What is Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)?
MSG is nothing new, in fact, the Japanese professor Ikeda discovered the amino acid Glutamate in the early 20th century while eating soup. He began studying kelp, which was in the soup’s broth to figure out why the broth was so tasty and appealing. He soon realized that kelp, along with many other foods, contains naturally occurring glutamate (L-glutamic acid), and, by combining it with sodium, MSG was created. In 1909, Professor Ikeda filed a patent to produce MSG commercially, and thus began it’s shady journey to popularity in our food supply chain to this day.
What is it?
MSG is odorless and tasteless alone, but when added to foods it brings out a brothy, meaty, Umami taste – Umami deriving from the Japanese word “Umai”, which means delicious. The science behind this – in a nutshell – is that when MSG is consumed the Sodium and Glutamate break apart in the saliva and the tongue’s Umami taste receptors are activated, creating that extremely satisfying, finger-licking, lip-smacking savory flavor that keeps us craving more… The Glutamate actually activates pleasure centers in the brain and has addictive properties.
Monosodium Glutamate, however delicious it may make our bodies perceive the food it’s in, is anything but safe. There are many reports of people having adverse reactions (sometimes immediately, within 20 minutes or days/weeks later!) such as: headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, numbness in extremities, dizziness, drowsiness, etc.
Monetization and Mass Production
Once the food industry realized what MSG was capable of, they immediately took total advantage of this “glorious” excitotoxin and went running. Bullion cubes, powders and reductions, dehydrated soup, spice and sauce mixes, TV dinners, condiments & more – all with that delicious meaty taste that we all crave – and without the cost or effort of adding real, nourishing food. The fast food industry takes full advantage of this additive, tricking consumers into eating bland, tasteless and empty caloric foods that are full of poison and misery – all while creating an addiction to keep them coming back for more. Are they any better than Big Phar/\/\a at this point?
Be Diligent and Dig
You may think you’re safe, checking labels for MSG and buying organic foods, but let me tell you otherwise. For years I considered myself an avid label-reader, meticulously “breaking down” ingredients to see what was ok and what was not, until I realized how truly deep the rabbit hole goes. MSG can hide under Umbrella terms such as: Yeast Extract, Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (corn, etc), and even Natural Flavoring!!!! That last one really got me, cause when you throw the word Natural in there, it gives you a little feeling of safety, does it not? Disgusting. (see the full list of Sneaky MSG Synonyms and Umbrella Terms below)
Many dressings, condiments, sauces and even meat products contain MSG. Almost all canned soup and stew does too. Spices can have MSG without any disclosure at all, as long as it’s below 50% ratio. Most processed – and extremely popular nowadays – “Vegan” foods are loaded with MSG as well. Vegetarian Hot Dogs, Bacon, Burgers, and other “Plant-Based Meats” may contain high levels of Hydrolyzed Protein and other “Natural Flavors” – all sources of, you guessed it, Monosodium Glutamate. Soy foods are loaded with MSG.
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Sicker
In 1957 a study was done in a Lab on Mice. Mice became blind and obese when fed MSG through a feeding tube. In 1969 Lab Mice had detectable MSG-induced lesions in the hypothalamus region of their brains. MSG is associated with brain damage and erratic and/or violent behavior. Studies and Clinical research aside, parents notice their children act different when fed a diet rich in processed foods containing MSG, artificial colors and flavorings, HFCS. Foods that are devoid any real nutrition and assault the brain and body of the growing child. Would you believe that it’s even in many Baby Formulas (along with many other questionable, non-essential ingredients)
The book Excitotoxins, by Russell Blaylock, is a great resource for understanding the true dangers that lurk in the consumption of MSG, Aspartame and other purportedly innocuous food additives that 90%+ of today’s processed foods on the market contain!
So, how do we take our health and wellness into our own hands? How do we keep our kids – and ourselves – safe in a world where so much of the food we’ve come to know and love is full of poisonous ingredients hiding in plain sight? What do we do to defend ourselves against a culture that bombards us constantly with ads featuring mouthwatering Fast Food that you can almost taste just from the TV ad? What does it look like to grocery shop with this newfound knowledge and how do we not stress ourselves out to the point where that affects our health also?
We learn to read labels, but – more than that – we learn to avoid labels. What I mean by that is simply, buy real, whole food. As close to home as possible, as in season as possible and in as natural of a state as possible. If you want broccoli for dinner, buy fresh broccoli from your local farmer’s market – or at the very least, find a brand of Frozen Organic Broccoli from a company that you feel like you can trust. Sure, you can get “Broccoli and Cheese” in a cute little tray to microwave that’s ready in 4 minutes flat, smothered cheese and spices and probably will keep your kids asking for their veggies for days – but don’t take the easy way out, mom, the easy way is rarely the right way.
Steam your broccoli (check on it by piercing with a fork regularly so it doesn’t get overcooked and soggy, therefore tasteless, odd-textured and devoid of most of it’s nutrients), Shred some Fresh, Raw Cheese on it, plenty of Grass-Fed Butter, salt and pepper. Buy whole cuts of beef, chicken and fish – utilize every part of the animal – especially the bones. They are full of life-giving nutrient dense goodness. Make your own broth in huge batches to have at the ready. Not only is homemade Bone Broth delicious and healing, you know exactly what’s in it! Get your kids involved in the process of food preparation. It doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, it just has to be made with love and conscious thought. I am here for you, I’m still learning but we can link arms and navigate these scary seas together. It’s not going to be easy, but nothing worth it ever is. You got this!
Synonyms and Sneaky Umbrella Terms for MSG occurance:
Acid hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Acid-hydrolyzed vegetable protein
Hydrolyzed corn protein
hydrolyzed collagen protein
hydrolyzed corn cereal solids
hydrolyzed corn gluten
hydrolyzed corn gluten protein
hydrolyzed corn protein
hydrolyzed corn soy wheat gluten protein
hydrolyzed corn/soy/wheat protein
hydrolyzed milk protein
hydrolyzed oat flour
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
hydrolyzed soy protein
hydrolyzed soy wheat gluten protein
hydrolyzed soy/corn protein
hydrolyzed soy/corn/wheat protein
hydrolyzed soy/wheat gluten protein
hydrolyzed soya protein
hydrolyzed soybean protein
hydrolyzed torula and brewers yeast protein
hydrolyzed vegetable protein
hydrolyzed vegetable protein powder
hydrolyzed wheat gluten
hydrolyzed wheat gluten protein
hydrolyzed wheat protein
hydrolyzed whey and casein protein
hydrolyzed whey peptides
hydrolyzed whey protein
hydrolyzed whey protein concentrate
hydrolyzed whey protein isolate
hydrolyzed yeast protein
partially hydrolyzed beef stock
partially hydrolyzed casein
partially hydrolyzed guar gum
partially hydrolyzed soybean
partially hydrolyzed soybean oil
partially hydrolyzed whey protein
Plant Protein Extract