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Battling the MSG Myth » Archive » Help! I Have a Question » How long can you keep certain foods in the refrigerator? « Previous Next »

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karen marrow
Posted on Tuesday, June 26, 2001 - 4:57 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

i now read you discussion board every day and think it is wonderful, everything you are all doing and the valuable information you share. i am a physical therapist, so am interested in sharing this information with patients, but am not sure the best way to do this other than telling them about this website.
fortunately i do not have the reactions that some of you describe. my reason for avoiding msg has to do with blood sugar and after reading debby's book, protecting my health and that of my family. it is so interesting that msg can be linked to so many things. my husband has a.d.d. and i would be willing to bet my 2 year old inhereted this along with my sensitivity to carbohydrates. so, i feel great about having a diet free of msg where i make most everything from scratch. i can see how this would affect their behavior and health. now, finally i come to my question. i have made ketchup and some of the salad dressings in debby's book and want to know how long this should be kept in the refrigerator before throwing out. now that i am certainly improving their health without msg and preservatives, i sure don't want to give them food poisoning!
Deb A.
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 10:01 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Karen, I have had no problem keeping Catsup in the fridge for a couple weeks. I make the Instant catsup and actually put it in a few small Tupperware containers and freeze it. Most of the time, after taking one out and keeping it in the fridge, we use it up faster than 2 weeks. I think it would be better to use it sooner than that. I make dressing the day we make a salad most of the time, by squeezing a lemon or orange, and adding mild olive oil, salt, pepper, and sometimes dry mustard, and sugar. It's usually gone in a day or two. But the larger batches in the book last up to at least 10 days or so. The fewer ingredients they have, the longer they seem to last...just oil and rice vinegar or apple vinegar seem to last longest.
karen marrow
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 5:15 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

deb a., thank you for your information. i also wanted to tell you how wonderful and helpful i think your book is. i love to cook and all the recipes are terrific. thank you!
Deb A
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 7:55 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Glad to hear you are enjoying the book, Karen!
Posted on Wednesday, June 27, 2001 - 9:31 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am still new at all of this, still learning how to avoid MSG. My problem is that I am still very inconsistent. I can go for a week or so where I eat well and feel good. But then I "go off the wagon" and find it very hard to get back on. I find myself making very poor food choices due to cravings. I've never considered myself a person with food addictions -- or any other kind of addictions. But now I find myself often giving in to cravings of food that I know will make me feel miserable the next day. (Tonight, for instance, I ate a few teriyaki chicken wings, knowing all the while that I will pay a heavy price tomorrow.) This worries me. Why can't I make choices that take care of my body? It seems like an addictive pattern.

Has anyone else struggled with this? How did you handle it? Can I expect these cravings to diminish over time? Do I need some sort of 12-step program? (I'm only half joking about that...)
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 7:58 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


I think there were a number of postings that were lost from the old NoMSG discussion forum that dealt with the difficulty you are having.

There are very few, if any, experiences that gratify us humans more than eating. Think about it. What other activity occupies your mind and dictates your day as much as preparation and partaking in anywhere from three to five (and for some more) daily food consumptions?

Because of this natural need to focus on the fueling needs of one's body we humans in the industrialized countries tend to desire to enhance out fueling requirements with an ever increasing variety of flavors, smells and textures in our food products. Many of these food products fall into the category of true junk food, but become an integral part of our lives over time.

This makes it all the more difficult (even for people suffering life threatening symptoms) to avoid these foods.

I have posted to many discussion forums of Congestive Heart Failure groups or A-Fib groups where the people there just do not want to believe that the foods they love to eat could be killing them. I even had one person e-mail me directly chastising me for giving people false hope that their very serious conditions could be helped by avoidance of Excitotoxins. This person went on to say that they avoided MSG already and still suffered A-Fib and other symptoms.

I then questioned what other food products might this person be consuming and whether or not they contained any of the ingredients that are known to contain glutamates (supplying the list).

It seems that once I get this information to people and they realize how many of their favorite food products contain Excitotoxins, I stop hearing from them... It would be nice if it was because they became readers and participants here, but I think most go into denial and decide to continue their lifestyles even if they suffer the consequences.

