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How I figured out something was REALL...

Battling the MSG Myth » Share Your Symptoms » How I figured out something was REALLY not right... « Previous Next »

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Posted on Friday, October 17, 2008 - 10:28 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Every time I've attempted to go vegetarian I've felt really ill within days (and given up because I thought it was unhealthy for me). This last time, things were going okay though. I was mostly eating a p&b sandwhich each morning, fruit, and vegetable stews. But then I stupidly bought a box of processed vegetarian products as a "treat." I really liked them and got addicted to them in the span of one box, got lazy in my cooking (ie depressed) very quickly, and then ate way too many of the products each day (because I felt like crap, had no energy, and they were easy). Vicious cyle. That all happened in...a week? Then for four days I felt so bad and had such horrible migranes (that did not go away) that I had to go home early or call in to work. I thought I was being lazy and depressive and irresponsible, that the migranes were all in my head and that I just didn't want to go to work. But then I had the same horrible headache when I was playing "hooky." The ONLY thing that was different was that I had a LOT of these veggie products and that they of course contain soy protein. In the course of researching the soy angle, I found a few sites on MSG. Almost EVERY ingredient in the veggie products was a red flag for MSG.

The symptom list on this site was a bit revealing though. I have the following symptoms that come and go (and no discernable food allergies with blood testing): Diarrhea, Nausea, gas, Irritable bowel and/or constipation, Water retention and bloating (stomach swells), aches/soreness in back, shoulders, neck, Abdominal discomfort, Bipolar, depression, Anxiety (GAD), nocturia, Lethargy/fatigue, insomnia and drowsiness, migraine headaches, Awareness During Sleep Paralysis (ADSP), excessive thirst

I could never pin it on anything though, except knowing that I do better when I cook everything myself and avoid processed and restaurant foods. I've either known or suspected that I have some issues with: fake sugar, dairy, soy, bread, and chocolate. I felt like it was mostly all in my head and just...tried to eat healthy even though it only worked in a general half assed kind of way.

At least I feel like perhaps I'm pointed in the right direction now...
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, October 18, 2008 - 3:43 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Quote: "I thought I was being lazy and depressive and irresponsible, that the migranes were all in my head and that I just didn't want to go to work"

Anonymous (name?), go easy on is a learning process for sure, glad you've finally made the connection and can learn and gain valuable knowledge on here to help you get better.

Soy by the way is a huge avoid for me - will render me absolutely ill for weeks. It's in alot of things too so you'll need to be dutiful in checking labels. I am not a vegetarian and so can't be of any help to steer you in the right direction for that type of diet, but I am sure there is alot of good info on this board for you. :-)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 11:17 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've had "depression" since I was 12. If I went easy on myself and gave my internal drill sergeant a day off, I'd never leave the house. One can not pay ones bills with no paycheck and no job.

Anyway, after reading more on this board, I'm questioning whether all my issues are from MSG. I do believe that my recent problems were the result of a reaction to soy/msg and I believe that the same thing happened in previous attempts to go vegan/vegetarian. However, after reading more posts here, it appears that people have the same reaction every time they have MSG. I, on the other hand, have a cluster of problems that repeatedly happen with no discernable trigger. Some days I have bad gas, some days I might be constipated, some days I might have diarrhea, some days I retain water and my stomach swells out and it sorta hurts, some days the plumbing seems to work okay. Almost every day I'd kill for a back/shoulder/neck rub because I'm either sore or stiff or both. I randomly have anxiety with no discernable cause. I have been diagnosed as bipolar type II, even though I'm actually tired during my "manic" episodes (one reason why I think I'm misdiagnosed). I'm a bit tired all the time actually, even when I have insomnia (like last night). I don't usually get migranes anymore, but I think that was due to me banning myself from listening to music much at all, and only then if it's not too loud and only for short bursts. Plus I usually have a zit or two, and I'm 28. I even realized that my itching might be due to bananas (which I eat every day) and grapes since right after I ate them the last two days my mouth, ears, and eyes itch. Then I start feeling like my head and neck is itchy. It only lasts 10-20 minutes, and I don't care so much. But it's not like it's new, since I've been told I rub my eyes a lot and have a habit of rubbing my nose because it itches, but I've never connected it to anything...but, I'm sure tomorrow I'll eat some fruit from the same batch in my refrigerator and absolutely nothing will happen. That's the way things go when I try to figure it all out.

