Chicken Nuh-uhs: Secrets of the Fast Food Industry

Chicken NuggetsI recently read this article in Huffington Post that’s sure to gross out any health conscious person. According to the American Journal of Medicine, chicken nuggets found at major fast food chains are often composed of no more than 50% the muscle tissue we usually define as “chicken.” The rest is basically pure fat, pieces of bone, nerves, cartilage, blood vessels, and various chemicals. That’s crazy! How is it even legal to call something chicken meat, sell something as chicken meat, when chicken is only one of 30 plus ingredients that make up the nugget?

Of those ingredients, here are some of the grossest mentioned in that article.

  • Dimethylpolysiloxane – an anti-foaming agent also found in…wait for it…Silly Putty!
  • Propylene glycol – a chemical found in anti-freeze
  • MSG – the big one, commonly linked to headaches, flushing, and sweating.

It’s for reasons like this that I stay away from fast food, and processed foods in general. What we put in our bodies matters. You may not be conscious of it, but everything you eat throughout the day has a profound effect on not just your health but your mood and your brain function. Why wouldn’t you always want to be the best possible you? Next time you’re thinking about picking up a quick lunch from McDonalds or a late night Taco Bell run, ask yourself–is it really worth it? Your taste buds may enjoy the experience for about two minutes, but the rest of your body won’t thank you, not today and not later on down the line.

Instead, I prefer to stick with healthy home-cooked meals with lots of greens. Think you don’t like salad? Try using arugula, or watercress. These spicy leafy greens make any salad just as enjoyable  taste-wise as anything you’d find on a fast food menu.

Justin Perich’s Keys to a Great Salad

  • Color variation – Most of us are used to the standard romaine, tomato, cucumber, and carrot salad. Believe it or not, part of what makes this seem insufficient is the limited color palette. Experiment with things like corn, beats, raisins, artichoke, or fruit slices to mix things up!
  • Protein – Meat lovers, try incorporating things like bacon bits, tuna, chicken. Vegetarian? Let nuts and beans be your best friends. (I’ve never had a salad with pistachios that wasn’t AMAZING).
  • The perfect dressing – This one is pretty subjective, but I believe there’s one perfect dressing for every salad for every person, and it’s up to you to experiment and find out what it is. My current default – balsamic vinaigrette.