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Battling the MSG Myth » "Help! I've Just Made the MSG Connection" » Please help! « Previous Next »

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Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, January 24, 2010 - 8:10 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi everyone. I have been very sick for the past few months and have been to 6 Doctors trying to find out what is wrong with me. None of them could find anything, after doing several tests. I also went to an allergist who tested me for 37 different foods and all were negative. They included soybean, corn, wheat, and several other common foods. My symptoms are a little bit different than most people on here, but some are the same. I have had edema all over my entire body (mostly face) for months. It never goes away completely, although it does improve. Last weekend, I went out to dinner for thai and mexican food and in two days I had gained 10 lbs because of the edema and face/body swelling. I keep gaining weight, even when I try to eat healthy and work out 5 times a week! Some days, I feel very sluggish, tired, weak, congested, can't get out of bed on some days, heart racing, dizzy, spacy feeling, etc. My face is always swollen and puffy everyday for the past few months. I'm depressed and aggravated with trying to figure this out. I was starting to think that it could be sodium, so I eliminated that from my diet, and still had reactions. Last Friday, I went to a Naturopath and they told me that they think it could be MSG. I am going back tomorrow to get a food sensitivity test to find out for sure. So, here I am. I am very happy I found this forum. I am already learning a lot. I also ordered the "Battling MSG" book. I went to Trader Joe's and Sprouts yesterday and it took me 3 hours to buy food. I thought that I bought the right foods, but I had another reaction last night. I had Cat's cookies (made by TJ's) which are animal crackers that didn't have any of the hidden MSG (the ones on my list) in it. I also ate Trader Joe's light popcorn that was made of air popped popcorn, canola oil and salt. And today I woke up with a bigger face again! I also bought bread which only has a few ingredients in it (none on the list), so I thought it was safe. Also, 2% milk and organic light string cheese. Also, organic cereal, granola bars and Amy's organic soups. Now, I'm not sure if any of these are safe. I am so confused! I bought sea salt too, which I don't know is safe anymore. And I also bought unsalted butter. I seem to react to salt, so I want to try to keep a low sodium diet as well. I have no idea what to eat or what to do at this point. I am not sure what is causing all these reactions and this constant, ongoing edema. Has anyone else experienced mild to severe edema on their whole body from MSG? 10 lbs in one day from the swelling! I'm thinking I should do the "Test Yourself" on the website, but even then I am still confused. I just bought Chicken from Sprouts that says All Naural, farm fresh, minimally processed, no added growth hormones, no added enhancers or solutions. Is this safe to eat? If not, where should I buy my chicken? Also, do I need to stay away from corn completely? And can I eat mushrooms at all? Is it safe to eat citrus fruits? Sorry for all the questions. I am just desperate and confused right now and any advice/suggestions would help me. Thank you so much!

Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 9:50 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tracey - You have come to the right place - you will get a lot of help here. One thing that I found out is to avoid low fat milk products. I do fine with whole milk, cream and butter. But I get very sick if I drink skim milk or anything that contains nonfat dairy stuff. You will learn to read labels very carefully. One benefit is that you will find that you do not have that overwhelming hunger to eat everything in sight when you are on this type of diet. Good luck and keep at it and you will discover unbelieveable stuff - and hopefully will begin the path to feeling better. Kaye
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 7:04 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tracey we have all been where you are and it is so frustrating. I feel the panic for you, not knowing where to turn. Kaye is right you will find help here. There's so much to tell you that it will be just totally overwhelming. You need to start out very simply. You did the right thing getting Deb A's book. It is a life saver. Now take a breath and try these simple things first, because there's so many traps and pitfalls out there. I use Organic Valley Whole Milk, no fortified vitamins there. Organic Valley half and half for coffee. Many people here have trouble with coffee, I can use Folgers safely. I buy decaf and just original and I mix them so I get less caffeine. I use pure can sugar Dominoes for me. Get some organic brown rice and make a batch. Get some organic beans and make a batch. I freeze them in serving sizes. I am able to use Cento brand All Purpose crushed tomatoes (only that one). You can make your own soup with that. Just cook some carrots and celery (I use Earthbound Organic veggies) in water with salt, puree it and add to tomato season with pepper and turmeric (I use organic spices) You can use the rice for breakfast with a little milk and sugar, you can mix the beans with rice for lunch. Trader Joes has tuna fish it says Tongol it is only tuna no salt, that is fine for me. I did not do bread at all for a while, now I make it myself, really easier to do than you might think, so don't be afraid. I use organic eggs from a local farm, but they do have them in stores. Keep it simple and soon you will be adding so much more to your diet and you will feel fabulous. Today I made Deb's instant pumpkin pie, just delicious and pumpkin bread. I use organic pumpkin Farmers Garden. At Trader Joe's I get organic pasta. Be careful with butter, mine says simply cream and salt. Some of the unsalted butters have milk solids added I don't do well with them. So if you have some pasta, tuna, eggs, soup coffee and milk or cream it will get you started. I have the same problem with swelling up. My stomach gets all bloated and my eyes get puffy, it is part of what happens with glutamic acid poisoning. Stay with the web site, we will be here for you adding new things to try and telling you some things to be wary of. As Deb says in her book " the good news is soon you will be eating many wonderful foods" "The bad news is, you will have to cook it yourself". I must say that one quote gave me hope when I felt totally alone and frightened. I started coming to the site and eventually I added my own thoughts here. I wanted to give back for the help that I had received. Hang in there. Mariann
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 - 10:11 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thank you so much! I truly appreciate all the advice. I'm trying out Deb's "Test Yourself." So, I can only eat brown rice, veggies, fruits, organic whole milk, some cheese and chicken (if I can find some without broth and other ingredients). Does anyone know where I can buy chicken breasts without all the additives in it? Also, Deb says to avoid carrots for right now. But, what about every other vegetable? Tomatoes, mushrooms, cucumbers, corn, green beans? I have a bunch of frozen vegetables that are safe. But, I'm not sure if I can have all of them. Is corn safe? What about all fruits? Grapefruit, oranges, bananas, etc.? Should I be buying everything organic? What kind of organic beans do you get? Are they canned? Also, the butter I have says cultured pasteurized cream (that is the unsalted one). The salted one says cream and salt. Are both of these safe? Also, what kind of cheese is safe? I looked for mozzarella with whole milk, but all of them say part skim milk. Is this safe? The colby/Jack cheese I bought says annatto for coloring. Deb said that mozzarella and colby/jack were safe. This is so confusing! I'm so glad I found this forum! Thank you so much!

Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 4:28 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tracey, You have a lot of the same symptoms that I do. I am allergic to corn and soy and cannot tolerate any corn additives. You were given sound advice to start simple and prepare everything yourself. By the way, my swelling starting going down immediately when I took all the food additives out of my diet.

It sounds to me as if you are very sensitive to corn derivatives (corn allergy does not always show up in allergy tests, but avoidance brings relief). If you reacted to some of the packaged foods without the fga food additives, you are probably reacting to all corn additives. The good news is that you will start to feel better immediately after starting the test diet, but I suggest only kelly gold or tillamook cheese for now. Mozzarella always contains gm corn vinegar and skim milk. Annatto is iffy at best. Here is another forum that may help you:

I suggest you start looking for local farmers for eggs and chicken and produce. A lot of our reactions are caused by the type of processing that local farmers don't do - only large agri-businesses. For now, only buy organic chicken (I know it is expensive, but Bell and Evans seems to work for most people). Avoid anything "enriched" including dairy products, you can probably safely eat Daisy full fat sour cream and Dannon whole milk plain yogurt. Don't worry about the fat for now. I am betting you will lose weight even though you will be taking in much more fat than you have ever allowed yourself. In fact, a good rule of thumb is this: if something says "low-fat" or "sugar-free" or "low calorie" on the label, RUN AWAY!

Here is a list of safe brand name foods: This list is for the corn allergic, but anything on it will be safe for fga sensitive individuals.

As for veggies and fruit, most organic veggies will be fine as long as they aren't "pre-washed" or sliced or something. You may be able to tolerate organic corn, but I would be extremely careful. Also, some brands of frozen fruits and veggies can have unlisted ingredients that will cause reactions. Refer to the list for safe brands. You can buy organic canned beans, but for now I would stick to only foods you make (make a pot of dried beans). Your goal is to get several days under your belt of zero reactions. You will get better results if you avoid all wheat for a week or two as well. Wheat can be problematic for corn sensitive people.

