I'm just your everyday stay-at-home mom, approaching 40 way faster than I would like, trying to stop the madness that is my expanding waistline. And I. Love. Food. In the summer of 2011, I discovered Clean Eating while battling a rare food allergy. I lost 15 pounds that first year just by changing the way that I eat. This blog is just one of many resources I hope you will frequent if you love food as much as I do and are interested in eating better...healthier....cleaner!
"It is the food that we eat which is responsible for shaping such a vast array of body types. Yes, the food!" - Tosca Reno, Author of The Eat Clean Diet
Let's begin with a show of hands if you have ever avoided a Chinese Restaurant because of the rumors that have spun for the past several decades that they use MSG in their foods and you wanted nothing to do with MSG?!? Maybe you didn't know what it was, but the rumors had you panicked? Or, maybe you got an upset stomach every time you ate it so you stopped?
Ok, moving on. (You can put your hand down, btw.) Do you eat at Chick-fil-A? Burger King? KFC? If so, then you are SO consuming that MSG you've tried so hard to avoid!
For the purpose of this post, I am focusing on Chick-fil-A. The main reason is that I know a lot of people (including myself) who consider...er, considered...CFA the healthiest alternative to popular fast-food. Plus, their people are just so doggone polite. Who doesn't love CFA??
So what is MSG anyway, you ask? And is it really THAT bad for you? Uummm...yes! Ever had to run to the bathroom 15 minutes after consuming food from a food establishment? It's probably MSG.
MSG is a flavor enhancer that tricks your tongue into thinking that a certain food is high in protein and therefore nutritious. It stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin when there may not even be carbohydrates in the food you are eating for that insulin to act upon. The body also changes excess glutamate to GABA, which may be addictive. MSG can be produced using several methods, one of which is to create it chemically. As far as I have found, the FDA currently does not require food suppliers to disclose which of these methods was used for the MSG they use in their foods, nor is it likely that many food establishments know for themselves.
MSG is also a nervous system stimulant that is directly linked to obesity and diabetes and yet still has approval from the FDA. It has also been proven to negatively affect children and adults with asthma, allergies, food intolerances, digestive issues, migraines, hypertension, and depression. In fact, glutamate blockers are now being used to treat a host of diseases from Alzheimer's to Multiple Sclerosis.
I first found out about CFA using MSG through one of my favorite clean-eating websites, www.100daysofrealfood.com. You can find the original post about it here. I. Was. Mortified! No...more like crushed! CFA was the ONE fast-food establishment I allowed myself an occasional cheat meal from. I mean, their chicken IS "100% Natural" after all, right?
While I don't doubt their claim about using 100% natural chicken, it's what they conveniently leave out that should get your attention.
The seasoning used in all of Chick-fil-A's fried chicken is the second ingredient. Of the five ingredients in the seasoning, MSG is listed second (after salt). This means there is more MSG in the seasoning than there is sugar, spices, and paprika.
On Chick-fil-A's website, they claim the "secret" to why their food tastes so good is "fresh ingredients." While this may be true for their fruits and vegetables and tea (which uses real tea leaves, not a mix, thank the heavens), it is definitely NOT true for that which is the essence of Chick-fil-A: the chicken! Bummer.
While MSG is widely used in restaurants across the world (and not just the Chinese ones-who are actually following the trend of taking it OUT of their food now), it is not widely KNOWN to their consumers. And while there are two bigger offenders of using MSG in front of Chick-Fil-A (KFC and Burger King), this petition is focused on Chick-fil-A for one simple reason. Not many people associate these other establishments as being healthier fast-food options. However, many people who do not eat at regular fast food restaurants DO eat at Chick-fil-A because of their "100% Natural" whole breast meat chicken. Drats. Duped again.
So in the interest of public awareness (and the teeniest hope that maybe CFA will take notice and make a change for the better) I started a petition on Change.org. You can sign the petition here. The goal of this petition is not only to request Chick-fil-A to make changes to their seasoning, but to bring about awareness to those of us who have frequented and fell in love with this "healthier" alternative to typical fast food.