|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 11:55 am: || |
Ok, it's been about 6 weeks since I connected the dots on the MSG thing.
During this time, I've worked very hard to identify and remove sources of free glutamic acid from my diet.
I've also been exploring what I react to, trying various foods and doing mini food challenges and playing very close attention to how I feel, and recording it all in my food diary (now 200 columns in excel).
Anyway, about 5 days ago, I went with friends on a tour of Amish Country here in Pennsylvania. The day was very enjoyable, but somehow we ended up at an all-you-can-eat buffet. It was kinda like Old Country Buffet, but about 9 times larger. In fact, this place was HUGE, serving 9,000 people a day. Buses literally line up. It's a crazy obscene display of gluttony.
Being very hungry, and not wanting to spend $20 for an all you can eat buffet and only nibble, and figuring that no matter what I selected there, it would probably have MSG in it, I decided to see what would happen if I ate indiscriminately.
I had 2 big plates of food, including 3 pieces of fried chicken, "buttered noodles", brisket, and lots of desserts including soft serve ice cream.
I wanted to see if I broke out in a skin rash, or had severe abdominal pain, or muscle freakout, etc. (all previous and apparent responses to MSG for me).
With that in mind, I was curious if 6 weeks of MSG abstinence took me away from the MSG brink of disaster.
I was surprised and am delighted to report I did NOT have a catastrophic reaction.
My friend says to me: "See, it's not MSG after all, go back to square one".
My response is that it might indeed be MSG, but it's all about the loading dose & quantity. If, for example, you drank a 6 pack of beer, and then had a glass of wine, you would likely be over the legal limit for alcohol. In contrast, without the beer, the one glass of wine would not cause you to be drunk.
I will also confess that because I've been wrong so many times in the last year, the buffet really did shake my confidence that I'm on the right track. First I thought it was fish (because my problems first started when I upped my dose of fish oil), The, I thought it was egg, then soy, then potato, then corn.
But, as I accumulated more data, and continued to look back with each new hypothesis, none of those really fit 100% with the data.
MSG, however, did.
I would have felt better if I had a big dose of MSG and had some of those same symptoms which have been absent for the last 6 weeks.
I thought that buffet would have been a great test, because in a mass food production buffet environment, where their whole business model is based on qty and lower cost per plate, I would think there would be lots of MSG in lots of the dishes.
Maybe I should just have a spoonful of PURE msg to figure out once and for all if that's it? (I wonder what that would taste like?)
After getting fully up to speed on MSG and aspartame, I'm convinced MSG is really bad and I don't mind cooking from scratch and not relying on prepacked foods as staples as I've done before. I will no longer consider 2 hotdogs as a protein source in a meal.
I guess it's easier to be kept on the straight and narrow if you stray and get a migraine, or rash, or have severe stomach pain.
Without obvious and visible consequences, I suspect it's easy to get complacent and "cheat" more and more frequently.
On the flip side, I guess I'm very fortunate not to be so sensitive that one bad food decision exacts terrible consequences.
I know: only time will tell, and each person is different, but I just wanted to share this experience,
Sorry for this rambling post; it started as a reply to Emily about me not being as "sensitive", but thought it should be it's own thread.
|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 1:54 pm: || |
I had no trouble at Shady Maple, either, but I was extremely careful and asked lots of questions.
|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 2:33 pm: || |
Too funny: you knew the name!
My first question to the brisket guy was: is there any MSG on the beef?
He said: "MSP? What's that? I can look at the box if you want".
I said: that's ok, I feel lucky.
Roy: How sensitive are you to MSG?
|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 4:03 pm: || |
I'm extremely sensitive to MSG, but gave the chef the wallet card listing MSG laden ingredients and asked what I could have. If in doubt I do without. As for the brisket, I didn't risk it.
|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 4:46 pm: || |
Wow! in the feeding frenzy that IS Shady Maple, I never would have thought to ask.
Do you happen to remember what you did eat without problem?
|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 4:53 pm: || |
Just for fun, I sent an inquiry to Old Country Buffet.
Here's what I got back:
Thank you for taking your time to email us. We always appreciate hearing from our guests.
We understand why our guests would like to obtain nutritional information on our buffet items. However, in our continuing efforts to maintain quality and the best possible value for our guests, our recipes are continually in the process of being evaluated and improved upon. In addition, our ingredient suppliers and food sources that are used in our recipes can also change. Consequently, you can understand how difficult and impractical this would be to be able to have completely up-to-date and current information for a particular location or item, all of which prevents us from providing this type of information to our guests.
Thank you again for your interest.
