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Yikes! Sweet Chili Sauce from Trader ...

Battling the MSG Myth » "Help! I Have a Question" » Yikes! Sweet Chili Sauce from Trader Joe's? « Previous Next »

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Ziva
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Posted on Sunday, February 13, 2011 - 6:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi, everyone! This board has been very helpful to me this is my first time posting. Thanks to this board and Deb's book, I figured out that I was having severe reactions to MSG and was able to cut quite a bit of it out of my diet. As time went on, I think I started to take feeling good for granted and got careless.

I have spent much of this weekend feeling awful in what seems exactly like an msg reaction (migraine-like symptoms, overwhelming exhaustion and fatigue, inexplicable sadness and spacey-ness). I wondered if Trader Joe's Sweet Chili sauce could be the culprit? The ingredients are water, sugar, red chili, modified tapioca starch, garlic, acetic acid, and salt. In the past, the most dramatic and distinct msg reactions I've had have always come after eating in Asian restaurants (Thai, Mongolian, Japanese), and in every case I traced it back to soy sauce, msg in seasoned rice vinegar, etc. -- but when I bought the sweet chili sauce I thought (hoped?) it would be okay.

Any thoughts, ideas, or opinions would be very welcome!
Deb A.
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Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 - 7:26 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tapioca does contain glutamate. In fact, it is one of the starches sometimes used to make MSG. It's fermented by bacteria, as are molasses, cornstarch and wheat starch. It doesn't contain as much glutamate as wheat does, I suspect. When you see the word "modified", it means it is highly processed with enzymes, bacteria, or chemicals. This creates free glutamate plus the addition of chemical or other residues that could add to a reaction. Sulfites are often used to break down foods into their component parts and when we eat foods that contain both sulfites AND processed free glutamate, the reaction is magnified. I can eat tapioca pudding that I make myself, but always avoid any product with the word, "modified" before it.
Ziva
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Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 - 11:37 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you, Deb! I didn't know that tapioca can actually be used to manufacture MSG. I also figured out that I had several other foods this weekend that probably added to the problem, including cereal containing brown rice syrup and an Odwalla juice blend called "Monster C" that has quite a lot of vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, which was not a term on my radar.

I was so careful before this! Still kicking myself for getting so lax. I guess it was a good reminder that the MSG sensitivity isn't something that will just vanish just because I had gone a while without triggering a reaction.
bo'nana
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Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 - 11:39 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

yes, ive discovered that "modified" anything often means trouble for me too... and also suspecting the 'ascetic acid'. supposedly that just means vinegar, but if that were so then why wouldnt they call it by the obvious instead of using some less well-known term.
i generally have no troubles with REAL slow-ferment vinegars of any kind- but have experienced subtle reactions (a kind of general ill-feeling) after foods with this acetic acid stuff added. id guess its made very fast in huge quantities, an extremely processed sort of mock vinegar with lots of leftover chemical residues... (solvents, etc are the sort of things that seem to get to me the worst)

i wonder, if you were able to find a TRUE FOOD version of this sauce, something made the old-fashioned way with only real food ingredients, if you would still find yourself having a reaction to it? it would be so nice to have that comparison!
bo'nana
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Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 - 11:43 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

and i too know exactly what you mean- i am still periodically forgetting to check things out thoroughly beforehand, and then having to spend several days recovering, kicking meself the whole while for being so unwary
... but, i suppose it just goes with the territory!
Ziva
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Posted on Monday, February 14, 2011 - 12:38 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bo'nana, I appreciate it! I think you are totally on target with the acetic acid point -- what you wrote (about how it may be different from vinegar in a bottle) made so much sense. I may try to make my own sweet chili sauce someday (the bottled version is SO tasty...no surprise there!).

I finally tracked down an explanation of how ascorbic acid is made -- it said that they start with corn syrup, which is then hydrolyzed at multiple stages (not good!) and treated with acetone and hydrochloric acid at other stages (also not good!).

Well, live and learn! Although I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who makes these mistake periodically :-)
ali
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Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 5:32 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I miss sweet chilli sauce!! And chinese food. I can do a pretty good chinese stir fry these days thats safe but havent so far tried to make my own chili sauce...that will be my next culinary project! If you have any success making it let me know the way you did it :-)
ali
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Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 5:36 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

http://www.shesimmers.com/2009/02/how-to-make-thai-sweet-chili-dipping.html heres a recipe after a quick google. Seems simple enough but not sure what to use in place of corn and potato starch?? any suggestions?
Roy Piwovar
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 9:59 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What about arrowroot?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrowroot
Deb A.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 12:06 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Arrowroot should work and so would 1 T. plus 1 t. of rice or wheat flour...would be more cloudy, though. You have me hungry for Thai food. Luckily, we have a new one that has a few dishes I can eat safely.
Deb A.
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Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 12:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have used tapioca flour with some success if used in small amounts. I suspect that you may have reacted to the vinegar in the sauce. Most vinegars are made from wheat and corn fermentation and also contain sulfites. MSG is a by-product of the action of bacteria on starches...they eat the starch and I think excrete the free glutamate, if I understood Jack Samuels correctly. Corn and tapioca are not necessarily high in free glutamate..it's how they are processed or used in processes that create free glutamate.
ali
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Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 12:12 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ive made some and used arrowroot, it worked just fine and is delicious. I cant tell you how happy i am to have sweet chilli sauce back in my life :-)
Ziva
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Posted on Tuesday, February 15, 2011 - 8:18 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ali, that's amazing! Can't believe you already made it. It sounds delicious. Just curious -- how do you season your stir fry?
ali
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Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 12:23 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

At the moment (this sauce may change the future of my stirfries hehe!!) i stir fry fresh garlic, ginger and chopped chilis in seasame oil for a few seconds then add the veg (meat too if your having it). Then as they are just about cooked i add a teaspoon of chinese five spice (a lot of these have anti caking agent you should check the label. If you cant get a good one let me know and ill tell you how to make your own) then honey (two table spoons, i like it sweet but one is good) and two table spoons of organic apple cider vineger then toss the noodles in with it at the last minute (organic noodles) And there you have it. Its rather good if i say so myself. :-) Of course it works just as well with rice added instead of noodles but you need only a splash of cider vinegar then
kristy
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Posted on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 - 3:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Virtually all vitamins used to fortify or enrich foods start with GMO corn. It is safest to avoid any foods with added vitamins or minerals for that reason. *Most have been found not to be bio-available anyway so what's the point?

BTW, that Thai chili sauce looks fantastic and I intend to make some for my family soon. Remember to sub organic ACV for the white vinegar (GMO corn nastiness), though. Also, be aware that the peppers in the grocery store (even most organic ones) are usually waxed with GMO corn wax so it's best to buy them locally in season and preserve them with dehydration or freezing. I ran out too soon so I need to preserve a lot more this year! Now I am stuck counting the days until peppers are in season again.

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