If it helps you to know this, it is not all your fault that you seem to be addicted to these foods that are bad for you. Excitotoxins are designed to give you that "good feeling" and make the food "seem" so savory that you tend to over consume. They are also designed to give you cravings for more food because the food that contains them is not providing your body with the energy it needs to thwart the energy depleting activity of the Excitotoxins. Thus it becomes a vicious circle and all the while you are suffering the symptoms and become depressed and eat to relieve your depression.

You've already know how much better you feel once you master Excitotoxin avoidance. In my case having been feeling close to death, I may have an easier time. I don't know how much damage has been caused to my body during the time I was consuming Excitotoxins. I'm not sure whether or not avoidance will allow this damage to heal itself, but I'm unwilling to chance doing any more damage by not avoiding Excitotoxins.
Deb A.
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 9:24 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well said, Tom, as usual. Dr. George Schwartz, a toxicologist and author of In Bad Taste:The MSG Symptom Complex tells us that MSG meets every requirement to be termed a true drug, and that it is addictive. Many people have reported cravings and withdrawal symptoms while trying to avoid MSG. When you crave something, think of some good tasting and healthy substitute. It's never easy for anyone at first until they put enough space between "poisonings" to value the new found health and great way of feeling they start to crave instead of the foods that they miss.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 11:58 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Deb A,

Good analogy about the craving to feel good. That's the mode I'm in.


One more thing and actually this makes the avoidance kind of fun. Splurge on yourself & your family. For years as my wife and I tried to cut costs, we would tend to buy cheaper and cheaper grades of food -- figuring more is better. Many of these cheaper grades add flavorings that contain the ingredients we must avoid. Just look at some of the ads these days and see how the industry is playing on this by "supersizing" their products.

Now we don't blink an eye at buying the best cut of beef or the freshest seafood or poultry. Obviously instead of buying these products at our grocery, we head for the local butcher shop where we know no seasonings or additives will be used. The products are safe and delicious.

We also have our garden planted with lettuce, spinach, beans, zucchini, broccoli, radishes & tomatoes. Sure some of these may be higher in natural glutamate, but I seem to be able to handle the natural glutamate better since adding CoQ10 to my diet.

Bottom line is that I'm eating well, enjoying the better taste of the more expensive foods and feeling the best I have in years. Life can be good this way. Hang in there and don't cheat on proper diet -- you're only hurting yourself.
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 1:16 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks to all of you for your ideas and your encouragement. I'm still not eating as well as I could, even today, so I'm confused and frustrated with my lack of discipline. But I'm trying not to add self-judgement to the mix. Plus, I've begun cutting down on my antidepressant dose (because I want to get off it) so that could certainly be a factor here. But even with these cravings and "cheatings" I still feel better than before I became aware of the glutamate connection. I feel good about the changes I've already made and I am becoming much more aware of the subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes in the way I feel.

Sometimes I wish I could turn off the demands of daily life for a month or so while I just focus on learning how to prepare food that is good for me. (I think that's why I did so well on vacation.) I guess it will simply take longer this way -- just like it takes longer to get a degree when you go to night school while working full time.

But I'll get there! Thanks for all your help.
Deb A.
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 1:58 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Yes, it does take a little more time, but that is mainly because you are learning how to make real food, and that means from wholesome ingredients....just like our grandparents used to. Once you learn the basics, it becomes easier and faster to make. When in a pinch, and you are very hungry and there isn't much to munch on, boil or fry up some eggs, and eat an apple (peeled), or some carrots. Then when the cravings are satisfied, prepare some recipe you have been wanting to try, or go shopping for the ingredients. Just be sure that you have some ready to grab food on hand. That's why I love to make extra waffles, pancakes, muffins, cookies and biscuits in the freezer...and organic peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, and fresh cut up fruits and veggies in the fridge.
karen marrow
Posted on Thursday, June 28, 2001 - 7:13 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

carole, i'm wondering what types of food you usually crave. if it is mainly foods that are rich in carbohydrates, you might consider that you are carbohydrates sensitive, which i have found out millions of americans are. i used to crave these foods and have recently found out that carbohydrates and msg are a powerful combination to cause intense cravings. i would not say that it is just a craving, but an addiction. i would clearly not still be hungry, but would be driven to eat, until i had my "fix". then i would feel bad, thinking i just had no willpower. but it is truly a physical imbalance. since i have started the program by the heller's, the addiction to certain foods is gone. this is not to say that it is always easy. but i do remember how i feel when i am "out of balance" and this is motivation enough to keep on track. i try to remember the saying " through discipline, there is freedom". i feel for the first time in my life i have freedom from food and it does not have control over me and i am not constantly hungry. if you think you may be like this, there is quiz you can take to determine if you are carbohydrate addicted at i have three of the books the hellers have written and the one i found most helpful is "healthy for life". in their book i discovered how msg can lead to cravings, especially in carbohydrate addicted individuals. this is what lead me to this site and a new way of eating. i must say that until i totally cut out msg i was not free of cravings. what a powerful drug msg is! anyway, hope this helps.
Tom Fernstrom
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 5:51 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


