While many of us rely on pre-packaged seasoning mixes to give flavor to our dishes, this is one habit that is very important to break. Along with the herbs and spices in these mixes, many of them contain potentially harmful additives.
A large number of seasoning blends on the market today contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), a dangerous excitotoxin that may lead to inflammation, migraines, obesity and/or cell damage, to name only a few potential effects.
MSG hides under many names, including but not limited to hydrolyzed protein, sodium caseinate, yeast extract, textured protein and autolyzed yeast. It may also be hidden in ingredient label entries including malt extract, natural flavoring, bouillon, seasoning, spices, soy protein isolate and whey protein concentrate.
Even seasoning mixes that have a “no MSG added” sticker are suspect, as this term merely signifies that no additional MSG was added to the product, and does not need to mention any MSG in the ingredients themselves.
Aside from MSG, some seasoning blends contain refined salt, sugar and other various chemical additives or byproducts of processing. Some of the worst offenders have even been found to contain trans fats, in the form of hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils.
Luckily, it is easy—and fun—to create your own healthy spice blends at home. You can grow many of your own organic herbs in a window box; they don’t require much time or effort to take care of. These can be dried and crushed and added to your mixes. You may also purchase organic, dried herbs and spices in bulk, and often save a great deal of money.
If you have a dehydrator, you can easily create spices such as onion, garlic or chili powders, as well as lemon pepper spice, in your kitchen. Simply dehydrate the onions, garlic cloves, chili peppers and citrus rinds, and then crush in a mortar and pestle.
The Internet is teeming with recipes for unique and delicious seasoning blends, which are easy to make and do not contain harmful ingredients. You can use high-quality ingredients, crush them yourself to a desired consistency, and store in glass seasoning jars. The following are just a few simple ideas:
Italian Herb Blend
- 2 tablespoons basil
- 2 tablespoons oregano
- 1 tablespoon marjoram
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon rosemary leaves
Poultry Spice Mix
- 2 tablespoons tarragon
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated onion (or use fresh onions)
- 1 tablespoon dehydrated garlic (or use fresh garlic)
- 1 tablespoon chili powder (or use fresh chills)
- ½ teaspoon clove
Spicy Cinnamon Rub
- 3 tablespoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon clove
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more or less to desired spiciness)
-The Alternative Daily