2

 

 

It's true.  I do add salt - SEA SALT - to my food and I'm not worried that it will sabotage my health at all.  In fact, I add it because I know my body needs it for optimal health.

It never fails.  Whether it is the holiday season or some other celebratory time, people center their social events around food.  With that comes the conversations on who is making what and what ingredients they'll use for it.  Along with that comes the comments "Oh that has too much fat in it - I can't eat that!" or "Oh, I'd love to eat some of that but I have to watch my salt intake."  Really? Well, I respectfully disagree.  Ever since my research began into the world of food about 8 or 9 years ago, I have not only learned about the horrors of MSG and other artificial ingredients which my family now avoids, I've also learned that all of those 'taboo' ingredients the general public avoid aren't really all taboo at all - in fact, some of them are downright HEALTHY and essential!!!

Yes, my family DOES eat high fat foods - dairy, meats, etc. that come from quality grass-fed animals.  Yep, even bacon. Somewhat often.  Furthermore, I don't worry at all about adding salt to our foods.  That's because we use sea salt.  And yes, there really is a difference.

Before I go into the details here, let me remind you - I'm NOT claiming to be a medical doctor here (see my disclosure page), but I HAVE done a LOT of intensive research through the past 9 years - and I do keep re checking on what I've learned - and let me tell you, not everything we learned in junior high health class is true.  So while I'm not a doctor, I do have information for you that you can take with a grain of salt (silly pun intended) or you can use it to spark your own research so that you can see for yourself.  Just be sure to consider your sources.  A reliable source is not one that is closely connected to the food industry making money to keep feeding the public lies.

It all started back in 1924 when there was a big epidemic.  A large number of people were suffering from goiter, a swelling of the neck or larynx due to swelling the thyroid gland usually caused by iodine deficiency.  People were not eating enough iodine rich foods such as seafood (shrimp, seaweed, etc.) as well as quality grass-fed dairy and eggs.  So someone got the not so bright idea (though they thought it was at the time) to add iodine to salt. But this factory made salt is overly processed and not truly fortified as much as you would think. This all comes from the ongoing issue of how so many medical studies only focus on one factor at a time and ignore other critical components of the issue. ...continue reading "I Add Salt to My Food – and I’m not worried a bit!"

7

Do you have one of those naysayer friends or family members who just doesn't ever get it?  You tell them how something is in your life and they never quite get it and actually don't BELIEVE it?  UGH!  It is soooo  hard to be patient with those sorts, ya know???

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In October of 2013, I wrote a post titled Our Food Story. It was a little glimpse into what got my family started on the food journey we have been on and WILL CONTINUE to be on for the rest of our lives.  It's just that important.  And yes, naysayers- IT'S TRUE and certainly not 'optional'.

Sometimes, though- it's like banging your head against a brick wall.

All pictures in this post obtained from Pixabay.
All pictures in this post obtained from Pixabay.

I totally understand why strangers or people we've just met wouldn't understand the background and the hows and whys that led us to this decision- to follow a whole foods diet and never again consume artificial chemicals, additives and harmful ingredients that is added to the standard American diet on a daily basis by the 'food' companies.  But when it's family or 'friends' that have known us for sometime and they still make comments about whether our kids have to continue this style of life after leaving home....well- it's gosh darn FRUSTRATING!!!

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The thing is, these people just don't understand.  They don't know what we went through.  Oh, sure they've heard mentions of the words "ADHD", "Mental Illness", "Bipolar Depression" and such, but they weren't there- so they don't believe it (I shake my head even as I write this).

Well, my readers.  I lived it.  I know what we went through.  I can remember events vividly that I wouldn't wish upon an enemy. Someday I may write about those events that can still make me shake and bring me to tears as I recall them.  It was real.  It happened.  But we found an answer.  The answer is in God and His Food.

The answer is to avoid artificial ingredients that we were ingesting on a daily basis throughout the day.  The answer is to avoid MSG, artificial colors and flavors, artificial sweeteners, and - though I didn't know this then, but am learning now- possibly the processed grains that we were eating from fast-food establishments, other restaurants, and yes- even my own kitchen when using processed or pre-packaged 'foods' or ingredients.

My family avoids these now.  And we are well.  We are healthy.  We no longer carry labels that hindered our lives. It's REAL.  And no, we can't afford to make it an 'option'.

And why would anyone- ANYONE- try to tell my kids that they can eat any way they want to now or in the future?  WHY would they say (essentially) "Hey, you don't have to eat that weird way your parents make you eat now-   feel free to have a mental illness again" ?  Because yes, essentially- when you (naysayer) are telling my child to go ahead and eat 'like everybody else', you know- the 'normal way'- you are telling my child to face the possibility of being committed to a psychiatric ward one day- something we avoided when we took the road to better health.  You are attempting to negate all of our hard work and efforts.

So please-  whether you understand it or not, whether you believe it or not  -   keep your opinions (and yes, it's just an opinion since you are making it without knowledge or understanding of the truth) to yourself.  Let my child make his or her own decisions WITHOUT the influence of someone that HAS NOT A CLUE as to what we went through and what it is we are avoiding.  Better yet- if you have such doubt, why not come to me and ASK QUESTIONS instead of assuming it isn't true??

 

At some point in time, dear readers, I plan to share more personal accounts of our story- but in the meantime- if you are interested in just what it is we do pertaining to food, you can read these past posts:

Our Food Story

MSG

The Truth About MSG

Artificial Colors

Food Vs. Food Products

Food is Not My Religion

 

Who are the naysayers in YOUR life?  What area of your life do you seem to have the most struggle with these naysayers?

 

6

It starts next Monday!  LENT and our adventures with our first Whole30.

If you are unsure of what a Whole30 is, I'll explain, but you can read LOTS more here at wpid-IMG_20140225_093916_387.jpgthe Whole30 Website!  This program was started by the folks over at Whole9 - Dallas and Melissa Hartwig - authors of It Starts With Food.

