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Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

Why I don’t add Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water to Green Smoothies

The hottest new trend in Green Smoothie recipes is to add either Almond Milk, Soy Milk or Coconut Water instead of plain water. Let’s face it, people love the thought of adding more nutrient power to their health drinks, and it seems like a good idea, right? Well, it’s only a good idea if you are interested in adding artificial chemicals, and increased sugar and fat to your Green Smoothie, and that doesn’t sound like a good idea to me! Actually, it’s the fastest way to contaminate the beautiful, fresh raw food delight of a Green Smoothie. Not to mention adding a lot of hidden extra calories that you don’t even really taste. So, if you are not losing weight from your daily Green Smoothie, the answer could lie in that added almond milk, soy milk, or coconut water.

Example 1: Coco Libre Pure Organic Coconut Water

It even says ‘No Added Sugar,’ a term which is not regulated by the FDA by the way, and when you look on the back you will see that there are 13g of sugar in one serving! So, essentially, all of the calories in this drink are from sugar!! With so much sweet flavor from fresh, natural fruits in a Green Smoothie, there is simply so need to add more sugar and it’s simply a waste of calories for anyone looking to watch their weight.

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that's already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Why add 13g of added sugar to a Green Smoothie that’s already full of fresh sweet fruit?

Example 2: Vita Coco Coconut Water

This bottle is 16 ounces and contains a total of 22 grams of sugar. Most people mistakenly think that they do not eat any added sugar in their diet. Clearly this is not the case! While coconut water does have some natural sugar in it, real young green coconuts never taste as sweet as the coconut water being sold in the USA. So something is going on to make then taste extra sweet. Not to mention the fact that all coconut water imported into the USA has been irradiated, yet another reason to re-consider having too much bottled coconut water in the diet.

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It's true!

11g of sugar in a 8oz serving of this Coconut Water? It’s true!

Example 3: Silk Original Soy Milk

Many reasons not to drink this or any soy milk for that matter, and again, why contaminate a perfectly pure and natural Green Smoothie with these ingredients? Here we have added sugar and 2 suspicious food additives on the label: “Carrageenan” and “Natural Flavors.” Carrageenan is a thickening agent which is known to increase inflammation in the body, in especially gastrointestinal inflammation. The term “Natural Flavors” essentially has no regulation so there can be anything under the sun in it, and it’s usually nothing natural! This is the classic way that food manufacturers hide chemical additives like MSG. And, yes, it is legal. Anytime you see that term on a label, it is a food best to leave on the shelf!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Of course, the other issue with soy milk is the Genetically Modified issue. More than 90% of soy in the USA is GMO. That makes the soy higher in certain proteins which are known to trigger food allergies and intolerances, especially in children whose smaller bodies can’t handle the excess proteins in unnatural amounts. The other major issue with GMO foods is the direct link to infertility. Isn’t using plain water in your Green Smoothie suddenly sounding like the obvious healthy choice?

Example 4: Silk Organic Non-GMO Soy Milk

Don’t think you are doing much better by choosing the organic non-GMO version of soy milk. As you can still, they are still using Carrageenan as a thickening agent and a nice inflammatory food to add to your organic soy milk. In addition, who knows what they are hiding in those “Natural Flavors?” It could literally be anything, and it’s legal of course. The other issue with soy milk is that it is highly concentrated in phyto-estrogens (whether organic or not) and this is also not good for long-term use. High amounts of estrogen are linked to many health conditions for both female and male sexual reproduction hormones. Men can actually grow breasts from high amounts of estrogen! Stick with water in your Green Smoothie, add some 100% organic superfoods for an added nutritional boost, but stay away from the soy milk!

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Many reasons not to drink this including GMO, added sugar and suspicious food additives

Example 5: Silk Original Almond Milk

Here we have added sugar, and of course the almonds are naturally high in fat which is more concentrated in a liquid form. Why not eat whole, raw almonds later in the day as a snack? That way you can actually enjoy the taste and spread your caloric load throughout the day. With so many people trying to lose weight, I can’t understand the desire to add additional sugar to a perfectly naturally sweet Green Smoothie.

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Organic Products can still contain chemical food additives? Yes!!

