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Battling the MSG Myth » Archive » Sharing Ideas, Suggestions, and Information » Orthorexia « Previous Next »

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Judy R
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2001 - 5:29 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Did anyone read the February 27 New York Times ("Health and Science") article on "orthorexia"? The article was based on a book written by John Langone entitled HEALTH FOOD JUNKIES The Rise of Orthorexia Nervosa- the Health Food Eating. The articles asks questions like "Do you care more about the virtue of what you eat than the pleasure you receive from eating it?"/"Have you found that as the quality of your diet has increased, the quality of your life has correspondingly diminished?" Do you plan tomorrow's food today?" "Does your diet socially isolate you?" There are other questions. The author goes on to state that "yes" to four or more questions means you're 'in trouble', and if you answer yes to all "you really need help". You don't have a life, you have a menu." What makes an orthorexic, according to the authors, is a complex combination of elements that make the planning and preparation of food the dominant force in the suffer's life. I purchased Deb's book last fall and have really made positive gains in terms of my energy levels and how outstanding I feel. I was told by a close associate that when he read the article, it reminded him of me. I am handling this just fine because I am extremely confident in what I am doing to maintain a better quality of life than I've had in years! I just wanted to inform all of you that our detractors now have a "name" for us!!!-Orthorexics!
Deb A.
Posted on Saturday, March 03, 2001 - 5:36 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Orthorexics, unite!!! Thanks for sharing that, Judy. It was just a matter of time before the detractors made money off the suffering of people like us. I'm sure if he actually ate like we did, he might change his mind, because he'd feel so good and less compelled to throw stones.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 5:13 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

In this article on "Orthorexia Nervosa", the writer laments the social isolation of being on a special diet. Personally, I'd rather avoid MSG and its reactions than eat it just to be social:
Carol H
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 6:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What Glutamate Association PR firm thought up this latest ridiculousness?
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 10:26 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hi Everyone.

I think I remember this man John Langone some years ago, and I responded to a questionaire that he had over the web. At the time, he amused me. However, many years have past bye since then, and if this is what I am (Orthorexic)OH WELL!
I don't know about anyone else on here, but where I go, so goes my food!

Judy T
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 10:29 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Hey, now I know what to put on my MedicAlert button..."Beware: Orthorexic Nervosa...proceed with caution"! @#*
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 11:03 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I know that there is nothing wrong with healthy eating but I understand what he is talking about. I am a college student and it is SO hard for me to maintain a healthy diet. Almost every social event has some sort of food involved. Every night all my friends take a study break to go eat in the cafeteria. I am in a few campus organizations and go on weekend retreats occasionally. When I go on these, I always have to bring all of my own food and eat canned chicken and crackers in my room while the rest of my friends are eating together and having fun. EVery time I go somewhere I have to worry if there will be something for me to eat. And most of the time I go out i feel so bad as a result of what I ate that i can't even enjoy myself. I'm sure it will be so much easier when I am out of school and have a kitchen so I can cook all my meals. But eating healthy in college is next to impossible and i spend so much time obsessing over and preparing food that it drives me crazy. But if i don't eat this way, I feel awful so I dont really have a choice. Does anyone else feel this way? I assume most of you are out of school and i'm sure it will get a LOT easier once I am done.
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 12:20 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Alot of us have no other choice. For me it is the difference between being able to see during the day, and having to deal with a horrible headache, neck pain, etc....

I don't care if I have to take my food everywhere I go, and watch everyone else eat what they assume is healthy food. Nothing taste so good as being able to bend my knees feels...ha ha!

