"What's that smell?"

It’s a question you'll never hear when bacon is frying.

When bacon's robust distinctive loveliness wafts through the house, restaurant, or campground, you can count on seeing heads tilted up, eyes closed, with sublime smiles of content. Plus there’s the verbal confirmation: "I SMELL BACON!"

Few things in the sensory realm hold such a culinary hierarchy as cooking our beloved smoke-cured pig. Its deserved accolades extend way beyond standing guard over a plate of scrambled eggs!

Or, when you walk into the mall and it whacks you... CINNAMON... and that sweet, yeasty dough smell just makes you keep walking, nose in the air, searching for the very thing you gave up on New Year's Eve (again).

I hear you, I empathize with you, and I'm here to tell you it’s OK! It’s OK to swoon over grease, it's OK to linger in a spot where you're in sensory overload, it's OK to... yes, dare I say it... indulge!

Just not all the time!

I understand the last thing you need to hear about is one more D.I.E.T. (Do I Eat This?) meal, plan, or program. However I would like to give you a few tips on how to "manuever the mission,” providing you’re not dealing with a pre-existing health challenge or a serious illness.

1. Integrate Instead of Eradicate

Integrate new foods into your pantry. Go slow, trying one thing at a time. Swapping healthy fats into your diet is as simple as using grass fed butter, organic coconut oil, and olive oil. Omit hydrogenated and trans fats.

2. Restructure Instead Of Restrict

Try using smaller plates (tapas style) so you’re limiting your portion size. Eat more variety. I'm a fan of having a few bites of different things versus a lot of bites of the same thing. Try eating some sweet chile pumpkin seeds, garlic roasted edamame, and green goddess avocado dip with freshly cut veggies or crostini (as opposed to eating seven bites of meatloaf). You'll be satiated and happy!

3. Add Instead Of Subtract

If you're someone who doesn't like to drink plain water, try infusing it with lemon, lime, orange, or whatever fruit or unsweetened extract you prefer. The goal is to stay hydrated!

Also, if you don’t already do this, add the habit of reading labels. So many products contain chemicals our bodies simply cannot break down. Rule of thumb: if you can't pronounce it, don't put it in your body. I like to challenge folks to go "label-less" just for a day — eating things without labels, whole foods (like fruits and vegetables) and bulk grains. Go ahead, try it!

4. Participate Instead Of Exclude

Everyone is busy and doesn't have time to overhaul their daily meal preparations. Just try to perfect one meal at a time per week. This week I'll learn healthier breakfasts, next week lunches, and so on. Create your own "healthful hacks." Include others in the process to participate to better understand the changes!

5. Reward Instead Of Reprimand

Even small changes at first will give you incentive to continue. You'll see results quickly from just omitting chemicals from your daily intake and adding lemon to your water. It frees up some of the stress on your liver to filter out the toxins. And remember: it's not what you do some of the time, it's what you do most of the time. Indulgences every now and then don’t mean you need to "abort the mission!"

Bottom line is, we're creative, social beings who need each other to survive. That's why Grandma's mashed potatoes always tasted better than anyone else's because she made them with us in mind... with love! And the enjoyment comes not only in partaking in the food, but in preparing it. It makes all the difference.

Plus, food always tastes better when you can smell it cooking.

Bacon anyone?

This article was written by: Eileen Smith

Photo Credit: Katie Smith