Tuesday, October 25

MSG : A Survival Guide

Allow me to introduce to you the latest evidence that big things really do come in unassuming packages: Battling the MSG Myth by Debby Anglesey.

Little more than a simple, spiral bound volume full of block text at first glance, this book is a powerhouse of user-friendly and life changing information.

MSG is quite possibly the most difficult food additive to avoid, despite the serious nature of its harmful effects for three reasons:

1. The FDA has officially ranked it as "safe" so no warning labels are ever issued for it and food service staff are not trained on how to identify it.

2. Dozens of ingredients contain MSG, making it difficult to recognize even for those actively looking for it. In addition, recipes and ratios can change in ways not reflected on labels between batches and production runs, so it is nearly impossible to determine the actual msg content of any given product.

3. Much like Celiac disease, MSG sensitivity presents itself in a wide variety of symptoms, many of which are non-specific or indicators of other diseases as well. Since people continuously consume MSG, it can be nearly impossible to track the cause or source of their ailment. Many people suffer for years before identifying the problem; many doctors will not even diagnose MSG sensitivity because of the FDA's "safe" ruling on the substance.

The author maintains an informational and support website on the MSG Myth that's well worth checking out, and the book is available from the site and from Amazon.

Disclaimer: My only caution in recommending this book is that, like all of us, the author has focused on the primary food hazard for her: msg. The recipes she provides sometimes use white sugar/ flour and other ingredients that may be a problem for those of us for whom sugar or gluten may be primary concerns.

As always, it behooves readers to appreciate an author's truth and passion and to read with the understanding that application of that truth to their own lives may look somewhat different.

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