MSG

My apologies this article is rather lengthy. I have tried to cull it down as much as I could and “keep it simple” but at the same time I didn’t want to leave out any information which may be vital to you.

So….please do read on … 🙂

What is MSG?

MSG (OR monosodium glutamate OR flavour enhancer 621 OR salt of glutamate) was “discovered” in 1908 by a Japanese man called Kikunae Ikeda. He identified the natural flavour enhancing property of seaweed (Laminaria japonica) and then used it as a basis to form MSG.

Chemically speaking, it is made up of 78% free glutamic acid, 21% sodium and 1% contaminants.

But why does everyone use it and why has it become so popular?

This is quite interesting, I found. So your tongue has FIVE basic tastes: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and….umami!!! Bet you didn’t know that! Well, I didn’t know that.

Umami is the taste of glutamates (naturally occurring ones, for example, are: meat, fish, dairy products and some vegetables), so the savoury taste, to put it simply.

What MSG does here is, it TRICKS your tongue (through the umami) to think that the food you are eating is extra super tasty.

So when you are eating foods that contain glutamates naturally, you can’t really taste it; the glutamates need to be in “free form” to achieve that taste sensation and that is what MSG does.

Why do they put it in food?

As I mentioned above, it tricks our tongue into thinking the food we are eating is tastier, fresher, proteinier (it’s a new word, I just made it up) and to do this, it uses the same neurotransmitter in your brain that is also in charge of your ears, eyes, nervous system and pancreas.

Ergo, MSG stimulates the pancreas to produce insulin. Too much insulin, not enough carbs, results in an insulin flood. What does this mean? You eat the MSG laced food, your blood sugar drops and you are hungry again in no time. You know that feeling when you finish a packet of chips and you are quite sad because really you could eat another packet? So you BUY MORE.

When you are eating foods with MSG in them, you can’t actually taste whether what you are eating is real or not. Let’s use a sausage roll for an example. Is it 20% meat or 80% meat? You don’t know cause it ALL tastes like meat. Less real meat, MORE PROFIT.

It’s used in tinned foods to make them taste less “tinny”. It’s used in frozen dinners to make them smell and taste fresher.

Also, because MSG has lower sodium content than table salt, it can be used instead of salt in a product and thus be labelled “low sodium” or “salt reduced”.

Why is it bad?

It is bad, bad, bad, BAD because….. it has been linked to, and can trigger, the following reactions:

Headaches

Numbness/tingling/burning in the face, neck and other areas

Flushing

Muscle tightness

Weakness

Asthma attacks

Weight gain/obesity

Nausea

Chest pain

Heart palpitations

Itchy skin

Insomnia

Hyperactivity in children

Thirst

Seizures

Brain tumours

Throat tightness

Tongue swelling

Fainting and drowsiness

Death of brain cells

Reactions can occur anywhere from 2 to 8 hours later, so it’s not necessarily immediate, which is why some people may be unaware they are intolerant.

Approximately 30% of the population (it’s probably more but I’m trying to be conservative) is affected by MSG in one form or another.

Another unfortunate thing about MSG is that the longer we consume it, the more used we become to the artificial taste so that we are no longer able to enjoy the taste of “real food”.

MSG (as well as a couple of other chemicals) is an “excitotoxin”. This means that it is a chemical transmitter allowing brain cells to talk to each other. They excite your brain cells to death! I know this is a radical concept but a Dr Blaylock wrote a book about it, it’s called: “Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills”. Rather appropriate, I thought.

And as with most chemicals and nasties, our kids are the ones most at risk. Their blood brain barrier is not fully developed to protect them as it is in us adults. And they put it in baby formula and vaccines, so it doesn’t really get much worse than that really.

Where is it found?

The list of where MSG lurks is extensive, so extensive, it is scary.

Short version is when you go out to eat, you have no control because restaurants etc are not required to tell you about it as it is classed as a SAFE additive. Same goes for the ever so convenient take away food.

When you go to the supermarket, look at the ingredient list on the back and scan for things like: MSG, flavour enhancers 620 to 625, as well as 627, 631 and 635.