Don't worry, as you read and learn and listen to your body, you will get really good at this. Another of Deb's good suggestions is to keep a food journal. Record what you eat and if you have any reactions. It helps tremendously, when you start out and also if you start reacting and can't track down the source. Also, you will become healthier than most Americans by far - your reactions will keep you from "cheating" and made-from-scratch food using fresh simple (unadulterated) ingredients is the best way to get healthy.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, January 26, 2010 - 10:29 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Kristy! Thank you so much. I'm not sure if it is corn. I have no idea at this point if it is even MSG for sure. I just got the food sensitivity panel done yesterday, so I will see when the results come back. It might not even be a food sensitivity. But, it would make sense and be a relief to know what is causing all of this. Did you get serious edema everywhere? My whole body swells up and my face is constantly swollen and puffy everyday. Yesterday, I only ate brown rice, eggs, broccoli, apples, clementines, bananas and a little bit of unsalted butter on the rice. Today, I woke up with a more swollen/puffy face!
Are all fruits and veggies ok? I will try to avoid corn for now till I know more. But, is everything else ok to eat? Where do you get the cheese that is safe? What is the exact name? Also, where do you buy your milk and where do I find safe chicken? Is a whole baked chicken ok? I don't think whole chickens have any additives or preservatives added. Sorry for all the questions. I'm so overwhelmed right now! Especially, the fact that I have no idea what I'm even sensitive to or if this is something other than a food sensitivity. Thank you all for your advice!
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 2:16 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Tracey, I did have a lot of swelling before I figured this out. My fingers still swell when I get corned. I didn't have swelling of my face, but I did have it in my neck, arms, hands, legs, and feet.

Corn allergy doesn't always show up in a sensitivity panel, but you can always tell by just avoiding it and seeing if your symptoms go away.

"Yesterday, I only ate brown rice, eggs, broccoli, apples, clementines, bananas and a little bit of unsalted butter on the rice"
The eggs, apples, clementines and bananas could all contain corn. The apples and clementines were most likely waxed - I am having a really hard time finding unwaxed ones. The bananas were gassed with ethylene gas to ripen them - Dole are the worst offenders, some can tolerate chiquita.

Fruits and veggies are really hard to figure. The best thing to do is to get clean, then try brands until you find safe ones and then stick with them. I know that isn't much help, but most corn allergic garden and can or freeze their own produce and buy from farmers markets. Local farmers don't add waxes or ethylene.

I get the Kerry Gold swiss and cheddar from the Kroger specialty cheese section (other stores with a deli may have carry them, too). It is imported from Ireland and they don't use GMO corn enzymes to make it. It costs twice as much (at least) as other cheeses, but Tillamook also seems safe and it is much cheaper. We have experimented with cheeses from other countries, but they are all expensive. There is no way around that.

There is plenty of chicken in my grocery store with no additives or preservatives, but they spray them with citric acid during processing (it is a GMO corn derivative). That stuff doesn't wash off and will trigger a major corn reaction for us. The best bet is to look for a butcher that you can trust and ask lots of questions. Look for a farmer in your area here: or

I know it can be overwhelming, but if you stick with brown rice, organic valley or unsalted butter, frozen veggie brands from the list above, daisy full fat sour cream, dannon whole milk yogurt, braggs apple cider vinegar, pure extra virgin olive oil, virgin coconut oil, dried beans, unenriched pasta (brands that are mentioned here), organic produce (leave the fruit for now), raw honey, pure cane sugar, organic chicken, organic eggs (these are troublesome to find safe - my brand is probably not available for you unless you have Krogers). Celtic sea salt and Redmond real salt is definitely safe as well as single spice McCormick spices. You can use canning salt (available everywhere) if you can't find sea salt, but it lacks the natural minerals. I wouldn't worry about the sodium nearly as much as the corn derivatives in table salt and you need the iodine and other minerals in sea salt.

