Skillet Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, and Pear

Cooking with Bacon Fat

The best--and possibly, the only acceptable--way to cook brussel sprouts is with bacon. Sautéing bacon and then frying the Brussel sprouts using the rendered fat is not only convenient, but to-die-for delicious. And it's not only delicious, it's healthy! "Cooking with bacon fat is healthy???"

Yes.

Since the 70's,  government pushes for lowering cholesterol, lowering dietary fat, and eating only vegetable oils, have caused Americans to mistakenly believe that fat is the reason for many modern conditions such as heart disease. 

Nina Tiecholz stated in her book, The Big Fat Surprise, “The idea that fat and saturated fat are unhealthy has been so ingrained in our national conversation for so long that we tend to think of it more as ‘common sense’ than scientific hypothesis. But, like many of our beliefs about the links between diet and disease, this one, too, began as an idea, proposed by a group of researchers, with its origin fixed at a moment in time” (19). 

The notion that fat is unhealthy for your heart turned the food industry absolutely upside-down, eventually changing the way companies marketed food and, in turn, changing the way Americans thought about food... "Fat just makes you fat!" 

Nothing could be further from the truth. but the simplicity of the idea made it all to easy to adopt. 

Does fat make you fat?

A definitive, absolute, unwavering NO.

Increasing your fat intake--butter, animal fats, whole plant fats (and I mean real fats like fresh avocado, coconut fat, and nuts)--will actually help you LOSE WEIGHT!

How is that possible? Fats play a critical role in managing and balancing body systems--including weight. They help slow down the digestion of sugars, allowing the body to properly use carbs, fats, and proteins instead of just storing them as fat. Fats themselves are precursors for hormones, which help regulate body functions like metabolism and weight. Every cell in the body has a cell wall made of phospholipids--a combination of different fats and molecules that need to let specific nutrients in the cell and waste and toxins out.  Fats are also critical for the digestion of vitamins A, E, D and K. Your body cannot uptake and use these vitamins without fat. 

Fat keeps the body in balance--steadily using energy and resources at a constant, steady, healthy rate. 

Think of refined carbohydrates, on the other hand. Breads, cookies, chips, crackers, pasta and candies spike sugar levels in the body. The body then experiences a stress response to deal with this influx of sugar (all carbohydrates eventually break down to simple sugars). Organs like the pancreas, adrenals, and liver have to kick into overdrive to put all this sugar somewhere, storing some in the muscles and liver and the rest as fat. 

The body is still left unsatisfied, however, because fat is critical in helping the body feel full and content. So we crave more sugar to keep us going and the vicious cycle starts over and over. The body is unable to keep body systems balanced, and everything from weight management to hormone balance to blood sugar regulation go out the window. 

Cook with quality fat, but by all means, remove the refined carbohydrates!

The intake of refined carbohydrates has skyrocketed in American within the last 100 years (and, what do you know... so has heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and mental illness). The push for a low-fat diet in America really pushed for a diet high in refined carbs. The FDA even built a food pyramid with bread, pasta, and cereal as the staple for the American diet, although for thousands of years the center of the human diet had consisted of whatever indigenous plants or produce they could grow, and meat and dairy. In contrast to that, the FDA only supported fatty, mineral-rich, or nutrient-dense foods in very, very small amounts. 

Real, whole food will renew and replenish the body with the building blocks it needs to flourish. Replace breads and pasts with vegetables. Replace crackers and cookies with nuts and fruit. Replace carbonated, sugary drinks with naturally-sweet and fizzy kvass or probiotic drinks

Brussel Sprouts and Bacon

When cooking with animal products it is still important to cook with quality fat from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals. These animals will have the right fatty acid profile that is healthy for us to eat. Animals who are fed a grain-based diet when they are meant to eat grass is both unethical and unhealthy for us.

Quality meats from local farmers who take good care of their animals and feed them their natural diet are the best option. There are many ways to find quality meats that are not expensive, although it might take some research in your area. 

This recipe for Brussel sprouts and bacon was inspired by a local restaurant here in Utah who add a splash of orange juice to their braised, locally-produced brussel sprouts. With pears being in season this time of year, I decided to add a little sweetness by adding some chopped pears to this easy stir-fry. Use pears that are not completely ripe for this recipe. Slightly firmer than what you would typically bite into is perfect for softening them up in the pan without creating a mushy mess.

This dish is going on my Thanksgiving table this week! It's one of my favorites--would love to hear what you think as well! Leave any comments or questions below!

GAPS diet holiday dishes

GAPS diet holiday dishes

 

 

Skillet Brussel Sprouts, Bacon, and Pear
Author: Amy MoffatPrep time:2 minCook time:15Servings:3-4

Ingredients

2 lb uncooked Brussel sprouts, washed and stems trimmed (like you would cut the thick part off of a cabbage)
1/2 cup chicken broth
6-8 oz uncured, sugar-free bacon
1-2 small Bartlett pears, peeled and diced
Sea salt

Directions:

Cut bacon into small pieces.
In an extra large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until fat has rendered and bacon is crispy on both sides.
Remove the bacon, leaving the fat in the pan.
Add the Brussel sprouts, and about 1/4 c broth. Cook Brussel sprouts until fork tender, adding water and stirring occasionally so they do not burn. About 8-10 minutes.
Add the pears and cook until tender.
Remove from heat.
Add bacon back in and salt to taste.
Serve immediately.

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