Sunday, September 16, 2018

MSG and unbound glutamic acid

I have been researching MSG and unbound glutamic acid for some time now.  I can tell you with certainty that they MSG effect is indeed true.  Glutamic acid may be an amino acid that our body needs, but in the unbound state it's not useful to the body.  Unbound glutamic acid can act as MSG in the body as it can cause headaches, nausea, diarrhea, intestinal distress, body aches, overwhelming sleepiness, fatigue, confusion, full body shaking, buzzing of the nervous system and so much more.  The symptoms described are all the ones I experience.  Some of happen independently of one another, but others come as a group of symptoms, all at the same time.

One of my favorite days of the week was Tuesday because we went out to lunch with a group of friends. It started slowly, just a few times each month, but a few hours after eating lunch I starting getting sick.  I couldn't pinpoint what was causing the illness because the symptoms were never the exact same, but it absolutely had to do with food, it was the only thing that was different.  The symptoms could come about as quickly as an hour or even 24 hours later. Dr. Google is a helpful tool, but looking for something unknown can lead a researcher down some crazy paths, but as I researched I was discovering that MSG was probably the issue.

The tater tot incident really woke my husband and I up and made us realize that this wasn't going to go away.  I had a book and I was writing down everything that I ate and I hadn't had any trouble with fries.  When I saw tater tots on the menu at this burger place I ordered them, I was kind of excited - little crispy potato bites.  I hadn't had any of those in years.  It never occurred to me that they might cause an issue. I was so very wrong.  Within an hour, I had severe cramping and diarrhea.  The diarrhea lasted several hours.  Everything I had eaten had liquefied and anything in my intestinal system prior had also liquefied.  It was awful. I swear, I was dying.

I knew, from past experiences with MSG, that this was an extreme reaction, but it was most definitely MSG.  I have since learned that I should look up the ingredients in foods, if possible, before I eat them, instead of after.  When looking up "tater tots MSG" I discovered that there probably isn't a tater tot out there that isn't loaded with the stuff.  Ignorance isn't bliss. 

I started my in-depth research on MSG and what I read was not easy to hear.  Some websites say that MSG is perfectly fine and my reaction to it was not typical.  Other blog sites, web pages and studies say that MSG and unbound glutamic acid are terribly harmful and that what I experienced was the end point for my body.  My nervous system had been dealing with MSG and unbound glutamic acid for so long... drip, drip, drip ...that my body could no longer contain the overflow.  It doesn't mean that everything I ate had been laced with the stuff, but that for me, I had reached my toxic amount.  MSG and unbound glutamic acid consistently lined up with what I was going through.

For years, a decade or more even, I had taken packaged foods out of my diet.  Or so I thought.  I didn't buy frozen dinners, vegetables with any kind of sauce added, no frozen anything but pie crusts and the occasional box of ice cream.  My food pantry was stocked full of real food -- kind of.  I had Uncle Ben's long grain and wild rice, for my most favorite rice salad, I had a few cans of soup for when either of us were sick and needed something quick -- I bought low sodium soup and the best brand I could find.  I had a box or two of Triscuits and Wheat Thins, graham crackers and a whole host of pasta sauces, pasta and Asian specialty sauces.  We had tortilla chips and potato chips, mostly plain, but Steve liked trying the new flavors so we had a few of those.  Candy, I had candy, too.  Steve and I love chocolate and we had chocolate kisses in every flavor, M&Ms, Trader Joe Chocolate bars and melting chocolate for Christmas candy making.

Once I started reading about MSG and the ingredients in food that sound like food but are really unbound glutamic acid I realized that my pantry was full of food I couldn't eat.  We are still culling food.  Steve is able to eat the food I'm not, but he really doesn't want to eat all that processed food either. So we are in a bit of a quandary at times. 