You are most likely to find it in foods you consume every day, such as: spreads, crackers, corn chips, potato chips, noodles, stock, sauces, hard cheeses, canned foods, frozen dinners, dressings, meats, baby food, infant formula and the list goes on.

Do this little exercise. Pick up the two most known brands of rice crackers. One will have about twenty ingredients. The other one will say: rice, water, salt.

What is even scarier is that since MSG has got such a bad reputation over the years, the companies are now using different sources of glutamate to achieve the same result. Thing is, when chemically compared they are all exactly the same as MSG. It just means the things are more confusing for us because we have to look out for more things on our labels.

They are:  vegetable, corn, yeast or soy protein extracts.

It is also disguised in other ingredients so that the product can be called MSG free:  yeast extract, gelatin, hydrolysed protein, sodium caseinate, yeast nutrient, yeast food, textured protein, monopotassium glutamate, glutamic acid, glutamate, calcium caseinate, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, hydrolyzed animal protein, textured vegetable protein, natural flavour.

In a nutshell, eat more clean and less processed foods to minimize the risk.

Personally, I have always been aware of MSG and have seen what it can do to people first hand, and have also seen those people make a “miraculous” recovery once they stopped consuming MSG. What I wasn’t aware of, was the lengths companies would go to, to hide it. Which begs another question.

If all these big companies (sorry, I can’t name names) and government organisations are declaring MSG as a “safe additive” then WHY are the manufacturers going through such great lengths to hide it?????

Fluoride

I distinctly remember, as a child, going to a school camp. On this particular day we were snowed in, so we had to make time pass in our rooms (no internet and iPods back in those days, lol).

And here is what we did. Somehow we realised that most of us had brought with us different kinds of toothpastes. So we went around and got a bit of toothpaste from each other. We’d squeeze a bit on the tips of our fingers. At the end you’d end up with all these different colours and flavours, it was quite cool. Or so we thought. And what do you think we did with all these wondrous delights? We ATE them! Yep, licked them off the tips of our fingers and sampled each flavour in its own delight.

Of course, if someone told us it wasn’t good for us, we would have never believed it. If we had all ended up dead, that actually, would not have been surprising at all.

Death by toothpaste?

Why, yes 🙂

Actually, I am wrong, it’s death by fluoride.

I also grew up in a time when the dental nurse would come to our class and feed us all the tiny tiny fluoride tablet. I found it tasty and always asked for extra 🙂

But today, if anyone came close to my children with any kind of fluoride induced product I would be likely to bite their head off in a very not nice way. Just ask my dentist 🙂 I totally love my dentist, he is the greatest dentist there ever was, but we will always differ in our views on fluoride. And that’s okay because as an informed consumer, I have the power to make these kinds of choices for myself and my children.

Fluoride is one of the most toxic poisons there is.

But, isn’t it naturally occurring? Sure, but so are arsenic and mercury, go have some of those and see what happens.

But, it’s good for our teeth and bones. Well actually, it makes your teeth and bones more brittle. It also causes “dental fluorosis”, which is a most unpleasant sight with brittle discoloured teeth (white/brown/black); it is a tooth decay where the teeth are broken down on a cellular level. I feel for the sufferers of this condition because it is irreversible.

Would you like to know what else fluoride affects? Of course you would, that’s why you are reading this.

Kidneys – fluoride causes renal dysfunction.

Thyroid – fluoride suppresses the thyroid and it’s even worse in individuals who have low iodine.

Pineal Gland – fluoride causes calcification

Also, remembering that these sort of toxins tend to have a cumulative effect and with repetitive daily use, your body stores more and more of it.

I am not going to go into the conspiracy theory behind water fluoridation even though I find it very interesting and it makes a lot of sense. What I will advise you of is the “allowed” amounts of fluoride that the governing bodies think is safe for you, the consumer, to ingest. This is interesting too. 😉

So.