Example 6: Silk Unsweetened Almond Milk

Here you can see that there is essentially no added sugar, so this seems like a good choice….but, how exactly do they make this almond milk taste sweet and have vanilla flavor? Have you checked how expensive pure vanilla beans are lately? I don’t think they are adding them! That term “Natural Flavor” is screaming out to me, flashing warnings that this food is not natural at all. There could be all kinds of artificial flavor enhancers in there and the food manufacturer does not have to list them on the label. Simple as that. Again, why add more chemical additives to your diet? Plain, raw whole almonds do not have the term “natural flavor” on the package!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

Added sugar and fat is not needed is a naturally sweet Green Smoothie!

While there is no official government standard on how much (refined) sugar to consume daily, most nutritionists will agree on a recommended daily intake of no more than 40 grams. If you choose to put these sugar-laden drinks into your Green Smoothie, all of a sudden you have less sugar available to consume the rest of the day. Why not save your ‘sugar bank’ for something you are really going to taste and enjoy?

Some will ask: “Can I add homemade almond milk or fresh coconut water to a Green Smoothie?”

Your body will be able to absorb the nutrients in your Green Smoothie more easily when you keep it simple.

Save your young green coconut for an afternoon snack later in the day. Avoid bottled coconut water.

Add your homemade almond milk to a cacao, banana smoothie when you will really taste it and enjoy the texture of the fat….and spread your caloric load throughout your meals as well.

If you are exercising a lot, for example after a 10km run, then yes….that would be a good time to add homemade almond milk, young green coconut flesh or young green coconut water to your Green Smoothie. The electrolytes in the live coconut are great for a post-workout recovery, and you will need the calories because you burned the calories.

Green Smoothies are good for you because they are made from simple, whole ingredients. That’s why you feel better when you eat them on a daily basis. Add 1-2 cups of plain water to your Green Smoothie to make it more drinkable but leave out the rest. You can absorb all the wonderful natural nutrients from a Green Smoothies, as long as you keep them natural, whole and pure.

How to Make Healthy Green Smoothies

Green Smoothie for DummiesCheck out my NEW book Green Smoothies for Dummies – I’ve got loads of recipes using dark leafy greens and many delicious combos without chemical additives or refined sugar. It’s so easy!

Clean your body from the inside out and watch your skin improve, your hair and nails get stronger, your eyes look brighter and your waistline slim down….all naturally and effortlessly! It’s simply amazing and your only regret will be that you didn’t start drinking green smoothies sooner.

When you take care of your whole body, you get whole body health.

When you let your food be your medicine, you are always moving towards better health.

Find the book Green Smoothies for Dummies on iTunes or amazon.com!

More on Juicing and Smoothies:

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

More on Nut Milk and Healthy Recipes:

Think your Mediterranean Green Olives are a ‘safe, clean’ food? Think again!

I continue to try to dispel the myth that I hear over and over again when people tell me, “But I don’t eat processed foods” or “I NEVER eat Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)” or “the veggie restaurant I go to doesn’t use any additives in their food.”

What I hope to teach is that we have to be responsible for what we put in our mouths.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are all flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods. They overstimulate the taste in food, making a bland food taste exceptionally good. They also overstimulate the brain, and are known as “excito-toxins”. They can be listed either by the food additive name or by the food additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’): 621, 635, 631 and 627.

Legally, these food additives can also be ‘disguised’ in terms such as spices, yeast extract, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, natural flavors, flavoring, glutamic acid, hydrolyzed vegetable oil, torula yeast, autolyzed yeast, sodium caseinate, and monocalcium glutamate.

Of course, these additives can also be listed by their real name, as in the case of the examples below. But would you think that a simple can or jar of olives would contain flavor enhancers to chemically alter the taste? Well, they can!

In this blog post, we look at Mediterranean Green Olives, all exported from Spain. I found these particular items in a supermarket in Bolivia, South America, but you will recognize these brands in any supermarket in the world.

Ybarra Green Olives, a product of Spain, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the first example, we look at Ybarra Green Olives stuffed with Jalapeños (or Aceitunas Verdes Rellenas in Spanish). Looking right on the list of ingredients, you will clearly see Monosodium Glutamate (or Glutamato Monosodico in Spanish). Looking on the Ybarra website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. However, I did find the following statement:

“We care about our consumers’ health. That’s why we include nutritional labels on all our products to communicate, in a transparent way, nutritional information and ingredients of each one of them.”

