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My story

Battling the MSG Myth » How You Made the MSG Connection » My story « Previous Next »

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Becky W.
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Posted on Saturday, April 14, 2007 - 11:47 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here are the symptoms that I have had throughout my life, many of them since childhood:
seeing shiny lights (since childhood)
occasional angina (since childhood)
occasional depression (since childhood)
occasional tinnitus (since childhood)
stiff muscles
sluggish thyroid
mitral valve prolapse
heavy menstrual bleeding and cramps
I've never gotten headaches very often, but my chiropractor and massage therapist thought that I would suffer from headaches because of the extremely tight muscles at the back of my neck.

I am only 30 years old. I have tried to eat "healthy" since about 16 years of age. I have eaten mostly a vegetarian diet my whole life. Despite eating "healthy" and taking vitamin supplements I continued to have these health problems. I went to see a chiropractor a year and a half ago because I was having burning pain in my neck. He did some x-rays and you could actually see the gas in my intestines on the x-rays! He thought chiropractic adjustments would help. While they helped the burning pain in my neck, I still had gas just about every afternoon or evening. At that time I was eating a bowl of soup every day for lunch at work because it was cheap, easy, and filled me up. Now I know the soup was probably what was causing my daily gas problems. When I say gas, I mean GAS! I didn't have a lot of stinky flatulence or anything, I just had an extremely bloated abdomen and could feel a "putt...putt...putt..." sensation in my stomach that got to be extremely irritating after awhile, making it hard for me to concentrate on my work. At my chiropractor's urgings, I tried to find the solution to my digestive problems. I used fiber supplements and digestive enzymes and they seemed to help a little bit, but the problem was still there. I did a series of cleanses over about 3 months: a colon cleanse, a parasite cleanse and a candida yeast cleanse. This required a very restricted diet: I ate mostly brown rice or other gluten-free grains, plain brown rice cakes, raw almonds, rice milk, veggies and salads with lemon juice and olive oil, fish, eggs and plain yogurt. Pretty much everything I ate was homemade since the store-bought stuff had sugar, vinegar, or other ingredients not allowed on my cleanse. For the first time in a long time, I was actually digesting my food! My gas problems went away except for 1 or 2 occurrences in that 3 month time period. It was wonderful! While it was a restricted diet, I remember thinking that I could live on a diet pretty close to this for the rest of my life if it meant I would feel this much better. But after the cleanses were over and I gradually went back to my normal diet, the digestive problems came back. Now I should mention that all this time I had heard that MSG was not good for you, though I didn't really know why. I knew some people got headaches after eating at Chinese food restaurants, but I don't like Chinese food and have never had too many problems with headaches, so I never learned very much about MSG and why it was bad for you. Until a few weeks ago. I read some articles that talked about hidden sources of MSG like yeast extract and hydrolyzed vegetable protein. I checked the foods in my pantry and lo and behold almost everything had hidden sources of MSG! So I threw them out and started watching whatever I ate, mostly eating homemade foods. If something has an ingredient that I don't know what it is, then I don't eat it! Well, after a week of doing that, my gas problems were gone. Then I went out to eat at a Mexican food restaurant for my brother's birthday. I wanted to avoid MSG, but didn't really know how, so I ate whatever I wanted. Plus the menu said that they didn't use MSG and that they made everything fresh. Later that evening, however, I felt the familiar "putt..putt..putt..." sensation in my gut and I knew what was happening! I was not depressed, but actually very excited! I turned to my husband and told him that I knew MSG had been in the food I ate at the restaurant and that it was now causing my gas problems. I continued to avoid MSG to the best of my ability, making my own food every day and again, my digestion improved. Then I went out to eat for my mother-in-law's birthday to a chain restaurant. I tried to pick the best possible thing from the menu that I thought would not have MSG - a salad (the menu said the dressing was made from scratch), some steamed veggies and a baked sweet potato. They brought the salad out first and I started eating it. Then they brought out the sweet potato and the veggies. The veggies had butter and salt on them (and maybe something else?). I started eating them and the sweet potato. About halfway through the meal, my stomach was in knots and I was bloated with gas. I tried to finish my sweet potato the best that I could (everyone thought that I had not eaten enough food yet, but my stomach was so bloated and cramping that I didn't want to eat anymore!) My best guess is that the salad and/or salad dressing had some form of MSG in it, and possibly the steamed veggies.

I don't know if MSG is what caused all of the symptoms that I listed at the beginning of this post or not, but I think it probably did. I do know for sure that it caused my digestive problems. So no more processed foods for me! I also know that my vegetarian diet that I was eating may have been causing me problems as well, like tofu, soymilk, tempeh, wheat gluten, miso as well as low amounts of Vitamin B12 and taurine.

I wanted to say thank you to Deb for this website and for her book that I just received in the mail. Thanks for spreading the word and being so kind and generous with your time in helping people on this discussion board. This is a long post, but I wanted to tell my story in case it helps anyone else out.

Unregistered guest
Posted on Sunday, April 15, 2007 - 8:04 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Becky, Great post. Eating "in" all the time is socially limiting and boring, but eating out is very, very risky. Recently I was in a country club restaurant where I asked to speak to the head chef. He came to my table and we talked for about 10 minutes. He, of course, had heard of MSG but was clueless about what other ingredients/additives contain MSG. I handed him my self-made card listing over 50 of these additives. He was amazed and one of his comments was, "'s too bad, it's such a great flavor enhancer." Unfortunately, I think a lot of chefs are of this mind.
Deb A.
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 9:01 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Becky, thank you for sharing your story here. I am sure that it will reach others who are searching for answers. Your symptoms sound like mine when I eat MSG by mistake. Glad you never experienced the headaches I did. Your email made me very happy that Mike and I (and all of my friends who post here often, I'm sure) are still involved with this cause. We finished the book 10 years ago this year. We finished the newest revision of the book just before the wave of orders we received in February and March after the 4 segments about MSG were aired on the 700 Club. It took a program not sponsored by the food and drug industry to be willing to expose MSG. We are so grateful for their courage to allow Dr. Blaylock and Jack Samuels to participate. The word is spreading!

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