Lately, I’ve been completely overwhelmed with the discovery that nearly everything in my very American pantry is loaded with MSG. If it’s not MSG, it’s another additive such as an undisclosed artificial or natural flavoring, coloring or preservative. These additives are causing millions of people to suffer needlessly every year from serious health problems, even death. But the manufactures who use these ingredients to improve the taste of their food continue to ignore this. Not only do they ignore the significant health hazard of these ingredients, they are determined to increase their volume by covering up the familiar labels of MSG and monosodium glutamate with a host of other benign sounding names, many of which are much more sinister.
I’ve been so overwhelmed that I have done nothing for the past half month but research, read and ransack my pantry and beauty supplies desperately trying to rid my house of this damaging neurotoxin.
Now, I’m no health nut, but the more I experience the results of a life on an endless feeding tube of these “excitotoxins”, the more I’m convinced that MSG and it’s sweet cousin aspartame have got to go.
Every time I think I’ve gotten rid of the nasty stuff, someone will have another reaction. I then sleuth out the ingredients and find the broth claiming to have “No MSG” has instead “hydrolyzed vegetable protein” or “autolyzed yeast” or “yeast extract”. These contain “free glutamate” with the added pleasure of carcinogens to boot - a result of the processing method.
So… I ransack some more and in utter frustration throw out perfectly good cans of tuna, chicken broth, canned items, and the bouillon cubes I was so sure were MSG free. What I have discovered about the tenacity of food manufactures to disguise their increased amounts of MSG in “cleaned up labels” but not cleaned up food is enough to make me literally sick on my stomach.
I am basically in toxic food shock. I know I need to do something with the research and information I’m discovering, but the magnitude of the whole thing is really more than I could have imagined.
And if the emaciated pantry is not enough, the total wipeout of bathroom supplies is. Who would know all those innocent looking bottles of hair gel, shampoos, lotions and even toothpaste are killing us. Of course I’ve spent a fortune on those luxurious bubble assassins; and it’s killing me to know they have to go.
You know, you read about such things, but think it could never happen to you….I could never give up my Chanel Allure to smell like Shea butter and baking soda. You have for years smugly looked down your nose at the “greenies” secretly thinking, “why don’t they get a life, buck up a little.” Only after it may be too late do you realize - that is precisely what they have been trying to do. What’s more, they tried to tell you about it so you could save yours as well.
You can feel like a real heel about this. And I can tell you the amount of mommy guilt felt from thinking of the pounds of neurotoxins I fed my children, is enough to make this mother hang her head in shame.
But, I ignored their warnings and did the same thing I had always done – continued to make my great-aunt’s “famous chicken casserole supreme” (the one everyone always raves about, yeah that one with MSG in every ingredient). I continued to don the same cosmetics my mother and her mother used. I continued to eat out at the same fast food restaurants I grew up with. If ignorance is bliss, then I was blissfully stupid. Nostalgia is so strong it can make us think we own the world and think we have all the right answers simply because our mamas did.
Now don’t get me wrong, my mama did have a lot of the right answers and I am still learning the depth and breadth of that statement even into my 40’s. But she never knew how much MSG was in our food and she, as I, didn’t have a clue how damaging it was to our health. My mother was a nurse and an excellent cook. She also smoked, as did her mother. And while we all knew something wasn’t quite right with that, we didn’t say anything because you just don’t tell your mama what to do.
That is perhaps the hardest part. Realizing that much of what you believe about the world must now be reformulated. Realizing that you’ve got to go to a place your mother and her mother didn’t have the opportunity to go. And knowing you are up against some very unscrupulous players, players with household names you use to trust. Those who continue to poison your food do so while insisting there is nothing wrong with them. Yet millions of people suffer from what is not an allergy to the ingredients but the reaction of the body to a toxic substance. And while this substance makes even poor quality food taste good, it is also highly addictive.
But this post is not about this unsavory topic. This post is about cherries – a lovely bowl full of cherries to be exact.
After all this searching for what is bad in our food, I woke this morning and wondered what we have left that is good in it. This led me to conduct a search on magnesium and then zinc and then selenium, three nutrients that I had no clue as to what food sources provided them. After that, I began to wonder what exactly was in the cherries I found in my refrigerator – the same expensive ones that manage to make it home with anyone who goes to the store these days.
Cherries. What exactly was in cherries? Why are we craving them, why do we love them so? When my husband was in college, he worked in the produce department of a large and well-run grocery store. It was here that he fell in love with cherries and it is he who is the first to bring home a big bag of them when they start to appear in the stores. The children love them because he loves them. And I think they all love them because they can spend many a happy moment sitting around spitting out pits.
But this morning I wanted to know why. To my pleasant surprise I learned they are considered a “super food” because of their many health benefits. In addition to Vitamin C, potassium and beta-carotene, cherries contain some very powerful antioxidants; one in particular is quercetin, and cancer blocking agents like perillyl alcohol.
Now I have to be perfectly honest, those last two names mean very little to me because I am just beginning to understand the value of these nutrients in our food. But having come through over two weeks of reading about the muck added to our food that causes brain lesions, cancer, hypothalamus destruction, the worsening of degenerative diseases and neuron destruction that is irreversible after only 2 hours of eating a typical Chinese dinner (or an American one made with cream of chicken soups, packaged stuffing mixes or any flavored items such as dip mix, gelatin, puddings or seasoned crackers) I was ecstatic to find out something in my refrigerator was actually good for us.
Cherries are wonderfully simple and lovely to look at. Their sweet-tart taste betrays the complexity of their numerous health benefits. We use the expression, “Life is a bowl full of cherries” to mean life is simple and pleasant. Or we use it inversely to be facetious and imply the opposite. A bowl full of cherries is enough to make me thankful for the simple and nutritious things we have instead of mourning the scads of items I’ve pitched recently.
Life is more often not a bowl full of cherries but that is what makes having one, a real one, all the sweeter. I love the fact that I have to do absolutely nothing to them except wash them well and put them on the table. And if you’re really serious about the health benefits, find a grower who is truly organic and doesn’t spray with an “organic fertilizer/growth enhancer” and “organic pesticide” which contains none other than – yep you guessed it MSG!!! Aaaauuuuuggghhhh!!!
Dr. Russell Blaylock is one who has spoken out many times on this and other healthful subjects. He has spent years reviewing the research on the degenerative effects of neurotoxins and explaining this to others. I highly recommend his two books, Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills and Health and Nutrition Secrets That Can Save Your Life, Revised Edition, for understanding the correlation between continual use of excitotoxins like MSG (monosodium glutamate) and aspartame (the main ingredient in NutraSweet) with neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, cancer and obesity.
There are others who have written on the connection between these neurotoxins and other damaging additives in our food that are affecting the whole population, especially our children. The link between MSG and autism, ADHD, obesity and degenerative diseases is too strong to ignore.
Look for future posts that will compile other resources on this topic.
I will also include a running list of current ingredient names that manufactures use to hide MSG in their products.
If you have faced this issue or have experienced negative reactions from these additives; or if you have identified a “new name” for the hidden flavor enhancer MSG, I would love to hear about it.
Once you are aware of this issue, you will never see your food in the same way again. Perhaps a bowl full of cherries will look divine to you as well.