Well, I do thank them for that!

Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Pepper, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

In the next example, we look at Carbonell Spanish Green Olives with Paprikou, or Pepper. Again, right on the list of ingredients it is easy to see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Carbonell website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. Interestingly enough, I did find the following 2 statements:

“Carbonell olives with Pimento Pepper paste are allergen-free” and “Carbonell black olives are allergen-free.”

There was no mention of the Green Olive with Pepper, Monosodium Glutamate or any other allergen information on the website.

Fragata Green Olives with Pimento, with Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)

Finally, we look at Fragata Spanish Green Olives stuffed with Pimento. On the list of ingredients, we can quickly see Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). On the Fragata website, I saw that they do NOT list any ingredient information for any of their products. (Are we seeing a pattern here?)

What do you want to see on the list of ingredients?

Ripe olives, water, salt.

When buying olives in a jar or can, try to stay away from flavored olives (like lemon, garlic or pimento). Anything flavored is much more likely to contain MSG. Plain is your safest bet.

If you see the word “spices” or “natural flavorings” on the ingredient list of olives, don’t buy it! In the USA, I find that food companies are a bit more savy, and they use other ingredients which already contain MSG and them hide it in the term “spices.” All legal, of course.

What are the best olives to buy?

The best olives to buy are fresh, organic olives cured naturally with fresh lemon, fresh garlic or fresh herbs. My favorite place to buy fresh green or black olives is at the Friday organic market outside of Shuk Hanamal at Tel Aviv Port, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Once you taste a real fresh olive, you will quickly understand the inferior quality and flavor from a jarred or canned olive full of chemical additives.

A “clean diet” must be MSG-free!

All of this information may seem overwhelming at first, but isn’t it time to learn the truth? Especially if on your “clean and safe” diet, you are still experiencing migraines, insomnia, anxiety, heart palpitations, restless leg syndrome, dizziness, vertigo, irritability, moodiness, depression, sensitivity to sound and light and/or a general feeling of malaise and lack of energy?

Even small amounts of Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) in the diet, as little as 3-4 times per week, can make a person symptomatic for the entire week. Imagine how someone may feel when they are unknowingly eating MSG 3-4 times per day!

Not everyone will experience the same exact symptoms, because flavor enhancers like MSG will over-stimulate the brain in individuals in different ways, depending on their body chemistry and sensitivity. Look at the rates of depression, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD and autism absolutely sky-rocketing every year and compare that to the amounts of flavor enhancers (or excito-toxins) hidden in foods and in the diet, and it will quickly become apparent that we are facing an epidemic with the chemical additives in our food.

Solution:

Always look at the ingredients before making a decision to buy. It’s takes less than 30 seconds, and over time, you will know what brands are safe and what brands are not. In restaurants, you always have to be careful, because waitstaff and even chefs are simply not trained on the level of food additive allergies and intolerances. In restaurants, I only order salads with no dressing and a side of lemon or lime. If there are canned or jarred olives on the salad, I don’t eat them.

More on Food Additives:

MSG hidden in Packaged Foods: Why I don’t buy 90% of the ‘food’ at WholeFoods

What’s Wrong with WholeFoods?

It’s not easy to be the messenger of bad news when so many people love and revere WholeFoods. Well, I love them too…and there are things that I do buy there which I will mention later. But as the title to this article states, I do not buy 90% of their food. And today I’m going to tell you why.

Now of course WholeFoods does sell meat, dairy and cooked foods…so right away, I wouldn’t buy those. But I know a lot of you do, and you mistakenly believe that if you buy food at WholeFoods, that it’s organic, non-GMO and chemical-free. That is simply NOT true. While some foods at WholeFoods are certified organic, most are not. And even the organic foods contain suspicious additives.

I’m going to show you what to look for and what to avoid.