Blah...anyway, I don't have the same reactions all the time. It's all random. I'm starting to think I shouldn't really bother with any of this. I have many issues, but they are so random and I gave up a long time ago on figuring out their cause.
Posted From:
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 5:21 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I don't think I have any really good advice to offer, but maybe this could help:

Have you researched sulfites? A lot of MSG sensitive people cannot tolerate them, myself included. They make MSG reactions worse than they would have been otherwise. Maybe you're only on the fence as far as being at the "saturation point" with MSG.

I've also heard of a latex allergy causing reactions to bananas. Do you wear latex gloves at work?

Also, check out this book:
"The Metabolic Typing Diet". I read it, and I don't think it was extremely well-written, but the theory is sound. There's a questionnaire that can give you insight as to whether or not a vegetarian diet is best for you.

Hope you figure it out - in my experience, there really is a cause that can be fixed for you not feeling so good.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 9:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I looked at a few versions of the self-test, but they were pretty confusing and I gave up. For instance, I'm quite pale as well as having a ruddy complextion. I crave sweets, but also crave fatty foods (who doesn't want to eat bad foods?). If I eat just fruit for breakfast I'd still be hungry, but if I ate a very fatty breakfast then I'd feel sluggish. And so on...

I've been trying to go vegetarian because I (in no particular order) a) do not trust the meat industry and their shoddy regulation, b) my risk for cancer, heart disease, etc is lower, c) my grocery bill thanks me, d) more planet friendly and I can eat knowing that no animal was killed or lived a crappy life for my meal.

I don't wear latex gloves, but in researching the last two days I found out that you can have a reaction to bananas if you are allergic to ragweed (and cantalope if you eat that). Ragweed is currently at a medium level in my area. However, I wake up most days with dry, itchy eyes and a stuffy nose. Maybe I'm allergic to other things, too. I live in Central Texas so it's very possible (if you don't have allergies before you move here, you will get them while you stay).

The weird thing is the grapes though. I found this:

There are several special problems about grapes worth noting:

They are heavily sprayed with pesticides, making them the most toxic fruit you can buy. Grapes naturally grow yeast on their skin. Like any fruit, mold can grow on grapes. Rather than a grape allergy, you may instead be allergic to pesticides, yeast or mold.

Grape Pesticides
According to the book "Diet for a Poisoned Planet", grapes are sprayed with so many chemicals that they are extremely toxic. Unless they are organic, grapes are an example of unhealthy food. The answer is to buy organic grapes.

Grapes and Yeast
If you have a yeast allergy, you must reduce grape consumption, or stop eating grapes altogether. Unless you are eating organic grapes, it is a good idea to cut them out of your diet anyhow, allergic or not.

Grapes and Mold
Mold can grow on grapes. If the grapes look to be in good shape, inspect where the stems join the fruit. This is one place that mold sometimes grows in otherwise healthy-looking grapes.

Which Allergy Is It?
If you react to grapes, but not organic grapes, you are probably allergic to the pesticides. If you only occasionally react to grapes, it could be a mold allergy. Check for mold and avoid it whenever you eat grapes. If you have the patience to peal the grapes and eat only the inside, and this is OK, and assuming that eating organic grapes did not help, suspect a yeast allergy.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 9:24 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jae, There are chemicals and additives that when combined with other chemicals or additives create more sensitivities than alone. Have you kept a diary of what you eat and also what you do? I not an asthmatic but if I eat peanuts and drink rum together I get asthma - no other times, just then and I get no reaction if I ingest either of them alone. Some things like MSG are cummulative. Do you wash all your produce well?
Bill S
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Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2008 - 10:03 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jae, personally I'd stay away from grapes. Who knows what they are sprayed with.

Have you looked into sulphites like Jennifer mentioned? They make most of us on this board feel very ill. Make sure your bananas and raisins are organic.

