnivore opposite, yet for convenience sake, that’s what us vegheads do. Looking for similar flavor profiles, or textures of those foods we think we miss. At this point I am not sure I would enjoy a piece of bacon, I do however enjoy my eggplant “bacon.” Eggplant bacon takes a little time to make, but the rewards are strips of tasty crispness, doesn’t clog my arteries or leave my gut churning. I was in search of possibly a quicker option.
Enter in coconut “bacon.” Really?? I had toasted coconut, and added different flavors to these little flakes, but had not thought about using the “bacon” flavors on these little slivers of coconut, time for a test run.
The flakes work better, but if all you have is shredded, what you will end up with is “bacon” bits, which really this is what the flakes reminded me of too. I can tell you that I wasn’t disappointed with the results, and just like the eggplant “bacon” it doesn’t really taste like bacon, but it gives me the goodness without the bad, and when you add the other ingredients of fresh summer tomato, well you get to enjoy the flavors, texture and yumminess of summer without the fear of increased cholesterol, cancer or too many fat calories!
This recipe was easy, and within 30 minutes I was taste testing this and packaging it up to take to House Church and serve it up as a topper on a Debbie salad. Yes the omnivores gave it a thumbs up, but like me it’s not really bacon… it’s better!
So the recipe I went with was from one of my favorite veggie sites, Choosing Raw, with of course my tweaking, noted in blue print. I encourage you to give this a try, you really will enjoy it on so many things, wraps, salad, potatoes, pizza or just for healthy snacking!
- 2 tablespoons tamari (I use low sodium tamari)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups coconut flakes (or shredded, unsweetened coconut)
- optional, my addition, a little liquid smoke 1/2 teas
- optional, yep! enter the heat, a 1/4 teas or less of chiptole
- Whisk the tamari, vinegar, and syrup in a medium-sized mixing bowl, optional ingredients also added at this time. Add the coconut and mix it around until it’s all evenly coated. Allow the coconut to absorb the marinade for at least thirty minutes.
- To prepare in a dehydrator, spread the coconut on a Teflex lined dehydrator sheet and dehydrate for 8 hours, or until crispy and dry. You can mix it around a few times to make sure it dehydrates evenly.
- To prepare in the oven, pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Spread the coconut evenly over a foil or parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the coconut is golden and smells fragrant.
- Sprinkle the bacon on salads, over baked potatoes, stuff it into wraps, or mix it into cooked grains/legumes. Enjoy!
Let’s review some of the benefits of coconut: Eating coconuts are excellent for one’s immunity. They are antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-parasitic, meaning they kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. Eating coconuts also supports the development of strong, healthy bones and teeth. It does this by improving the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium. It also prevents osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become thin and fragile and lose their density. Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/the-numerous-health-benefits-of-coconuts-2.html#ixzz3j50H8Thw
Hmm, does that sound better than eating processed, nitrate filled, artery clogging, who knows what else is in the “food,” that brings disease into your life, or a whole food that brings life? Give this a try, let the bacon go! Take steps to limit or get rid of your intake by finding whole food options to replace your “addiction!”
Choose to eat REAL FOOD!