I am often asked, “why aren’t you xxx pounds, or “have you checked your cholesterol lately?” Why? I have fallen in love with eating Mangalitsa pig which is extremely high in unsaturated fat. From pork belly, mangalitsa bacon, and lardo, the fat is undeniably tasty.
Unfortunately in america we have grown up with a phobia about fat. Fat is bad for you and fat will kill you is the basic underlying phobia. Both are categorically wrong. As a competitive athlete for most of my life I have never worried how much fat I ate because I was always burning a ton of calories. When I retired from cycling I did gain some weight, because being 160lbs and being 6’1″ is extremely light, but I am not overweight now.
Let’s get physical…your body can create energy using two sources, sugar (glycogen) or fat. When you eat a natural source of fat your body knows what to do with it. It’s not alien. Unfortunately in the past two or three decades the fat phobia has created food groups with no fat. The question is, what replaced it? In most cases the replacement is sugar. When your body has too much sugar it will either store it, and it will turn to fat later. So instead of burning fat or the existing sugar in your system, this “low-fat” high sugar bomb will require your body to burn it or store it. You get nowhere in trying to lose weight. If you digest too much sugar it will go through your system via urine. I don’t have cold hard facts, but the rise of diabetes in the country would suggest a correlation between “low-fat” foods and rising sugar content in our diet with diabetes. Don’t be fooled by low-fat food.
Here is a perfect example of a misleading label. From acclaimed writer Michael Ruhlman he recently posted this label. http://ruhlman.com/2010/06/misleading-food-labels.html Low-fat half and half, are you kidding me? What’s low-fat about corn syrup, the second most abundant ingredient. In Vienna, they serve a coffee called the Einspanner. A coffee with a dollop of real whipped cream, and it was so good because it was real cream. I’m still alive to talk about it too!! We have to become more educated on what draws us to particular foods and what we are eating. We cannot allow creative food labeling to trick us.
To maintain a healthy diet in our home, we attempt to cook unprocessed foods a majority of the time and we don’t necessarily stay away from fat. In addition to low-fat, anything hydrogenated should also be avoided. Don’t allow a chemist to touch your food, and you will be healthier..I promise. By eating natural sources of fat, protein, and carbohydrates your body will have the ability to naturally digest the food.
Pictured here is homemade Mangalitsa bacon after being cured for 8 days and slowed cooked for several hours. I have used it for dishes like Eggs Benedict and Pasta Carbonara. Yes, look at that fat!! Have some, it will not kill you.
If you want the recipe to make bacon I suggest the book Charcuterie by Ruhlman or you can look at this link http://ruhlman.com/2010/10/home-cured-bacon-2.html to make it. It’s very easy and the results are amazing.