By now you’d probably have cleverly deduced that there’s a personal encounter I’m about to share in this paragraph. Two years ago I my employer stationed me at a flagship bank branch in the middle of nowhere (‘nowhere’ in this case meaning ‘not within a mile of an eatery). Since I am a self-confessed foodie I take my lunchtime very seriously no matter where I am. After I eventually got tired of driving out of the office a mile and a few kilometers to the nearest eatery over a period of 2 weeks, I eventually gave in to my second option – the office canteen (Trust me, this is all going somewhere or I’ll owe you precious reading time).
At first my binge started with toasted sandwiches delivered to my desk upstairs until I decided to make my way down to the canteen where I was pleasantly enticed with virtually every mouth-watering Nigerian delicacy known to…well, Nigerians (and expats). I never really noticed any funny symptoms when I began to eat lunch there regularly but as soon as I upped my intake to two meals a day I noticed that I would be out of breath after walking up a short flight of stairs, and my heart rate increased at random intervals. If I got even slightly worked up about a motorist cutting me off in traffic I would start hyperventilating and my heart would literally boil. At the time I was clueless and so were the doctors I consulted. All checks on me were A-okay. It wasn’t until I was watching a fear-mongering food programme that I realized that the caterers were using a salt substitute locally known as A-1 or White Maggi but universally known as MSG (Monosodium Glutamate).
If Cocaine is the white stuff that gets people high, then MSG was the white stuff that got people’s tongues in a state of euphoria. Taste buds were slapped into another dimension of ‘savoriness’ that was so addictive for both consumers and the heartless chefs who cook generously with it (to keep you coming back, of course). Rumoured to be of Chinese origin, MSG got mixed reviews in Nigeria when such brands as Ajinomoto and Vedan were launched unto the culinary scene. But it’s funny how the bad reviews garner more interest. As a matter of fact a colleague told me a secondary use for MSG was to remove tough stains. Yes ladies and gentlemen…MSG is a pretty good bleach for your whites 😀
So…have you looked at your food labels lately for MSG content? You might want to read this revealing article, bookmark it and refer to it from time to time to avoid sustaining long-term damage. But if you’re not bothered, bon appetit!