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MSG in the Pantry

by Guest Blogger, Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom

I make no apologies; I’m a food snob. I despise chain restaurants and I’m often suspicious of locally owned versions too. This opinion is rooted in experience, not only from culinary disappointments but as a result of MSG illness, 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 this prejudice.

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

MSG 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 their nom de plume, and phony names associated with MSG, to protect yourself and family.
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.

A little investigating and realigning restaurant and cafeteria allegiances might be in order. Further, you 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 cake when you’ve snacked on homemade coconut candies! (Editor-If you’d like to try this recipe, check our resources page for sources of these ingredients!)

So, now when my stomach is growling, I visit my pantry, either my kitchen one 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 this effort too, sometimes. Perhaps the reason for my irregular behavior has to do with the disappointment of visiting the wrong pantry!


Joette and the staff of Calabrese Homeopathics

Joette Calabrese,HMC,CCH,RSHom is certified classical homeopath who teaches and consults with folks the world over via phone and SKYPE. For a FREE download of 11 Toxins and How to Antidote Them With Homeopathy go to and find it on the “Free Downloads and Articles” section of the homepage. Then, consider scheduling a FREE 15 minute conversation with Joette to see if homeopathy is a fit for you or your child’s health strategy.