Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chicory Root, or How to Ruin a Relationship

If you start to notice everywhere you walk the foliage begins to turn black and die, you seem to be circled above by buzzards and the cops come knocking at your door because the neighbors down the street were complaining about the smell, you might want to think back to if you've eaten any chicory root.

Somehow with the recent fiber fad, companies have been turning to chicory root to up the fiber content of just about anything you can think of, cereal, granola bars, frozen dinners, ice cream! it's in everything. And while I admit that it has been proven that the average person doesn't get nearly enough fiber in their diet, (the recommended daily amount of fiber for your average adult is 21 grams the average high fiber item with chicory root has a bout 5-7), meaning if you're someone who eats a lot of these health foods in a day you run the risk of having your pants permanently swung around your ankles.

The weird thing about it though is that if you were getting these high levels of fiber from other sources  it wouldn't be a problem. Even gas from beans, cabbage, broccoli, isn't nearly as noxious as this dietary napalm. There's just something about chicory root fiber that's like Drano in the system. I'm talking about multiple shits a day, intestinal discomfort and bellyaches that last for days. Yes I said DAYS.

Where am I  going with this? Well even though I spent a painful summer finding out the hard way what many others are already on the internet complaining about I still managed to make a critical mistake when I tried to lighten up a chili recipe (that by the way in it's original form was probably the best chili I've ever had).
I decided to replace the ground beef in the recipe with Morningstar Farms meal starters meat free crumbles, (which is like vegan ground beef) which really was kind of a stretch from the get go. I've become kind of stuck up these days about eating things with a bunch of man made ingredients, so I was already making an exception there. Not to mention that chili is something that should really be slow cooked to leach all that flavor from the meat into the sauce and vice versa. But whatever I was being experimental.

So not only didn't the chili turn out how I wanted (anything meatless should really taste as good as the original or what's the point really?) but I didn't bother to really read the ingredient list on the meatless meat until after  I put it in the pot and then what did I discover? DUN DUN DUUUUUUN Chicory root fiber!


I tried to let it go, telling myself that there wasn't really enough of it in there to really make any difference. However....

Let this be a cautionary tale for anyone who may have recently (or been planning to) make the switch from everyday processed food to cereals, grains, frozen dinners of the "health food" variety. Before you sample be sure to read your labels! If you scan down that ingredient list and you happen to find 'chicory root' be afraid be very afraid!

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