You are correct about the cravings associated with carbohydrates. Since I have been abiding by the recommendations in the book "Protein Power" (by Michael R. Eades, MD and Mary Dan Eades, MD), I don't have those intense cravings and subsequent overeating. Put that together with eliminating MSG and it really helps with the discipline needed to feel better.
Carol H
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 10:03 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

MSG's ability to stimulate the pancreas causes the blood sugar to drop - stimulating hunger. MSG is an ANTI-appetite suppressant.
Deb A.
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 11:43 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Exactly!... plus it triggers the fat storage center of the brain...and uses up all our reserves of seratonin as a result of the insulin/adrenalin surges. No wonder Americans are obese, depressed, and tired.
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 3:16 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Wow, I didn't realize that connection with seratonin. That sure explains a lot about my struggles. By the way, I seemed to turn some sort of corner yesterday. I began feeling better emotionally and had the motivation to prepare good foods. I had a great afternoon and evening, and I've had a wonderful day today. Thanks to everyone for your support this week!
Posted on Friday, June 29, 2001 - 3:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Also, thanks for the insight about the carbohydrate addiction. That makes sense to me. I do notice that when I begin to get MSG out of my system, I just naturally eat fewer carbs. Anyway, there is certainly a connection. There are some carbohydrates that seem to nourish me well: my best days begin with a breakfast of eggs and cooked grains (a mixture of millet, quinoa and amaranth). It would be hard for someone to convince me that these grains are bad for me. But I don't do well with wheat or other grains that are processed (flours). I definitely have an addiction to sugar. I'm sure that is what I am craving in certain savory sauces (like teriyaki). I will look into the carbohydrate addicts diet info, but I'm trying not to get overwhelmed. For a little while I think I'll stick to the no-glutamate efforts, and try to give in to my carb cravings with only MSG-free treats. Like I said, by reducing MSG the cravings seem to lessen somewhat on their own.
Posted on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 3:16 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For Deb A.: In your post of June 29th, you said msg triggers the fat storage center of the brain. What are you referring to? I haven't been able to find anything about a "fat storage center". Do you have a reference?
Deb A.
Posted on Sunday, July 01, 2001 - 7:28 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I'm referring to what Dr. Carol Foster,(neurologist and headache specialist) and Dr.Arnold Mech (psychiatrist, eating disorder specialist and creator of some of the diets for the Menninger Clinic), and Dr. Ian Murphy, (retired dentist as quoted from an article in Science News) have said, and what I have quoted them as saying in the book. When the body gets too much MSG(glutamate) or sugar, insulin is released. Whenever insulin is released, so is
adrenalin. Adrenalin always triggers our fat storage centers and also the cravings we feel. When adrenalin is constantly being released, we feel high, edgy, nervous, energetic. To counteract this, seratonin, our brain's "feel good juice" or hormone is released to calm or modulate the effects of the adrenalin. If we are constantly using up this important hormone due to MSG and other triggers, we crash and crave more of the junk foods that got us there in the first place, setting us up for the same cycle...thus, we see the junk food cravings, obesity, diabetes, both of which are at an all time high,... and many more problems.
Carol H
Posted on Monday, July 02, 2001 - 5:25 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

What Debbie said is correct. Biologically, any animal that is hungry must somehow muster up the energy to go out there and forage, or hunt and kill its next meal. Otherwise we (and our animal relatives) would all just feel just fine and cozy - till we keeled over from starvation. It is imperative that hunger and "edginess" (adrenaline) go hand in hand.
Posted on Tuesday, July 03, 2001 - 8:39 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I guess I am still confused. According to Deb A's post above, msg and sugar trigger the release of insulin and adrenalin, but according to Carol H, hunger (or the need for sugar)triggers adrenalin release. It seems to me that these two statements are the opposite of each other. Also, if msg causes fat stores to increase, why are so many individuals who are sensitive to msg very thin? I know several individuals who react to msg, and they are as skinny as a toothpick, and that is prior to realizing what caused their health problems. In fact several of them continue to eat the msg, and remain very thin.
Roy Piwovar
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 3:35 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)