Gerry Bush
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 6:53 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Judy T.-Thanks for the laugh! I enjoyed your comments!
Deb A.
Posted on Sunday, March 04, 2001 - 7:35 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Val, my son had a difficult time trying to eat right while in college. I think that has got to be the toughest, and I know from the students I hear from that they feel just like you. In fact, many of them have said that they first started reacting badly to MSG when they did leave home to attend college....lots more late night pizza and MSG laden fast foods. Hang in there. It does get easier when you have a kitchen. Luckily, my son just got married last year and his wife is a great cook, and is MSG sensitive, too. When you do want to socialize, do what he did. He would eat something at his apartment first, and then just hang out with the others while they ate. He needed the company now and then. He would drink water with a slice of lemon at the restaurants.
Evelyn H.
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 12:46 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Val, I can relate to what you're saying. We are currently between houses, living at a hotel until we can close on the house we just had built for us. So, we've been eating out more (and suffering the consequences). My son has been eating hot lunch at school some days, which makes him extremely hyperactive. It's difficult to find food at a restaurant that doesn't leave me and my son sick in one way or another. In fact this weekend we went on a getaway to a friend's house. We cooked for ourselves, which was wonderful because I finally felt good again. Now, we have a few more days before we close on our house--a few more days of eating out. It's difficult, either way. Personally, I'd rather cook for myself and my family than suffer from the health problems that come from eating out to socialize.
Carol H
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 2:09 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Val, when I was in college and realized the dining hall was killing me, I dropped my meal plan, and with the money I saved, I bought a microwave. If your friends want to go out, don't hibernate - go along with. Just don't eat what they do. You don't have to give up your friends - just MSG. I then started cooking for my friends, and it turned out to be really fun. They appreciated my cooking and I felt better about what all of us were eating. Now when my friends hear we're having a spontaneous cook party, word spreads fast and even friends who weren't officially invited crash the party. They don't know why the food tastes so good, but I do - it's not full of processed garbage and MSG.
Carol H
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 2:22 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

This whole orthorexic thing reminds me of people with an "irrational" fear of walking along a cliff. They're not terrified of falling. No, it's the sudden stop that freaks them out.
These people who would label us need to realize that it's not simply eating the wrong foods or even just fear itself that we are worried about. It's the very real migraine, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, asthma attack, pain, seizures, and generally winding up in the emergency room that we are trying to avoid. Any idiot in psychology 101 will tell you that pain will cause an avoidance response, even in a live organism as simple as a slug. Speaking of which, what rock did these psuedoscientists crawl out from anyway?
Posted on Monday, March 05, 2001 - 6:46 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol - I definately agree with you about the fear point. Most people don't realize that there are so many immediate benefits to eating healthy. I am a nutrition major and I think I want to go into the field of nutritional healing because I think food affects people in so many more ways than they realize. I always hear my friends complainig about not feeling good and then watch as they eat french fries, ice cream, and coke for lunch. I'm sorry for the negative post before but I was just frustrated because i had a bad reaction the night before. I am feeling much better than i used to but i am still reacting to something besides MSG and i have been to tons of doctors and they can't figure it out. Unfortunately, I can't cancel my meal plan because it is required where i live but i do have a microwave, a refrigerator, and an electric skillet so I am getting pretty creative about preparing foods with my limited appliances.
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 7:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Valerie, I probably have asked you this before, but are you taking any vitamins or supplements? chewing gum? or using toothpaste or cosmetics that may be adding to your problem??
Sure enjoyed your remarks, Carol. Very true.
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 9:02 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I just finished reading the whole article - Thanks Roy. To quote - "all she had was asthma" He regrets helping someone relieve their asthma because they had to watch what they ate. Aww. I got news for that guy - asthma can kill you. I have nearly as many allergies as that patient of his, and I still love food, I still have friends, I still go out to eat. I feel better than I have in years. It's hard, sure, but if the alternative is eating foods I'm allergic to and feeling sick, then he can have it. There ain't no medication for food allergies, sir. The one point I agree with is that is hard to watch friends eating foods that make them sick. You can give them a word to the wise but lecturing usually backfires. It sounds as if his self-righteous attitude and snobbery are what really did him in. I especially take offense at his comparing it to anorexia. When I was only in 7th grade, I knew one of the first girls to die of anorexia. She was my friend's sister. Her father was on the 20-20 segment that broke the story. I had trouble reconciling her death with the fact that she caused it herself. It really blew my mind. I became fascinated with food and nutrition from that moment on. I watched in horror as my high school classmates went on diets where they would only eat 7 hot dogs or seven grapefruits and nothing else. There is a huge difference between someone with a psychologically irrational self-image, and someone who would like to avoid winding up in the emergency room. I doubt my drinking rice milk instead of cow's milk will kill me. Unfortunately, Josephine was battling other demons, and is not here to tell her story, but I'm sure it was quite a different experience for her.
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 12:20 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm sorry for being more vehement than usual, but this topic really hit a nerve. I'll never forget that funeral. Anorexia can kill you. Avoiding MSG and allergens can save your life. Simple as that.
Deb A.
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 12:49 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You can vent any time you want to here! We all feel the same way. We should be responding to such articles with letters as powerful and as thoughtful as the posting you just shared with us, Carol. Is there an address we can send complaints to? This constitutes proaction to me!
Judy R.
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 3:40 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