If you haven't already I would search this board for "peanut butter"

It sounds like your on a better track. Figuring out about soy. You might want to search the forum for "psychiatry" also.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 - 8:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've done a food diary, but it wasn't helpful. If I have stomach problems one day with a food, the next day nothing happens. I've eaten ice cream and gotten horrible diarrhea within ten minutes, then eaten from the same carton the next day and I was okay. If I get lazy with cooking and eat out for a spell or I'm just not eating well, I tend to get constipated for days at a time. Then I'll usually get diahrea, then end up getting consipated again. My stomach will swell up a bit, and it hurts. If I start eating healthy though then everything moves a long a bit better and more "normal," but it's all relative. If I eat like most people around me though, I'd constantly be a sick mess though. :-(

I've actually already tried to do an elimination diet a year ago, but back then I was just eliminating the major allergens: soy, dairy, corn, citrus, eggs, wheat, etc. I can't remember what foods I ate, but I did it for a week and then I added in things every day or two. Didn't help much, and I never felt much better anyway, so I had a round of food allergy tests done. Results were that I am not actually allergic to anything (that I asked to be tested for). My doc also said that if it's an intolerance due to something I ate (lactose intolerance etc) that I would know fairly quickly. So...I stopped bothering trying to figure it out.

As far as washing my produce, I mostly eat canned and frozen vegetables. When I buy fresh and wash it, I don't use soap. I read that you should never do that actually. I normally just stick it under the tap and rub it with my fingers. I also read that buying anything organic that you aren't going to eat the peel on is a giant waste of money if you care about pestisides. Thus, it's a waste of dough to buy organic bananas or oranges. Buying organic grapes though would be a good value, since you are eating the outside of the fruit. I've never bought organic grapes though, since fruit is expensive enough.

As far as psychiatry goes, if what is described on these boards is anti-psychiatry, then you're preaching to the choir. I think it's mostly pointless. My shrink wanted to put me on anti-depressants, but I'm not depressed. There is nothing I need to "work through" in therapy as per the therapist that I went to see. I resisted the anti-ds. He wanted to give me an anti-psychotic (the one they give autistics) because I have sensory sensitivities and sensory integration issues. But I told him no, those things are awful. I worked around some of my sensitivities and just know I risk a headache if I can't leave certain situations (loud noises, someone playing music or not shutting up, too strong smells or too many at once, etc etc etc). It's a big reason why I'd just rather stay home. It's too loud and too bright and crowded every where else. Anyway...the only reason why I take the mood stabalizer is because in the year or so I've been on this med, I can count on one hand the number of nights I've had insomnia. Before this med, there were a couple of times I didn't sleep for three days straight (and it wasn't for lack of trying). Even Ambien wouldn't help sometimes. far as sleeping, this med really does help me and is needed.
Deb A.
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Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 - 10:30 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What you assumed was a reaction to ice cream one day may not have been. With MSG, it can take up to 24 hour for a full blown reaction, and from some of what you have said, I suspect that you are getting a steady dose of MSG in one form or another each day...the amount you get varies with each day, and so your reactions will vary. You may have been reacting to something you ate the day before you ate the ice cream. The next day, when you ate some ice cream, you waited for the same reaction, but it was different. This can happen with a host of foods that may or may not be culprits. That's why it's so important to keep a food journal at first and to be aware that for most of us, a full blown reaction to free glutamate may take a longer time that one would think...up to 37 hours for some people...for me, it's 12 to 24. If I eat ingest a HUGE amount of MSG, then the reaction will happen sooner and will be more intense. Grapes are often sprayed with sulfur dioxide in the field to prevent molding...I avoid grapes for this reason, except the ones I grow. Many meds contain free glutamate.
Bill S
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Posted on Monday, October 20, 2008 - 8:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jae, from reading your posts again. It doesn't seem like you've tried Debby's test diet yet. I think it would be a good place to start considering you eat a lot of frozen and canned food, which tend to be worse in respect to MSG and sulfites.