Glutamate is an amino acid that works as a neurotransmitter, and studies have linked at least one neurotransmitter and its receptors with overeating. It is quite possible that the glutamate receptors in the brain may also influence appetite:
Carol H
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 7:52 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anonymous, the order of events is key to understanding this: Sugar causes a blood sugar surge first. Within fifteen minutes of eating sugar, one becomes sleepy and content because the blood sugar is temporarily high. The insulin comes next. It is quickly released in a flood to mop up the blood sugar surge, but it does its job too well. The blood sugar becomes lower than it was before you ate at all - in only an hour and a half. That's when you crash. That's when the hunger returns. With the hunger comes the edginess. It seems counterintuitive, but I assure you, it is not contradictory. When I was diagnosed hypoglycemic years ago, my doctor gave me a diet to follow. I was to avoid sugar like a diabetic would. Sugar is not the hypoglycemic person's friend, it is the enemy in the fight against being hungry all the time. Insulin, Type II diabetes and overeating are all related. You may know someone who is thin with these troubles, I was very thin years ago too, but my blood sugar was not in control, and neither was my adrenaline. My body was on full alert all the time. When the body becomes resistant to insulin because the body is just too generous with it, that is when the obesity and diabetes troubles begin to kick in. MSG makes a bad situation worse because, it doesn't wait for blood sugar to prompt an insulin response, it comes knocking on the pancreas' front door demanding an insulin release directly. The insulin release then prompts the hunger and edginess by dropping the blood sugar levels. What is really bad is that if sugar is not prompting the insulin release then you are GUARANTEED to be short in the blood sugar area after a good dose of MSG. There is not enough sugar around for the insulin to pack away. You not only become hungry - you are famished. You hit the absolute bottom, and you feel cranky to boot.
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 9:11 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

For Carol H: Not to beat a dead point, but I still do not understand when the adrenalin release comes in. Are you saying that the adrenalin is released in response to the drop in blood sugar that occurs post insulin release? That would make sense, but it still doesn't explain why some people who are sensitive to msg remain very thin.
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 10:00 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I lost quite a bit of weight without trying. When I gave up all the junk food and started eating what cavemen eat (I also eat lots and lots of bread and pasta), I lost weight. I am never hungry-I eat plenty. I did used to worry that the weight loss would never stop. It leveled off very nicely though. I think it took my body a while to adjust to the new way of eating. Maybe people who are sensitive to MSG are loosing weight because they are not eating a lot of junk any more.
Posted on Wednesday, July 04, 2001 - 10:18 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Since discovering Debby's book and NoMSG, I have lost 20 pounds. I have never eaten this healthy in my life, and I sure feel a whole lot better.
By the way, I just spoke with my daughter who is in San Francisco for three weeks. She has a terrible headache tonight from the Chinese food she ate for dinner. I didn't have to tell her-she knew it was the MSG!
Carol H
Posted on Thursday, July 05, 2001 - 3:42 pm:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anonymous, According to my Understanding Nutrition text :
"Epinephrine works to return glucose to the blood from liver glycogen." Epinephrine and insulin are actually at odds with one another. Epinephrine helps release emergency stores of glucose from the liver and keeps insulin in check while it does so. It's a feedback mechanism, where an excess of one substance (insulin) will cause the release of a second substance (epinephrine) that inhibits it. So in answer to question number one, glucagon and adrenaline (epinephrine), are released to get blood sugar back up AFTER it becomes low. Adrenalin is also released simply from stress. Adrenalin causes the body to be on full alert. When the body is responding to stress it uses more energy. When I was the most sensitive to MSG, I was also the thinnest. I also could never relax, was always hungry, and always stressed out. My body was using more energy. Thin people burn more energy. Life is a balance, if you burn more than you take in - you lose weight. It is difficult to understand, I know - and difficult to explain. Biochemistry is very complicated. I don't know if I can explain it better than that.
Posted on Friday, July 06, 2001 - 9:19 am:   Delete PostPrint Post   Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

How many people in the world would disagree with the statement,
"An hour or two after you eat Chinese food, you're hungry again"??!

I used to think it was because the rice was easily digested. Another proof of the MSG connection. Interesting!

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