Say Goodbye to MSG {Healthy Eating Challenge #2}

It’s time for the next Healthy Eating Challenge! How did you do with the first healthy eating challenge? I already try to cut out artificial sweeteners due to how they make me feel, but I have been even more cautious and reading labels carefully.

Don’t forget: our goal is to slowly work our way to healthy eating, which means clean eating. That means natural, whole foods. So we’re slowly kicking out unnatural/artificial ingredients to make our way to our goal of clean eating and promoting overall better health!

And remember, once we remove it, we don’t add it back in later. The challenge won’t work unless you are continuing what we start with!

Healthy Eating Challenge #2 – Say Goodbye to MSG!

Healthy Eating Challenge 2 Say Goodbye to MSG

There is a lot of confusion with MSG. What is it really? The biggest confusion I have seen is that some foods naturally have various forms of the amino acid, glutamic acid, as does our body. These foods include: meat, milk, cheese, mushrooms, seaweed and peas.

The MSG (monosodium glutamate) to which I’m referring is the artificial flavor enhancer. Once again, we technically only need to know that it’s artificial. I found a great explanation about the myths and misconceptions of MSG on the Whole Foods site. Their mission is much like ours – artificial ingredients are not consistent with our goal of eating natural, whole foods.

Some people are sensitive to MSG. I know several people who can pinpoint MSG as a trigger to their headaches or other pains. Those that are sensitive to MSG may even be sensitive to the glutamic acid that naturally occur in the foods mentioned. The most noted problems, though, are with the MSG artificial flavor enhancer. It’s noted to be so strong that just a few drops can majorly change the flavor of foods. In fact, in many foods, it’s used in place of salt.

So what do we look for on labels? It’s important to specifically look for MSG: monosodium glutamate. There is confusion whether other ingredients are MSG “in disguise” as well. While these ingredients also contain glutamic acid (and therefore may require caution for those sensitive to glutamic acid) but are otherwise naturally and contain far less glutamic acid than MSG. The article I linked above has more detailed information on this as well.

Here are some red flags for which to look:

  • Products that are labeled as “Low Sodium” or “Now with Sea Salt.”
  • Fast Food. (I’m sure we’ll eventually rule out most fast food by the end of the challenge, but particularly look to rule out MSG {and artificial sweeteners from the previous challenge} by reading ingredients provided online). Friend Chicken is the most likely suspect though seasonings for fries may include it as well.
  • Meats. Particularly Beef Jerky, Sausage Products, Cold Cuts and Fish.
  • Soy Sauce.
  • Gravies and sauces.
  • Salty Chips – particularly products with cheese powder.
  • Soups.
  • Frozen Dinners.
  • Other Processed Foods

I know this list may seem daunting, but again, just take it one challenge at a time. You will naturally discover what has the ingredients we need to eliminate. In fact, I suggest keeping a list. I will work on making a printable to make the process easier. Don’t forget I have started Facebook Support Group!

Whether you feel MSG is safe or not, we, once again, just have to look at the main fact: it’s artificial and therefore doesn’t have a place in clean eating.

When shopping for groceries this week (or even dining out), be sure to choose products with no MSG (and no artificial sweeteners).

Did you miss the first challenge? No problem! You can start whenever! I’m posting a new challenge every two weeks, but you can start at any time and go at any pace you’d like! Check out all of the Healthy Eating Challenge Posts.


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  1. Tramond Roper says

    I’m trying to eat healthier, but its difficult.

  2. Tammy Schweitzer Catterton says

    thanks for sharing this will come in handy for me I will check it out more detail thanks again

  3. Thank you for sharing these tips, I will be sure to share them with my family.

  4. Thanks for these tips, very helpful!

  5. I missed your first challenge, but I don’t do artificial sweeteners anyway. Have to be on the lookout for MSG in ingredient lists. I know I don’t have any in my spice cabinet.

  6. Elizabeth Johnson says

    I’ve been thinking about going vegan and have been reading a lot of stuff like this lately, very thought provoking. Thank you for the tips on what to look out for!

  7. Too many people put too many things on or into foods to mask the foods natural flavors. I try to only add spices or condiments that will enhance the flavor of the food.

    • I agree. So much of the “not good for you” stuff that’s added isn’t even necessary. We’ve gotten so used to it, though, that some people don’t know how to enjoy the foods’ natural flavors.

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