Melissa and Doug started the Whol30 program back in April of 2009  as a way for 30 days to strip all food groups (sugars, grains, dairy, legumes) that have a negative impact on our health without us necessarily being aware of such.  I learned about this program when I became introduced to the Paleo Diet and read their book- which I must say is a book I highly recommend as it really explains the reality of these foods and how they affect our bodies in pretty basic and understandable terms for the layman.   As you may be aware, our family is Orthodox Christian....so as we have been experimenting with the Paleo Diet and seeing the differences it is making within us, I have been grappling with what on earth to do when Lent comes around....  It is Orthodox Tradition to abstain from all animal products during the 6 weeks of Lent and Holy Week - the week before Pascha (Easter).  I struggled with this until speaking with our priest.  He set me straight in realizing that our health comes before the standard rules of the fast....and there is certainly more to the fast and preparation for Pascha than abstaining from meat.  So for this year at least, we have his blessing to follow the Whole30 for an extended period of time in lieu of the typical fast.  Of course, doing this during Lent is all the more reason to STICK to it and not even THINK about straying from the plan!

So .....  What does it entail?

For the 6 weeks of Lent and Holy Week (an extra week) we will be avoiding the following foods that will help our bodies regain a healthy metabolism, reduce systemic inflammation and discover how much these foods may be impacting our health...and determining which we might still want to keep in our diet as a daily, weekly, monthly routine or NOT AT ALL.....

  • no sugar of any kind..... no artificial either (of course, we don't do this anyway) - no sugar includes honey, stevia, maple syrup, etc.
  • no alcohol
  • no grains
  • no legumes (this includes beans, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, etc and all forms of soy) - the only exception is that green beans, sugar snap peas, and snow peas are allowed if you desire as while they ARE technically a legume, they are more 'pod' than 'bean' and green plant manner is generally healthy.
  • No dairy (well at least that's SOMETHING that's part of our normal Lenten fast)
  • No white potatoes (or red or purple or gold....you get the point...- sweets are allowed!)
  • No carrageenan, MSG, or sulfites (This is a no brainer for us...we avoid the MSG and sulfites completely anyway and usually swerve from carrageenan - frankly I'm surprised that's all they list...  there's so many hidden ways of hiding MSG...most people wouldn't know this...)
  • No desserts or junk foods even if made with "approved" ingredients...in other words, avoid replicating junk food for the 30 days -   I'm still making my son his birthday cake for his birthday...  it may be gluten-free - and my husband and I won't eat it but my boys can...
  • No stepping on the scale or taking body measurements during the program - this is to help you realize it's not about weight loss (though lots of participants experience it)- it's about focusing on health and lifelong benefits...

So what shall we eat?

3 meals a day - each containing a protein ( Ruminants- a.k.a. beef, buffalo, lamb, elk, venison, etc.. - Poultry, Pork, Eggs, Seafood and yes, even processed meats IF they are organic or 100% grass fed with no added sugars or sulfites, nitrites, MSG, etc.), LOTS of vegetables, and a healthy fat.

We are allowed fruit in moderation with our meals.

We are not supposed to snack between meals if we can at all help it.... they say if you get hungry between meals it's because you didn't have enough protein or healthy fat with your meals to tie you over.

We are allowed Ghee - which is clarified butter as it does not contain the milk proteins found in non-clarified butter which could impact the results of the program.

We are allowed limited amounts of fruit juice as a sweetener within a recipe.  LIMITED

We are allowed vinegar as long as it doesn't contain added sugar or malt vinegar as that usually contains gluten.

I've started my meal planning.  I've used our favorites from these great cookbooks!

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I've bought some 100% Paleo snacks to have on for my husband's work meals and to have on hand for those 'just in case' moments.  My husband works 12 hour schedules and can not always sit down to a meal....so we've planned.  He'll take things like salads that contain a serving of protein and a healthy fat (avocado or guacamole, salad dressing made with olive oil, or a handful of healthy nuts).  But he'll also have Lara Bars that are paleo (not all are...we have to read labels!), RxBars, and Chomps Snack Sticks to have in his locker at work JUST IN CASE he forgets to take his food with him!  So at least if he doesn't get a meal in, it's at least REAL food he's eating and doesn't have to starve or give in to a food that's not allowed.

I'll have those things in my purse too in case we get stuck somewhere unexpectantly - traffic or something.

My son is 15 - and while he wants to support us in our decision - especially Dad as it may help him lose some weight - and has an understanding that it really is healthier,  he's not thrilled as you may imagine.  We are making some exceptions for him and our toddler.  They will not be limited in snacking - but it will be Paleo foods only.  They will be allowed all the fruit they want for snacks as long as they are eating protein and healthy fats too.  I've also consented to allowing my teenager gluten-free pancakes 1x a week.... on SATURDAY....NOT a school day.  I really want to see if eliminating added sugars from his school days might make a difference in his attention and focus with school stuff.  And if he's at a friend's place.... he doesn't have to follow the Whole30 strictly.  That shouldn't happen too often so we should still be able to see a difference in the school week.

During the last two weeks, we will be adding the foods from the 'Not Allowed" list to try them out and see if and how they affect us.... one food for 3 meals for one day every three days....   in this order :   dairy, grains, wheat, legumes

So That's the plan....  It starts next Monday - so maybe I'll post weekly to let you know how it's going along with our menu plan and maybe a couple of recipes.

WISH US LUCK!  🙂  We are exited.....but a teensy bit scared too!

7

It has occurred to me that a lot of people don't eat real food. In fact, they eat a lot of fake stuff.