If I only I had a dollar for every time someone said to me, ‘I don’t eat MSG because I buy everything from WholeFoods’ or ‘I only buy organic because I shop at WholeFoods,’ well, I would already be retired by now! It amazes me how strongly people are influenced by a good logo, ‘clean and green’ marketing and nice lighting and music in a store. Did I mention how many clients I’ve helped recover from migraines, insomnia, itchy rashes, anxiety, digestive disorders, hot flashes (in men and women), dizzy spells, vertigo, adult acne, puffiness and chronic inflammation by going through a detailed list of what they eat from WholeFoods and getting the offending foods out of their diet? Often times people are resistant to believe me. They can’t imagine that their organic Annie crackers are causing their troubles. Or their Earth Balance or Smart Balance ‘Butter’. They sometimes yell at me and call me a liar. Well, I am taking the crack away from the junkie…so I know I will meet resistance (yes, these chemical additives are chemically addictive). Over time, if they do change, they come to accept what I have told them and when they take the suspicious food out, their skin clears, they sleep for the first time in years, they no longer feel depressed, their migraines are gone forever…and then the Thank You emails roll in. I’ve been teaching this stuff for 6 years, and I know what I am talking about. If you partner or child is exceptionally irritable and suffers from any of the symptoms above, your salad from the salad bar at WholeFoods could be causing the problem.

If you want to have good health, you have to check all food labels and you have to be responsible for what you put in your mouth.

Monosodium Glutamate (MSG), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate, and Disodium Guanylate are flavor enhancers which add a salty, savory taste to foods. They overstimulate the taste in food, making a bland food taste exceptionally good. They also overstimulate the brain, and are known as “excito-toxins”. They can be listed either by the food additive name or by the food additive number (sometimes called ‘E numbers’): 621, 635, 631 and 627.

Legally, these food additives can also be ‘hidden’ in terms such as ‘spices,’ ‘yeast extract,’ ‘hydrolyzed vegetable protein,’ ‘natural flavors’ and ‘flavoring.’

As an interesting side note, I checked the WholeFoods website before writing this post and I found a very funny article titled, “Myths and Misconceptions: MSG.” In the article, a WholeFoods representative discusses the ‘Myth: There’s Hidden MSG lurking in our aisles.’ He states, “We draw a clear line between natural glutamate-containing foods, which we allow, and highly concentrated MSG, which we don’t..” I actually laughed out loud when I read that, because I see Monosodium Glutamate in various forms in the salad bar ingredients in WholeFoods ALL THE TIME! Right there for the world to see! Well, I am usually the annoying one who is reading every label and holding up the salad bar line, and maybe even sneaking out my camera for a photo! (By the way, an example of a ‘natural glutamate containing food’ is pure tomato paste or parmesan cheese, NOT spicy barbeque flavored Kettle Chips!!)

The other part of the article tries to state that other forms on MSG are not really MSG, but for people who are sensitive, it is clearly written on the labels so they will know what they are buying. Well, how many people really know that legally the word ‘spices’ or ‘natural flavors’ can contain MSG already, and the label can still read ”No MSG’ or No Added MSG?’ And how many people know that even if a product is labeled certified organic, it can still contain these other ingredients that have MSG in them already, like ‘malt extract,’ ‘annatto,’ ‘natural flavor,’ ‘yeast extract’ or the new one I am seeing lately, ‘rosemary extract’? The real problem is when a product uses several of these ingredients, thereby increasing the glutamate concentration to real MSG-size proportions. can So your ‘organic’ product with ‘No Added MSG’ can still be causing your migraines? YES!!

What is a “hidden form of MSG”?

Ok, here’s the deal. Food companies know that Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is the best flavor enhancer there is; it is a food additive that adds A LOT of flavor to a product for little to no cost. BUT, savy consumers have caught on to MSG and most people know that it’s not a healthy additive because it can trigger migraine headaches, irritability, insomnia, rashes, hot flashes, dizziness, mood swings and even promote weight gain. A smart consumer like you will not buy a product containing MSG and the food companies know that. But they are already light years ahead of you! The food industry now uses new ingredients that contain what’s called factory created free glutamates. While one ingredient containing factory created free glutamates alone in a product may have a low concentrations of glutamate, using a combination of several ingredients together can add up to a considerable and dangerous amount of glutamate in one product, and in many cases you will actually find more glutamate than if the product had only contained MSG by itself! And that is why I called these ingredients MSG in disguise.

This is food label trickery at its finest folks!

The food industry has billions of dollars to research and develop new chemical food additives, and the government simply does not have the money to keep up with their technology (assuming the government was really interested in people’s health and not funded back-handedly by the food and pharmaceutical industry of course!) In short, there is TONS of hidden MSG at WholeFoods, and this is the main reason that I would not buy 90% of their food.