Also non-organic bananas are dunked in sulfites after they are picked and is absorbed within. So it's not just in the peel. I bet you'll tell the difference if you try organic ones. And sulfites can cause stomach problems. Just search on here. (sulfites or sulphites)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 8:53 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

No, I haven't done the test diet yet. I was waiting until I finished up the food in my fridge before I started. I doubt that I'm sensitive to MSG (barring over-indulging in veggie products) that I'll notice much (if any) difference, so I wasn't about to throw away perfectly good food.

I should be more clear and state outright that the far majority of my diet comes from what is mentioned in the elimination diet anyway. I eat out only twice a month or so. I don't even like to buy bread because it's "processed junk" in my opinion, but if I cooked it myself then I'd eat the whole loaf in the same day because I have no self control when it comes to bread (that's unfortunately not an exaggeration...I'd happily eat nothing but bread if it was healthy to do so). :-( I suspect bread as a cause of some of my stomach issues (constipation and ab swelling), but if I don't eat any bread then I don't retain much water...and liquid goes straight through me. I already go a lot, so it just makes it much worse, and I have to wake up once or twice a night.

I do see that one could note that I eat small amounts of things daily (or almost daily) that could possibly be causing problems if I were actually very MSG sensitive. My naughtiness is limited to: a few bits of (vegan) chocolate, wheat bread, grape jelly (only lately), natural peanut butter (ingredients listed as peanuts, 100% peanuts actually). I also have been using a store brand of spaghetti sauce diluted with no sodium tomato sauce as a base for my vegetable stew that I eat almost every day. I put in different canned vegetables and one can of beans, plus potatos and carrots. I just make a big pot of it that lasts for 4-5 days and it's very cheap to make. I'll be sad to see it go if it's a problem.

I'm starting the elimination diet tomorrow just to see what happens. I'm eliminating everything listed above that might be giving me problems.
Deb A.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 12:56 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Store brands of spaghetti sauce most often contain sources of free glutamate, the harmful component of MSG. Citric acid, often added to tomato products today, also contains residues of free glutamate. Try buying fresh tomatoes and just puree them in the blender. Be sure to simmer any soups or stews on low heat. Boiling foods rich in naturally occurring bound glutamate like tomatoes, milk, beans, etc., will break down the glutamate into the free form that will enter the bloodstream right away. Many low sodium products contain free glutamate. If the peanut butter is not organic, it usually will have sulfites. Please do a search on sulfites and learn what foods often contain them. Most of us who are sulfite sensitive react to MSG and visa versa.
Deb A.
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Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 1:10 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, I found what you said about bananas and sulfites so amazing. We are being told that since we peel them, it's a waste to buy organic ones. But just this month, my daughter called and told me that she is sure she has started reacting to bananas like her brother has for a year. Today, I just bought organic ones because I was suspecting that the ones in my smoothies were beginning to bother me. Where did you find the information about the bananas? Are they treated with sulfur dioxide gas, or liquid sulfites? Thanks for that bit of info!
Bill S
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Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 6:54 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

The thing is I can't be positive what chemical is causing the problem.

I guess I am making some assumptions. Based on the fact that they dip the stem in a fungicide. I'm assuming the fungicide sucks inside through the freshly cut stem. Which I'm pretty sure contains sulfur. And probably the SO2 gas too? The ethylene? Or maybe the spray from airplanes that the bananas workers run and hide from?

So I may be assuming wrong. Bananas are quite a toxic brew. It could be anything.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Wednesday, October 22, 2008 - 8:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Ah, sorry, I deleted that part of my post for length when I responded earlier. I did a search on sulfites much earlier on in this forum and others. I am not convinced I have problems with sulfites as my 'reactions' are not similar to what is usually associated with sulfites.

In any case, I'm eliminating the things I tend to eat every day in this elimination diet as well. This goes for bananas (and peanut butter). If it's only a ragweed allergy, then that explains why I'm reacting to the bananas in that manner. Indeed, my 'reactions' are commonly associated with the allergy interpretation. In any case, I think that is more plausible than a reaction to sulfites, although I understand that the two are not mutually exclusive.

I ended up going by Whole Foods yesterday, but got sticker shock and left. The prices were ridiculous. I think I'll just buy carefully and wash everything thoroughly. I don't really understand what is meant by using baking soda to wash everything. What amount?