 Those are sort of bold statements, I know.  I know a lot of people will argue with me.  I don't mean to offend. Really I don't.  But I've done a lot of reading on this subject and experimenting and this is my conclusion.  I'd like my readers to take a few minutes and think about this. 
DO you eat FOOD?  Or...do you eat food PRODUCTS?
REAL Food
Processed Foods
Well, first---- what exactly IS food?
The Merriam Webster Online Dictionary lists the following definitions for Food:
1
a:  material consisting essentially of protein, carbohydrate, and fat used in the body of an organism to sustain growth, repair, and vital processes and to furnish energy; also:  such food together with supplementary substances (as minerals, vitamins, and condiments)

b:  inorganic substances absorbed by plants in gaseous form or in water solution
2
:  nutriment in solid form
3
:  something that nourishes, sustains, or supplies <food for thought>
Wikepedia writes this:

Food is any substance[1] consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, or stimulate growth.

Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture. Today, most of the food energy consumed by the world population is supplied by the food industry.

Whoa!  What??? supplied by the food industry???  INDUSTRY??  Somehow I don't think they are talking about Old MacDonald down the road with his grass-fed cows, organic lettuce and apples....  While farmers fall under the primary sector for industry, note they are comparing industry of today to the gathering methods and agriculture of yesterday. This is where the problem lies.

Real food should nourish your body WITHOUT causing health problems.  Just as the definitions above state, food should sustain and  has the ability to repair the body.  Doritos don't heal your body.  Neither do Twinkies. Real food should come from Old MacDonald's farm, not the big industry that processes his produce and puts it into a Campbell's soup can laden with preservatives and additives and MSG that I've talked about in my post The Truth About MSG. Real food doesn't come with an ingredient label.

Douglas and Melissa Hartwig talk about what food is and what your standards for real food should be in their book It Starts With Food.  The standards we should have for real food, according to Melissa and Doug, are that foods we eat should promote a healthy psychological response (obviously MSG does not do that), a healthy hormonal response (dairy products pumped full of antibiotics and hormones will not do that), support a healthy gut, and support immune function and minimize inflammation.

You will not meet these food standards if you are consuming processed foods each day.  You will not reach optimal health. You are bound for health problems.  You will not feel the best  you can feel.

Now don't get me wrong.  It's not that you won't find ANY ingredient labels in my kitchen.  I'm not perfect.  I am human and I do like the occasional fast treat.  But my labels are minimal compared to the other foods in my kitchen. The majority of my grocery cart is filled with produce and grass-fed or organic meats and wild caught fish.   I'm encouraging you, for the nourishment and health of your body, to lower the amount of processed foods that come with ingredient labels into your home.  And, if you do bring those items into your home, read the ingredients, ponder over them... minimize the ones you buy with artificial ingredients and minimize how many of them you bring into your home and consume each day.  You don't have to do it overnight (though your body would later thank you)...but try to improve.

Challenge yourself. 

Buy a couple more vegetables this week.  Buy a couple less processed snacks and grab a bag of organic apples or a bag of nuts instead. Start your day out with some free-range chicken eggs and sautéed vegetables instead of a bowl of processed cereal. Make your own soup instead of opening a can.  What are you going to do to strive to eat more read food instead of more food products??

 Be well  🙂

4

Christmas is a time  when you get homesick - even when you're home.”    ~  Carol Nelson

It's that time of the year again. Everywhere you look, there's a reminder:  beautifully decorated Christmas trees, the smell of cookies in the air and Silver Bells by Bing Crosby playing on the radio...

Those are sweet memories of my childhood.  I think Christmas brings the fondest of memories...   Those are the memories I had that were always filled with love....  the feelings of always being safe and snug and wrapped in good times and cheer.  So even when I am home....whether it be for a short visit to see Mom or over the holidays and everyone is there, I am still a bit wistful for those days... days of Christmas Joy. What is one of your favorite Christmas memories that make you homesick?

Random Thoughts on a Saturday:

  • The look on a child's face when they see Santa walking towards them has enough sparkle to light up a Christmas tree.  🙂
  • When a parent displays a child's picture, it is really the parent displaying the pride they have in that child(which is never a bad thing!) and LOTS of pictures = LOTS of pride 🙂
  • Bing Crosby and Gene Autry ALWAYS remind me of a special man....  PaPPap....
  • Dr. Charles Richett won the Nobel Prize in 1913 due to his research that demonstrated  that hay fever, asthma and anaphylactic shock and other inflammatory allergic reactions were often caused by reactions to undigested proteins in the bloodstream from injected vaccines.  (Some researches currently believe it is trace proteins from peanut oil in vaccines that may be a likely cause of deadly peanut allergies that seem to be growing rampantly)
  • My husband gets the credit for this one:   What plant does MSG come from?  A Chemical Plant!!!
  • A good book can transform your thoughts and your life...sometimes for moments; sometimes for life!
  • My new Acorn slippers with sheepskin lining are the most wonderful and most warm slippers I have EVER owned.... (thanks to my daughter and husband for the b-day gift!!)
  • Gratitude for Christmas Memories goes into my gratitude journal today.
  • Today's post is #100 for me!!!

So what DO you eat??

I am often asked this question.  It's usually right after a brief explanation of what our family can not eat, due to severe allergic reactions...now that we don't eat the ingredients I've mentioned in previous posts ( The Truth About MSG  and Our Food Story), our reactions to these ingredients when accidentally ingested are usually quicker,  more obvious, and sometimes severe like major mood swings but are usually things like rashes, itchiness, hives, vomitting, anxiety, headaches and sleeplessness(though now we are much better at identifying what we can and can not have, accidental ingestion is very rare).

Well, my quick answer has always been....if God made it, no problem, we eat it.  If man messed with it.....nnnnot so much.  But recently, I've realized we were eating more things that man messed with than I realized or at least admitted.

