Saturday, November 5, 2011

I LOVE chocolate and I LOVE bacon…

Bacon and Chocolate… together

Huh?  Now, first off… I was one of those people who used to shy away from bacon.  Bacon I secretly loved… because it was "BAD" for me.  Why was it bad for me?  Well, gosh, everyone said it was!!  I mean, they'd done research to prove it was bad for me, right?  Well, as I'm now finding out… no.  "They" never did research to prove it was bad for me.  However, if you google "Is bacon bad for me?", you'll get directed toward WebMD.  Here's what they have to say about bacon:

Just How Unhealthy Is Bacon?
You probably won't be surprised to learn that 68% of bacon's calories come from fat, almost half of which is saturated. Each ounce of bacon contributes 30 milligrams of cholesterol (not to mention the cholesterol from the eggs that often accompany bacon.
Eating foods rich in saturated fats can raise your cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of heart disease and stroke. And if those saturated fat-rich foods are also high in dietary cholesterol, cholesterol levels tend to rise even higher.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat to less than 7% of your total calories (that’s less than 16 daily grams of saturated fat for someone eating 2,000 calories a day). So under those guidelines, it might seem sensible to occasionally enjoy a small amount of bacon, or switch to turkey bacon, which is lower in fat and cholesterol.
But here's the bad news: When it comes to increasing the risk for certain cancers, things get downright scary for bacon lovers. Not only is bacon considered a red meat, it’s also a member of the dreaded "processed meat" group (even turkey bacon falls into this category. And NO amount of processed meat is considered safe to eat, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.

Sigh… So, it is bad for me??  You know me… where are the missing citations to prove it's bad for me??  Well, bacon, or saturated fat (which is what gives bacon the 'bad' name) isn't bad for me… not according to many modern researchers, one of whom is Dr. Michael Eades and his physician spouse, Mary Dan Eades.  They espouse the virtues of protein, which we all know comes with fat if you get it from an animal source.  Drs. Eades have written many books, one of which is Protein Power, a book about how higher protein diets really are healthier than the low fat/high carb ones pushed on us by the American Heart Association and other medical establishments.  On his website and blog, Dr. Eades explained the lipid hypothesis in very understandable terms:  
In simplistic terms the lipid hypothesis is as follows:
a) cholesterol and/or fat in the diet leads to cholesterol and/or fat in the blood;
b) cholesterol and/or fat in the blood causes plaque formation in the arteries and, consequently, heart disease; and, therefore
c) cholesterol and/or fat in the diet causes heart disease.

From Wikipedia:  
The lipid hypothesis was one of two hypotheses (the other being the chronic endothelial injury hypothesis) developed in the 1850s to explain the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. It proposes a connection between plasma cholesterol level and the development of coronary heart disease.
It was proposed by the German pathologist Rudolf Virchow in 1856 and suggested that blood lipid accumulation in arterial walls causes atherosclerosis

Of course, the 'worst' part of bacon is the high cholesterol, right?  For you geeks who like scientific reads like I do, read Mark's Daily Apple for his insight on cholesterol and the lipid hypothesis.  He really does an awesome job on explaining why, in the 1950s with an upsurge in heart disease, American scientists looked at the blockages and damaged arteries and found cholesterol and fatty deposits that caused them to point their fingers at the American diet rich in FAT and Cholesterol.  Thus, bacon bad.  What I LOVE about MDA is that he then goes on to explain the chains of the fat and the density of the lipids and how we should really be looking at the fat and cholesterol sizes instead of the saturation levels and the body's inflammation.  It's really worth a read.  

Anyhow, the more I get into the Paleo/Primal diet and lifestyle, the more I realize that I CAN enjoy bacon… grease and all.  So, when I was online yesterday and saw TWO recipes for chocolate covered bacon… my knees went weak.  I knew I HAD to make some!!  I admit, there was the initial… Ew factor of thinking of the saltiness of bacon and the sweetness of chocolate… but then I though about it again.  Salty and sweet.  DARK chocolate and bacon… ruminating over that also got my husband's taste-buds watering!!  So… here goes!!

Dark Chocolate and Macadamia Nut Covered Bacon:
15 pieces of bacon (uncooked)
6 squares of dark chocolate (I used 65% cacao, thus needed no more sweetener)
2 tsp coconut oil
finely chopped dry roasted macadamia nuts

Put bacon on wooden skewers and bake in 425 deg F oven for 20 mins.  

Meanwhile, slowly melt the 6 squares chocolate with the 2 tsp coconut oil in the microwave in a bowl, stirring often.  It took mine 1 full minute, but stirring every 20 seconds.  

Spoon chocolate onto the bacon (I put the skewer into the bowl and spooned the chocolate onto the bacon by dripping it down and painting it with the spoon) and set into pan lined with wax paper with end of skewer up on lip on pan.  Before chocolate sets, sprinkle with macadamia nuts.  

Now that I had desert done… what was for my Paleo dinner that hubby would enjoy, too?  

Well, since I had defrosted an entire package of bacon, I cut the remaining bacon into 3 inch strips and laid them over 4 thawed chicken breasts, covered with tin foil (uncovered the last 10 mins) and roasted them for 35 mins in a 400 deg F oven while roasting a Japanese pumpkin (kinda tastes like our sweet potatoes mixed with acorn squash) for 40 mins.  Steamed up some fresh broccoli and VOILA!!  Dinner in less than an hour!!  

With my new health food, BACON for desert!! 

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