Our friends at the World Health Organisation inform us that “Adverse health effects, including dental and skeletal fluorosis, are associated with excess fluoride in drinking-water.” They consider it a “chemical hazard in drinking water”. It is described as “an insecticide, fungicide, bactericide  and rodenticide (rat poison)”.

The guideline for fluoride in drinking water is 0.5 to 1mg per litre.

The guideline for fluoride in toothpaste is 1 to 1.5g per kilogram.

It is also estimated that children ingest (on a daily basis) 0.5 to 0.75mg of fluoride through swallowing toothpaste.

Our very own QLD health, in it’s fluoride document, contains some doozies, such as:

When used on very young children, adult strength fluoride toothpaste (1000 parts per million fluoride) is also associated with a higher risk of developing dental fluorosis. To reduce this risk, low fluoride toothpaste (0.5 mg/g fluoride) should be used for children up to 6 years of age.”

“Ingestion of fluoride toothpaste should be discouraged.”

“Children under 6 years of age should use toothpaste under adult supervision. Toothpaste should be stored out of the reach of young children. “

“Children below the age of six years should not use fluoride mouth rinses”

So, for instance, these places want us to use fluoride and try and convince us that it is good for us, yet they readily admit that it can be harmful to children, anyhow. So if something is that SAFE then WHY have warnings?

In the US of A they have warnings on their toothpastes such as: “WARNING: Keep out of reach of children under 6 years of age. If you accidentally swallow more than used for brushing, seek professional help or contact a poison control center immediately.”

I would dearly like my USA readers to check their toothpaste tubes and let me know if this is not the case 🙂

Instead, you can find non-fluoride toothpastes in health food shops and in some supermarkets.

If all else fails, put some baking soda on your toothbrush and scrub away!

Personally, I have had bad teeth my whole life. I remember getting my very first amalgam filling at a tender age of eight. No pain killers either. Thank you, fluoride in the toothpaste and those tasty tablets from the dental nurse.

Anyway, after having spent gazillion hours and gazillion dollars at various dentist’s surgeries, I am happy to say that I have found a solution (for me). My teeth are healthy and my gums are no longer tender, which means I can eat, which is pretty handy.

I have tried many non fluoride toothpastes over the years but I would find that my gums are still sensitive and it hurt to eat. But then I found the special one and I haven’t looked back. My dentist is surprised at the condition of my teeth every single time. Even after the pregnancy with the twins, he expected certain things to occur in my mouth. Well they didn’t. And I also have a non fluoride mouth wash which is fantastic, yet again.

I don’t have to worry about my children swallowing toothpaste (especially since the twins don’t even know how to spit yet), I don’t have to worry about them swallowing mouthwash because not only is it non-harmful, it is GOOD for them!!!!!

Now that you are an informed consumer, please, please keep all this in mind next time you are choosing your purchases.

Unfortunately, I also need to take this opportunity to inform you that fluoride is also found in food. And be careful if you are mixing that baby formula with fluoridated water.

Sulphites

Okay, let’s talk about Sulphites 🙂

They are a preservative and a sanitizing agent and can sometimes occur naturally, but the biggest reason for their use is because they stop food from turning brown, they prevent bacterial growth, as well as preventing microorganisms growing during fermentation and food processing.

Why are they bad?

There are a lot of people who are sensitive to this compound. When ingested, the symptoms include:

Headaches, diarrhoea, nausea, skin rash, swelling (especially of the throat), wheezing, hives, irritable bowel, behavioural problems, skin rashes, however,  the most common reaction is triggering asthma attacks in people suffering from asthma.

Sulphates destroy thiamine (Vitamin B), in fact in Australia, a number of pet cats and dogs have died from thiamine deficiency because the pet food they were consuming included sulphites which were not listed.

Where can they be found?

The short answer is, everywhere.