Sincerely, Guest Relations Coordinator
|Posted on Thursday, November 12, 2009 - 5:39 pm: || |
I remember eating all the scallops I wanted at Shady Maple with no problem after I was given the all clear for them. As for the feeding frenzy:
"Gastric Bypass Surgery Discount Policy
Year #1 – 50% discount off base price.
Year #2 – 10% discount off base price.
Year #3 – 0% discount off base price.
To receive this discount you must provide Photo ID & Gastric Bypass Card!
Card must include, Patient Name, Date Of Original Surgery & Doctors Signature.
Without complete documentation on Gastric Bypass Card 0% discount."
As for Old Country Buffet, I've been told that they've done away with their salad bar, making constructing a healthy meal there much more difficult.
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 4:24 am: || |
Wow, I was there two years ago, and I ate boiled eggs and whole wheat toast. (prepared specially for me by them as if I were a one year old) I DID have a reaction that day, and the toast was the only thing I ate which was 'off' my usual routine of eating. Now I wish I would have had the buttered noodles, and some of the other food. I LOVE Shady Maple, mostly for the Amish countryside and gift shop. But next time I go, maybe I will chance a trip to the ER.
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 4:26 am: || |
P.S. I was distressed, because at the Amish roadside stands, the produce seemed fresh, but all the baked goods that were supposed to be homemade had lists on them, as if they were pre-packaged. The ingredients were not of the 'safe' variety.
Years ago, we would always go to Green Dragon. The Amish home made peanut butter ice cream was to die for--I will never forget that stuff! Eating in Amish country was much safer 15 years ago.
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 1:38 pm: || |
I am looking for supplements. I went to Beyond a Century and found coq10 just powder, and taurine. I am looking for a magnesium supplement but there's Mag. chloride, Mag. orotate, and mag. malate. Which one should I use. I checked to see if I had an answer to this question that I posted earlier, but it has disappeared and I don't see a reply. If anyone knows please clue me in. Mariann
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 1:41 pm: || |
I think I posted this in the wrong place. I will go over to the question thread. Thanks Marian
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 4:51 pm: || |
I too had the same question about magnesium. The answer I got is that many people use the mag orotate powder from the beyond folks with good results. I just ordered it last week.
It doesn't taste as terrible as I thought (actually kinda neutral).
I use it with mussleman's all natural apple sauce (only ingredient is apples & salt).
I take one of the little applesauce cups, take out one spoon full, put the mag orotate in its place, consume the mag in one or two spoons, then enjoy the rest mag free.
I do this as opposed to just mixing the mag throughout the entire cup of applesauce. As I write that, I just realized I never tried it that way, maybe I will next dose.
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 5:40 pm: || |
Thanks Mike for taking the time to answer my question, I am looking forward to trying these supplements since I have read good outcomes for many people on this board. Mariann
|Posted on Friday, November 13, 2009 - 9:21 pm: || |
MikeS, mostly I enjoy your posts as intelligent comments. Your musings about taking a spoon full of mgs to see if you really have found your nemesis was deeply troubling. Almost as bad as a serious discussion about the benifits of Russian roulette.
You are lucky enough to have come back from the msg brink ...you WILL make mistakes and as aware as you are about YOUR body, you will get the reassurance that MSG is the problem.
The successful return to improved health through msg avoidance has taken me several years, not just weeks. At my worst I was able to detect msg on my lips and tounge by the tingle and numbness it produced. I haven't experienced that for over 2 years. Today I am on a much less restricted diet than most people still reading this board. But I will never eat KFC again as long as I live. Or Duritos or Cheese Puffs or any number of my formerly favorite foods and snacks.
What I am saying is that your improved health is as simple as avoiding msg...it is a poison. And, just how simple was it for you to find out what your problem was? You doucmented a very rigorous approach that few on earth are singlehandedly capabale of performing. Trust your research and your results.
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 1:55 am: || |
I read your applesauce method for taking supplement powders. I don't remember exactly how it goes - maybe you could find it in a search, but some of them are fat soluble (require being taken with fat to be best absorbed) and some are water soluble so the applesauce method wouldn't be ideal for some supplements. Does anybody remember the specifics?
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 4:20 am: || |
I am delighted to hear that you are much less restricted now than several years ago. That's what I was hoping for myself since it's not a classic IGG/ IGE allergic response.
I was very concerned, however, that most others who have responded to my posts seem are just as sensitive now (if not more so), than they were before. In fact, one of my posts asks: "did I permanently damage myself?" Another post I made asked if the rigorous avoidance of MSG makes you even more sensitive to the inevitable random exposures which are unavoidable. Based on your reply, it sounds like no to both!
