Monday, May 17, 2010

Hidden Sources of MSG

Hey guys... How was your Monday?

Mine was actually pretty good, considering I didn't sleep much last night. My accupuncturist (who I see every Monday morning) adjusted my treatment to address this recurring insomnia, so hopefully it'll be a thing of the past soon enough. Cross your fingers and toes for me!

Last night, Ryan fired up the grill again. He threw down, per usual.

Have I mentioned what an amazing meal Soy Salmon and Grilled Corn on the Cob is? If I haven't, I have now. Oh, and can we get a woop-woop for no pots and pans to wash on a Sunday night? I love life.

Today, after my accupuncture, JGago and I met up at the Living Room Cafe in La Jolla to work. I love having a mobile office, especially when it includes an ocean view and a giant bowl of fruit. Heart.

That's an ocean through that window. Sigh....

If you ever visit San Diego, please go to La Jolla. It's beautiful.

Tonight, though I was exhausted like none other, I really wanted to cook something tasty. It feels like I'm always having to rush through meals. To be truthful, I mostly "fake it" as a cook. You've heard of Semi-Homemade. My show would be called Barely Homemade. I like to think of myself as the ambassador for all those 30-minute meal'ers out there.

This meal used some chicken breasts, EVOO, chopped garlic, fresh mushrooms, chicken stock, and a box of Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice.

I wanted the chicken to have a nice carmel color and some char, so I used a litle EVOO and some chopped garlic in the pan.

Once the chicken was brown, I added in some chicken stock and mushrooms to the pan. First, of course, I had to clean the mushrooms. This is an example of how you're NOT supposed to clean mushrooms.

Yes pajamas. Don't judge. And no, I wasn't drinking while I cooked. Doesn't everyone keep a beer bottle beside the soap dish? Geez.

See, if you rinse your mushrooms (as I'm doing there), you run the risk of them getting waterlogged. But, then, I like to live dangerously.

Into the pan they go.

A word on chicken stock and MSG.

Many of the chicken stocks you buy will proudly display the words NO MSG, since so many people are sensitive to MSG and the public has become increasingly aware of its harmful affects.

Unfortunately, there is a gap in the system, which allows manufacturers to use other alternative substances that contain MSG. These companies do not have to disclose that MSG does actually appear in these products.Therefore, if you are MSG-sensitive or are just trying to avoid it (wise), you should look for the words "autolyzed yeast extract" or hydrolyzed vegetable protein," among others. Both are hidden sources of MSG.

My stock actually does contain one of these. Eep! Obviously, I won't be buying this brand again. To learn more about hydrolyzed vegetable protein, a food filler found in MANY vegetarian foods, read my recent article here. Oh, and I don't get money for hits. I'm just passing along info. Promise. :)

I brought the shrooms to a boil and then added in my boxed seasoning and rice.

While that stuff was working its magic, I made us a couple quick salads using romaine, persian cucumbers, and the most perfect little sweet cherry tomatoes.

By this time, the shrooms and rice had done their business, and I added the chicken back in just to warm up.

This was super good, and honestly, no one would ever know that the rice was from a mix. Great weeknight supper!

Okay, I'm going to go soak in the tub and try to get myself sleepy. If that doesn't work, I'm throwing in the towel, declaring Insomnia the victor, and taking a Nyquil. Sometimes, it's required. This writer requires sleep.

**Silly Survey**

Do you avoid MSG?
What other foods/additives/things do you avoid in food?
Do you buy "organic" items like produce and milk?



  1. That is good info about the msg hiding. I can't believe that can trick us like that! I do like to buy organics, when I can afford it, especially to avoid yucky things like that.

    Also, I'm with Samantha, making your own chicken stock rules. I save chicken bones and veggie trimmings (like the ends of carrots, onions, celery, etc) in the freezer. Whenever I need stock I throw them in a pot, fill it with water, and let it roll for a while, and soon, yummy stock.

    Thanks for the post!

  2. You know, just recently I learned about this whole 'don't rinse the mushrooms' thing. I am definitely not a trained chef!

  3. thank you for the MSG info! i'm not too sensitive to it, but when i was in southeast asia it definitely affected me.

  4. I'm trying to cut out a lot of additives. I'm also trying to limit the amount of high fructose corn syrup and other corn products we consume....I think it's in everything. I'm really doing my best to make most things from scratch. I haven't made my own stock yet because, honestly, the whole skimming the chicken fat thing really grosses me out. I buy as much organic produce as I can find and try to buy other products organic too. All of our vegetarian products this time were organic as were our corn chips (those were non GMO too!) I can't afford organic milk or dairy products :) I'm switching to organic cage free eggs soon...I found reasonably priced ones.


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