Just a reminder for you at the outset of this step that I am not a doctor! I am sharing with you steps we have taken in our own family health to allow for a nourishing lifestyle.
By now, most of us have heard about MSG, monosodium glutamate. It is a neurologically active flavor enhancer added to many foods. It stimulates your brain to tell you that things taste really good. There are several problems but the two biggest are: it is addictive and it is dangerous for your health.
The way MSG works is by stimulating brain cells to rapidly fire nerve messages essentially saying, “This is good! This is good!” You eat more, and the process continues. Over time, with habitual consumption, these brain cells will wear out, leading to numerous possible problems in the brain. The consumption of MSG has been linked to learning disorders, cancer, ADHD, migraines, glaucoma, retinal degeneration, alzheimer’s…Dr. Rusell Blaylock, a neurosurgeon, has an excellent book titled “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills.” We first learned about MSG through a message we listened to by him. I would highly recommend the read.
Here is another explanation of what MSG does:
“The brain is a complex organ that requires the proper balance of nutrients and neurotransmitters to function properly… glutamate and aspartate are also neurotransmitters. When these amino acids are added to our food in the highly concentrated forms that they are, they become deadly toxins to the nerve cell receptors and neurons. They literally excite them to death.”
MSG is particularly dangerous for little developing brains and bodies. Any damage that could be caused is irreversible. We are very strict about our children NOT consuming MSG. While we avoid it ourselves, if we as adults consume it once in a while we will probably be okay. We believe the risk it poses to our children, however, is too big to ignore.
Note: The FDA has deemed MSG as “safe.” Since we seek to be responsible for our own health, everything we have read points otherwise. Thus, we have chosen to avoid it.
MSG in just about everything processed, from soups to crackers to frozen pizzas. It is especially present when you eat out at restaurants. The food labeling industry knows that many people are trying to avoid it, so they have deceptively given it other names. Here is a helpful link that will enable you to identify MSG on your food labels. This is another important reason to why you should read food labels!
Are you feeling overwhelmed? I did when I first learned about it and so did several other people I know. I want to encourage you that it is possible to have a diet free of MSG. It just might take some time. Part of the reason I am writing this it to help you move away from it and replace it with more healthful alternatives. Below, I’ll share some practical tips on how to get away from it and avoid it in the future.
The best plan of action to avoid MSG is to stop buying processed foods (stay tuned for step 5!) and avoid most restaurants. But, if you are like most people, you are wondering, “What do I do with all of the food in my pantry, fridge, and freezer?!” And, you also enjoy eating out.
Here are my recommendations:
You can go on a raid and trash everything that contains MSG. Most people cannot afford this, so the most practical suggestion I have is to use the rest of your food that might contain MSG and commit to not buying it again. The next time you go to the store, either find a healthy replacement or learn how to make it at home (look for my ebook of homemade alternatives to common processed food products for ideas!).
We personally choose not to eat out unless we have a way to learn about the ingredients used in the food. It might sound controlling or extreme, but we are thankful for our brains and want to keep them healthy! We think it’s being responsible. Restaurants are overpriced anyway, so we don’t eat out often. I would encourage you also toward frugality and health by staying home to eat. You can prepare delicious, healthy meals (and desserts!) for a fraction of the cost of eating at a restaurant. An occasional treat is enjoyable, though, so do your research! Many restaurants now make their nutritional information available to view online. Believe it or not, there are several restaurants that have chosen to avoid it.
I have a friend overseas who recently emailed me telling me she was diagnosed with Toxemia. She was experiencing chest pains and heart palpitations, and overall debilitating pain. My friend found a box of chicken bullion (that her help uses when cooking for them) with the claims “No MSG” and “No preservatives” listed. However, one of the ingredients listed was E-365, which is apparently 4x stronger than MSG. After being off of this, soy sauce, and wheat for the past 4 months, her pain is subsiding. This is one of many examples of how people can be affected by MSG.
So what do you think about MSG? Ever heard of it? Experienced sickness from it? Think I’m wacky?