Being a techo-geek, I like certainty and reproducible results from experiments. Prior to my arrival here, I was hanging out on the delphi no-Corn group. With MSG in mind now, it drives me crazy when I read a no-corn person wonder & conclude it must have been "cross contamination" as an explanation of their bad response. After I arrived here, I did return to post my MSG discovery at no-corn and ask if maybe, just maybe, for some on the corn group, it wasn't corn (as it appears not to have been for me). The response I got was like I asked someone to convert religions!! Most were very invested in (and maybe it was indeed corn for them). I suspect I'd likely get the same response if I suggested here that maybe it isn't MSG, but rather corn or something else.
When I was "on the brink" and manifesting skin rashes, I leveraged that period to conduct multiple food challenges with the same suspect item to prove a conclusive effect. That provided the kind of reproducible certainty that I like so much.
Now, however, that it appears I've stepped away from the brink, it's harder for me to experiment and optimize my diet decisions. The subtlety of brain fog is less obvious than skin rash. Hence my remark about a spoon full of MSG. But I don't think I would actually do that. And besides, that might not even be a good test because I appear not to be on the brink. It might require daily exposures to large amounts of MSG to get me back there, something I don't think I want to do.
So with all that said, it there may be some component of "faith". Faith that I've arrived at the right thing (MSG), and hopefully I'll have the faith to avoid known MSG forever, even if an occasional exposure doesn't cause a catastrophic bad effect.
As I write that, in a sense, it's probably like making the decision not to microwave food in plastic containers because of the chemicals leaching into the food. If you do it, you won't notice any bad effect, but it's still a bad idea, and one should avoid doing that.
Most of my posts ask specific, targeted questions. This one indeed was more of a rambling stream of consciousness; thanks for reading it.
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 4:23 am: || |
I believe that Deb A said she takes hers in a tsp. of olive oil, that is how I will use mine. Thank you all for your input. Mariann
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 4:25 am: || |
Good point about fat soluble vs. water soluble supplements.
The BlueBonet chelated magnesium I was taking could be taken an empty stomach, so perhaps I incorrectly assumed that the mag orotate powder I bought didn't have any special "with food", or on empty stomach requirements.
Thank you for mentioning that; I'll research it.
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 6:41 am: || |
Hi Mike, in reading JohnB's post and your response I am having a bit of a gut feeling that something is amiss. I know that you say you are a researcher or a "techno geek" but the very thought of maybe we could try msg "just to see" is the "myth" we would all like to believe. It appeals to the denial that we all seem to go through now and again. Many of us still have problems after a long period of time(2 and 1/2 years for me exactly). You must factor in that food providers change ingredients, that sprays are added to the mix for preservation and growth stimulating as well as for pests. It is a web of information that continues to change. I was troubled by your comment about the "corn" people acting as if you wanted them to "convert religions". We all have had a hard fought battle to regain our health and are very guarded about our information because it has saved our lives. So I can imagine when a persons choices of food based on trial and error and gathering much much information, as well as many sick days is questioned, they may take issue with that. I run into people daily that think I'm nuts regarding the MSG connection. I can't imagine how you could eat at that buffet and not have a reaction. I don't know, if I am wrong I apologize, but it feels like something is amiss here. A short time away from MSG does not usually innoculate any of us from a reaction happening again. I feel sad at this comment in a sense, because you have responded to my posts a couple of time and I truly appreciate that, but I just have a funny feeling in my gut. I have grown to know that I must address things, that I must, and hope it is received as intended. Mariann
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 9:00 am: || |
MikeS, I think you might be interested in reading my posts in the Archives. While DebbyA has saved my life with her efforts, and I am much healthier than on September 16, 2000, I still work every day to avoid known sources of MSG. To reach my August 3, 2001 e-mail describing my initial massive overdose which I could not deny:
Search Barry Cortez in Archives, when articles are returned, select the topic under "We can make a difference". Look for longest post or with my full name, which I am no longer using for posts.
Several of the other people before and after my post had provided great info and significant help to me. I suggest that when you find a poster current or in Archives who makes sense to you that you do a search on their name and read all the things they have posted.
Serch Archives for topics you are interested in too. Each of us responds to MSG in our unique ways.
I am delighted you took my note in the sense I had intended. Always question, but don't ever intentionally hurt yourself: The mega corporations will do that for you.
Mariann, Thank you. Your note brings a warmth to this thread that I fear my posts sometimes lack. With your 2 1/2 years experience you, too, know that MSGKILLS. MikeS has only weeks of feeling better and needs time and his own mistakes to drive that point home. Its a guy thing.
