Monday, January 16, 2012

To Be...Or Not To Be....A CHICKEN NUGGET!

My sincerest apologies readers for my lack of blogging this month. My only excuse is that I haven’t done any terribly inspired cooking lately. Additionally with my new job, I’m just not finding or making the time. This is the case today, but I wanted to get something out there for you that I found interesting and wildly horrifying!

I have always heard people mention that what is in fast food isn’t what we think. But I had never really cared enough to do any research on it. Frankly, I don’t eat the stuff and stopped for the most part when I moved to Boston because it just wasn’t accessible! Later deciding I really wasn’t missing out on anything and that my health was too important. But I came upon a link Guess What McDonalds Food Item This Is from a post of a Facebook friend and I am floored. Yes, we know that fast food isn’t good for us. It’s deep fried and it’s greasy. This is not rocket science. But I never could have imagined the horrible truth.

This article explains the process in which chicken nuggets as we know them are made. It details a product called Mechanically Separated Meat (MSM) or Mechanically Separated Poultry (MSP). MSM and MSP are meat produced by pulverizing the entire animal through a sieve-like machine. It does separate the bones and whatnot from the meat, but its not just delicious chicken meat coming through. Its also connective tissue, tendons and muscle fiber. So a portion of what we would separate from a whole animal if doing it ourselves get smashed through this machine to make a paste. If this doesn’t sound tasty to you…you’d be on to something. Because this “paste” doesn’t taste like yummy chicken, they must add various products to it. Now, there has been a bit of a movement due to controversy and because the government requires all products being made with MSP to be labeled that way. But even without the tendons or muscles, the ingredient list for them is extensive!

Here is the list of ingredients in

McDonalds Chicken Nuggets:
Chicken Meat White, Water, Food Starch Modified, Salt, Seasoning (Yeast Extract Autolyzed, Salt, Wheat Starch, Flavoring Natural, Safflower Oil, Dextrose, Citric Acid, Rosemary), Sodium Phosphate, Seasoning (Canola Oil, Mono and Diglycerides, Rosemary Extractives), Batter and Breading : Water, Flour Enriched (Wheat Flour Bleached, Niacin, Iron Reduced, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid (Vitamin aB)), Corn Flour Yellow, Food Starch Modified, Salt, Leavening (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Calcium Lactate), Spice(s), Wheat Starch, Whey, Corn Starch, Prepared with Vegetable(s) Oil (May contain : Canola Oil, Corn Oil, Soybean(s) Oil, Soybean(s) Oil Hydrogenated, with TBHQ and Citric Acid To Preserve Freshness), Dimethylpolysiloxane An Anti-foaming Agent

Wendy’s Chicken Nuggets:
Chicken Breast, Water, Corn Starch Modified, Sodium Phosphate, Salt, Whey Protein Concentrate, Battered and Breaded : Wheat Flour, Water, Wheat Flour Bleached, Salt, Corn Starch Modified, Spice(s), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate), Dextrose, Corn Flour Yellow, Yeast, Garlic Powder, Citric Acid, Spice(s) Extractive, Flavor(s) Natural & Artificial, Xanthan Gum, Cooked in Vegetable(s) Oil (Soybean(s) Oil, Corn Oil, Cottonseed Oil, Soybean(s) Oil Hydrogenated, Flavor(s) Natural [Vegetable(s)], Citric Acid, Dimethylpolysiloxane)

Burger King Chicken Fries:
Chicken Fries : Chicken Breast with Rib Meat, Water, Seasoning (Salt, Food Starch Modified, Flavoring), Potato(es) Starch Modified, Sodium Phosphate, Breaded with, Wheat Flour Bleached, Wheat Starch Modified, Rice Flour, Salt, Spice(s), Dextrose, Paprika, Monosodium Glutamate, Garlic Dehydrated, Onion(s) Dehydrated, Soybean(s) Oil, Maltodextrin, Flavor(s) Natural, Paprika Extractives, Battered With Water, Wheat Flour Bleached, Corn Starch, Wheat Starch Modified, Maltodextrin, Potato(es) Starch, Food Starch Modified, Methylcellulose, Mono and Diglycerides, Leavening (Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Sodium Bicarbonate), Predusted With, Wheat Flour Bleached, Food Starch Modified (Corn Or Potato(es)), Dextrose, Monosodium Glutamate, Salt, Maltodextrin, Corn Starch, Sugar, Soybean(s) Oil, Paprika, Spice(s), Onion(s) Powder, Paprika Extractives, Garlic Powder, Turmeric, Flavor(s) Natural, Breading set in Soybean(s) Oil Or Vegetable(s) Oil, Food Starch Modified Includes Corn, Potato(es) and Wheat, Flavoring Or Flavor(s) Natural Includes Garlic Oil, Pepper(s) Black Extractives, Oleoresin Capsicum, Oleoresin Chili

This is somewhere around 30 ingredients each. Most of these ingredients I cannot pronounce let alone know what they are! And this doesn’t just go for fast food restaurants. This is the same for the frozen chicken nuggets you get in the grocery store.

If you look closely at the last line of ingredients in the McDonalds nuggets you’ll see this…. “Dimethylpolysiloxane An Anti-foaming Agent”
*This information comes straight from them!

You’ll also notice… “hydrogenated soybean oil with TBHQ and citric acid added to preserve freshness” on the McDonalds nuggets. According to Wiki (and we NEVER question our pal Wikipedia) regarding TBHQat higher doses, it has some negative health effects on lab animals, such as producing precursors to stomach tumors and damage to DNA. A number of studies have shown that prolonged exposure to high doses of TBHQ may be carcinogenic, especially for stomach tumors." (


So today I’m here to give you a tip on making your own chicken nuggets because they can be yummy and not scary.

Chicken breasts
*Use wheat flour if you can
Panko breadcrumbs
Egg whites, beaten
Cayenne pepper
*If you want them with a little kick
Olive oil or olive oil spray

There you go. 6 ingredients you can pronounce and feel good about!

Slice your chicken breasts horizontally to make them thin. Cut them into “nuggets”. Put the flour & cayenne, egg whites and panko into three separate Ziploc bags. Drop the chicken into the flour and shake. Then into the egg whites and shake. Finally into the panko and….surprise….SHAKE! If you want to fry them put a little olive oil in a pan, bring to medium-high heat and cook on both sides until golden brown. I prefer to bake them. If you do that spray a cookie sheet with olive oil spray place them on the sheet and spray a small amount on top of them. Bake at 425 degrees for 18 minutes flipping them over after the first 10 minutes.

I like to eat them with honey!

I hope this has scared you enough into no only changing your nugget habits but into thinking more about what you could be putting into your body! I personally don’t wish to grow a tail in 10 years because of the strange stuff I was eating!

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