I have learned that the way a food is prepared can also cause me to have toxic MSG symptoms.  I had a pot roast that I cut in half and froze.  One day I made one half of the pot roast and was in very good, no problems at all.  A few weeks later I made the other half, almost identical to the way I made it before.  The first time I made the pot roast I used the slow cooker and put it on low for about 6 hours.  The roast was very nice, but not as tender as I had hoped.  The second time I used the slow cooker but turned it up to high and cooked for about 8 hours.  The roast was absolutely tender, fall apart glorious and I was ill within a few hours.  It turns out that the glutamic acid that is naturally in the meat will stay bound to the protein when the temperature stays below 300 degrees.  When I turned the crock pot up to high, the temperature rose to 350 or more and that glutamic acid released itself from the protein, essentially making it a free radical.  The now unbound glutamic acid gives that salty, rich flavor which chefs like to call umami flavor.  That flavor is undeniably good, no wonder why it is sought after.   Unfortunately the unbound glutamic acid excites the cells in the stomach and digestive tract and can cause a myriad of MSG symptoms.

For me, the excited cells cause a buzz through out my entire nervous system.  My husband can feel it when he touches me.  The buzz is exhausting, my head is so fuzzy that I can hardly put an entire sentence together, my balance is compromised and I can hardly keep my head up.  Sometimes if I push myself and say, do dishes or make a meal, the buzzing becomes visible and my entire body starts shaking uncontrollably.  The only thing I can do is go to bed and sleep.  The buzzing lasts for 12 hours all the way up to 36 hours for me.  When it's over, I pop up like nothing happened - except I missed a day. 


There are many lists out there that have the hidden names for MSG and free glutamic acid (which I call unbound glutamic acid) and the list below is one of them.  They hardly differ, so I have offered up one that I found at Truth in Labeling.  Personally, I don't seem to react to the last group for Highly Sensitive people, but I avoid those ingredients as much as possible anyway because now that I am no longer ingesting MSG, my sensitivities have increased when exposed.  I like to keep that exposure limited.

Group 1
Names of ingredients that always contain processed free glutamic acid:

Glutamic Acid (E 620)
Glutamate (E 620)
Monosodium Glutamate (E 621)
Monopotassium Glutamate (E 622)
Calcium Glutamate (E 623)
Monoammonium Glutamate (E 624)
Magnesium Glutamate (E 625)
Natrium Glutamate
Yeast Extract
Anything “hydrolyzed”
Any “hydrolyzed protein”
Calcium Caseinate
Sodium Caseinate
Yeast Food
Yeast Nutrient
Autolyzed Yeast
Gelatin
Textured Protein
Soy Protein
Soy Protein Concentrate
Soy Protein Isolate
Whey Protein
Whey Protein Concentrate
Whey Protein Isolate
Anything “…protein”
Vetsin
Ajinomoto
Balsamic Vinegar

Group 2
Names of ingredients that often contain or produce processed free glutamic acid:

Carrageenan (E 407)
Bouillon and broth
Stock
Any “flavors” or “flavoring”
Maltodextrin
Citric acid, Citrate (E 330)
Anything “ultra-pasteurized”
Barley malt
Pectin (E 440)
Protease
Anything “enzyme modified”
Anything containing “enzymes”
Malt extract
Soy sauce
Soy sauce extract
Anything “protein fortified”
Anything “fermented”
Seasonings

Group 3
The following are ingredients suspected of containing or creating sufficient processed free glutamic acid to serve as MSG-reaction triggers in HIGHLY SENSITIVE people:

Corn starch
Corn syrup
Modified food starch
Lipolyzed butter fat
Dextrose
Rice syrup
Brown rice syrup
Milk powder
Reduced fat milk (skim; 1%; 2%)
Most things labeled “Low Fat” or “No Fat”
Anything labeled “Enriched”
Anything labeled “Vitamin Enriched”


I will be writing more on this subject, as this is my new lifestyle and I'm positive that I am not alone in this.  Getting to a place where I wasn't sick 5 days out of 7 is incredible.  I am now averaging 5 days a month or less of sick days.  I can see a future ahead of me. 

Thank you,
Kristin






Monday, February 12, 2018

Shredded Chicken

Photo by Hello I'm Nik on Unsplash

Do you cook and freeze chicken in batches?  I do.  Those buy one get one deals that come around every so often are just too good to pass up. Anyway, I cook up about 6 - 12 chicken breasts in my pressure cooker and then I usually shred all of it.  Most of the time I buy chicken breasts with skin on and ribs because the meat is so much more flavorful when cooked altogether.  The stock is real good, too.  I keep that, freeze it in ice cube trays and use later.