They were originally used in wine production, then meats (you know, so they don’t go brown during transport), and now it is pretty much everywhere, especially in fries and hot chips 🙂

These are the listings you need to look out for on the ingredient labels:

E220 to E228 and E150b and E150d

The foods you will find these in, include:

Wine

Cider

Beer

Soft drinks

Frozen seafood

Sausages

Dried fruit

Fruit yoghurt

Bottled lemon juice

Fruit juice

Jam

Breads

Mayonnaise

Pickles

Sauces

Processed potatoes

Biscuits

Noodles

Pasta

Deli meats

So, as I said, pretty much everything. Just check the labels. If you are buying items from the deli, ask the manager if the foods contain sulphites. If you are dining out, ask the manager if the food contains sulphites.

What you need to keep in mind is that depending on the country where you live, there will be different regulations as to the amount of sulphites contained in the foods and the amount that is actually required to be listed on the ingredient list. Thus, you could in fact, be consuming sulphites without being aware of it. What I need you to remember is the CUMULATIVE effect and how it all adds up.

Once again, the cleaner you eat, the safer you eat. So, if you must consume a food which is processed, check the ingredients.

If a food doesn’t have it listed, but you suspect it does, in fact, contain sulphates, you can actually now purchase a testing kit.

With the kids, the foods you need to be the most vigilant with are “hot chips” or “fries”, sausages, minced meat, cordial/flavoured drinks and dried fruit.

In the 1970s and 1980s they used to put sulphites on salads at restaurants and this caused many deaths in asthmatics, it was quite well publicised.

Personally, I have had reports of people whose children have adverse reaction to sulphites causing behavioural and health issues.

Whatever it is that you are eating and drinking, if you find it contains this substance, do not alarm yourself, because there will always be a safe alternative out there. If you have trouble finding one, let me know and I will try to source it for you.

Now, excuse me, I have to go and check the ingredients on the back of that bottle of wine I have been drinking….

Caustic Soda – Chemical Misunderstood

Caustic Soda or Lye or Soduim Hydroxide is a highly toxic chemical. There is no two ways about that.

From personal experience, I was using the granules mixed with water to unblock the drains. I accidentally dropped TWO drops of it on my leg and it started burning through my flesh before I could get my leg under the tap to rinse it off. Over a year later, and the two marks are still on my leg, not healed properly.

I found this really interesting bit about it on Wikipedia: “sodium hydroxide is used to digest tissues, such as in a process that was used with farm animals at one time. This process involved placing a carcass into a sealed chamber, then adding a mixture of sodium hydroxide and water (which breaks the chemical bonds that keep the flesh intact). This eventually turns the body into a liquid with coffee-like appearance, and the only solid that remains are bone hulls, which could be crushed between one’s fingertips.Sodium hydroxide is frequently used in the process of decomposing roadkill dumped in landfills by animal disposal contractors. Due to its low cost and availability, it has been used to dispose of corpses by criminals. Italian serial killer Leonarda Cianciulli used this chemical to turn dead bodies into soap. In Mexico, a man who worked for drug cartels admitted disposing over 300 bodies with it.”

Scary enough but it is also used in food preparation. For softening olives, for making German Pretzels crispy and in the yellow coloured chinese noodles, to name a few.

Caustic Soda is also used in soap making.

HOWEVER

If you recall some of the science experiments you may have done in high school, when you combine an acid with an alkaline you get a neutral result. And so, in soap making, when you mix the caustic soda (acid) with fat or oil (alkaline), you get a neutral result. Actually, what you end up with is glycerine which gives the soap soothing properties.

“Back in the day”, soap makers didn’t quite always get the ratio right and used too much lye. The excess lye then formed pockets in the soap which burned the skin on contact.

Pretty much all handmade soaps these days use lye unless it is a liquid soap, which uses potassium hydroxide, which is a form of lye anyway.

Nowdays, with most commercially produced soaps, glycerin (the byproduct of mixing lye with oils or fats) is removed from the actual soap and used for other products. This is a real shame because glycerin has soothing properties and is excellent for dry skin.

This is one of the main reasons I always recommend using handmade soaps as opposed to commercially manufactured soaps which are also likely to contain other nasties as well.

There is also just one more thing to mention. There are three types of lye: Diaphragm Cell (uses Asbestos), Electrolysis (uses Mercury) or Membrane (membrane). The membrane process seems to have the least environmental impact so if you can, inquire about that from the place you purchase your soap.

