Bacon Coleslaw + a rant about nitrates & our food supply

Mayonnaise. Loooooooooove it. No apologies for it, either. Nom, nom, nom!

I’ve heard french fries dipped in mayonnaise is really, really good…if you like mayonnaise. Which I do. And for this very reason I have never tried my fries dipped in mayonnaise. We don’t need to add insult to injury, if you know what I mean.

But I can “justify” my love for mayonnaise. 1) I don’t use it much. And when I do, it’s low-fat. But there’s just some places (COUGHCOUGHcoleslawCOUGHCOUGH) where it belongs. 2) I don’t like butter. You read that right. I don’t put butter on anything really…not bread, or pancakes, or green beans…nope, nope, nope. I think over the course of a lifetime I will have less atherosclerosis with my mayonnaise that I would lathering everything with butter. Nothing against you butter lovers…I’m just saying..

I may have mentioned this once upon a time, but many years ago my in-laws and I were brainstorming ideas of summer jobs for my sister-in-law. She was in high school at the time and needed summer work. One of her “prerequisites” for a job was that she wouldn’t have to deal with mayonnaise. Hilarious!

People tend to have very strong opinions on that one condiment in particular. If you’re on the wrong other side of the fence on this one, sorry for ya. ‘Cause chances are you’re a butter lover. And if you’re a butter lover and a mayonnaise fiend…well, I just hope ranch dressing does not complete your trifecta of high-fat condiments, toppings, etc.

And, bacon. Well, it’s a rather popular ingredient among most. I would like to take this opportunity to share a little bacon story.

Like trans fats and hydrogenated oils, I prefer to avoid nitrates and nitrites like the plague. These preservatives are added to cured meats, such as bacon, to prevent rancidity and preserve that oh so pretty pink color in meat. Sadly, these are strongly linked with colon cancer and since they are 100% avoidable, I do just that.

As I rarely buy bacon, and it’s usually turkey bacon from Trader Joe’s, imagine my surprise when nitrate-free bacon at my local Kroger was $6.73!!! Now might be a good time to mention this was for 10 slices. Holy…sticker shock. Luckily, there was a $3.10 store coupon and I paid about half off for this bacon. Though it was not turkey bacon, it was nitrate-free. I am okay with this.

Had Mr. Prevention been with me, however, that purchase wouldn’t have happened (Mr. Cheap should be his name, really). I would’ve spend an hour and at least a gallon or two of gas to get to and from TJ’s for my silly turkey bacon (really, who’s more economical here?). But then I remember my FAVORITE take-home message from the film Food, Inc. It goes something like this…

We, as consumers, make a choice every time we purchase an item of food. Those choices drive supply and demand of our food supply and if more wholesome, natural foods are demanded, they will be produced.

It can’t always be about a price tag. At some point, it has to come down to right and wrong for health, well-being, and the nature of our food supply. I’m not a perfect consumer, but when there are products out there offering a superior product for a higher cost to an inferior and potentially harmful product at a lesser cost, we have to be the gatekeepers and do the right thing whenever possible.

That was deep. Nitrate-free bacon – WOO! Now let’s bring on this bacon coleslaw!

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Bacon Coleslaw slightly adapted from The Boys Made Me Do It

10 ounces coleslaw mix
1/2 red onion, diced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp low-fat mayonnaise
1 1/2 tsp sugar
3 pieces nitrate-free bacon, cooked and crumbled

Directions:

Put slaw into a bowl and add in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate for 1+ hours before serving to allow flavors to marry. Yield: 7 servings (1/2 cup each)

Nutrition Information (per 1/2 cup): 68 calories; 4.7 g. fat; 8 mg. cholesterol; 286 mg. sodium; 5.4 g. carbohydrate; 1.3 g. fiber; 1.7 g. protein

Result: I have died and gone to coleslaw heaven. Folks, thank me now. You will never find a better coleslaw…I double dog dare you to take me up on that challenge. You’ll lose. So delicious!! And the nutrition stats aren’t too shabby, either! A half cup is very satisfying…so creamy, rich, and delicious! Enjoy!

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Question: If you buy bacon, do you opt for nitrate-free?

Mayonnaise, bacon, (& butter) love,

Share With Your Friends!