We were still eating organic granola bars, pastas, pizza dough (homemade and organic pre-made brands), cakes, cookies, and more.  Let's face it.  God did not make pizza or pasta trees nor can you find any chocolate chip cookies growing in your garden.  These are not natural foods. So I guess my answer should have been, "Food products that do not have completely artificial ingredients added to them and a lot of minimally processed meals that are made from scratch with lots of vegetables included."  That may have summed it up a little bit closer to the truth.

But now I can say we do, about 90% of the time, eat only what God made for us to consume. The Lord knows what we need and that is what he's given to us.  I've read quite extensively in recent months to further understand how processed foods and foods most people 'think' are normal healthy foods and comparing them to how our ancestors ate and whether the 'nutrition' in these 'normal healthy foods' is really what conventional thought claims it to be or whether some of these 'normal healthy foods' are actually more problematic to our health than good.  I'm finding such foods, namely grains, legumes and (oh how I hate to admit it) dairy to be more problematic than beneficial.

Soooooo, much to my older son's dismay, the members of our household still living at home full time are now transitioning to even less of those foods that man has messed with.  In other words, we eat mostly vegetables, nuts, fruits, eggs, and meat/seafood; the foods that God provides to us as readily available.  Things that don't need much in terms of processing to consume (other than someone to process the cow/deer/chicken, etc.  I'm NOT doing that).

We are actually experimenting with what is termed the Paleo and/or Primal Diet.

Now let me explain the 90% that I wrote above.

Life is hard.  We're not perfect.  And there are foods that, well, we are basically addicted to and going out to friends and families' homes that do NOT eat Paleo and Primal...well that would be hard.  It was hard enough on my extended family members when we were only avoiding artificial ingredients, let alone grains and legumes.  So we do, at least for now, allow ourselves an occasional meal with a SIDE (not main course anymore) of something with pasta or rice and occasionally I'll make a batch of brownies or cookies to put a smile on my son's face.  But now I have much smaller portions....one portion... and that's all. This way we are less likely to have a strong adverse reaction if we are eating somewhere that in order to be polite involves eating such foods.  We still will 100% avoid artifiical ingredients.  Eating that stuff would make us sick and that is just not worth it.

Now there are people who follow the paleo and primal diets that would say we can't call ourselves paleo or primal if we do that.  Oh well.  It is what it is.  This is what we are doing right now.  Some day I'd love for our family to do the Whole 30..... 30 days of essentially following the paleolithic diet a full 100% to see if we notice even more positive health changes than we have doing it our 90% way.  I like perusing over the Whole9 website.  I absolutely LOVED the It Starts With Food book written by the couple that are in charge of that program.  If you have time, I highly recommend reading the book and taking a look at the site.  Good information!  Information you won't see or hear at your doctor's office because, frankly, our dear family physicians and specialists are simply NOT trained in nutrition. There is simply no nutrition taught in medical school.  (My Dh is a physician ---  we have many friends that are physicians --- they are taught medicine - NOT nutrition) So it is up to us to research what is making us sick.  And the answer, my friends, is what we are putting into our bodies and exposing our bodies to in the environment.  The biggest factor, of course, is food.

My kids learned a long time ago what I think is the biggest health for all to learn, the difference between FOOD and food PRODUCTS.  The Standard American Diet is largely comprised of food products, not food.

So......   What do I eat???   I eat real food.

  • Grass-fed Meat & Wild-Caught Seafoods (of course we research to see what's considered safest in the seafoods)
  • Eggs from free-range chickens
  • Vegetables (legumes not included)
  • Fruits
  • Nuts
  • A small amount of dairy
  • dark chocolate with a bit of sea salt (A girl has to have her chocolate...lol)
  • And yes, occasionally, a small yummy that might contain a small amount of grain, sugar, or larger portion of dairy because I just haven't kicked the habit entirely and don't want to make things hard.

So there it is.  That is what I eat.  Any questions?  🙂

3

Back in April of 2012, when my blog was really new and I hadn't posted much, I did make one post about MSG.  So in a way, I have covered this.  But the world is still consuming this neurotoxin so I feel I would be remiss if I didn't post again.  It probably won't be the last.

Last week, I shared with you Our Food Story. When we made the discoveries about what artificial additives and preservatives were doing to our own health, not to mention the rest of the nation and world, we realized what a large integral part MSG played into it.  MSG, Monosodium Glutamate, is a salt of the amino acid - Glutamic Acid (glutamate).  A salt is the chemical name for a molecule held together by opposite charges.  Basically, one (mono) sodium atom is 'stuck' to the amino acid glutamate.

Now before I go on, I will again say, I do not claim to be a scientist nor am I a doctor of any kind.  What I am is a self-educated individual and a mother seeking to understand what was making her family display mental illnesses and other health ailments in order to become and stay healthy  which we have most certainly done for quite some time now.  What I am sharing here is what I have learned through hours upon hours of research and the use of many scientifically backed resources as well as our own experience.  All of this information, other than our own personal experience, can be found in other legitimate sources.  I will, today, and on other occasions, list the sources or even give links to places you can make your way to in order to verify and further your own research.

Okay.... back to MSG (yuck!).  MSG is a neurotoxin.  A neurotoxin is a substance that inhibits proper function of neurons.  Sometimes the damage to the neurons actually inhibits the neuron from functioning at all.  Other times, the toxin attacks the signalling capability of neurons and sometimes tells the neurons to send false signals. Neurotoxins are also capable of destroying the neurons completely; in other words, killing them.

