An Honest Review With No Additives

20120620-192637.jpgA few weeks ago I wrote about eFoodsDirect and their awesome emergency pantry foods. Through the generosity of eFoodsDirect, I received a package containing their Tortilla Soup, Creamy Potato Soup, and Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.

The Tortilla Soup was very delicious. As I mentioned in my review of the Tortilla Soup, it was so good that I ate three bowls. The next item I decided to review was their Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.

The directions for making the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole were quite similar to the directions for making the Tortilla Soup. Bring water to a boil, whisk in the contents of the pouch, and cook for a few minutes. Does it get any easier than that?

20120620-193233.jpgAs I poured the pouch into the boiling water it smelled really good. Like any other packaged rice meal, I knew it was going to take a bit of time for this one to cook. I lowered the heat and settled in to read one of my textbooks while it cooked.

With five minutes remaining on the timer, I decided to check it, and I was a bit disheartened to see that the mixture had not thickened up as much as I thought it would have. The Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole contains rice, cheddar cheese, peas, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, and sea salt. It also contains autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed corn protein. This matters, and I will tell you why in a few moments.

This product took much longer to cook than the directions indicated. After 25 minutes of cooking, it was nowhere near cooked, in fact some of the rice was still crunchy. I had to cook it an additional 15 minutes, at which point I decided to take it off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes. Even then, it needed an additional 10 minutes before it thickened up enough.

20120620-194145.jpgAs I waited for the food to thicken, I finished reading the package. It contains 912mg of sodium, 7 grams of protein, 14 mg of cholesterol, 2 grams of fiber, and 6 grams of saturated fat. The sodium content is much higher than that of the Tortilla Soup, and I was a bit nervous that this product would taste a bit salty.

The first bite was quite delicious. My first thought was, “This is real good, I could eat this everyday, forget emergencies.” The texture was just right, given the amount of cooking time, and I continued to eat the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole.

Four or five bites in, I noticed a strange aftertaste. I picked up the package to review the ingredients and that is when I noticed the autolyzed yeast extract and the hydrolyzed corn protein. As someone who suffers from adverse affects of eating foods that contain processed free glutamic acid, I have to be careful not to eat too much of those foods. Ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid are autolyzed yeast extract, hydrolyzed corn protein, and the more commonly known ingredient, monosodium glutamate.

20120620-195819.jpgI did not suffer from an adverse reaction to the processed free glutamic acid, and I never figured out what was causing the strange aftertaste following each bite, but I decided not to push my luck by eating any more of the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole. I did not suffer from a reaction when I ate the Tortilla Soup either, which also contains both ingredients. The mere presence of those ingredients does not mean I will always suffer from a reaction, but I was not taking any chances.

In summary, I think the Cheesy Chicken Rice Casserole serves its purpose as a food stored for emergency preparedness, but it did take much longer to cook and the strange aftertaste left me a bit perplexed. eFoodsDirect asked for my honest opinion about their products, and I honestly hope they work to remove additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed corn protein from their ingredients for these products.

Through The Mirrored Glass I See…

I have joined several different groups on Facebook, and I enjoy participating in the discussions on many of them. Sometimes, however, I find myself biting my tongue (or sitting on my hands in this case) because someone says something or does something that completely throws me for a loop.

In one of those groups, a conversation revolved around the death of Rodney King, and whether or not we, as a society, should celebrate the death of criminals among us. As some argued that his death should be celebrated because he was a criminal, others argued that we should never celebrate the death of another human being.

I am pursuing my degree in Psychology, so I found the entire debate about human dignity (or the lack thereof) quite interesting. I have known some of those participating in the conversation for most of my life, and I have nothing but the utmost respect for them and the others participating in the discussion. I found their positions to be quite insightful, especially given the topic at hand and the fact they are all present and former law enforcement personnel.

20120620-154614.jpgThe conversation quickly devolved into a series of personal disagreements and derogatory statements. The focus of the conversation was no longer about Rodney King or his death, but rather a series of petty attacks and disagreements against each other. I am amazed that a conversation which was revolving around the human dignity for a criminal who died could transform and become an example of the lack of respect and human dignity we have for each other, here in the land of the living. I suppose I had higher expectations because I know most of these people, but it comes as no surprise that someone who cannot respect the human dignity of others around them (and living) would have none for a criminal who has died.

In the e-book, True Freedom: On Protecting Human Dignity and Religious Liberty, Cardinal Dolan wrote, “If we are divinized reflections of God, created in His image and likeness, then we ought to treat ourselves and others only with respect, love, honor, and care.” So the question remains, does Rodney King deserve respect and human dignity in death? At what point do we draw the line and determine that someone does not deserve the same basic respect and human dignity as all other human beings? Is it our place to draw that line, let alone cross it?

While some will see this post as sympathy for criminals among us, or imposing my religious beliefs on others, I hope many more will see it as a wake up call. If we do not respect the human dignity of others, why should we expect that respect ourselves? At the end of the day, when we sit back and watch the standards of our society swirl down the drain, maybe we should be looking at ourselves.