Unfortunately, because caustic soda has such a bad reputation and is widely misunderstood, when labeling their products, soap makers sometimes don’t put it on the list of ingredients.

For example, they have an option to list ingredients BEFORE the process of saponification which would look like: olive oil, water, sodium hydroxide (caustic soda/lye) OR they can choose to list the ingredients AFTER the process of saponification which would look like this: sodium olivate. So, the same ingredients but before and after a chemical reaction they have different names.

I have covered misconceptions before, like “citric acid” and we all go “oh,noooo” but if “lemon juice” is used instead, we all go “oh that’s fine”. In this case we still go “caustic soda, oh nooo” but we need to understand that after being mixed with the alkaline fats or oils, it becomes neutralized and it’s caustic soda no more.

So. Try and avoid commercially produced soaps as much as you can, and go the handmade soaps. Still, always make sure you check out those ingredients just in case something is hiding in there, and if you are able to, ask the soap maker if they use the MEMBRANE lye.

As always, I welcome your feedback and questions about this topic or any other. Thank you for reading x

Love Affair With Your Skin

Here are the reasons why you should begin a love affair with your skin:

It is the largest organ in your body, it needs lots of attention and love

It keeps you all together, you’d be pretty vulnerable without it. Imagine walking around with no skin

It protects your internal organs; otherwise they would be easily hurt and would get infected

It protects you from infections and diseases because it acts like a barrier and a shield

It gets rid of wastes and toxins, via sweat. Did you know that sweat itself doesn’t actually have a smell? It is the bacteria on the skin that the sweat comes into contact with, that produces the stinkiness.

It also produces vitamin D, it’s the only thing that does, and you need your vitamin D to be well and healthy

Our skin allows us to feel things. Like hot and cold. And through the nerves it talks to our brain and says things like “that saucepan handle was really hot, I should put my hand on some ice”

It’s a thermometer. It helps us regulate our body temperature.

It’s waterproof. This is why I always find it amusing when people rush to get out of the rain. A-hem, you are NOT going to melt in the rain, that was the wicked witch of the west!

In short, without our skin, we would be in deep trouble. So we need to be grateful to our skin and show our gratitude by caring about what we put on it and what we expose it to.

Aluminium

Although aluminium is only one of the many harmful ingredients found in deodorants, it is also present in other places like foods and vaccinations.

It is a highly dangerous substance and should be taken seriously.

In antiperspirant deodorants, aluminium plugs your sweat pores temporarily so: no sweat-no stink.

Couple of things wrong here. Firstly, your skin is the largest organ on your body and it absorbs everything and there is also the cumulative effect of anything you put on your skin.

The other thing is that our bodies are pretty smart. There is a good reason we sweat. Our body is getting rid of toxins through the sweat but it also helps to maintain our temperature.

The reason sweat “smells bad” is not because the sweat smells bad. It is the bacteria on your skin. When the sweat comes into contact with the bacteria on your skin, that is what causes the smell.

So by using antiperspirant you are not allowing your body to do it’s job. I am not saying you should walk around with unpleasant body odour as there are alternatives which are safe.

Another couple of reasons antiperspirant is not your friend, is because of the aluminium. Aluminium can cause things like Alzheimers disease, Parkinson’s disease, kidney failure, but most commonly breast cancer. My research informs me that one in eight women get breast cancer.

You think you are safe because you are a man? Think again. Men can get breast cancer too. Yep. Not as common (about one in a thousand) but sure happens.

Exposure to aluminium has been found to have a migratory effect on the human breast cells and this is important because deaths from breast cancer are not from the original tumour found in the breast tissue but from the spreading of this tumour, the “migration”.

Aluminium chloride has estrogen like properties and estrogen promotes the growth of breast cancer tissue.

Here is another little point. Antiperspirants now come with a lock on the lid, just like dangerous drugs or dangerous chemicals. You know, because spraying it around is HARMFUL!!!!

Information is key, choices are yours…..