"According to some MSG opponents the glutamate added to foods is "bad" and the natural glutamate in our bodies is "good".  MSG sellers argue that MSG is exactly like the glutamate in the human body, therefore it must always be
"good".  It is not so simple.  There are contaminants in processed MSG.  An analogy that can be used is that there are right-handed amino acids and left-handed ones.  They are like mirror images of each other.   Processed MSG contains not only the kind of amino acids the body is used to handling, but
mirror image ones too.  This may cause problems because it is like putting the wrong glove on your hand.  It's not quite the same.  We don't exactly know what problems this may cause.  On the other hand (so to speak) the fact that
glutamate the body is used to handling is also in MSG may present a problem because an excess of naturally occurring glutamate is well known by neuroscientists to be a problem in many disease states.  Natural glutamate can
cause problems we already know about.  The reason food processors "free" glutamate from its bound form, is that it acts as a neurotransmitter in its free
form.  The food industry's claim that free glutamate is as harmless as bound glutamate is disingenuous at
best.  If it was exactly the same, they wouldn't need to hydrolyse vegetable protein (split the amino acids apart). "  ~  MSGTruth.Org

Have you heard about 'Chinese Restaurant Syndrome?'  This term is associated with the high incidence of people experiencing headaches or a collection of other symptoms after just consuming Chinese food.  Chinese food is not the only source of this neurotoxin, of course, but this term was made popular in the late 1960's and was coined after Robert Ho Man Kwok wrote a letter to the New England Journal of Medicine reporting to them the strange syndrome he repeatedly experienced within 20 minutes to an hour of eating at Chinese restaurants.  While I've heard that some high quality Chinese restaurants may refrain from using MSG, the majority still use this 'flavor enhancer' in the majority of their dishes. While this term is popular, it is this writer's opinion that the term should now be 'American Restaurant Syndrome' since a vast majority of restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, in America use MSG or an excitotoxin of equal damaging results (i.e. aspartame).  Or perhaps it could be called "Processed Food Syndrome" since, yes, a lot of the processed foods in a box or can sitting on your pantry shelf or in your freezer probably contain these ingredients.

Wait!  Don't check your pantry and freezer yet!  Because MSG and aspartame are not the only things to look for!  MSG actually comes by many many names.  Even those soup cans that claim to have no MSG in them can actually contain glutamates!  There are several websites that list the hidden ingredient names of MSG and offer tons of information.  Here are a few:

truthinlabeling.org

MSGTruth.org

MSGmyth.com

Our household members carry a list of the ingredients we absolutely MUST avoid at all times.  We carry this into restaurants with us (not that there are many we can go to) and have the waiter present it to the chef.  Most restaurants that have a chef who cooks from scratch can come up with some sort of dish that will not contain those ingredients.  The ingredients on our list that are specific to MSG are the following:

  • MSG (also known as Monosodium Glutamate, Monopotassium Glutamate, Glutamate, Calcium Glutamate, Monoammonim Glutamate, Natrium Glutamate)
  • artificial flavors
  • yeast extract (this is extract, not simply yeast)
  • bouillon and/or boullion cubes
  • broth (from a premade mix or box or can)
  • spices (if the label just lists 'spices' as a generic term and does not specifically list the name of an herb, it is most likely MSG. )
  • Seasonings( again, listed as a generic term, this indicates a high potential of being MSG or a mixture that contains MSG)
  • Anything 'hydrolyzed'
  • Calcium casinate
  • Sodium casinate
  • Textured Protein
  • Vestin
  • Ajinomot
  • Whey Protein
  • Soy Protein
  • Anything labled  ____ protein...  if it's not the substance alone (peas, not pea protein) than the processing has created free glutamates, thus MSG
  • Disodium 5 guanylate
  • Disodium 5 inosinate
  • Disodium 5 rib nucleotides
  • Soy Sauce (the only soy sauce we can safely have is raw namo shoyu --  btw, it's delicious!)

There are other possibilities as well such as natural flavors and gelatin and anything ultra pasteurized to name a few.  PLEASE, check out the sites I listed and learn more about this terrible ingredient in food products!

MSG causes a lot of problems! A LOT.  Some of the problems people have and THINK it's just normal to have such conditions include:  headaches (including migraines!), bloating, dizziness, rapid heartbeat, frequent urination, flushed skin, swelling and a whole host of others!  And these are just the mild symptoms!  More serious effects include (but are not limited to) depression, mood swings, rage reactions, panic attacks, anxiety, attention deficit disorders,tremors, seizures, chest pain, extreme rises and drops in blood pressure, insomnia, and asthma.  And obviously, in our own family, we discovered it to be the root cause of bipolar disorder(in combination with other neurotoxins and artificial ingredients).   MSG is NOT something to mess with and yet millions of people ingest this toxin within food products they consume at restaurants and in their homes each and every day, often several times a day!

My family never knowingly consumes this toxin.  We carry our list everywhere and most family and friends are aware of our needs so we seldom have an issue.  In the rare case we do accidentally ingest MSG, we know it!  Usually within an hour, sometimes longer (allergens can actually take up to 3 days or more for some individuals to notice a visible sign) we suffer from some sort of allergic type reaction.  We each have various reactions including itching, hive-like swelling, intense anxiety, red skin, rashes, vomiting, diarrhea, mood reactions, etc.  These immediate severe reactions are because now our bodies are healthy enough to recognize the toxins for what they were.  Our bodies are no longer conditioned to accept the toxins.

I hope that someone out there will benefit from reading this.  I hope you will take it upon yourself to do more research and experiment.  I challenge you to go just two weeks without ingesting ANY of the above ingredients.  Then, try it.  See what happens.  Have several things containing the above ingredients within just a few hours.  Note any changes you see.  For some of you, it won't take much.  Others react but not as strongly.  Some people may need to avoid it for longer period of time to truly see the results, but I wager most will not.

I hope that sharing what I've learned in my research and experience will guide you all into learning the real truth about MSG.  God Bless!

Other sources you may wish to use:

  • Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills by Russell Blaylock, M.D.
  • The CrazyMakers- How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Brains and Harming Our Children by Carol Simontacchi
  • Battling the MSG Myth by Debby Anglessey

13

Yesterday, I touched upon this subject when I wrote about maintaining our health as part of why we homeschool.  About 8 years ago, I read the book Is This Your Child? by Doris Rapp M.D..   Reading that book began a journey I am thrilled to be on and can only hope that in sharing our story, it may lead someone else to begin that same incredible journey in leaving some sort of illness behind in the dust.

