Bacon is sexy…
So, the World Health Organization came out this week saying that eating bacon, sausage, and a number of other nitrate-heavy deli meats is the equivalent of smoking cigarettes. (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/oct/26/bacon-ham-sausages-processed-meats-cancer-risk-smoking-says-who)
And popular media outlets gasped and howled and said “sacré-bleu” and “not possible”.
If you are Nova Scotian you probably just shrugged your shoulders at the news and said “Ah well, what can you do? There are so few pleasures in life already.”
At least that is what 99.9% of them said, when I mentioned to them that eating a pound of bacon with their Saturday morning eggs and bucket of deep-fried hash-browns probably wasn’t the best thing to do.
We’ve known for at least 30 years now that nitrate-filled meats are carcinogenic. Bacon has always been on the Cancer Society’s top-ten list of foods you should avoid. (Full list at the bottom.)
That bacon, sausages, and deli meats cause cancer was one of the first big impetuses behind the first mainstream vegetarian movement of the 1980’s.
But if you are old enough to have been there, you know that by the mid-90’s most of us had gone full circle back to meats – as our addiction overcame our rational knowledge that we were killing ourselves.
We quietly admitted our helplessness in the face of a morning plate of crispy bacon – nice and hot – oh, the smell of frying bacon – it’s Pavlovian wonder! What’s better than Saturday morning bacon in bed, while your lover smokes her post-coitus cigarette? That’s right – nothing!
I’ve seen people weep with joy over my morning scrambled eggs and bacon. Weep!
How do I turn the stove off in the face of such joy?
Of course we could go nitrate-free by raising our own pigs, slit their throats ourselves, and butcher our own preservative-free bacon. But the thought of a neighborhood full of screaming pigs and blood-drenched backyards would just turn many of us into born-again vegetarians.
Best if that messiness is kept hidden behind the high bricked walls of the abattoir slaughter-house.
No, best to file ‘bacon = smoking’ away in the same part of the brain where we have already filed ‘barbeque = smoking’, ‘eating fast food = smoking’, and ‘processed foods = smoking’.
It’s best not to think about the fact that 60% of all the food crops grown in the world are grown simply to feed our livestock.
It’s best not to think that it takes 40 gallons of water to produce one hamburger.
Or that a rainforest landscape the size of Greece is destroyed every 5 years so we can produce cheap cans of beef stew and a buck-fifty hamburgers on every street corner across the land.
And if you still have space in your head for the computer files labelled “it’s-best-not-to-think-about-it”, it’s best also not to think about the fact that after our consumption of oil, corporate agro-business is the next largest contributor to climate change on the planet.
What we eat, and how we grow it, is literally killing the world, and us as well.
But hey, it’s Saturday morning, and you’ve just finished another week of too much work in too little time, and you just want to sit down with your coffee (don’t ask where this came from either), your eggs (chicken factory hell eggs), and your [scream-free] bacon…maybe a little jazz and the Saturday morning paper – if you are of that sort on a Sat morning.
“Screw it! Throw on a couple of extra slices. And make mine extra crispy.”
 Nitrates being the number one preservative – carcinogenic – used in bacon, sausages, and deli meats.
Cancer Society’s 10 foods to avoid (or, at least severely limit):
- Hydrogenated oil.
- French fries/potato chips.
- Microwaved popcorn.
- Processed meats.
- Red meat.
- Farmed salmon.
- Refined sugar / soda.
- “Diet” foods/drinks.
- Refined white flour.
- GMO’s / glyphosate.