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Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 4:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have known for years that I can't tolerate MSG, and I used to wonder why some foods that didn't contain MSG would give me similar reactions. Now that I have learned about free glutamate, I'm wondering what exactly I can eat. I should also mention that I have been in benzodiazepine withdrawal for a couple of years and it has my body and nervous system all out of whack. Incase anybody is wondering, benzodiazepines are an anti-anxiety/anti-convulsant drug that works on GABA. Being in protracted withdrawal from these meds means that the GABA pathways have been disrupted. All evidence points to Glutamate being overly abundant due to the lack of GABA. So it makes sense that high free glutamate foods would only make this worse, not to mention that I now know I had a problem with these type of foods even before benzodiazepine withdrawal.

Now for my questions. I'll number them to make commenting easier.

1. Why is it that I can tolerate a few canned vegetables, but absolutely zero fresh or frozen ones?

2. Why do I tolerate black beans and peanuts, but not other legumes?

3. What fruit and vegetables are safe and should they be organic?

4. What sources of fat are the safest?

5. Is it possible to maintain a healthy weight while on this diet?

6. Are there any safe grains?

7. Is it best to eat vegetables raw?

8. Why do symptoms seem to be different depending on the food? I suppose this could be due to a different sensitivity.

9. Why do some people only react to certain high free glutamate foods?

10. Are there any books about a low glutamate diet?

11. What exactly should I be eating?

I'm sorry for so many questions, but I'm lost in all this. I seem to react strangely to foods that don't seem to be high in free glutamate, such as coconut oil and olive oil, and that confuses me even more. I suppose this could just be due to benzo withdrawal, but I have made many posts in my withdrawal forum and only a couple of people seem to be able to relate to this. Again, I have had problems with glutamate for a very long time, so I think it may be a contributing factor. Thank you.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 7:27 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I'm sorry I don't have any answers to your questions as they all seem very specific to your benzodiazepine withdrawal. I just wanted to offer my support.

I'm sorry to hear of the withdrawals your body is having from the medication over such a long stretch of time.

As your symptoms seem to be very specific, I think you'll find your best luck keeping a very detailed food journal (it sounds like you already are). Keep detailed notes. As you find foods that your body will tolerate focus on those within your diet.

Here are a few comments I can make based on my own experience:

1. Have you looked into Oral Allergy Syndrome as the possible cause for not being able to tolerate fresh or frozen vegetables?

3. The safest for me are the ones grown in my own yard or locally. From the grocery store I stay away from baby carrots, grapes, peaches and strawberries as they are sprayed with so much junk.

4. For me, a high quality of extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, coconut oil and palm oil have been my best options. I haven't reacted to any of these. I use a specific brand of butter sparingly.

5. My family and I have maintained a healthy weight on this diet for 11 years. I am the only one in my extended family not on blood pressure and cholesterol medications. My husband and I have stayed our same healthy weight since high school (we are now in our early 30's).

I have recently become under weight but the cause was a side effect to some medications I needed to be on that made me very sick. I am now slowly getting back into a healthier weight.

Are you concerned about losing or gaining too much weight?

6. I do okay with whole wheat that I grind myself and an all purpose flour that is locally milled that doesn't contain malted barely. My daughter reacts to wheat so I cook gluten free for her. I've been tasting the foods I make for her with several new grains and I've had three small reactions so far (I think related to the xanthan gum).

I do react to oats- I've never been able to find a brand of oats that I don't react to. I know several people on this forum have luck with buying them in bulk (but not me).

I also occasionally react to corn or corn meal. I do much better if corn is minimal in my diet.

Rice is a good start in looking for a safe grain. Go with organic brown rice as a starting point.

8. My symptom is the same but the intensity varies based on the food because of the level of exposure I received. If I ate a typical American meal, within 5 hours I would have the most intense stomach pain, difficulty breathing and a strong pain in my chest. This lasts for several hours. Sometimes I would pass out from the pain or loose my eye sight. After I would be left with a dull ache in my stomach for 2-4 months.

If I eat a trace amount of free glutamate, I skip the intense stomach pain and just feel the dull ache for days or weeks.

To me it's the same reaction, just at the smaller level if the exposure is smaller.

Are you reacting in different ways consistently to different foods? Do you mind me asking what your reactions are? Maybe its possible you've developed some food intolerances or allergies that are unrelated.

For example, I can eat cashews or drink orange juice without a MSG reaction but I'll get a horrendous headache by 4pm that day. My headache tolerance is low but it's all unrelated to MSG.

10. Do you have Deb's book, Battling the MSG Myth. It's fantastic and very helpful.

I'm sorry, I wish I could be more help to you. I hope this helps a little.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 8:24 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks for your reply Emily.

