Say NO to MSG
Dedicated to the Public Awareness of Monosodium Glutamate and other Excitotoxins.
Letter: To Mary's Daughter
from Mick and Sassafras


We thought we would add some things we have learned over the past 10 years of trying to find all the ways the food industry hides MSG and other components that have MSG in them. We have included a list of the ways that the food industry uses to mask their use of MSG by using other vague names. We have also included a page of some of the problems that are related to use of MSG. It is up to each one of us to monitor what we eat.
We cannot trust our food industry to do it for us.
Remember, anyone that is suffering from any of these problems, may just only have to adjust their diet. We believe the medical industry is not responding to the MSG threat for the same reason they haven't responded to the increase in fat in the American diet. They treat symptoms, they don't necessarily cure them. The pharmaceutical industry will develop a new pain pill or chemo-psycho pill or a new cholesterol pill rather than lobby for healthier food standards. It is up to each one of us to monitor what we eat. We cannot trust our food industry to do it for us.

Also, a lot of people have the misconception that it is a preservative. It is not. It is a flavor enhancer. A case in point, the product called Accent®, a flavor spice, has only one ingredient...MSG. It will make dirt taste good. It is used in the food industry to increase shelf life by eliminating packaging tastes. It allows them to use second rate products.

I would also like to add that it is important to learn to read labels. It initially seems so irritating, but eventually it will become interesting. Don't worry, you won't be the only one. You will start to notice other people doing the same thing in the grocery store aisle.

We will be using MSG as a general term referring to any of the many ingredients that cause a reaction.

  • All bullion has MSG, so anything that bullion cubes are used in are MSG rich. That would include all soups in restaurants, as well as gravies, and most of the standard condensed soups. Some of the Healthy Requests® are OK, but before you use them, you should be able to read the label and ferret out all the ways they have learned to hide MSG.
  • All diet pops have Aspartame® or Splenda® or some other such artificial sweetener. These products will cause the same reactions in many people.
  • Be especially alert to additions to toothpaste and shampoo. Toothpaste manufacturers are adding carrageenan. We have found that only Arm and Hammer® doesn't at this point.
  • Shampoo manufacturers use it to eliminate soapy tastes that we all used to have to deal with. My wife uses Suave® and it seems to be OK. She recently tried another brand, as she does once in a while, and reacted to it.
  • The last time she had her teeth cleaned, they did a fluoride treatment and she reacted to it. We figure it had some sort of MSG derivative in it.
  • Most frozen foods have MSG in it and, a lot of the times, it is stated as a hydrolyzed protein or autolyzed yeast.
  • Almost anything that is a "strip", has MSG in it. If it isn't in its original form, such as a Chicken McNugget®, it will have MSG. That would include processed fish, such as fish sticks. All of Gorton's® line has MSG, for instance.
  • All lettuce that has been treated with any sort of fix-it, so it will not brown, will cause a reaction. Most restaurants use lettuce out of a bag, and most of these items have a fixit on it. My wife now usually orders cottage cheese for her salad choice.

In Marquette, MI, once, we bought a head of lettuce that was in a plastic bag and made our own salad while camping. We didn't wash it properly and my wife had a reaction. Also, she has learned not to have the lettuce on a sub from Subway, but recently had them put on the baby spinach leaves on her sandwich and she reacted. They are treating these greens with the same chemical they use for lettuce.

  • Most foods that are already breaded when you purchase them will have MSG in the breading.
  • In a restaurant, if they sell breaded items, you must ask if they bread them themselves and if it is done with a breading mix. Most of the breading mixes have MSG.
  • Do not believe Lowry's® seasoned salt and Mrs. Dash's® seasoned salt claim they don't add any MSG. They do, but used hydrolyzed proteins or other such ploys. They then hide it under "spices" on their label. My wife reacts to all of them.
  • As of this memo, Olive Gardens® is the only restaurant we know that does not use MSG and their lettuce is safe. Well, they do use bullion in their soup, so you shouldn't eat any of that. Also, generally, most Italian foods, that make their own sauces, do not use MSG.

Foods my wife has found safe to eat in restaurants.

  • Most pizzas.
  • Most breakfast foods. If you order some sort of specially spiced ethnic platter for breakfast, you just increased the odds of MSG being added. She once reacted to pancakes in an Iowan restaurant. We found they had purchased a "pancake butter" to cook the pancakes with and it had three instances of MSG, which included autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed protein and maltodextrin.
  • Alfredo sauce.
  • Grilled chicken breasts, without breading and no marinating.
  • Broiled fish, without spicing.
  • Omelets, but a warning. I-HOP® adds pancake batter to their omelets and it has MSG in them. She requests real eggs. Other chains have an omelet mix they use, such as Denny's®. She requests real eggs there as well.

We would like to add, this seemslike a lot of work. It can be, but the more you do it, the better you get at it and the healthier you will feel. About 10 years ago, my wife said to me, right after a bout of MSG poisoning, she didn't want to get sick anymore. That is when we started accumulating this information and she simply doesn't get sick anymore. It was/is well worth the effort. By the way, if she does start to feel a reaction coming on, she takes a Benedryl® and this seems to reduce her reaction to MSG. Living a life without headaches and sick/flu type reactions is a worthy goal. Good luck with your journey.



Mick and Sassafras Zellar


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