28 Comments

  1. March 27, 2011 / 8:08 am

    I avoid Nitrates as well! My bacon comes from Applegate Farms!

  2. Holly
    March 27, 2011 / 8:15 am

    Okay, I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but I never knew exactly why nitrates are bad…I am SO glad to know this! I don’t eat bacon, well, hardly ever (unless I order it at a restaurant), but I’m definitely going to pay attention to this from now on!

  3. March 27, 2011 / 8:32 am

    Well…I’m not really a mayo lover. But it’s not really mayo itself, it’s more like all condiments. Mayo…ketchup…mustard unless it’s honey mustard or is really well hidden and even then I don’t want it lathered all over anything. I”m just weird though. You shouldn’t listen to me.

    I’m generally always okay about paying a bit more for the good quality stuff. It seems worth it to drive demand in the right direction!

  4. March 27, 2011 / 8:37 am

    Ohhhh, I love mayo. And YES, french fries dipped in mayonnaise is AMAZING!!!! Come over to the dark side, Nicole!! 🙂

  5. March 27, 2011 / 9:03 am

    I’m not a huge mayo person. I occasionally opt for it at the deli, but even then I like to control how much goes on (which would not be much!).

  6. March 27, 2011 / 10:31 am

    I’m not actually a big bacon eater. I know, I know, bacon is ALL the rage these days. It only gets purchased when the husband purchases it… he’s starting to get more conscious of what’s in his food (a side effect of living with yours truly) but I don’t think he knows to look for nitrate free varieties.

  7. March 27, 2011 / 10:40 am

    I have always and will always be a miracle whip girl. Hellmans is a clear second choice for me.

    That being said, I would eat a stick of butter – I prefer butter to miracle whip.

    I haven’t bought bacon in a while but I would buy nitrate free if I were buying it. I like turkey bacon more because I find it more crispy.

    Bacon + coleslaw sounds heavenly!

  8. March 27, 2011 / 11:25 am

    I LOVE mayonnaise too! I’ve switched to the mayo with olive oil and I can’t really tell the difference (like I could with fat free mayo – gross!).

  9. March 27, 2011 / 12:52 pm

    I love mayo. I feel like most people look at me like I’m gross when I say that. But I do, I love it. That one bite of sandwich where there’s a glob of mayo oozing out? That’s heaven.

    I think the bacon I usually buy is free of those N things. I don’t buy it very often but when I do, it’s expensive and it’s from Whole Foods, so I figure it’s probably safe? I’ll check the label next time…

  10. March 27, 2011 / 5:30 pm

    You can have my mayo if I can have your butter! Not a fan of mayo at all, but bacon does make everything better!

  11. March 27, 2011 / 6:44 pm

    I dont much of any type of meat, but I always, always, always read labels. If I dont know what an ingredient is, I keep looking. Or, I google it on my blackberry. I never knew how bad nitrates were, but I avoid them anyway because they arent FOOD. If its not food Im not interested.

  12. March 27, 2011 / 8:38 pm

    I always try to buy nitrate free foods. I don’t buy too much bacon though. This coleslaw looks mighty tasty I have to admit!
    I hate to admit that i like mayo and butter. Darn it!! 🙂

  13. Barbara
    March 28, 2011 / 9:12 am

    Sorry, I hope my last comment didn’t go through I was not through. Anyway, I don’t understand if you are a mayo lover…how can you eat low fat mayo? I have not found one low fat mayo that has the same delicious taste as whole mayo. I am on Weight Watchers and 1 tsp. of mayo is only 1 point. I make that teaspoon last. lol lol I too try to buy nitrite free bacon. But yesterday I lost my mind while in Walgreen’s and spotted Oscar Mayer bacon and decided I had to have bacon for breakfast this morning. So I guess I’m doing nitrites this morning. Love your blog!

