Updated: Sep 2, 2022
An amazing plant-based, vegan-friendly, soy-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free Air-Fried Carrot BaCAN'T recipe that makes approximately 6 servings and takes about 15 minutes to prepare, with an additional 30 minutes for cook time.
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People love bacon, especially Americans, with over 2 billion pounds of bacon produced in the United States annually. The average American consumes about 18 pounds each year, accounting for 18 percent of all pork consumption in the United States (1). In 2020, the most frequently purchased brand of bacon was Oscar Mayer (2). Oscar Mayer Naturally Hardwood Smoked Thick Cut Bacon has an ingredient list that includes being cured with water, salt, sugar, sodium phosphates, sodium ascorbate, and sodium nitrite.
So aside from the main ingredient of pork, bacon is filled with cholesterol, sodium, and fat linked to so many diseases, including a risk factor for diabetes. This isn't just limited to pork consumption like most think (3). According to U.S. News & World Report, the worst cancer-causing foods are red meats such as beef, veal, pork, lamb, and goat and processed meats such as hot dogs, luncheon meats, ham, and bacon (4). Processed meats have been linked to chronic diseases such as high blood pressure (hypertension), heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (5). Research also suggests that highly processed foods are tied to higher cancer risks. Breast cancer, in particular, was associated with greater consumption of mass-produced, ultra-processed foods because these foods may often be loaded with sugar, salt, and fat while lacking vitamins, fiber, and other nutritional value (6).
That's not including the salt and sodium content of bacon, which is 240 mg per slice of bacon. According to the American Heart Association, extra sodium (salt) in the bloodstream pulls water into your blood vessels, which leads to an increased total amount (volume) of blood inside them. With more blood flowing through your blood vessels, blood pressure rises. Over time, high blood pressure may overstretch or injure the blood vessel walls and speed up plaque build-up leading to a heart attack.
Eating less sodium can reduce your risk for high blood pressure and bloating, and stave off other effects of too much salt. And did you know that reducing sodium in the food supply could save money and lives? One study suggested that if Americans moved to an average intake of 1,500 mg/day sodium, it could result in a 25.6 percent overall decrease in blood pressure and an estimated $26.2 billion in health care savings. Another study projected that achieving this goal would reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease by anywhere from 500,000 to nearly 1.2 million over the next 10 years (7).
Salt can also reduce the amount of urinary protein, which is a significant risk factor for developing kidney disease (8). Unfortunately, most Americans have way too much sodium in their diets. If you already have unhealthy kidneys, this may cause swollen ankles, puffiness, a rise in blood pressure, shortness of breath, and fluid around your heart and lungs due to extra sodium and fluid buildup (9). The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,3000mg of sodium per day and is leaning more towards an ideal limit of 1,500mg per day for an adult (10).
What if you could get the excellent taste of bacon without the risk of illness? Now you can, with Carrot baCAN'T. According to my husband, this stuff tastes just like regular bacon, and he wasn't plant-based when he took a bite of it alongside a real piece of bacon for comparison. So without further ado, I present to you all the yumminess of bacon without the dead animal or clogged arteries! I am allergic to soy and have adapted to a plant-based lifestyle (no meat or dairy); this recipe is vegan-friendly, plant-based, soy-free, and dairy-free.