I’ve tried to briefly answer most of the questions that have come from the MSG and homemade mix posts. I’ll be happy to continue answering questions if you have any. I’m only speaking from my experiences, but I sure hope something here helps someone!
What Pre-packaged Foods Can I Eat?
Let’s see. Just taking a quick scan through my pantry and refrigerator, these are some pre-packaged things I found. Take note – some people will be more sensitive than me and possibly not able to tolerate what I can. NONE of the products on my shelf have MSG as an ingredient, but their could potentially be some hidden MSG in terms like flavorings, seasonings, or spices. Personally, I can eat all the following without incident. Oh, I ought to mention that sometimes I won’t react to something the first time I eat it, but I will after eating it a second time, say the following day as a leftover. Unfortunately, knowing those things only comes with experience.
- Daisy sour cream – or any all natural
- Any natural yogurt
- Most Annie’s Organic and Newman’s Own salad dressings
- Real butter
- Most cheeses
- Heinz ketchup
- Most plain yellow mustards
- Hellman’s Real Mayo
- Many pickles
- Any canned fruit or veggie canned only in water and salt
- Starkist Tuna Select – the more expensive can with only water and salt added
- Canned salmon with only water and salt added
- Plain refried beans
- Most canned beans with no added seasonings – personally, I can tolerate Bush’s baked beans, too.
- Ragu spaghetti sauce
- Ragu pizza sauce
- Plain bread crumbs
- Most cake and brownie mixes
- Plain Chips, Fritos, plain Sun Chips
- Any meat that hasn’t been seasoned or injected
- Breads and baked goodies without seasoning or L-cystein
- Walmart’s brand of French fried onions
- Annie’s mac-n-cheese
- Most cereals (although we don’t buy any with BHT)
- Pancake and biscuit mix when I don’t feel like making my own
- Jiffy cornbread mix
- Salted nuts
- Natural Popcorn
- Peanut butter
- Jams and jellies
- Canned biscuits
- Most sweets like Oreos (although we prefer to make our own sweets)
- Most juices, bottled or frozen concentrate
- Plain crackers – saltine, butter, oyster
- Breyer’s ice cream
- I can tolerate the Walmart and Food Lion brands of chicken nuggets
- Frozen soft pretzels
- Frozen veggies with no seasonings or sauces
- Papa John’s pizza – no sausage
- Sausage from the butcher with no msg
What did I give up forever?
- Canned soups and broths – these are easy to make on your own in huge batches to freeze
- Ravioli and Spaghettios – now I think, “YUCK!” anyway
- Seasoned Rice boxes
- Seasoning Packets (taco, gravy, chili, etc)
- Scalloped potato boxes
- Most lunchmeats – partly because of nitrates and nitrites, too
- Seasoned fries
- Pre-battered or pre-breaded meat
- Seasoned chips – Sour Cream ‘n Onion, Doritoes, Cheetos….
- Chip dips – easy to make on your own
- Bottled bbq sauce, tartar sauce, A-1 – really all bottled sauces that aren’t very specific in their ingredients – all are easy to make quickly on your own
- Most sausage
- Most prepared pizza
- Dry roasted nuts
- Frozen pizza
- TV dinners, diet dinners in a box
- It’s hard to remember because I really don’t miss any of this anymore!
What Are My Favorite Cookbooks?
The one that got me started on my MSG-free quest is the one offered at www.msgmyth.com. The first half of the book is full of wonderful information, while the second half is full of recipes for meals as well as things like mixes and appropriate substitutes.
I don’t have other cookbooks that are dedicated to living MSG-free. It’s really a matter of finding cookbooks that teach you how to cook from scratch rather than most of the ingredients being convenience foods themselves. I didn’t pitch my recipe books where every other recipe calls for a can of cream of mushroom soup, I simply learned (from the msgmyth cookbook) how to make my own white sauce to use in place of the can of soup.
Crockpots and Tomatoes
From the www.msgmyth.com website, some of you have run across the fact that slow cooking and overcooked tomatoes can cause MSG symptoms in some people. I have never experienced this. I use the crockpot all the time and tomatoes are a staple in our diet. I believe the author mentions this for those who are not finding total relief from getting rid of the added MSG ingredients.
Other Food Sensitivities
I have noticed that each person in our family is sensitive in one way or another to foods, medicines, food colorings and/or outdoor allergens. One commenter mentioned that she is lactose intolerant but still experiencing bowel symptoms. From my own experience, with no medical proof to back me up, I have found that sensitive people are just that – sensitive. Their bellies and bodies tend to struggle with more than one thing. That can make it a difficult row to hoe when trying to identify dietary culprits!
Aspartame and MSG
Aspartame, MSG and cysteine (as in L-cysteine often found in baked goods) are all excitotoxins. Chances are, if you are sensitive to one, you are sensitive to all. I’ve never used or allowed much “diet” sugar into our home, so I don’t have much experience with it. But, I do react to L-cysteine similarly to MSG.
Sloppy Joe Mix
I have never made a sloppy joe mix because I have a wonderful from scratch recipe that I’ve never wanted to stray from. I’ll post it below. But, I came across a mix recipe here and here if you’d like to try them.
Homemade Sloppy Joes
1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1/2 c celery, chopped
1/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c ketchup
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 c water
1 small can tomato sauce
salt, pepper, garlic to taste
Cook beef and onion in large skillet. Drain. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes to an hour. Stir frequently to avoid sticking. Makes enough for eight buns.
This recipe comes from Nina Beach of the Vine Run Baptist Church in Folsom, KY.
A Few of My Favorite Mix Recipes
(I often quadruple this recipe.)
6 tsp chili powder
5 tsp paprika
4 1/2 tsp cumin
3 tsp onion powder
2 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp red pepper
1/4 tsp salt
Mix all together. Store in air tight container. Use 2-3 Tbsp in place of store bought mix.
BAM (Emeril’s Essence)
5 Tbsp paprika
1/4 c salt
1/4 c garlic powder
2 Tbsp black pepper
2 Tbsp onion powder
2 Tbsp red pepper
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp thyme
Mix together. Store in air tight container. Sprinkle on food as desired.
1 c + 2 Tbsp flour
3/4 cup minced onions
4-6 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 cup paprika
2 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp sugar
Combine all ingredients. Store in air tight container. To serve: Brown 1 lb ground beef, stir in 1/2 cup chili mix, 1 can beans, small chopped bell pepper, 1 can diced tomatoes (undrained), and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a boil and simmer 30 mintures. (I usually add more water.)
(I usually quadruple this recipe, too.)
4 Tbsp chili powder
2 Tbsp cumin
2 Tbsp oregano
2 Tbsp garlic salt
Mix well and store in air tight container. 2-3 Tbsp = a mix packet from the store.