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 12:21 pm: || |
Kristy, I remember CoQ10 is a supplement that is best taken with a little oil. Good point to always check supplements on if it is best with water or oil. I also always ask the pharmacist if I need a prescription.
Mike, I don't have any answers for you but I sympathize with your confusion. However it does seem like you have made some sort of connection and your health is improving. It also may be good to note that people on this board are what we call "hypersensitive" to FGA. But there are lots of other people out there who are sensitive but not hypersensitive. I know several people in real life that get serious migraines after consuming MSG and as long as they only avoid "monosodium glutamate" on the label they are migraine free. That is their threshold for their migraines and they are happy with that level of health.
I'm not trying to give advice one way or the other here. I personally would never recommend someone eat all the forms of FGA just because they don't see big reactions to it but there are a lot of people out there who don't see "big" reactions from the smaller ingredients and are happy to just avoid a few of the ingredients that cause direct reactions.
I hope you continue your spreadsheet and tracking and I hope you are able to find a diet that works well for you. We are all different, we all respond to foods differently so really it's only you that can decide what's best for you. I commend you for finding so many answers in such a short period of time.
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 2:18 pm: || |
I suppose if someone was exposed to chronic, low level arsenic, finally realized it, removed it from the diet, felt better, and then suggested ingesting a huge dose of arsenic, "just to be sure", it would likely evoke the same response. As I type this, indeed a tablespoon of MSG would be stupid, and not actually prove anything because of the accumulated dose factor.
And I agree with JohnB: I see no reason to ever eat dorritos, or KFC. Yes: it is terrible. And, at a restaurant, I certainly don't mind picking items that are likely to be safe. And, if cooking at home, buying beef/chicken from Whole Foods and cooking it using low MSG methods (goodbye slow-cooker).
And, I agree with Marriann: there is something amiss. It's simply that this whole MSG thing is amazingly complex because reactions are based on total dose, accumulated amount, perhaps muted by magnesium, perhaps worsened by calcium, and the fact that you can't simply go to the doctor and get an MSG sensitivity test.
And, I certainly wasn't offended in any way, and I hope I didn't offend anyone with the "converting religions" comment.
That really stems from a recognition of how complicated tracking MSG can be, and how hard it is to form accurate conclusions. Despite me being a systems analyst, and devoting every waking minute to pursuing this for the last year, I am fully aware how easy it is to form a wrong conclusion.
If a friend reacted to parm cheese, soy sauce, powdered whey protein, and KFC, they would likely not see what all of this has in common. Of course, we all do, but it took us a lot of time & effort to get to this informed place.
I just need to make sure I don't close my open mind and write-off any unexplainable reactions as "cross-contamination" or auxigro and stop looking, exploring, and being open to all possibilities.
For someone trying to get to the bottom of a food allergy, it doesn't matter if they have 200 columns of data, if one isn't called "free glutamic acid" they won't spot the MSG pattern if MSG is their problem.
For me, I hope my food diary doesn't need to 201 columns, with some column that's not on my radar like salicylates, nitrates, phosphates, or something else.
Quick tangent: I have crohn's which has been in remission for 20 years! I only took one prescription drug, and that was for the crohn's; it's called Pentasa. It is in a category of drugs called salicylates. Initially, I thought that perhaps I had developed a reaction to the drug, which I stopped taking, but didn't get relief from the rash. Then, after doing lots of research, I considered that maybe foods on the high salicylates list might have been the problem. I tried a low salycylate diet, but that wasn't the solution. BTW, my GI doc said if I don't want to take the Pentasa any more, I don't have to. I've been totally drug free for 6 months, and no crohn's flare-ups thank goodness!! I offer that merely as an example of someone else's column #201.
I very much enjoy this board, and everyone has been very friendly and helpful.
|Posted on Saturday, November 14, 2009 - 5:59 pm: || |
A mag orotate update: I just tried mixing it with OJ & carrot juice, and it dissolved nicely!
|Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 6:11 am: || |
My experience is that the withdrawal from MSG takes a long time and that there is also an element of addiction. A few years ago when I decided to completely stop eating anything that contained MSG I immediately felt better
However, I had a voracious appetitive and ate huge steaks or fish servings almost every day. After around six months I started reacting to the plain meat and fish and had to cut down and be more diligent with the Q10, taurine and
I believe that the appetite was caused by an addiction-like craving for MSG together with the fact that MSG blocks the receptors in the brain that signals satiation.