Shredding chicken is one of my least favorite tasks.  It takes forever, even when it's hot as heck just out of the pot, and my poor hands are so sore after shredding half a dozen chicken breasts.  I usually clear off a spot at the dining room table and set up a little shredding station so that my back doesn't hurt from standing, hunched over the counter.

I've seen on Pinterest that by using an electric hand mixer, a couple chicken breasts can be shredded in seconds.  If you know me, you know that I probably have no idea where my hand mixer is and that I like to do things the hard way.  I wash all my dishes by hand, for crying out loud, when I have a perfectly good dishwasher just sitting there in the kitchen.

Well, over the holidays I had my electric hand mixer out from the dungeon and I had a dozen chicken breasts that I needed to shred.  I was exhausted and just wanted to be done with the day.  So what a better time to try out the too-good-to-be-true Pinterest story that says chicken can be shredded in seconds.  Oh my goodness!  It was crazy wonderful!




The photo above is 6 chicken breasts and it took me approximately 30 seconds to shred all of them, at the same time.  The chicken was cooled, not cold.  The beaters on the mixer were hardly even messy.  It took me just a few moments to wash them.  All of the things that I thought would make getting out the electric mixer a hassle was erased when the task was finished. No mess, fast clean up, and 30 seconds to shredded chicken!

I honestly can't believe I waited so long to try out such an easy shortcut.  Now that you know, don't you wait so long to try it out. If I only had ONE chicken breast to shred, I would get out the electric hand mixer.  It is seriously that wonderful.

Shredded chicken is so good in Mexican Chicken and Chicken Salad.  I have written a blog post about each of them.  I make chicken salad as often as I can, so I keep plenty of shredded chicken in the freezer.

Enjoy!

Have a great day!
Kristin

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Currently, this week

week of Jan 28th - Feb 3rd 2018



I've thought this was a neat list to use, but never had.  I don't think it would be enjoyable to me, to do every day, but for some reason it felt like the perfect thing to for this week.  I thought about this image several times recently and I've learned, when you think about something several times, you might as well use it or acknowledge it.  So I did both. 

Photo by sean Kong on Unsplash

Thinking - My husband had trigger finger surgery on Monday.  He actually had two fingers that locked on him, so he had them both done at the same time.  So, I've been thinking about what his hand will look like when we take off the bandages tomorrow.

Enjoying - Since Steve has been relegated to the couch for the past several days, I have been enjoying having him near me for so many hours of the day.

Photo by Trinity Treft on Unsplash

Feeling - Excited!  I started painting a cabinet today.  I can't wait to see what it's going to look like in a couple of days!

Wearing - A new bag. I had used my previous bag for over two years.  It was time to give it up. This is one of the many bags we sell in our Zazzle store,  I love the watercolor designs and they are really beautiful on these bags. 

Needing - Very little.  I can't even think of anything I need right now, except for Steve's hand to heal perfectly.

Photo by Sami Mititelu on Unsplash

Wanting - Wanting, now there's something that I always have a long list.  Lately though, I have been wanting to go an auction.  I miss the excitement of the bidding and seeing all the goodies up for sale. We don't need anything new introduced into our home, so I've avoided the auctions.  No more stuff, I keep telling myself.  No more stuff. 

Listening - to music and lots of it, which is unusual for me. I host a trivia show on Tuesday nights and I need music for the show, so I've been putting together music playlists.  It's been a lot of fun.

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

Making - Food!  Goodness, ever since I have self diagnosed myself with an intolerance for MSG and Free Glutamic Acid, I have been cooking at home a lot.  Half the fridge is full of food I made that somehow has something in it that I can't eat and the other half is safe food.  We learned this past week that meat cooked in a slow cooker is poison to me.  Hard lessons.

Eating - Almonds.  Some friends of ours from California brought us almonds from their farm and they are the best raw almonds I have ever tasted.

