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  • Writer's picturelcahoon24

Homemade Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Sugar-Free Chick-fil-A Strips with Chick-fil-A Sauce

We all know Chick-fil-A is tasty but let's face it, it's addictive for a reason. . .

Ingredient list for Chick-fil-A nuggets: 100% Natural Chicken, Salt, MSG, Paprika, Sugar, Enriched, Bleached Flour, Non-fat Milk, Leavening, Soybean Oil, Added Color, Milk Wash (Water, Powdered Egg, Non-fat Milk Solids, Fully Refined Peanut Oil (with added TBHQ, Citric Acid and Dimethylpolysiloxane which is an anti-foaming agent).

Ingredient list in Chick-fil-A sauce: Soybean Oil, Sugar, Bbq Sauce (Tomato Paste, Corn Syrup, Vinegar, Natural Hickory Smoke Flavor, Caramel Color, Spices, Garlic*, Onion*, Natural Flavor, Oleoresin Paprika), Water, Mustard (Distilled Vinegar, Water, Mustard Seed, Salt, Turmeric, Paprika, Spice, Garlic*), Distilled Vinegar, Egg Yolk, Salt, Cider Vinegar, Egg Yolk, Salt, Cider Vinegar, Lemon Juice Concentrate, Mustard Flour, Xanthan Gum, Natural Flavor, Garlic*, Calcium Disodium EDTA Added To Protect Flavor.

Unfortunately, Chick-fil-A may be one of the worst fast food options available. I'm not sharing the ingredients to shame anyone who eats or has eaten at Chick-fil-A, I just want to make you aware of what you're putting in your body and why you're addicted to this food.

Ingredients like MSG, Corn Syrup and even seed oils like Peanut Oil and Soybean Oil are addicting.

Monosodium glutamate, also known as MSG, is one of several sources of glutamate, an amino acid often used in processed foods to enhance flavor and impart a more savory taste. The glutamate in MSG activates pleasure centers in the brain and actually has addictive properties. MSG has been linked with obesity, metabolic disorders, Chinese Restaurant Syndrome, neurotoxic effects and detrimental effects on the reproductive organs." MSG decreases satiety and increases the risk for obesity by essentially confusing the brain so you don't know when you're actually full, which may result in over-eating. "Animal studies have demonstrated that neonatal MSG consumption sets a precedent for the development of obesity later on. Insulin resistance and reduced glucose tolerance in rodents due to MSG consumption raise concerns about the development of obesity in MSG consuming humans. The same study revealed that MSG intake causes a disrupted energy balance by increasing the palatability of food and disturbing the leptin-mediated hypothalamus signaling cascade, potentially leading to obesity" (Niaz K, Zaplatic E, Spoor J. Extensive use of monosodium glutamate: A threat to public health? EXCLI J. 2018 Mar 19;17:273-278. doi: 10.17179/excli2018-1092. PMID: 29743864; PMCID: PMC5938543).

Some studies have shown that HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) consumption produces many of the hallmarks of drug addiction, including intense cravings, an inability to control use, preoccupation with the substance, and withdrawal symptoms. This addictive phenomenon may be due to Dopamine dysregulation caused by HFCS. "We confirm prior studies demonstrating that HFCS can induce metabolic dysregulation and add to accumulating data that this can arise in the absence of obesity. Reduced dopamine is associated with obesity and may contribute to compulsive eating. We demonstrate that HFCS can impair dopamine function in the absence of weight gain or increased fat consumption. As reduced dopamine function has been implicated in compulsive behaviors and reduced energy expenditure and insulin dysregulation incurs increased obesity risk, changes in glucose regulation and dopamine function induced by HFCS may precede and contribute to obesity in the long-run" (Meyers AM, Mourra D, Beeler JA. High fructose corn syrup induces metabolic dysregulation and altered dopamine signaling in the absence of obesity. PLoS One. 2017 Dec 29;12(12):e0190206. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190206. PMID: 29287121; PMCID: PMC5747444).

HFCS and Dopamine Dysregulation, Obesity and Insulin resistance:

My recipe is free of additives, MSG, HFCS, gluten, dairy and vegetable oils.

What you'll need:

  • A stable frying oil: Tallow, Coconut Oil, Avocado oil or Duck fat (choose an oil with a higher smoke point).

  • Coconut flour, Almond Flour or a GF Flour of your choice. If you can tolerate wheat, I would recommend an Organic Einkorn Flour.

  • 3 Eggs (for an egg wash).

  • Pastured Chicken Tenderloins (go for pastured and organic--it will have a lower Omega-6 profile and it should be lower in exposure to pesticides). If you can find corn-free, soy-free, even better! If you want juicier chicken, I recommend dicing up pastured chicken thighs which you can dice up into nuggets.

  • 1 teaspoon Organic Yellow Mustard.

  • 1 Tablespoon Monk Fruit Sweetener (you could also use Honey).

  • 1/4 Cup Primal Kitchen Mayo.

  • 1 Tablespoon Primal Kitchen BBQ Sauce.

Primal Kitchen BBQ Sauce:


  1. Prepare the egg wash with approximately 2-3 whole eggs and your heat oil of choice (go with a stable fat with high smoke point--in my opinion, tallow would be best).

  2. Prepare the GF flour of choice; recommend mixing in a bit of Salt, Paprika and Pepper.

  3. If using tallow, heat the oil to approximately 350-360 F. I recommend an instant-read thermometer. If you go with Avocado oil or Coconut oil, check the smoke point and heat the oil accordingly.

  4. Take chicken tenderloins and coat in egg wash. Then dip the chicken tenderloins into your GF Flour of choice. Brush off any excess flour build-up.

  5. Once all chicken tenderloins are coated in egg wash and GF flour, place into the fryer and fry for approximately 3-5 minutes. It doesn't take long to deep dry tenderloins as they're small. You don't want to over-fry, or the chicken will be tough and chewy.

  6. Once all tenders are done frying, let rest for a few minutes.

  7. For the Chick-fil-A sauce: combine Yellow Mustard, Primal Kitchen Mayo, Primal Kitchen BBQ and Monk Fruit or Honey until well-combined.

  8. ENJOY! :)

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