But... but... bacon isn't healthy... is it?
Be honest—was that your first thought when you saw this blog post title?
I absolutely think bacon can have a place in a healthy, balanced diet. I won't eat it at every meal or even every day, and I always consider the source of my bacon, buying meat made from animals that are humanely treated and are organically fed, And I always look for nitrate-free bacon, since these preservatives have been linked with cancer.
I'm also not eating a pound of bacon by myself at once. In this case, a pound of bacon is spread across four bowls of soup, making a hearty and filling healthy winter dinner, not a splurge that will leave you feeling ill afterwards.
Fat isn't bad for us... our bodies need it for many basic functions. Certain kinds of industrially processed fats are terrible for us, and I believe it's not great to eat animals that lived in a state of fear and misery... After all, we're ingesting the hormones from their systems, along with whatever chemicals were in the food they ate. So take good care in choosing your food... and then relax, live a little, enjoy! Anxiety about food isn't doing us any favors, and may even contribute to weight gain. We know that mindful eating helps with weight loss. This means slowing down and savoring each bite—which to me sounds like the best health advice I've ever received! Bon appetit!
SAVORY BACON AND BEAN SOUP
1 lb bacon
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
4 carrots, sliced thin
4 stalks celery, chopped
8 oz sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp tomato paste
Fresh cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
4 c broth (I use homemade chicken bone broth)
2 15-oz cans white beans, rinsed and drained
Chopped parsley for garnish
Start by frying the bacon in a soup pot, then remove bacon to a plate covered with paper towels. Cover with another layer of paper towels and press the remaining fat out, then crumble the bacon. Discard fat (or reserve it—I like to use it for cooking oil later).
With a thin coating of bacon grease still in the pot, add onions and sauté until translucent. Add carrots, celery, mushrooms, and garlic. Once mushrooms cook down and shrivel, add tomato paste, pepper, and flour. Cook for 1 minute, then add broth, beans, and crumbled bacon. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and divide into 4 serving bowls.