It has been very helpful to me to hear everyone's comments about my message related to the Orthorexia article. The other day I read the ingredients on a "fat free/sugar free pudding" container to the person who made the comment to me, i.e. "orthorexia sounds like what you have"!When I finished reading he said, "What flavor is that pudding?". He didn't pick up the word chocolate in the thousands of chemicals that I read off the label! I begged him to differ with me that baked salmon, brown rice and fresh spinach has hurt the "quality of my life"! That was the end of the discussion. It has been helpful to read your collective comments!
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 4:06 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb - I stopped taking all supplements two months ago and I use Tom's natural toothpaste. I don't think I am having reactions from my cosmetics because a lot of my reactions are gastrointestinal problems. I took MSG out of my diet a few months ago and I thought I found all the hidden forms but I am either missing something or I am reacting to something else.

Carol - I completely agree with what you said. I think there are way too people who do not care enough about what they eat and I think everyone could benefit from trying to eat a healthy diet.
Carol H
Posted on Tuesday, March 06, 2001 - 7:28 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Valerie, it's never too late to find a new thing to be allergic or sensitive to. My allergist took more blood today and are now testing me for clam allergy.

On the topic of food sensitivity, I had an interesting talk with the nutritionist today. She said that many places only test for an IGG reaction, which may seem like an IGE or "true" allergy response. They pick up sensitivities, but blood tests are more specific and test for the actual antibodies. I think maybe the reaction MSG sensitive people get to things may be a direct effect of MSG on the immune system rather than an IGE response to the allergen. If that makes any sense, it explains why those of you who thought you had allergies to foods, when you avoided MSG those allergies went away. They may never have been true allergies to begin with. This is something I recall Deb A saying. That she had been diagnosed with allergies that went away when she avoided MSG. After having this conversation with the nutritionist, I think doctors should use only blood IGE testing when dealing with an MSG sensitive individual. Otherwise, they may be misdiagnosing you. It also clears up the mystery of MSG sensitive people having multiple food allergies which are quite rare.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 8:55 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Valerie, when I react mostly with gastrointestinal problems, especially bloating, belching, pain, and diarrhea, I always suspect sulfites. Sometimes I will get dry skin and my mouth will get little blisters, or the inside skin of my cheek may peel a little. Not always.
Sulfites are in many products that you may not be aware of, such as dairy, all or most juices, candy, wine, vinegar, nuts, peanut butter, mayo, pickles, jams, dry fruits, including raisins and cranberries, yogurt, some bottled water, beer, breads and most commercial baked goods (cookies, crackers), and so much more. It just gives them all a longer shelf life or retains color. It does not have to be labeled in peeled potato products (including potato chips and french fries) or dairy products, and if it's under 10 parts per million in other products. Many food producers know this and will even have the audacity to put on their label, "no preservatives". I know this because several food reps have told me so. When I asked why, some mumbled some dumb comment about it being such a safe amount or simply that it's legal, and others were as perplexed as me. MSG is in gum, and even in Tom's of Maine toothpaste in the form of carrageenan. The amount may not bother some people, but it could be bothering you. Just a suggestion. Try a little baking soda instead of that and see if it makes any difference. Many dry cereals contain MSG and preservatives that can cause stomach distress.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 9:09 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Carol, I used to be so sensitive (allergic responses) to all perfumes, some polyvinyls, ragweed, mold, trees, dust and so much more. I'd react with sneezing, asthma-like attacks, shortness of breath, terrible postnasal drip, headache, sore throat, hoarseness, and chronic bronchitis. I was diagnosed with asthma and endured 21 years of bi-weekly allergy shots, that really did very little. I saw the doctor at lest 7 to 12 times a year for upper respiratory infections that sometimes needed 2 rounds of antibiotics. I dreaded the spring and pollen months and stayed inside a lot. When I cleaned up my diet, I was in shock! All my symptoms went away. I could garden without suffering, and even on windy days when I would usually be so miserable (we get lots of windy days here with blowing dust)were just fine for me, even if I was outside. One bad thing though. Mike USED to clean the garage for me because I couldn't handle the dust and mold! So what I am saying is that I believe most allergies are caused by the devastation of MSG on our system. Homeostasis does not exist when our bodies are fighting toxins. I believe the horrific rise in asthma worldwide, is due to excitotoxins.
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 3:18 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb - Thanks so much for the response - If companies are not required to list sulfites on the packages, how do I know which ones are safe? And how can I figure out if I am sensitive to sulfites?
Gerry Bush
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 4:21 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb A.- I read your above posting with great interest. Two months ago I was diagnosed with age 54! My doctor could not offer an explanation. He said maybe it was allergy induced, or maybe acid reflux induced, who knows. The air in Phoenix is quite bad these days and we have had a very wet and cold winter. This means lots of plant growth. Wild flowers are blooming in the desert like they do only once in 20 years. It's beautiful and green but I am miserable.
Do you really think that excitotoxins are the cause? I do try so very hard to avoid them, but it is difficult as we all know. Even now I am covered with an excitotoxin induced rash. And I certainly have had all of the reactions you describe above.
It is very sad to think that excitotoxins are responsible for the rise in asthma. And further, that many still support the idea that excitotoxins are safe! They should live a week in my body.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 5:46 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


