Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Can you eat just one?

No you can't because there is something in that potato chip that tells your brain, "Eat more." What is it? MSG!

Carol, a friend of mine has been having several medical problems. She'll see a doctor, they'll put her on a pill but her symptoms continue. Is it all in her head? The other night she typed in her symptoms on google and she was shocked to find MSG may be the culprit. Try it yourself. Type MSG into google and what will come up will floor you.

What's MSG? Isn't that the stuff they put in Chinese food? Yes and more. MSG was discovered in 1906 by a Japanese chemist. It is called an excitotoxin because it excites you taste buds. The food becomes tastier and you want more. Hmmm!

You may think, "I don't eat Chinese food much and when I do I make sure there's no MSG." But wait, MSG can and does go by many names. Look in your cupboards and your cans of soup, crackers, diet sodas, ice cream. Some of the names used for MSG are: Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein, Yeast Extract, Malt flavoring or extract, Caramel flavoring, flavors, other spices. See, MSG is natural, it's derived from a plant so technical it can be called other flavorings or spices.

Well, what are the effects of MSG, other than migraines (just a few, look at for more): arthritic-like pain, flu-like symptoms, stomach cramps, gas, extreme thirst, chest pain, post-nasal drip,dark circles under eyes, ADHD, ADD, infertility, thyroid problems. That's just a few of them.

I asked myself, why haven't I heard about this? Okay, I'm not a conspiracy theorist but this reeks of it. You know, follow the money. If food companies want you to buy more of their products, become loyal, they'll make their foods tasty. That's what MSG does - enhance the flavor. Post WWII MSG has been added to our food. And at a growing rate. Now think about the obesity epidemic in the US. If our food is tastier, we want to eat more of it, hmmm? Now why would Sara Lee or Swanson's or Doritos remove something that encourages to buy more. That doesn't make sense. Of course they want you to keep buying and overeating.

Here's an interesting excerpt from an interview with Dr. Blaylock, a neurosurgeon who is leading the call, exposing MSG for the poison it is:

Mike: I see. Here's an off-the-wall question: If MSG and all its different versions, as well as aspartame, were outlawed tomorrow, what changes would we see in the next five years in terms of public health?

Dr. Blaylock: I think you'd see a significant drop in obesity and metabolic syndrome. You'd see a tremendous drop in certain cancers. You would certainly see a tremendous drop in the neurodegenerative diseases, and all of these diseases that are increasing expeditiously.

The neurodegenerative diseases are just exploding. Things that used to be rare, we're seeing all the time now. It's just frightening. And when you look through the neurosciences literature, they have no explanation. They don't know why it's increasing so rapidly, but it's because we have such a large combination of toxins. For instance, we know that cellular neurodegenerative diseases are connected to mercury, aluminum, pesticides and herbicides, and the way they produce brain damage is through an excitotoxic mechanism.

So, we are all exposed to those toxins, and then when you add MSG and excitotoxins to the food, you tremendously accelerate this toxicity. That's why we're seeing this explosion in neurodegenerative diseases; Alzheimer's and autism and ADD and Parkinson's -- all these things are increasing so enormously because we are exposed to carcinogenic toxicity from all these different things and this huge exposure to excitotoxins, which is the central mechanism.

This is what no one's been able to claim. You look at one person's report and they'll say, "Alzheimer's is related to mercury exposure," and then another one says, "No, it's related to pesticides," and yet another one says it something else, but they're all operating through the same mechanism. All of these things operate by increasing brain immune activity, and that activates excitotoxicity. So that's why all of them seem to be related, because they're all doing the same thing to the brain.

Here's some websites I found that might prove interesting to you:

I know I jump on a lot of bandwagons. I have Atkins, South Beach, Eating for Your Bloodtype. But when Carol explained MSG to me a light bulb went off in my head. Yeah, there's a lot of lightbulbs going off in my noggin.

She's going to detox herself and her family. She's read it takes about 3 weeks. It's going to be difficult. So much of our food has MSG. I too, am going to go this route. I have been struggling with my weight for 15 years now. I am not expecting this to be a magic pill, it will be work. But it's worth 3 weeks of trying.

