As a teen I gave up pork for two reasons: I had a job and preferred beef to pork, so I shunned home-cooking preferring instead, McDonald's; and the influence of the Nation of Gods and Earths, better known as the Five-Percenters made everybody stop eating pork for a minute. Pork became the first meat I eliminated, then chicken, beef, and turkey, in that order. Then I jumped on the soy bandwagon, until it, unless fermented, turned out to be an unhealthy alternative. Though I am speaking about pork, when I sat down to write this blog, my primary concern and target was MSG or Monosodium glutamate. I wanted to warn reader about the many names it hides under, which is how pork came into the conversation (the one I had with myself). I remembered the book, How Not to Eat Pork, Or, Life Without the Pig by Shahrazad Ali, and how it demonstrated the different names pork hid behind, such as animal glyceride, hydrolyzed animal protein, enzymes, emulsifiers, monostearates, mono and di-glyceride and gelatin. She points out that it is difficult to avoid pork and pork by-products because a variety of names are used when pork is included in many of the foods and cosmetics we buy. Well, MSG is sold and marketed the same way. But since I'm already on the subject of pork, I might as well continue.
According to some Western nutritionists, pork is an arguably "healthy" meat from a biochemical perspective, and if consumed from a properly pastured hog there is likely minimal risk of infection. However, virtually all of the pork most people eat is highly contaminated. The pig is the carrier of various helminths, such as roundworms, pinworms, hookworms, etc. Tapeworms may transplant to the intestines of humans when they consume undercooked meat from pigs, as well as other animals. Pork is also known to carry trichinosis, which can be dangerous to consume. Undercooked or untreated pork may harbor additional pathogens, or can be recontaminated after cooking if left exposed for a long period of time.
According to a recent Consumer Reports, 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which can cause fever and gastrointestinal illness. Ground pork was more likely than pork chops to be contaminated. And the problem is that many of the bacteria found in the pork were resistant to multiple antibiotics. I digressed.
Monosodium glutamate (MSG) is a flavor enhancer added to foods. It's probably the worst food additives on the market. MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees, and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities. Some of the most common adverse effects linked to regular consumption of MSG, are headaches, fatigue and disorientation, depression, rapid heartbeat, tingling and numbness, and eye damage. It, like pork, hides under many names, such as Gelatin, Calcium Caseinate,Textured Protein, Monopotassium glutamate, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP), Yeast Extract, Yeast food or nutrient, Vegetable Protein Extract, Glutamic Acid, Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP), Autolyzed Yeast, Senomyx, Autolyzed Plant Protein, Sodium Caseinate, and the list goes on.