It's becoming increasingly difficult to know exactly what is in food today. Recently, a medical researcher in Mississippi tested the ingredients in two major brands of chicken nuggets only to find that neither contains even 50% chicken! He published his findings, The Autopsy of Chicken Nuggets Reads “Chicken Little” in the American Journal of Medicine. He uncovered that these restaurant nuggets contain chicken parts (ground bones, tendons, ligaments, etc) that would typically go to animal feed.
Children in the Virginia school system have now started eating hamburgers with 26 additives – again! After a food advocacy group called Real Food for Kids successfully replaced these highly processed burgers for 100% beef patties, school officials requested that the 26 + ingredient patties be brought back because kids do not like the taste of the 100% beef patties.
In a world where the food landscape is constantly changing, how do we make sure that our children stay away from the "bad stuff"? Better yet, how do we teach the young generations to enjoy food and stay healthy at the same time?
The answer may be found in the foods children eat in school. The eating habits they build in the school cafeteria stick with them for the rest of their lives. This is why Wholesome Tummies is adamant about our core commitments: NO High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCs), NO Hydrogenated Fats (trans fats), and NO Artificial Mono-Sodium Glutamates (MSG) and why you won’t see any of these offenders on your child’s WT Café menu.
High fructose corn syrup, also known most recently as corn sugar, is a sweetener made by refining corn into glucose and adding enzymes that convert it to fructose. It is very cheap to produce and therefore found in abundance in many processed foods and sweetened beverages.
We strongly reject any HFCs in our foods because it harms the body, specifically the liver, which carries the burden of metabolizing fructose. When too much fructose reaches the liver, it turns it into fat and can create fatty liver disease. The impacts of a high sugar diet in young bodies can be detrimental later on in life. That is why we emphasize the use of natural sugars only and only in small amounts when our food absolutely calls for it.
Another dangerous ingredient lurking in the food supply is partially hydrogenated oil. America was introduced to partially hydrogenated oil in 1911 when Crisco began making an appearance on supermarket shelves. This was the first man made fat introduced into the food supply and became extremely popular in baked goods because it created a product with a very long shelf life. During World War II, this fat grew in popularity with the use of margarine (which is a hydrogenated oil) because butter was being rationed at the time. Hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to an oil in order to make it a solid at room temperature. They are exceptionally bad for the human body because they increase bad cholesterol levels and cannot be broken down by the body. Unfortunately, it was not until 2006 that a mandatory labeling law for trans fats became effective in the United States. Nonetheless, it is still very important to read your labels because a food manufacturer may still label their food as “0 Trans fats” if the amount present in the product is less than 0.5g per serving. Next time you reach for the pre-packaged breakfast bars in the supermarket, make sure they don’t contain any hydrogenated or partially-hydrogenated oils.
We avoid artificial ingredients in our foods because we believe in making our meals from scratch. This is why artificial MSGs, artificial colors, and artificial flavors will never enter a WT kitchen. Traditionally, MSG has been used in Asian cuisine for many generations. This type of MSG was used by preparing a seaweed broth that added a savory flavor when added to many dishes.
In the 1900’s a Japanese scientist named Kikunae Ikeda created artificial MSG by extracting glutamate (a non-essential amino acid responsible for the umami flavor) from seaweed and adding salt. He commercialized the resulting product as a food additive used to enhance savory flavors.
Is MSG bad for you? There is much controversy surrounding this food additive. According to the FDA, MSG is safe to eat. In fact, their research has not been able to link reports of nausea, headaches, and stomach issues with the consumption of MSG when quantities do not exceed half a gram. However, they did find that consuming more than three grams of the additive will cause numbness, tingling, and palpitations in sensitive people. These symptoms are most commonly referred to as “Chinese Food Syndrome”.
Artificial MSG is found in many snacks, chips, and precooked frozen foods, therefore, consuming more than half a gram is very easy in today’s food landscape. MSG is called an “Excitotoxin” by neurologist Russell Blaylock, who wrote a book explaining that long term MSG exposure could lead to neurological problems later on in life because the food additive over-stimulates cells.
Because artificial MSG is obviously not natural, we chose to keep it away from our kitchens. We do not believe our children should be guinea pigs to artificial additives while more conclusive evidence is found. Instead we rely on wholesome and natural foods to nourish their bodies and help them grow strong.
Wholesome Tummies is at the forefront of ensuring that our children learn to care about what they eat so that they can live longer, healthier lives – while still eating the kinds of food they love. This is more than just school lunch. It’s a movement! Join today!