Now I'm curious if other's have read/experienced anything similar. The more I learn about what's in our food (don't even get me started on Splenda and how widely it's accepted by the mainstream dietary community!), the more I yearn for 100 years ago. Even though we live with and take advantage of so many conveniences, 100 years ago families weren't bombarded with hazards that you learn are hazardous 10-20 years after using them. Or I'm I romanticizing (that's another blog and this one has gone on long enough!).


Courtney said...

let us know how the detoxing goes! what types of things do you end up ridding your cabinets off? how hard is it? etc. I'd love to hear!

Suzanne said...

Is it going to be food in its original form....natural, non processed?....Do we still get homemade pizza? What are you going to have to give up? Will be anxious to hear.

barb said...

I don't have a full grasp of what our menu will look like. Still researching. I think I will go to the store with my list of msg titles in hand, read a lot of labels and do alot of cooking from scratch. This might be hardest on the kids to adjust to - no hotdogs, chips, store-bought ice cream.
Pizza is still on however. Just no store-bought sausage and pepperoni.

Valerie said...

Remember in the summer I bought that book titled, Ultra Metabolism, the book that reminded me of Dad and his nutty concoctions? Many of the same ideas you discussed in your blog and in the doctor's interview are also examined in the book. Dr. Mark Hyman, the author of Ultra Metabolism, had one of those shows running on PBS pledge week. It's a book worth looking into.

You're right. Following the plan, especially in Ultra Metabolism, takes a great deal of effort and discipline. It's a paradigm shift in the way we eat in the modern and American world.

And no, I can't eat just one. That's why I got rid of chips in the house and I only buy chips for Hayley that she loves and I hate.

You've got me thinking of my responsibility as a parent and how important having a healthy and home and fridge/pantry and setting an example is for our kids.

Thinking of the ensuing rebellion makes me not want to try to rid the house of junk, but I don't let Hayley smoke or drink or even curse, so why is the junk food okay? I was just thinking . . .

Annette said...

hey...I know all the hassles of MSG. Not fun. I don't need the headaches thank you very much! Took a while to track down too. Naturally occuring MSG isn't usually a problem it's the artificial stuff that causes problems.

So... as much as I like hickory sticks....nope can't eat 'em. Most stuff from scratch is good. Most PLAIN chips are fine, watch flavoured stuff. Surprising though what doesn't have it, surprising also what does.

Read labels and eventually you'll get it. :)

celticpole said...

welcome, I just finished visiting your blogs. You are busy. I laughed hysterically at your lady with the hedge clippers story.
I went shopping today - a lot of label reading. Paul Newman's spaghetti sauce is good as well as Breyer's Organic ice cream (yeah, the essentials!).
Do you have a particular list of foods that is kosher/no msg?

Nairobi Paul said...

I love junk food. I'm addicted to MSG. It's a blessing to be in Kenya, where there are fewer of the foods I adore. I saw the pic of Lay's & nearly fainted. Little snack-pack bags are available here & about 80c. Can't bring myself to spend that money, though we have on occasion for the kids. But then I do spend about $2 for my can of imported English beer!

The only reason I'm skinny is metabolism.

Thanks for the thoughtful post on quiet times. Mine are only 5 min - and always before 6am - and at that time due to chronic insomnia. Sigh.

Always great to read your posts, Barb!

Holly said...

Oh yeah. We don't do MSG.

I pretty much cook from scratch - basically fresh foods. We came to this way of eating/cooking because of a severe wheat allergy in my son. It MADE us read labels. Basically - if the label list is longer than your can't be good for you. :) I try to buy things with the very LEAST ingredients. That does away with TONS of junk food.

We have the occasional pig out, of course...but mostly - we just don't do it.

A hint: If you like soy sauce - you can buy braggs liquid aminos. No msg but still the same flavoring - and it is good for you and doesn't cost too much.

Best wishes! I can verify the detoxing. The first week is the worst - and you might not feel too good.

Marti Smith said...

Oh man, I would not mind never having another Lay's potato chip but what would I give for a slice of Barb Moody's always-MSG-free pizza? Why have I never come to visit you?

There are many paths to culinary pleasure, aren't there? Was thinking of you, Barb, in reading 'What's So Amazing about Grace' which starts with a long retelling of 'Babette's Feast.'

I love your blog!