Okay, I can handle that, I thought. Yes, it blew me away as I started reading ingredients labels and realized they put sugar in my peanut butter and a million other places where I hadn't expected it. So I switched to natural peanut butter (one ingredient: roasted peanuts — go figure!), etc, and thought I was good.
As I progressed more and more, I became interested in copycat recipes for some of our restaurant favorites using healthy substitutions. I mentioned in my last post that pizza gave me trouble for a while, and I finally decided the best plan was to mimic a Little Caesars recipe, since that's our family's favorite take-out pizza but I knew they put sugar in both the crust and the sauce.
So I created a sourdough pizza crust using only honey, whole wheat, filtered water, olive oil and sea salt, dumped on it some marinara sauce that did not have sugar on the label, added mozzarella and muenster cheese, and thought we were good. So delicious, and completely healthy! Until . . .
In searching for Little Caesars recipes, I discovered something unsettling. One of the sauce recipes called for an ingredient called "Accent." I don't know about you, but I don't keep any such thing in my pantry.
And someone on the message board explained it: "Yeah, that's MSG. You can make the sauce without it, but it just won't be the same."
WHAT?? Here I've been thinking the sugar was the worst thing in our takeout pizza. I swore off Little Caesars then and there and felt so grateful that I'd invented a copycat so we could avoid the MSG.
Then I looked again at the sauce I'd used. See if you can spot it yourself:
See that vague word there called "spice"? Yep. That's it all right.
This site called RTNC411.org explains it all, including the dozens of euphemisms MSG hides behind and the fact that MSG isn't the only one of its kind — it falls into a whole grouping of poisonous substances called Reaction-Triggering Neurotoxic Chemicals.
The deal is that these chemicals do two big favors for the companies who use them: (1) they increase the flavor, making consumers like the food more, and (2) they make consumers crave that flavor, almost to the point of addiction. Here's the explanation from RTNC411.org:
RTNCs contain "Processed Free Glutamic Acids" (PFGAs), which are derived from proteins through a chemical process. Once they enter your mouth, the glutamic acids in RTNCs stimulate and overexcite the nerve cells in your brain’s taste centers. That's why they're also known as Excitotoxins.
RTNCs act as neurotransmitters, and they affect your nervous system just like caffeine and other drugs. As you eat, these chemicals stimulate your senses, which makes your brain perceive that that the food you are tasting is more flavorful and "irresistible." RTNCs are formulated to overload your nerve synapses with a false sensation of great taste. This violent chemical attack destroys brain cells with every bite.
Manufacturers include these low-cost synthetic RTNC additives in their products so they don’t have to spend money on expensive "real" ingredients. It's much cheaper for a company to substitute an RTNC for an organic, nutritious, real ingredient. And, food companies add RTNCs because they make you want more of whatever you're eating. Remember the old slogan, "Bet you can't eat just one?" RTNCs cause your nerve cells to crave repeated stimulation, the true definition of "junk food junkie."
The site also describes how 1 in 4 people is allergic to these, resulting in migraines, depression, asthma attacks, etc. But only 1 in 250 people knows they exist.
We haven't had any soda in our house for a long time, because of the sugar, but RTNCs are an even more important reason to avoid it. However, the worst thing for me is finding RTNCs on products that claim to be "All Natural," like my marinara sauce. I'm pretty sure my favorite hummus brand uses "natural flavor" or another similar pseudonym on the label, too.
We're trying so hard to combat all our health problems — through amazing oils like doTERRA's and other natural remedies — that I felt like this post was a vital message to get out there. Watch out! Those deceptively benign things like "spice" are poisoning us.
I'll be tossing out my other jars of Classico sauce and reading ingredients even more carefully. And probably learning to make my own pizza sauce very soon.