Dr. Rapp only briefly spoke of the dangers of MSG and other neurotoxins in her book, but following her protocol for an elimination diet led us to much research into MSG and other neurotoxins as well as other artificial ingredients in our Standard American Diet (SAD).

When my son began demonstrating the typical signs of ADHD, I felt I had the qualifications to parent and educate my child without medical intervention.  Not only was I a former special education teacher (retired early  - very early), but I also was aware because of previous research, that the wrong medication could ignite a gene for Bipolar Disorder should he happen to be carrying that gene, inherited through me, as my daughter had and I had from my biological mother.  My daughter's gene was already ignited and traveling full speed ahead (part of that personal part of our decision to homeschool - see previous post).  I did not want this for my son.  Of course, I didn't want it for my daughter or myself either but I thought perhaps I could do something to 'save' my son while I could not, or so I thought, do anything for my daughter and I.  Little did I know -  I could do something for us all!

Reading on natural methods of treating ADHD and my knowledge of how food dyes and sugar can affect this disorder led me to Dr. Rapp's book.  I insisted the entire family, husband included, do the elimination diet together out of empathy for my son.  I simply could not expect him to do it alone.

What we discovered upon adding things, one day at a time, back into our diet was alarming!  Honestly, all I had expected to find was that sugar and red food dye would most likely increase his hyperactivity and inattentiveness to mundane (school) activities.  We never even got around to trying red food dye!

In reality, Dr. Rapp's elimination diet is short.  I know now that most elimination diets actually suggest a longer period of elimination to adequately determine an 'allergens' effect. With Dr. Rapp's elimination diet, foods listed were only avoided in totality for one week and then slowly, one day at a time,  added back:  milk, wheat, sugar, egg, cocoa, food coloring, corn, preservatives, citrus and peanut butter.

Without boring you with all the details, our biggest reactions were with sugar (especially my son), food coloring and preservatives.   Note I said "our" reactions!  While we never anticipated it, we all (I, my husband, son and daughter) all exhibited major reactions including rashes, red skin, hives, nausea, vomiting, headaches and major mood disturbances - just to name the most obvious ones!

This discovery led to intense research on my part - on the internet, in books and by talking to LOTS of people!  One person in particular that I feel helped us the most at that time was a homeschool mom I met at my children's homeschool soccer practice.  Becky actually came to my house and helped me clean out my cupboards and refrigerator!  She told me all kinds of things about artificial ingredients and helped me figure out healthier substitutes and suggested some further sources of reference.  I am so incredibly grateful to Becky!

Through the years, we have learned more and more and continue to learn more.  My son and husband still tend to be a bit distractable (though NOT as much as before) as we did not eliminate sugar from our diet as well as we have eliminated the artificial ingredients.  However, my daughter and I have not had any (That's right.  ANY) symptoms of our previous Bipolar/Anxiety Disorders in over 7 years.  We do not take ANY medications and have no reason to do so.  Simply avoiding the additives that our FDA says is completely safe and allows to be added to processed food products has eliminated these diseases and other health problems from our family members!

Currently, our family (other than my daughter as she is away attending college)is further dabbling with the Paleo diet and researching the effects of grains, legumes and sugar on our bodies.

I hope that in writing on this blog about our food choices (among other topics) to further share things I have learned about health and food related issues will help others to learn the same.  I hope you will benefit.

In the meantime, if you wish to learn more about MSG and it's many hidden names (Yes, it's even in products that say "No MSG" on the label!), Truthinlabeling.com is a wonderful source for these hidden names and other information.

I end by saying THANK YOU to Dr. Rapp, thank you to Becky, thank you to all the sources that have brought me to the understanding, knowledge, and HEALTH that I have today.  I will continue writing about all of our adventure and what we have learned and provide these sources to others. And thank you to my husband for supporting my research and being open-minded enough to know that conventional medicine does NOT have all the answers and for wanting the best health for our family right along with me.  I am very grateful to you all.

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ADDENDUM:  Today, January 31, 2014 - this post is linked onto FIGHT BACK FRIDAYS on Food Renegade.com  🙂  

2

Our story is a personal story.  Why anyone chooses to homeschool always is.  There could be a single or mixture of reasons given:  religion, health, curriculum choice, academic failure in the public schools, and school violence just to name a few I hear the most often.  But each  makes a decision that is personal to them.

We pulled my daughter out of the public schools in her 5th grade year. (We kept our son in public school for the rest of that year, despite his yearning to be home with us to try to meet our daughter's needs at that time.  The following year, we were glad to keep him home with us as well.) She desperately wanted to be homeschooled at that time for various reasons.  It was a decision that changed our family....  little did I know at that time how much it would and that I would be truly grateful for God leading us to do that.

Our family is closer.  We talk often. Not just at meal times, though our family dinner hour is always sacred, but here and there throughout the day.  It's an advantage most families don't have. And we spend lots of quality time together - time we simply wouldn't have if we had to obey the public school schedule and our children were whisked away by a bus early in the morning and not brought home until late afternoon with their backpacks full of homework for their evenings.

We have flexible schedules.  While my years of teaching in the public schools have lent their dent on me in still trying to maintain a bit of a 'typical school day schedule for academics', my kids don't have to get up in the morning until the public school kids have already been on the bus allowing them more sleeping time and they are typically finished with their work before these kids get back on the bus!   And if we are sick.  or want to go somewhere?  We just don't have school. (Yes, we DO fill the 180 days required by law, but we do it according to OUR schedule, not someone else's.) And if we want to take a full week off for PASCHA?  We do!  We can attend more church services, more field trips that are of interest to us (not another entity) and visit family a little more leisurely.   Now this flexibility IS harder in the higher grades with more inflexible choices we make such as volleyball, piano lessons, gym classes with the local homeschool co-op, online classes, etc. but it still remains more flexible than the public schools schedule.