In an interesting turn, since I've been trying to finish up everything in my fridge, I've eaten a lot of bread to finish up the loaf (4-6 slices, when I usually limit myself to at most 2). I read some where in the last couple of day that someone had linked their own insomnia with bread consumption. I've had issues with falling asleep for several hours every day since I've been eating more to finish the loaf up. Now I'm wondering if that could be contributing to my sleeping problems as well. I need to do some testing on it during the testing phase of my elimination diet, but I thought that angle was interesting and something I had not suspected before.

I should also add that I do appreciate your responses and the discussion. I do realize I come off very different than most of the newbies that post here. :-)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 4:42 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I like the recommended "test diet" idea, then if all goes well, add one food back into your diet at a time. It does make it easier to determine what you may be reacting to.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 - 8:05 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Is honey acceptable? I bought some local honey, but I didn't see whether or not it was okay for a test diet.

I'm also seriously considering adding meat back into my diet for the time being. I'm having to cut too much stuff.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Saturday, October 25, 2008 - 4:30 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I believe honey is acceptable, and meat may be ok too. The recommendation for meat is don't over cook it. And shop carefully for poultry, making sure it hasn't had any solutions retained, in fact, unless you know the company's processing method expect it to have been washed with citric acid. There are some "natural" brands that are safe, like Bell and Evans. I think other brands have been discussed here recently.
Deb A.
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Posted on Monday, October 27, 2008 - 11:13 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Honey is very good. As for washing produce with baking soda, I just sprinkle 2 to 3 T. in a large bowl of tepid water and swish well and rinse. Wheat is high in naturally occurring glutamate, and commercial bread contains other sources of glutamate, in addition.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2009 - 2:38 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Your symptoms sound almost exactly like mine. I am super sensitive right now so even the test diet is hard to do.

Right before i figured this out i knew i was allergic to corn but i didn't know (and my dr. didn't tell me) that i was getting corn in almost every meal. i just knew i was having "my" corn reaction(abdominal swelling,cramps,diarrhea,shortness of breath,flushed face) to small degrees every time i ate. i actually found this site from looking up corn allergies/corn aliases. when i figured out that citric acid is derived from corn (I already was avoiding all obvious forms of corn -corn syrup,corn starch) i realized that every canned veggie in my store was poison for me.

You also sound like me because I could figure out a diet on my own that made me feel a little better but never just right. Your symptoms ARE all food related - even though you have questioned it before because you couldn't get total relief thru diet. The cards are stacked against you - keep trying. My new diet is this: if it has ingredients listed don't even try it. Most of the stuff with no ingredients in my store (walmart) are inedible by me - raw chicken has added stock (corn-msg!) I can't even find short grain rice so the diet is challenging.

Suffice it to say: I have always felt better when empty but would be starving to death and always ruined it by eating. Now i will tell you this - severe hunger pangs are one of the first sign that i have eaten the wrong thing. When you start getting clean you will realize that you will get hungry, but it will go away if you don't eat and you won't be so hungry you feel like you are dying.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Monday, January 05, 2009 - 3:19 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I read a couple of books last summer and one of them touched upon the percentage of GMO we eat, and a lot of it is unknowingly. Something like 60% of the average diet is either GM corn, soy, canola, rice ... or something like that. I remember that the author stressed the pervasiveness of GM corn. I guess Monsanto owns more than half the world's seeds with much of it being GM corn. Anyway, I also read that so many people are having reactions to GM foods - I wish I remembered all the details. I'm not sure if the book was "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan or the other one I read, both were really good.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 3:56 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am suspicious about green beans that are an unusual shade of dark green. I have eaten those a couple of times and really reacted. I am not sure whether it is because they have been grown using Auxigro or whether they are GMO green beans. Now if I see these kinds of green beans, I avoid them like the plague.

60%? Wow - SCARY!
Lisa Marie
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Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 4:29 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Check this out:
"Seeds of Deception"
Lisa Marie
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Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 4:30 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Jeffrey M. Smith

Probably the most knowledgable about all this.
Roy Piwovar
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, January 06, 2009 - 11:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Web site for Michael Pollan's "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto"

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