The Bacon Patch Cures Our Need to Actually Eat the Stuff. Just Scratch and Sniff
Does the smell of bacon make you think of home? Mom's cooking? Childhood mornings playing in the snow while someone inside prepares a hearty breakfast to fuel up for skiing? All of the above? Okay, that's just me. But I gave it up when I went plant-based and there were some moments when that smell would send me into a tailspin of craving. Now, in a "behavioral" conditioning experiment, a professor has created a patch for that.
Charles Spence, Oxford University professor of experimental psychology, recently partnered with Strong Roots, a plant-based food company, to create the bacon patch. It's designed for vegans or anyone else struggling to stay off the meat, Business Insider reports.
The idea is that the person wearing the patch scratches it when they’re experiencing a craving for bacon. After scratching, the patch will emit the smell of cooked bacon. And you're to tell yourself that this is all you need to skip the savory bite. Just inhale, tell yourself, I'm so over you, and pass the tofu.
Bacon has more emotional power than most other foods. For me, there is an indelible connection between family memories and bacon. When you give up bacon and meat, go plant-based or vegan, the smell of bacon still triggers that powerful reaction.
When my brother orders bacon, it's with a serious dedication to getting it cooked just right: "Crispy. Almost burnt. So crispy that if you dropped it on the floor it would shatter!" He first heard this indelible line from our grandfather, an irascible and lovable man who always knew what he wanted, and usually got it. But that was decades ago. Now I wonder if "Dad" as we called him, would even eat bacon today. Or would his long-time nutrition and health-minded wife have taken it away in an effort to force him to be heart healthier? I can almost hear the argument they'd have now. It would have led to major pushback and a few roars.
For moments like this, bacon-lovers can now turn to the new patch, since studies have shown that "scent can reduce food cravings,” Spence told an interviewer in the UK with The Independent. “Experiencing food-related cues such as smelling a bacon aroma, can lead us to imagine the act of eating that food.”
Strong Roots partnered with boxer Tommy Fury to promote the patch for Veganuary.
I used to love bacon. Now I think the patch is no longer necessary since only the memories of bacon are appealing to me. I'm not actually swayed by the smell or tempted to nibble on a piece. But for anyone still in the throes of bacon's lure, this could be just the trick. If you're quitting smoking and meat—you can have one patch for nicotine, one for bacon, and see which one works best for you.
Me? I need a patch for movie popcorn and another one possible for baking chocolate chip cookies. So when Spence makes one of those, sign me up.