Flexible Curriculum/Classes: Naturally we teach reading, writing and math but we are not held to the rigidity of particular curriculums or particular classes for particular years.  If my child would rather study zoology in 8th grade rather than general science, he can.  If he wants to take Russian rather than the typical French or Spanish, he can.  If he wants to do two histories in one year, he can.  If he wants to take an online class or even an online college course or a college course at a local university, he could!

We teach our children according to OUR beliefs. We teach them God is first, ALWAYS.  We are human, of course, and sometimes fail in demonstrating this.  I have. in the past, missed attending a feast day at church or other event because we are behind in academics.  But in this too, we are teaching God forgives.  But we must always, ALWAYS strive to do better.  This year I blocked out the feast days first on the calendar when I planned school days. So we teach them our faith.  We teach them the teachings of the Orthodox Christian Church.  And we teach them to love and forgive.

We maintain our HEALTH. My family has completely eradicated illnesses that conventional medicine claims there is not a cure for through eliminating MSG, other neurotoxins, and artificial additives and preservatives from our diet.  Because of homeschooling, my children were an integral part of our conversion from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a more whole foods approach and eliminating dangerous toxins from our daily consumption in food products and other sources.  They enjoyed finding new recipes and trying new foods.  They learned to read labels and make determinations on what to consume and realized the detriment these food products had been causing us.  Because of homeschooling, my children were able to delve deeply into our learning process and do not need to be fed nonsensical information in a public school health class.  Nor do they need to fight school policies on school cafeteria food that is full of the very toxins we avoid.  (More on our food habits and our food choices in posts to come!)

These are the highlights of why we homeschool.  I wrote this, I have realized, as though I'm still homeschooling both my older children.  It's a hard habit to break.  My daughter is actually not at home this year because she is attending college at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. (Yes, homeschoolers CAN go to college - this in answer to an actual question my husband received recently from a well-educated man.)  Currently, it is only my older son that is being homeschooled.  Of course, while he's only 3 1/2, my youngest is also being educated...but in a much more relaxed, fun approach and not really 'school'.  We are enjoying just exploring his world and teaching the concepts that come up as they come up.  He actually has learned a few words already!  Nothing like GOOD BOOKS to captivate a child and give the desire to find out what those letters on the page are doing!

My older son is in 9th grade... his first year of 'high school' and keeping track of credits.  It's a challenging year but he's keeping up well and still active in Scouts and got a doe while hunting the other day (while public school kids were confined in a brick building).

So again, these are the highlights.  I'm looking forward to sharing more about what we do and what we have learned.  There's so much to tell!  🙂

3

It has been forever since I have written here. So this may be long, seeing as a certain little man is not here to interrupt, nor are the other men in my life, nor my daughter.... I have taken advantage of my husband and son being away at a conference to ask our dear sweet neighbor to take my little one for several hours today so that I could have some 'me' time. And what I miss the most about 'me' time is being able to just read or write uninterrupted. I catch a little reading time here and there, so at this moment I'm going to make a cup of tea and WRITE. It's not enough time to start any fiction writing.... but I can at least start catching up here.

So..... Where to begin??

HOMESCHOOL

My daughter is not here this year. She is at IUP doing incredibly well. I am really proud of her. She seems to be adjusting well and enjoying college life for the most part. I am happy with that she still texts and calls home sometimes though sometimes I feel horribly guilty for not being able to talk to her the way I'd like when she calls because, unfortunately, life goes on here at home....

My son has started his 9th grade year, his first year of high school here at home. He is having a hard time adjusting to all the reading required and balancing that between scouts, hunting, and all the things he likes to do (distractions) through the day but still doing very well. We've made some adjustments. I will be reading his history lessons to him for awhile and verbally doing the questions with him to help save time in the day and my husband downloaded his biology onto his Audible account ( I got the account for my husband for his birthday and he LOVES it.... has been 'reading' a lot!) so that he can listen to it as he reads, enabling him to go faster. He's a good reader as far as comprehension goes, but is a bit slow. So hopefully, these two adaptations will help shorten his school days.

My smallest is too young for official school. He's only 3 1/2 but is incredibly smart. I have been investigating the Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling for him. We spend LOTS of time reading. He knows his alphabet (has known it since before age 2) and a lot of sounds and about 7 'sight' words. He can count to over 50, including one to one correspondance, and has an incredible imagination. (I just wish it would turn off at 7 when bedtime arrives!)
I'm having fun with him.... just wish I had more time in the day to give him more attention.