I'm actually concerned about losing any more weight. I'm basically living on peanut butter sandwhiches right now. I eat other things, but most of my calories are coming from those. Infact, I ate six of them yesterday.

In the past my reaction to MSG has been headache, anxiety, lightheadedness, dizziness, heart palpatations, and weakness.

I'm currently reacted to foods that don't seem to have much free glutamate and some that do. They are beef, chicken, all fruits, fresh and frozen vegetables, lemons, olive oil, coconut oil, rice, potatoes, corn, nuts, almond milk, cayenne pepper, banana peppers, and all supplements.

The symptoms I get from these things are dizziness, head pressure, feeling like my head is being pulled downward or to one side, depersonalization, and anxiety. The next day or two I'll feel like I have a severe hangover. Some of these things I get all these symptoms, plus the normal glutamate symptoms. I was able to eat all of these things early in withdrawal, but one by one they began giving me problems. I was able to eat corn, rice, and potatoes until I went gluten free and made these my staple starches. Slowly I started reacting to them. Recently I started eating a lot more beef and chicken, and they too became problematic after a couple of weeks. I haven't tried organic produce yet and I'm thinking about doing so. Ofcourse, the only way to know if I'm going to react to something is to try it, and then potentially suffer the consequences. I was thinking about trying this diet anyway, since I know I have glutamate reactions. One thing I used to notice was that my glutamate reactions to were much worse if I didn't get any carbs with the particular glutamate food. For instance, just eating a couple of chicken legs would make me get a headache and feel kind of spaced out, but eating a some mashed potatoes(before recently) and a roll would seem to counter it. I read in a Paleo Diet forum of someone else having this same problem. My only guess is that the carbs helped to increase ATP, which countered the glutamate. Maybe I'm totally wrong, though.

In addition to all this, I have had leaky gut syndrome for many years. I didn't know that I was casein, gluten, and egg intolerant, and these things apparently caused leaky gut. What's strange is that these three things don't cause any benzo withdrawal type reactions. Bread is one of the few things I can eat these days, so I eat a lot of it.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 10:55 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I know about protracted benzo withdrawal.

I understand the affects on my body of many free glutamate rich foods.

I can eat fresh veggies - I have to limit which ones - same with canned. I don't eat many frozen.

I haven't risked dry beans and stopped eating peanut butter and nuts. Pumpkin seeds I can handle

I discovered that I have no only a glutamate problem but also an oxalate problem so I have been working on trying to eat a low oxalate diet. Potatoes, many grains, most nuts, many legumes are out as well as spinach, carrots, beets - there are more too but those are the big things I can remember removing from my diet.

It is late tonight but I will try to come back and post more tomorrow.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 1:52 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am not following Deb's diet - I did try it about a year ago and then have adjusted things over time as I see reactions.

My worse symptoms are heart palpitations (skipped beats), high blood pressure, left face and ear pain, and burning mouth / lips. Someone at a yahoo group suggested the low oxalate diet for burning mouth (they as well as I have vulvudynia) so it was worth trying. This was May.

By then I knew black tea, spinach, and carrots set off the burning mouth. I was suspicious of potatoes and peanut butter as well as almond butter. I know many of these aren't on Deb's diet plan. I was also suspicious of brown rice. I had read about GARD - and was trying to follow it for the most part but he has potatoes as a safe food. I know I tried quinoa one weekend and it really set off my mouth burning and my husband didn't care for it so most of it was dumped.

I then starting looking at LOD in May and joined the yahoo group -

I then started trying to lessen oxalate in my diet and got some relief finally. The baking potatoes turned out to be high oxalate and so they had to get eliminated. Most grains are too high to eat in abundance but white rice can be low and brown isn't. Same with breads. It has meant re-choosing what fruits and veggies I eat and limiting carbs. I also watch the free glutamate but many high glutamate foods are also high oxalate but I think I need to watch both.

Foods I tend to eat - chicken (FF or Draper Valley) - I buy breasts mainly - turkey I will buy the FF tenders or breast slices but we did okay with natural turkey this year at Thanksgiving - not organic but store bought natural.

I will eat canned tuna or salmon once every couple of weeks. I had problems this spring with this but seem to do okay now - I was getting metallic tastes from fish. I pick one with no broth in it - right now I have a stockpile having bought some at amazon. I have some canned chicken (suggested brand - Valley Fresh I think it is) but only tried it once back this spring. I don't eat shellfish even though I could probably find fresh clean shellfish (I could have dug for clams yesterday if I was so inclined). I eat pork (lean) on occasion and natural or organic ground been on occasion but we eat mainly poultry.

I will eat pumpkin seeds and have tried pumpkin seed butter but didn't care for it. I am not doing any nuts right now - not even peanut butter.