I guess that my long term overload of MSG before I stopped increased the body tolerance of MSG (in the same way as for alcoholics and booze). When I began with an almost zero MSG diet (the steaks) the body gradually reduced the MSG tolerance and eventually I started to react to the natural MSG in the steaks.
|Posted on Sunday, November 15, 2009 - 10:26 am: || |
Wow do I feel lucky. I have always appreciated this board and the information I find here. As with most of you, I feel like it saved my life. Now I am treated to the most incredible display of care and respect that I have ever seen in people that by the very nature of this problem, have very different reactions, needs and even beliefs. After I posted a response to Mike, I worried that I had offended him or some of you by questioning. Right off the bat JohnB made me feel better by helping Mike and by understanding where I was coming from. Then in succession each of you added your responses in a kind and generous way to Mike and made me feel understood as well. To top it all off Mike you gave me more advice to help me in my magnesium quest. How grateful I feel to all of you for your help and understanding. I know that the tone of this web site that was set by Deb A. and all of the original posters carries on. I will always do my best to be tolerent and understanding myself to carry that on. And Mike my post to you was very much one of concern and I am happy that you saw that. After all this time I am still learning and searching. I hope in the future I can pay it forward and help other people that are finding this connection of FGA to their health problems. Bless you all Mariann
|Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 12:07 am: || |
This is a very interesting point we are discussing here. I know how hard it is to figure out the missing link in our quest for health. I first noticed an allergy to corn (corn starch, corn syrup, corn meal) and avoided them. After a couple of years, I started developing more allergies and health problems until I became very ill. One day I thought to look up other names for corn to make sure I was truly avoiding it and that was the day that I started unraveling the mystery. I think the "no-corn" people should not be so quick to rule out every other additive. In fact, I now believe that we should all be avoiding all additives. I know my position on this issue is not a popular one but I have an unique circumstance in my house that has led me to this conclusion. My daughter has the same intolerances or allergies that I do (corn, eggs, fga, soy, etc.) but my son does not. We are all three folic acid deficient. We all three react to fga and sources of high levels of folic acid (leafy greens, liver). There is absolutely a connection to being folic acid deficient and our intolerance of all foods that are high in folic acid.
Also, my daughter and I have very obvious and serious reactions to allergens but my son has very different and subtle reactions to some of the same things (but usually it takes a larger quantity or there is a cumulative effect). We tried to clean up our diet to remove fga and corn but soon found out that it was just easier to remove all food additives rather than try to figure out what they are made from or if they are harmful. Now our health is improving in so many small ways but there is still a problem for us which I think of as residual damage from ingesting the allergens for so long (unknowingly).
I did find the GAPS diet and we are doing a (low fga) modified version of it in hopes of healing our digestive system. I have had to be very careful and we have suffered some symptoms when I cooked broth too long but I do think this is the key for us. We need to heal our intestinal microbiota in order to be truly healthy again. I don't think we will ever be able to heal our folic acid and B12 deficiency until we can absorb nutrients properly.
We all tend to think of each thing separately and forget that it is all connected (by over 200 square meters of intestinal surface area). As for fga, I don't believe anybody should be eating it since it is a neurotoxin. Even if someone doesn't feel ill effects, there is still damage being done to the brain and maybe we are lucky because we have "alarm systems" to alert us of ingestion. As for the prevalance of corn and soy derivatives in our food supply, I think it is a mistake of epic proportions for us to be relying on these more heavily every year. Soon the amount of corn and soy in fast and junk food will exceed the amount of all other ingredients combined and that can only end badly. It is only made worse by the fact that corn allergy is very hard to pinpoint since it rarely results in anaphylaxis - for most people it causes asthma and shortness of breath and digestive upset that gets progressively worse.
Mariann is right. I do feel lucky that we are able to share information and theories without withering insults and recrimination (that is common on other forums). Ultimately, every journey is different and this forum is a safe place to post info in hopes of helping someone along.
|Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 11:00 am: || |
Sorry I haven't posted in awhile. This house restoration has been a lot bigger than we first thought. Since smoke damage was everywhere, we are overseeing the work of many jobs and subcontractors. I having been catching up reading the posts, and I can't tell you how happy and relieved I am to see how so many of you are regularly visiting and helping each other..especially newbies. THANK YOU! The info you are sharing is great. MikeS, your tolerance level for free glutamate many be higher than some of us here...you may have also been lucky in your choices of foods at the buffet. Also be aware that many of us here are Sulfite reactive..so do some research in that regard, please. We have a great group here...so concerned for others and VERY smart!
|Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 - 5:54 pm: || |
Hi Deb A.
I purchased your book and found it very helpful. I read it cover to cover twice, as soon as it arrived.
Your site, and everyone here have been a great resource.
|Posted on Sunday, November 22, 2009 - 4:16 pm: || |
Great to hear that you read the book twice...lots of info to digest in one reading...good for you!