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MSG; The Flavor We Can Do Without

Joette Calabrese, HMC, PHom M

April 28th, 2011  |  6 Comments

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I make no apologies; I’m a food snob. I despise chain restaurants and I’m often suspicious of locally owned versions too. It’s from experience, not only from culinary disappointments but as a result of MSG illness in my family, just one too many times.

Is it too much to ask that my meal be enjoyable not only while seated, but hours after when my taste buds have long forgotten the experience? No doubt, MSG is the offender contributing to my prejudice.

A Japanese scientist created the chemical brew, MSG, to imitate the flavor-enhancing abilities of seaweed.  In 1969, “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” defined the MSG phenomenon of neurological disorders.

This concoction is not only creeping into our meals but it’s doing so in a veiled way.  Hidden from plain sight, its best to check out this list nom de plume, of counterfeit names associated with it.

Too much MSG can cause headaches, neurological disruptions, and even obesity.   Here are more MSG dangers.

Once, my father had an alarming reaction to MSG, resulting in severe heart palpitations. After that, we spoke to the chef wherever we dined.   Time and again we learned that most chefs had no idea what ingredients lurk in their pre-made sauces, mixes and spices.

Further, I met with the head cook at our son’s school, and found that the advertised “homemade” soup was actually a dried soup mix with some canned vegetables tossed in.  As he and I examined each can and package, nearly every product in the school pantry listed MSG or it’s pseudo name.

So I decided that a little investigating and realigning restaurant and cafeteria allegiances might be in order.  Further,  I learned that I  can get around the MSG impasse with a little planning.

My foremost method is the most obvious.  I make meals at home, using fresh ingredients instead of pre-made.  It’s the only way to insure I have full control, hence the best quality.

However, when I must eat out, it generally means skipping chain restaurants and patronizing the locally owned, upscale ones. ‘Better atmosphere too, I might add.

Alas, sometimes I have to eat at a mediocre restaurant.  So, I’ve devised a few strategies.

First, I order the simplest dish possible: poached eggs, lamb, grilled wild fish or salad without dressing.  Marinades are out and I opt for sautés in butter and grilled.   I inform the server that I want no “salts”, “seasonings” or “spices”.

A word of caution about the word “butter”- it’s often a term bantered ‘round by chain restaurants to mean butter-like concoctions. As my teenage son would say,“eeeew!”

I carry a little salt dispenser in my purse.  It’s quite pretty, actually, resembling a decorative lipstick tube.  And if I know in advance that I’ll be going to a second-rate restaurant, I toss a small jar of my homemade salad dressing in too.  Tiny containers are key from looking conspicuous or offensive.

When my children were small, I’d also transport a bag of crispy nuts or better yet, my own homemade mouse mounds made of coconut oil, raw cacao powder and honey. This not only insured that they were well nourished, but their appetites were satiated before the meal was served.  No room for box-mix cake when you’ve snacked on homemade coconut candies!

So, now when my stomach is growling, I visit my pantry, either my kitchen or the mobile, purse version. If I could install a refrigerator compartment in my Dooney Burke, I’d consider carting butter. All this to avoid MSG?  I know. I question all this effort too, sometimes. Perhaps the reason for my irregular behavior has to do with the disappointment of having  visited the wrong pantry once too often!


Joette laughingI am a homeopath with a worldwide practice working with families and individuals via Zoom. I'm also a teacher and most importantly, a mom who raised my now-adult children depending on homeopathy over the last 31 years. I lived decades of my life with food intolerances, allergies, and chemical sensitivities until I was cured with homeopathy, so I understand pain, anxiety, and suffering. You may feel that your issues are more severe or different than anyone else’s, but I have seen it all in my practice and in my work in India. My opinion is that nothing has come close to the reproducible, safe and effective results that my clients, students and I have achieved with homeopathy.

Call today and learn how homeopathy might just be the missing piece in your health strategy.

Joette is not a physician and the relationship between Joette and her clients is not of prescriber and patient, but as educator and client. It is fully the client's choice whether or not to take advantage of the information Joette presents. Homeopathy doesn't "treat" an illness; it addresses the entire person as a matter of wholeness that is an educational process, not a medical one. Joette believes that the advice and diagnosis of a physician is often in order.

We've provided links for your convenience but we do not receive any remuneration nor affiliation in payment from your purchase.

The Author disclaims all liability for any loss or risk, personal or otherwise incurred as a consequence of use of any material in this article. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.


6 thoughts on “MSG; The Flavor We Can Do Without”

  1. Pam says:

    Yes, deception abounds!

    Thank you.

  2. Beth says:

    Joette, what do you do when you have company that insists on bringing a dish but they don’t eat the same way (i.e. lots of vegetable oils and artificial sugars)? My mil insists on baking every time she comes for my kids and I don’t want them to eat it but I don’t want to hurt her feelings.

    1. admin says:

      We can only do our best, but something that worked for me when trying to avoid my boys being tempted by foods I didn’t approve of was to stuff them so full of good fats that they were satisfied without eating the junk.

  3. megan says:

    Activated Charcoal will absorb the msg. I get bad reaction to MSG but take this for picnics, campfire parties and some restaurants depending on what I eat. says to take after you eat. however I find if i wait I will still feel bad. so I take it first and it works great! hope this helps for the times when someone has hard time avoiding MSG.

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