Thursday, July 25, 2013

Can We Talk Pork?

I bought Spanx last night.  I've also consumed some kind of pork six times in the last 72 hours.  Is there a correlation or did I just leave my jeans in the dryer for too long?  I'm going to go with the latter.  I also realized that I have a creepy amount of bacon pictures in my phone.  Bacon porn, perhaps?  No, I'm not in denial people.  If you tell me to "just stop eating so much bacon, fatty" I will probably backhand you with an extra crispy bacon strip.  I'm pretty sure Weight Watchers states that it equals "free points", right along with spinach, broccoli, and water.  No?  I'm officially off to crazy town?  Okay fine, maybe I'm in denial.  With that being said, I'm going to continue to stuff my face with this ridiculous meat candy, so something's got to give.  Oh, and the bacon roses?  I actually got those on Valentine's Day last year.  There's at least one guy out there that knows a way to a woman's heart is through cured meat!   

Let's talk pork.  I'm not down with turkey, tofu, or any other weird variation of this incredible meaty delight.  I want the REAL DEAL.  However, most varieties have their drawbacks.  I'm really not worried about the fat content, but rather the weird chemicals they add to keep it fresh.  After some major research, I started to get a little scurrrred.  One of my favorite websites,, posted an article stating that the chemicals added to processed pork products increase one's risk of pancreatic cancer by 67%.  EEEEK!  They lay down some pretty scary facts:

"We've known for years that sodium nitrite consumption leads to leukemia in children and brain tumors in infants," explained Adams. "Now we have a large-scale study of nearly 200,000 people that provides solid evidence of the link between processed meats and pancreatic cancer." The ingredient also promotes colorectal cancer as it passes through the digestive tract.

The USDA once tried to ban sodium nitrite, but was unsuccessful due to political influence and lobbying efforts of meat processing companies.

Say what?!?!  I'd like to enjoy a few (dozen) bacon strips without fear of dying!  But don't give up yet, bacon peeps!  I dug a little deeper and found out that nitrite-free meat is basically a bunch of BS.  Check this out: 

"When it comes to food, vegetables are the primary source of nitrites. On average, about 93% of nitrites we get from food come from vegetables. It may shock you to learn that one serving of arugula, two servings of butter lettuce, and four servings of celery or beets all have more nitrite than 467 hot dogs.  And your own saliva has more nitrites than all of them! So before you eliminate cured meats from your diet, you might want to address your celery intake. And try not to swallow so frequently.

All humor aside, there’s no reason to fear nitrites in your food, or saliva.  Even if nitrites were harmful, cured meats are not a significant source, as the USDA only allows 120 parts per million in hot dogs and bacon. Also, during the curing process, most of the nitrite forms nitric oxide, which binds to iron and gives hot dogs and bacon their characteristic pink color. Afterwards, the amount of nitrite left is only about 10 parts per million."

So, what's the verdict?  For every article bashing bacon, there were two backing it up.  Does it contain chemicals?  Yes.  Are the chemicals going to kill you?  Maybe...if you eat 87 strips a day like me.  Oops.  As with everything in life, moderation is key.  Enjoy that 'ish at a hungover Sunday brunch, then get back to the egg whites on Monday morning.  No biggie!  You can still enjoy a meaty Bloody Mary as long as you keep it in your 20%.  Hey!  Did you know they have bacon vodka?  Don't even get me started...