I am not eating beans / peas of any kind except I did have a can of black eyes peas a month ago - not sure they were okay - ate the can on salad 3 days in a row. Black eyed peas are low oxalate. I stopped eating green beans but I have snuck an ounce of snap peas on salad this week and that low amount was okay.

I do eat lots of cabbage family vegetables - red and green cabbage, napa cabbage, cauliflower, some broccoli, limited Brussel sprouts - that is about the order of increasing oxalate / ounce too with BS being highest of that group. I eat cucumbers (not English but regular), radishes, onions, asparagus. I don't eat carrots any more. I will eat lettuce but not the darker greens - only ones I used to eat were spinach and chard unless they were in a spring mix - now they are out. I buy fresh grocery store produce for the most part but not prepackaged at least for me. My salad shooter gets a good workout often grating cabbages, brocolli and cauliflower stems, turnips (when my husband lets them get too old - he is the turnip eater) and radishes for slaw.

I eat many fruits - apples (organic only), oranges, bananas (not Dole), peaches and apricots in season, cherries (love freeze dried tart cherries), limited grapes, some pears (anjou are high oxalate - bartletts aren't as high but apples are lower) and had watermelon in the summer. Apples are the only thing that has to be organic for me though I will buy other organic products if the price is reasonable.

I do eat popcorn and tortilla chips. I can get away with a serving of sweet corn on occasion. I do eat limited amounts of rice and prefer brown. I haven't reintroduced many grains yet. I have reacted to many breads I have tried and just haven't started making my own quick breads yet.

I eat hard boiled eggs often. I have to limit the kind and amount of cheese.

I do sneak black tea. I am bad doing that. I drink grapefruit juice (one of those you buy at store by cartons of OJ), make lemon lime ade soda (fresh or bottled organic juice with white sugar and soda water), make cherry soda with cherry concentrate and soda water, and rarely now do pomegranate soda as pomegranate is high oxalate.

I went off all supplements back about a year ago with Deb's trial diet; I now take some B-complex, vitamin D (it was very low and I bought drops and was able to handle them), calcium and magnesium (separately). I needed B-6 too. I had to slowly raise each of these things. If I don't get the B-6 in some form I think the pain is worse. I also take l-argnine and a few other things on occasion. I load up on probiotics too daily.

Recently I had an increase in BP and palpitations and it was blamed on too much water in my diet - the blood work had low Na and low Cl as well as high glucose. I have also upped the salt in my diet as looking back I know it was lacking once I stopped all the processed foods. Salad dressing for me now is dried chives, salt, olive oil and Balsamic vinegar. i haven't had ketchup for a long time - BBQ sauce increase the tremors as does too many tortilla chips at once.

I can get away with rare eating out now. I just have to plan in advance and get back on track afterwards. I will still react but it won't be like it was a year ago.

Going back in history I know in 79 and early 80's after CTing the valium I had lots of food reactions. Wheat (or some additive in many flours) was a problem back then even before the CT. I don't know all of the reactions back then but there were many other things I reacted to also including apples. I know I was able to eat wheat again long before eating apples and now still only eat organic apples being in fear of the reaction to nonorganic ones (burning all over and tremors).

I have read about others in benzo withdrawal having problems with glutamates; that all makes sense to me. Until we get our GABA receptors healed (and some might never heal) we will react. I had been taking gabapentin which is a glutamate antagonizer but have been able to drop it with the low oxalate diet.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 3:36 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Sara.

There are a lot of things about my food intolerances that I don't understand. I react to apples and apple juice, but not apple butter. Being able to eat canned vegetables, but not fresh or frozen ones is also confusing.

I was on clonazopam for only two years, but I'm very worried that I'm never going to heal from this. My head is much clearer these days, and I can often feel emotions again. Some days I feel completely normal, but the food intolerances just keep getting worse.

Thank you for your email replies and the links as well.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 7:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Sara, thank you so much for offering your insight. That's great news you are doing so well on your diet and feeling so much better. I'm so happy for you that you were able to drop the Gabapentin.

Apache, I wish I had more advice for you but it looks like Sara has a lot of insight. My daughter is dairy, eggs, soy and gluten free too. It's quiet the combination isn't it?
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2011 - 8:45 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


We each have to find what works for us - Deb's diet and your (and others') help was a good start for me but things were still lacking.

I then went corn free except for corn in Rx meds. That wasn't enough but by then I was seeing the mixed salad greens I was buying as a trigger for the pain as well as carrots in the next month or so after that.

I know MSG is still a big problem but I can get away with more free glutamate than I sure could a year ago.

The whole benzo issue is another big obstacle some of us face. Not everyone in benzo withdrawal will have problems with free glutamate but enough of us do that we should be warned about it.