This diet may be boring, but it will help you clean up your system and see if there is any correlation between your diet and your reactions. You will be able to add more exciting foods to your diet once you get clean and learn more about what bothers you.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 3:32 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tracey, that is good advice from Kristy. Sometimes there is a multi faceted sensitivity. I winced when I read the food that you had, thinking it was safe. I did the same thing too in the beginning, we pretty much all did. One by one you will add good things to eat. Keep it simple, really, really, simple. When you feel well you will have the energy to try more and more things. Trust me you will not be hungry, I have a normal range of hunger now. Before I was craving all the time, I never felt satisfied. I didn't know the meaning of the words, "I'm done, i've had enough." Now I eat better than before and I am losing weight, I feel so healthy. That is right around the corner for you. If you can eat peanut butter, get some organic with no salt or just sea salt. I lived on that literally for a while. Make a batch of the whole grain rolls in Debs book. They are "so moist they don't need butter". They are not lying. I used Hodgkins Mills Organic graham flour, fleishmans plain yeast and some organic olive oil, first press. I made rolls and froze them. You can take one out at a time. You sort of need to do that because these good breads have not preservatives in them. Wrap it in a paper towel and hit defrost on you micro for a short time. They will melt in your mouth. You can use peanut butter, or the Tongol tuna from Trader Joes. I made mayo with eggs yolks cooked (stole them from my grandaughters poached egg (she doesn't like that part) I blended them with Olive oil, sugar the vinegar that Kristy mentioned, salt and some Edens Organic yellow mustard. It is a good substitute. You have to forget what you thought was safe food for now. If you don't want to tackle bread yet, get Wassa Crackers plain rye, or Kavli crackers plain rye. They are great carriers. If you can get organic eggs, you can do scrambled, or egg salad. Stay with those things and see how you feel. Try to find Bell and Evans chicken at the local stores or look them up on line and they will tell you who in your area carries their product. I also us their Italian chicken sausage not the others because of a suspicious ingredient. I wish I could transfer all the things that I have learned over to your head by clicking the computer, but of course I can't so let's do the next best thing. We can help you get started and be there for you all the way along. Mariann
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 8:54 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Have you checked your hygiene products for MSG ingredients as well? Almost all toothpastes have carrageenan, flavors, natural flavoring or even all of the above added. Most shampoos and other hygiene products have citric acid. Whole Foods has a limited selection of MSG-free hygiene products. I use Weleda Plant Gel toothpaste; their other flavors have carrageenen.

Also, please read my article about the cover-up of hidden MSG and feel free to pass it along to anyone you wish.
Tom Fernstrom
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, February 02, 2010 - 7:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I only have three words of advice "cave man diet". You can do a site search for postings related to this "purging" diet. The only way you can identify what food is possibly causing health problems is via elimination.

It may very well take a week or two to rid your system of excitotoxins. How can you possibly eat all the above mentioned foods and expect to know that you are truly avoiding excitotoxins?

When I first found out about my reactions to MSG it was because I started a diet based upon a book called "Protein Power". The diet recommended avoiding all processed foods and when I successfully did avoid them; my A-Fib caused by MSG ingestion went away.

As time went on, I occasionally had recurrence of A-Fib. Thatís when I discovered this site and learned about other forms of MSG. I took the Protein Power diet a step farther and did the cave man diet which would allow me to then identify additional foods that contained MSG.

I think the biggest problem we NoMSGers have is the constant changes (improvements) that occur in the food industry that make a safe food dangerous. Theyíre out to kill us in the never ending drive to sell more product. Itís sad but true.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 2:35 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Tom, what is a cave man diet?
Tom Fernstrom
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 8:44 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


My cave man diet eliminated all foods except unseasoned beef cuts, fresh home garden grown vegetables and an occasional plain potatoe. I would have this at all meals for about a week or two to allow for MSG to be purged from my system. Gradually I would add foods that should/could be safe and wait to see if there were a reaction. Over time and thru trial and error, I would be able to add foods to my menu. However, this does not guarantee that those foods will stay safe since the food industry is constantly "improving" their offerings.

Sounds like an unhealthy way of determining what you can and cannot eat, but it works.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, February 03, 2010 - 4:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You know Tom, you are right on. In the beginning I only did organic brown rice and my own home cooked organic beans and went on from there. The problem for those of us that have gotten better is that we want to help others to find short cuts to a truly difficult problem. Mariann
Unregistered guest
Posted on Friday, March 12, 2010 - 10:25 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

FYI - I was very sick at the start, took me a month on my diet to begin seeing results and another 2 before I stopped having recurrence of severe symptoms and months before symptoms stopped completely. My point: stick with it, don't get discouraged! God Bless ~

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