Updated: Jul 6
If you follow me on Instagram or if we are friends in the real world, you know how much I love bacon.
Almost six years ago, I lost my baby weight eating bacon and other delicious foods. Like, 40 pounds. (7 are back on after sugar and wine for the holidays, but that's why I am participating with my ladies in our 28 Day Reset).
Here is the trick: eat real food. It's simple, really.
Two days ago, I was preparing for our Reset. I knew I would be "depriving" myself of things that make me feel safe and happy, like coffee, wine, and sugar. I know how bad these things are for me. I don't say this in the moral sense. I am not judging you for eating the way you want to eat. I say it because I am a trained nutritionist and I know the physiological havoc these chemicals wreak on the body, especially the female body.
So, considering all of these things, I decided to eat a donut before lunch and some crappy packaged cookies later in the day.
My kindergartener and I were on a morning date (okay, he was tagging along on my errands), and we passed by the donut shop on the way to the dollar store. I considered how cheap it would be to buy a donut for one kid instead of four. So we went in. And he got one. And I got one.
Since I don't eat donuts or cookies regularly (again, not judging you), I freaking paid the price the next day. I felt like I was coming down with a major cold. My body was achy, my head hurt, my throat hurt, and I was exhausted. This is not how I normally feel. (It was a big donut, ok? I'm not judging you. Don't judge me.)
I know it wasn't a bug because it was gone after about 8 hours. It never got worse. It was my body fighting off the effects of inflammation due to sugar consumption.
How the heck does that work?
In this 1973 study, scientists showed the mechanism of action of sugar on the immune system.
The scientists had their subjects fast overnight. Then they drew their subjects' blood. That blood was mixed with a Staphylococcus bacteria. Then the subjects had to drink 100 grams of glucose, fructose, sucrose, honey, or orange juice. Then blood was drawn again, and that subsequent sample was mixed with the same staph strain.
Here is what they found: the fasted blood increased white blood cell activity against the staph. The sugar-laden blood decreased the white blood cell activity against the staph.
Before you go all intermittant fasting ninja on me, realize that the point of the study was for transient, short term effects. If you are a woman and you are reducing your calories long-term through IF, your immune system will suffer.
So: a simple sugar rush in the blood = decreased neutrophilic activity = less robust immune system.
Why did I feel like crap yesterday? Because, science. Our bodies are constantly fighting bacterial and viral invaders. I don't really want to give my body a reason not to fight off infection. Simple sugars will decrease your body's ability to fight.
So, I think that brings us back to bacon.
What does bacon do? In its most simple function, it balances blood sugar. Protein and fat work to stabilize the glycemic response of other foods. People are freaked out of bacon with a tiny bit of sugar in it, used as a preservative. I am not. The protein and fat will mitigate any rise in blood sugar.
Think about this: how do you feel after a breakfast of just oatmeal? Hungry? Irritated? Bloated? Maybe you feel fine afterwards, in which case you are a true Carbohydrate Type. You are a very small percentage of the population. Most of us, women especially, need more protein and fat.
How do you feel after a breakfast of four strips of bacon, 1/4 melon, and 4 cups of kale sauteed in bacon fat? That's what my ladies all had for breakfast this morning. I ate it, too. This breakfast keeps you full, gives you a clear mind, relieves nervousness and irritability, and helps you stick to your "diet".
People actually lose weight eating this stuff. How great is that?
In this way, bacon is a functional food.
"Functional foods are foods that have a potentially positive effect on health beyond basic nutrition." (Mayo Clinic)
Try 28 days without eating any simple sugar. Fruit is fine. Fruit is great, actually. I am talking about not eating foods that give you a sugar rush. If you commit to this, you may notice you get sick less often. You may notice you have more energy.
Other functional foods:
Flax seed meal:
Sweeps excess estrogens out of the body. Try two tablespoons in a smoothie.
Relaxes you physically and mentally without the health-depleting effects of alcohol. Drink instead of wine for 28 days.
Pulls heavy metals out of tissue and detoxifies the body. Make a delicious chimichurri sauce for your tri tip or steak (also functional foods!). SWAP CILANTRO FOR PARSLEY IN THIS DELICIOUS CHIMICHURRI SAUCE.
Make it and let me know what you think!
Yours in health,