I do eat winter squash too these days - had avoided it for years as my husband doesn't care for it and it was never one of my favorite foods. Avocados are same - eat them now - never had in the past.

But I think apache has added problems and I sure don't have all the answers for them.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, December 16, 2011 - 7:06 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've posted elsewhere regarding my acute food allergy issues that resulted in acute esophagitis. I am just now adding foods to my complete elimination diet. I used Elecare almost exclusively for nutrition for 6 weeks. I did supplement with hammer electrolyte powder (2sc per drink) because Elecare is made for children and low on some electrolytes for adult RDA (the only thing I have to go on, since I was unable to find a nutritionist to work with me). I also try to drink 3 large water bottles (24oz?) with a Zimm or Nunn eletrolyte tab, because a lot of our liquid comes from our food and it is easy to get dehydrated if you only drink the "food". Elecare is not perfect, but you could use it to supplement or replace calories until your are over your withdrawl, if you can tolerate it. The idea is to then add back foods, 1 per week to determine what you can and cannot tolerate. Cheapest consistent source I have found (you might win an ebay auction and save a few bucks - I don't have time for that silliness) is It's not cheap - about $22 per can which at 1200c/day will last you about 2days. I also have a $10 off coupon code that is good until 12/31 - but it is only good on full cases (TSP012). If you are going to try it, I'd suggest you just get a single can first, in case you can't tolerate the taste or formula. The first type I tried, Neocate, was horrible :P. I am pretty sensitive to msg and have tolerated the Elecare very well.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, December 18, 2011 - 9:24 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'll check it out Evelyn. Thanks.
Posted From:
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2011 - 10:57 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hello Apache,
When I read your post I was so surprised. I am having the exact same issues. I took Klonopin from 1/09 to 12/10. I stopped cold turkey as I did not know that I had already become tolerant and was going through withdrawal for the past year anyway. I saw no less than 12 doctors from 1/10 to 7/11 and not one of them picked up on the fact that I was going through withdrawal. This included the jerkoff primary care doctor who prescribed the medicine to me without telling me that it should never be taken for more than a week or so. If I thought I would win I would sue the crap out of him. The other doctors were shrinks, neurologist, gastroenterologist, ENT's, orthopedic surgeons etc. The shrinks gave me more meds which made everything even worse until August this year when I just stopped everything. That is when the real withdrawal started. In the past four months I changed my diet so I eat no gluten, dairy, soy, corn, nuts, seeds, oils and anything that is high in glutamate. I found I cannot tolerate supplements due to the additives or pain killers. They do not make Tylenol without the additives. I am trying to find magnesium which is supposed to block the absorption of glutamate but cannot find it without any additives. It would have to be powder but with nothing else.
I am interested to ask how long you have been clean from Klonopin. I am now 6 months and the thought of having to go through this for much longer is heartbreaking. I am on leave from my employment but must go back in March.
You said you were on Klonopin for 2 years as was I. My doctor said I should be ok now but from what I am reading it could take up to 2 years. That drives me crazy. Does anyone know how long this is really going to take for my brain to heal so I can eat normal again? If I eat anything high in glutamate I get headaches, insomnia,anxiety, nightmares, ringing in my ears and flushing. My mouth burns also alot lately. I am also so worried that this seems to get worse instead of better as it should be. I feel like it is in my head and I am not going to make it.
What does your doctor say about your prognosis?
I am also going to have my doctor test my thyroid levels. someone said to test the T3 and T4 levels separately as food sensitivity can result from thyroid problems.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, December 30, 2011 - 10:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

now brand magnesium citrate is what I take - there are others but no fillers

you can buy this online at many vendors - here's what you are looking for at least for this product - powder - you measure it with a measuring spoon and mix it in plain water

you might not be able to handle the citrate -- but there are other magnesium products out there (it has to be a compound chemical not pure magnesium to be able to consume it)

like this one

how long you have had burning mouth? I am finding a low oxalate diet helps that for me. It restricts more than what you have already restricted as spinach would be out.

I am also in protracted benzo withdrawal.
Posted From:
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 10:59 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The burning mouth started about a week ago. I think it is related to my hormones. I will not be surprised if it goes away soon. I do not eat spinach as I read that is high in glutamate also. The diet restrictions are so difficult.
How long do you need to be off benzo's and still having symptoms to be considered to be in protracted withdrawal?
Is Malic Acid high in glutamate? There is a Magnesium powder that has Malic Acid in it as well. Citric Acid is bad so I am assuming that Malic Acid is the same.
Roy Piwovar
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, December 31, 2011 - 11:23 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Some interesting web postings regarding benzo withdrawal:

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