  14. Carol Adams
    March 28, 2011 / 10:39 am

    Hey N-

    Love your post/rant!!
    I’m not a huge bacon lover and actually remove it when it happens to be in/on sandwiches that I order out.
    I so agree about how we sooo need to become more aware of what we put in our bodies. Our health depends on it.
    I love the movement to returning to putting “real” foods into our bodies and preparing more and more at home rather than relying on pre packaged and processed foods.
    As you have preached, it behooves us to read labels and take responsibility for what is put into our mouths.
    I have been very leery of any additives. This was after being so very addicted to Diet Coke over the years. I feel very strongly that anything that is that addicting just can’t be in ones best interest. I initially started my concern with the aspartame/artificial sweeteners but I now have concerns about many other additives.
    I began this concern after being diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease. We know that high fats cause coronary artery disease but I think that research is in it’s infancy in proving that other chemicals may be responsible for at least triggering other less obvious illnesses. Science just isn’t certain what causes ones body to attack itself in the autoimmune genre. Why couldn’t it be the additives in foods, chemicals and such in our environment?
    Ok, I’m done with my little rant!
    Thank you for imparting your knowledge but all the while encouraging us to eat well with your great recipes!
    Hugs!!!

  15. March 28, 2011 / 5:05 pm

    The coleslaw sounds GREAT!!!! 🙂

    I buy very, very little bacon, and when I buy it it’s nitrate-free.

    I agree, we do vote with our dollar, and what we spend it on really makes a difference (to our health as well as the food industry). I really try to buy high quality food and try to make sure I know where it comes from. To cut back on our grocery bill, we eat a lot cheap meals, like rice and beans, “clean out the fridge soups,” etc.

  16. Liz H
    March 28, 2011 / 8:16 pm

    I, too, avoided meats with nitrates and nitrites like the plague…until I read this from Cook’s Illustrated:

    “Nitrite has long been a controversial food additive, with studies showing it forms carcinogenic compounds called nitrosamines when heated in the presence of proteins, like those in bacon. Regular bacon is cured with nitrite (NO₂) or a virtually identical chemical, nitrate (NO₃), both of which act as preservatives, though only nitrite has the potential to form potentially harmful nitrosamines. Bacon labeled

  17. March 29, 2011 / 2:40 pm

    That recipe looks so good! I love mayo AND butter. I use low fat olive oil mayo when I do use it. I love french fries dipped in mayonnaise. I don’t do it that often just because it does seem a bit . . . much.

    Honestly, I never really thought about what was in my food until over a year ago when I realized that what I was eating was making me sick . . .literally. All of the nitrates, preservatives, and MSG were giving me migraines on a regular basis. I adore bacon so at that point I started buying nitrate free, all natural bacon. It is pricey. It’s typically $5.79. But sometimes the price is worth it for knowing that I am not putting a lot of crap in my body that will just make me sick. Not every Publix or Kroger sells the all natural bacon. I know that if I stop buying it then the store I go to may stop selling it. It’s important to show the stores that people ARE interested in healthier options.

  18. March 29, 2011 / 9:28 pm

    I like to purchase ntirate free turkey bacon that I eat sparingly and I just purchased some that I might use in this recipe! I definitely try to avoid nitrates in all my foods especially in deli meats. Fortunately, I have a food budget that allows me to picky about the foods I eat (even if I’m still addicted to Crystal Light and Diet Coke).

  19. March 30, 2011 / 5:33 pm

    OMG! I love mayonnaise! *LOVE* it!! I had a crazy mayo craving last night and went and bought a huge artichoke and dipped it in a big glob of mayo to eat it. So yummy.

    I agree with you and Food Inc! We the consumer drive the demands! The more we let the suppliers know what we want, the more it will become available and the prices will come down! For a single person I spend entirely too much money on food, but some things you’re just not willing to compromise on.

  20. May 25, 2012 / 5:18 pm

    Oh, shoot… I tend to consider myself pretty well-educated as far as what is good and what is not good for your body, but somehow I’ve missed this tidbit. I’ve been keeping bacon as a rare indulgence due to its fat contents, but now I have even more reason to eat it sparingly… nitrates! Thank you for the education, as always!

  21. September 6, 2012 / 2:58 pm

    Bravo, girlfriend! This was super good and as close to my grandmother’s recipe (minus the bacon) as I’ve come, and I absolutely loved it. I don’t think grandma would mind me adding some bacon 🙂

    • Nicole, RD
      Author
      September 7, 2012 / 11:56 am

      Yay! That’s wonderful!! And if grandma doesn’t approve of the bacon, I don’t know who else would! It really does make everything better! 🙂

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