In honour of the ridiculous report released by the WHO earlier this week (saying that bacon and red meat are akin to cigarettes regarding cancer risk), I’ve decided to share a go-to appetizer in my house – Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites! This doesn’t even really require a recipe per se, it’s more basic directions for the world’s best appetizer!
But briefly, before I jump into the awesomeness that are my BGT Bites, I just want to post a few links to solid articles (and my favourite quotes from each) to put you at ease for eating both red meat and bacon:
World Health Organization, Meat & Cancer – Zoe Harcombe
“…the baseline for the processed meat eaters showed that they were far less active, had a higher BMI, were THREE TIMES more likely to smoke and almost TWICE as likely to have diabetes. This makes processed meat a MARKER of an unhealthy person, not a MAKER of an unhealthy person.” (bold emphasis is mine)
The Link Between Meat & Cancer – Dr. Sarah Ballantyne
“Where heme becomes a problem is in your gut: the cells lining your digestive tract metabolize it into cytotoxic compounds (meaning toxic to living cells), which can then damage your colonic mucosa, cause cell proliferation, and increase fecal water toxicity—all of which raise cancer risk….Here’s where vegetables come to the rescue! Chlorophyll, the pigment in plants that makes them green, has a molecular structure that’s very similar to heme. As a result, chlorophyll can block the metabolism of heme in your intestinal tract and prevent those toxic metabolites from forming. Instead of turning into harmful byproducts, heme ends up metabolized into inert compounds that are no longer toxic or damaging to your colon.” (bold emphasis is mine)
Bacon Causes Cancer? Sort of. Not Really. Ish. – Sarah, Zhang at Wired
“…smoking increases your relative risk of lung cancer by 2,500 percent; eating two slices of bacon a day increases your relative risk for colorectal cancer by 18 percent. Given the frequency of colorectal cancer, that means your risk of getting colorectal cancer over your life goes from about 5 percent to 6 percent…” (bold emphasis is mine)
“[The list of carcinogenic compounds] includes processed meat, and also asbestos. Also alcohol (boo!) and sunlight (yup!).”
“Risk assessment involves looking at different scenarios, finding out real-world exposure levels, and weighing possible benefits. (Useful drugs like Tamoxifen—used to treat breast cancer—are also carcinogens, for example.)”
The moral of the story is: The medical literature simply does not support these recommendations. I am confident in my understanding of the medical literature, to continue to recommend the consumption of a moderate amount of meat (ideally grass-fed, pasture-raised whenever possible) along side as many vegetables as possible.
Now that that’s out of the way….BACON!
Bacon, Guac & Tomato Bites (a.k.a. BGT Bites)
1 lb pastured bacon (or organic thick cut)
1-2 cups guacamole (see recipe)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Slice each piece of bacon into 4 equal pieces. If the slice of bacon is particularly short, only cut into 3 pieces. They lose quite a bit of their size once cooked, so don’t cut too small!
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until very crisp.
- Option 1: lay flat on parchment paper lined baking sheet
- Option 2: line baking sheet with tin foil, place baking rack on top, lay bacon on rack. This allows you to save the rendered back grease for later use (hello bacon-fried eggs and bacon-mayo!)
- Meanwhile, make a batch of guacamole. If you’re out of time, or there aren’t any ripe avocados, Wholly Guacamole is fairly clean. As is the one found at Costco.
- Slice the grape/cherry tomatoes into discs – approximately 3-4 slices per tomato.
- Remove bacon and let cool.
- NOTE: If you are assembling this appetizer elsewhere, store the 3 ingredients in separate containers. You can transport the guac in the ziploc bag (see below), just make sure to squish it all into one corner and get rid of every last bit of air to prevent it from browning! Keep the bacon and tomatoes in separate containers to prevent the bacon from getting soggy. A piece of paper towel in with the bacon can also help this.
- Assemble BGT Bites – line a serving tray with bacon pieces. Spoon the guac into the corner of a ziploc bag. Cut off the corner and use like a pastry bag – squeezing a dollop of guac onto each piece of bacon. Top with a tomato slice!