Despite the numerous health risks associated with consuming processed meats, pork products are the most commonly consumed meats worldwide and are responsible for a total of 36 percent of all meat consumption. Not only is this highly unfortunate for the pigs but pork consumption also comes with serious human health risks, including foodborne illnesses such as e.coli, trichinosis, and salmonella, as well as hepatitis E (pork is the top food source of the life-threatening virus). Consumption of pork products might also increase the risk of multiple sclerosis, while research has also shown that pork has been linked to degenerative liver conditions such as cirrhosis and cancer. Add to that the environmental damage for which hog farms are responsible, and we don’t understand why so many people love bacon. Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem, and that answer is vegan bacon. With this in mind, we’re highlighting seven cruelty-free bacons that’ll have the hippest of hipsters reminding themselves that there’s nothing more cutting edge than a cruelty-free diet.
1. The Herbivorous Butcher Maple Glazed Bacon, Hickory Smoked Bacon, and Canadian Bacon
Similar to all-things Herbivorous Butcher, these faux bacons are meaty (in all the right ways). Chewy and with the ability to crisp to perfection, these bacons are great stacked in sandwiches or alongside vegan flapjacks, waffles, and French toast. Even better? Eat them over the frying pan while they’re still hot. Don’t worry—we won’t judge. If you live in Minnesota, you can pick up these plant-based treats locally. Otherwise, they ship!
2. Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan
This meaty, chewy, versatile seitan bacon makes a most excellent BLT loaded with heirloom tomatoes, vegan mayonnaise, arugula, and sprouted grain toast. Cook it long if you like your bacon super crisp or just slightly warm them in a pan if you’re a chewy bacon fan. Available in many natural food stores and Whole Foods Markets, this bacon is ideal for a quick breakfast on the go or a bountiful Sunday brunch.
3. Lightlife Smart Bacon
Perfect for the meat-eater looking to go vegan, Lightlife offers a meaty plant-based bacon that cooks crisp and chewy. Similar in taste to Upton’s, Smart Bacon can be found in major supermarkets (be sure to look for coupons) … and on breakfast plates of vegans from California to Maine.
4. Sweet Earth Hickory & Sage Smoked Seitan Bacon
Sage and smokiness give Sweet Earth’s veggie bacon a rich umami flavor that tastes great in a BLT. It’s also delicious when chopped and tossed with pasta, green peas, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast.
5. Lightlife Fakin’ BaconTempeh Strips
Lightlife’s tempeh bacon is excellent on your barbecue grill! Just be sure not to drop it through the slats. Serve alongside grilled vegetables and corn for an excellent al fresco meal.
6. Tofurky Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh
Tofurky is best known for its holiday roast, sausages, and deli slices, but the company is one of the world’s best tempeh producers, too. This Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh is no exception, as the product is another great cruelty-free bacon for your favorite sandwich or breakfast spread.
Photo courtesy of Sweet Earth