The site below claims that Arizona is the state with the highest incidence of asthma, and mentions MSG first under food triggers:
Gerry Bush
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 9:19 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Roy,

Wow, that was an interesting site, especially for one new to asthma. It is interesting that they mention msg as a "trigger".

The asthma symptoms started in November at the same time that I was experiencing a serious msg reaction.

Personally I think that Deb A.'s theory is a valid one. Msg breaks down our immune system over time to the point that we can no longer fight allergies and allergens.
Gerry Bush
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 9:27 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Roy, I found this in WebMD and it too mentions MSG as a trigger for asthma!

Food Allergies. Although 67% of asthmatics believe their symptoms are aggravated by food allergies, studies indicate that this belief may be true in only 5% of cases. The primary suspects are monosodium glutamate, or MSG, (found in some canned soups, cheese, and certain vegetables) and sulfites (preservatives in wine and foods that include processed frozen potatoes and tuna). Contrary to what many believe, dairy products do not appear to exacerbate asthma symptoms in people who are not already allergic to them.
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 10:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Be aware also in that "study" with MSG and allergies, they used foods high in vitamins as carriers for their drug. Vitamin C is not only a natural anti-histamine, but foods high in B6 and C would cause the MSG to revert to GABA, thus mitigating the results of the test by reducing the amounts of MSG present. If they didn't know this, then why does Auxein spray MSG on vitamin C and B6 conating crops like potatoes to get a GABA - growth enhancing effect? They are trying to deceive. It is just too obvious this time.
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, March 07, 2001 - 11:01 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Valerie, unless a product is organic, preservatives are most likely present. And sulfites and phosphates are cheap and used extensively. You can do a search on the net for info about sulfites, or find the following books in the library or Barnes and Noble: Ruth Winter's Book of Food Additives or Beatice Trum Hunter's Book of Food Addiitives. I still need to post my book's chapter on sulfites on this site. This has been a very busy month, but I will get to it!
Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables well before eating them. Peel most fruits such as apples and pears. Grapes are often sprayed with sulfites and so are many prepackaged salad greens. Sometimes newer preservatives are used, but they often give us a nasty reaction, too.

Gerry, you are probably struggling because of the amount of pollen in the air in addition to a compromised immune response. (it's easy to tip the scales when we are so chmemically sensitive, as we are) If that sort of thing happens here, I, along with everyone else, can feel it, too. Our area is growing since it's warm and sunny most of the year. But all the irrigation water on all the new lawns brings the humidity up and on hot days and spring days we have more mold and pollen to fight. But days like that would have put me in bed before.

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