FOOD

Food is a big part of our lives. Really, it's not about food but about HEALTH.
We gave up artificial ingredients a long time ago.... things like MSG (total poison), artificial dyes, flavors, preservatives, etc. We moved closer to more whole foods and more natural ingredients. Though the more I studied the more I realized that even a lot of those things we were trying to convince ourselves were natural, just weren't. So lately, my husband and I (and kids much to their dismay) have been getting further and further away from those processed, so called 'natural' food items...even the organic ones and coming closer and closer to real food... truly what God created. Most of what we eat falls under the Paleo diet plan, which isn't really a diet but a way of life. Some call it Primal. Whatever one calls it, it gets one away from the grains that causes inflamation leading to so much horrible disease (probably if you are reading this and suffer from anything thats not 100% health, grains play a really big factor in that whether you realize it or not). I admit, I started looking into it because of my hairdresser. (strange that I've even started seeing a hairdresser that I actually talk to.... still a bit of an introvert here) But she and I started talking about her lifestyle and I thought...hmmm... wonder if this would work for my DH to lose weight? So I started reading..... and reading... and wow, read some more. So the first books she recommended was The Paleo Diet by Robb Wolf and the Omni Diet by Tana Amen. I don't know if I'd recommend Robb Wolfs book to anyone.... he came off as rather super sarcastic and I'm not sure that if I wasn't really really super interested by the things I heard and read about Paleo eating that I would have kept up with it. I wasn't really offended by Mr. Wolf's writing, but could imagine that others might be.... Anyway, the book was very informative if you could get past his higher than mighty attitude. I really liked the Omini Diet book. It was very informative as well. But then I stumbled upon IT STARTS WITH FOOD by the creaters of the Whole9 website, Dallas and Melissa Hartwig.
WOW. Great book. I'm sure to read it again and again. It's a wonderful book and program that has truly cured many many many people from all sorts of illnesses, including diabetes, bipolar and immune disorders and so many others. And I want to do the Whole30 program... just not yet. It may drive my son bonkers. Anyway, the food plan addresses the importance of really good animal protein, stressing to strive towards as organic as possible and understanding that some people can't so explaining what to eat if one can't get the best quality meat sources. The Whole30 program also addresses what to do if you are vegan though they state outright that they don't feel one can achieve total health if vegan. But they were not cocky about it at all. So we are eating a lot of meat, lots and lots of veggies, a little fruit and avoiding grains and most legumes. We are not there 100%. I still have quite a few perogies out there in the freezer and I am not willing, at least at this point, to make life any more difficult for friends and family that like to feed us. We already have to ask these people to cook without artificial stuff that actually causes us allergic reactions now... I can't further complicate and say, Oh, by the way, we won't eat your bread, your rice, your lasagne, your...... yeah, you get it, right? So we are eating it a little here and there... a couple times a month in smaller quanitities, to make sure if we can, that we can tolerate small portions without getting sick. At least that's the plan.

The results? Well, we've done this for about 6 weeks. My DH has lost, last checked, about 16 pounds or more 🙂 and is feeling a lot better! I've lost about 6.... I don't really care if I lose... I just don't want to gain anymore. But I feel really good. I have energy! I have started exercising again and actually have the energy to do it. I'm sleeping better. I feel less achy. There's no swelling in places I was starting to feel some, like my fingers, etc. I could go on but this is pretty long already. I'll save it for another day when I update this again... hopefully it will be a LOT sooner!!!

By the way.... this is not another LOW CARB DIET!!!!! I can't stand when people count calories, carbs, fat, etc. It's not about that!!! It's about eating good quality food that gives the body nutrients and doesn't cause inflamation or other problems. We don't count carbs. We don't care what vegetables we eat or stay away from fruit. While we try not to make white potatoes a staple anymore and know that berries are the better fruit, we will not say no to those things or worry about counting the carbs if we do. We eat a large variety of vegetables! I tried parsnipst the other day....mashed... we prefer mashed cauliflower...but hey, they weren't bad.

Anyway, enough about that for now... other than if this continues working, and I highly suspect it will, I have no idea what to do about fasting and Great Lent!!!!

FAITH

In Eastern Orthodoxy, we fast from animal products for the entire duration of LENT. This means most of our protein comes from legumes! Which is one major thing we avoid now.... hmmmmm..... well, we are not there yet. The Fast is not supposed to center so much on the food as growing spirtiually so maybe our Spiritual Father will give us some guidance if we sit and talk with him. Though my spiritual father is different than my husband's who is our parish priest.... but we'll probably just talk to him. We can use seafood.... but I know that a varied animal protein diet is important.... but I can't drive myself crazy about that yet. For now, we use fish and seafoods on Wed and Friday which are days we always fast all year.

I'm doing better spiritually. I had a really really hard time with it spiritually after the miscarriage last year. It's been a year. It's been a really long year. It's been such a very very incredibly long year. Full of struggles in so many ways. But things are better. I can at least pray now with my heart in it. I'm not where I was before that... or maybe I'm stronger in some areas and weaker in others? I don't know... but it's a day to day challenge but I guess that's what it is supposed to be.

Miscellaneous

Well, what else is new? My DH thinks I'm paranoid. (Wait? Is that new? lol) There was a murder that took place about ten miles from our home a few weeks ago. This brought back lots of old feelings of 'paranoia' or nervousness about being home alone (without husband), locking doors, safety, etc. that I know stem from an experience I had as a young college student in my home one summer. Without going into details, let's just suffice it to say that I think waking up with a strange man in your room once is enough to call this extreme caution and not paranoia. Okay, maybe the first week of the murder was paranoia.... but I have moved back into a much calmer sense of mind now and I would just call it cautious. They may have the lady in custody now...not for murder though (yet) for something else... but it wasn't really ever about just thinking that particular lady was going to come and kill me too.... it was about awareness. It was "oh, yeah, just because we live in this beautiful low crime area does NOT mean it can't happen and yes, we really should lock all the doors and windows at night and we should take precautions". My DH thinks locking the dog door at night is overdoing it. (though he thinks we need a handgun... which I have considered but can't get past the saftey issues regarding the little guy). So yes, I lock the dog door. Sue me.

Let's see... what else? I'm trying to keep up with my gratitude journal. My goal is to write two things in there each day. I don't always get to it but I am keeping up with it much better than I was. Recent entried have included : My Godmother, Nutrients of abundance in the foods God has created for us, A smile on the face of a friend that's been down, A friend who calls me cautious rather than paranoid and A sunny October morning! Writing in my gratitude journal is one of my 5 goals I set to create better healthy habits. Gratitude is a wonderful habit!

Well for someone that hasn't written anything at all for months (aside from in the gratitdue journal) I'd say I did pretty well here. Now if only I can keep it going! I need to pick at least one evening a week to try and do that. I just always hate saying no to my older son who always wants to play a game or watch something with me. Who else has a 14 year old that wants to spend quality time with their parent(s)??? Not many, I'm sure.... so it's hard to say no. But once a week shouldn't be awful...

Well, wish me luck with that!
Have a wonderful blessed day and go start a gratitude journal if you haven't already!

🙂