Photo by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash

Drinking - Water.  We have the best water at our house - I love our reverse osmosis water system.  I will do almost anything to not buy water.  I take a gallon or two with us on our vacations and always take water with us when we go out.  If I buy bottled water, I feel like I'm buying water two or three times because I've already purchased water at home from the city and again when we purchased the reverse osmosis system (and filters, although they last a couple years.)  So why shell out more money for bottled? 


That's it for now.
Have a great day!

Kristin

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Loki, aka bobble head

Have I mentioned that Steve and I have 4 cats now? I know the Facebook world knows this fact, but I'm very sure that my blogging world does not.  The way we came about getting an additional two cats is interesting but not up for discussion right now. Let's just say that the two boys that joined our household are a JOY to have and I'm grateful we got them.

Loki, the youngest in our group and one of the orange tabby boys, is nicknamed bobble head.  He is just barely 2 yrs old and he loves to play with everything. He keeps his head moving, making sure not to miss a thing.  He lets us touch his paws, play with the pads of his feet, rub his belly, anything really just to keep all the attention.   He is our little lover. 

Whenever anyone isn't feeling well, he is the nurse in charge.   Loki will hardly leave the side of the designated patient.  If you're in for a full day of bedrest, he's got your back - literally.   He loves to lay sprawled out all along your back.  With me, he loves to lay on my hands when I am sleeping and one of his favorite spots with Steve is curled up at the top of his head.


Steve had surgery on his hand yesterday and Loki spent all night next to Steve.  As soon as I brought Steve home he's had a ginger shadow following him.  

Habi on the bottom and Loki sprawled out over the top.

Loki is such a sweetheart and both of our girls (kitty cat girls) love him, too.  Bobble head thinks that he's a vampire.  One of his favorite tricks is to pounce on any of the other three cats and bite them in the neck.  The girls find it funny, while Loki's brother, Habi, gets positively ticked off and usually some form of cat wrestling gets started.  There's rolling and hissing and more rolling and running.  The funny thing is, the only one upset is Habi.  (Little brothers are so annoying, aren't they, Habi?!)  The girls usually whack Loki in the head with a paw or run away, which leads to room to room tearing around for several minutes. They love it!


We have a wonderfully fun and happy household.   We are evenly divided, too. Three girls and three boys. Steve was outnumbered for awhile there, but the addition of the boys quickly evened things up.
 ...but if anyone asks, no, we don't need any more cats. This is plenty! 

Have a great day!
Kristin






Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bacon and Green Onion Pasta Salad


We've been making this pasta salad for a few years now and it's absolutely delicious.  In the original recipe it calls for a dozen slices of bacon.  I commented on the blog post to see if it was a mistake, as I couldn't imagine anything needing 12 slices of bacon but I was assured that it was not a mistake.  Steve and I use thick sliced Wright Brand Bacon and I know I haven't used a dozen slices, but I bet I've used 9, because that's what my tray holds.  OK Maybe only 8 slices makes it into the pasta, I'm sure we sample a piece.

Eating has become a chore of late, for me anyway, because I have discovered that I am extremely sensitive to MSG and its counterpart Free Glutamic Acid.  I will be talking more about it in future blog posts, but for now I'm putting it out there -- this dinner, however, is nearly perfect.  We added some crunchy veggies on the side, extra cucumbers, some sweet peppers and fancy tomatoes. The pasta has balsamic vinegar in it and can be a trigger for some people as it's fermented, but so far I haven't had any problems with it, except when it's been heated.  So if you have a sensitivity, do not mix the vinegar into the hot pasta -- let the pasta cool first.



Bacon and Green Onion Pasta Salad
adapted from Erren's Kitchen original recipe


  • 9 strips applewood smoked bacon, thick sliced, cooked and chopped
  • 1-16oz box Cavatappi pasta, cooked and drained
  • 3-5 green onions, sliced into rounds
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard 
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise plus more to taste, if necessary
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, if desired


In a large bowl combine the bacon, pasta, green onions and cucumber.  In a small bowl whisk together the dressing - mustard, balsamic vinegar, mayonnaise, salt and pepper.  Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to combine.  Cool in the refrigerator a few hours before serving.   Store in the fridge, covered for up to three days. 

Have a great day!
Kristin