Please note that most of these photos were taken at WholeFoods, with the exception of 2 that were taken at Fresh Market in Florida, a very similar-type chain to WholeFoods (those photos are marked as Fresh Market). I have many more photos that I took which will be complied into an eBook for educational purposes. Knowing what to look for can greatly help you improve the quality of food you buy, and consume.

Let’s start looking at a few labels.

Rule #1: Never believe what you read on the front of a package


Oh, the beloved Kettle Chip. The only good thing I can say about Kettle is that there are very savy with their packaging. So many organic non-GMO bells and whistles! But it doesn’t stop me from seeing the offenders: Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, and Jalapeno Powder. Why not use real garlic and jalapeno? Because the powders can legally hide MSG and they do not have to disclose that on the labeling. Maybe they are ‘safe’ because they are organic, but the Yeast Extract is a big NO-NO. That is always MSG in disguise.

Learn to know what ingredients to avoid


Another example of a tainted organic food. This is the WholeFoods brand, and from what I’ve gathered, they seem to hide their MSG under the term ‘Natural Flavor.’ Yes, legally that can have MSG in it. It is an easy way to hide MSG in food. And since WholeFoods claims that their brand is MSG-free, they don’t seem to want to use the classic Yeast Extract ingredient. Any time I see ‘Natural Flavors,’ I do NOT buy. This product also has ‘Malt Extract’ and ‘Annatto,’ two other forms of MSG in disguise.

There is no such thing as a healthy BBQ chicken wing.


I really have no idea who would go to WholeFoods to buy BBQ Chicken Wings, but who are we kidding here? This is NOT a healthy version! Note the ‘Spice Extractives,’ ‘Natural Grill and Smoke Flavor,’ ‘Spices,’ ‘Yeast Extract,’ ‘Natural Flavor,’ ‘Yeast Protein.’ I think I’m going to be sick.

Be wary of all soups in restaurants and salad bars, 99% of them have MSG in the soup stock.


Seems like a good idea…a nice warm filling soup. but read that label! ‘Soybean and Corn Protein,’ Yeast Extract,’ ‘Carrot Powder,’ ‘Pumpkin Stock.’ All MSG in disguise.

This salad just looks plain scary to me.


Nothing is sacred anymore. They even managed to ruin this dish by adding ‘Natural Flavor,’ ‘Soy and Wheat Protein,’ ‘Yeast Extract.’ You must start reading labels and if you see these ingredients, do not eat!

Organic food can still be tainted with flavor enhancers. Learn to discriminate!


Oh, the food industry is so good at food label trickery! Made with Goodness! Doesn’t fool me. Read ‘Yeast Extract,’ ‘Natural Cheese Flavor,’ ‘Paprika Extract’ and suddenly this so-called healthy organic food is no longer an edible item in my book. Yes, they can legally use this ingredients with hidden additives, and since they did not add anything themselves, they can label their product with ‘No Artificial Flavors.’ Never believe the marketing schtick on the front or side of a box. Always check the ingredients.

Again, ‘organic’ does not guarantee no added flavor enhancers


Think you’re doing your children a favor by buying organic Mac and Cheese? Does it still take 2 hours for them to calm down and sleep at night and are they cranky, irritable and fighting all evening? It’s probably from the MSG in disguise: ‘Yeast Extract.’ Kids go bonkers when they eat MSG. Their bodies are much smaller than an adult. Take out MSG and you will have a happy, well behaved child that sleeps through the night. For breast-feeding moms, the MSG is passed through your breastmilk, so if your baby is colicky and doesn’t sleep, try eliminating all MSG foods. You’ll be amazed.

Still not sure about ‘Rosemary Extract’


All I can really say about this one is: Watch this space. I saw A LOT of ‘Rosemary Extract’ in foods at Wholefoods and Fresh Market, and I have not seen it used so much before. It wouldn’t surprise me if the food industry is reinventing MSG once again now that we are onto the whole Yeast Extract, Spices and Natural Flavors thing. Anytime you see a vegetable with the word ‘extract’ after it, be very suspicious (unless it is Vanilla Extract, which is ok because it is not a salty deritive). I will personally avoid all foods with ‘Rosemary Extract’ until someone starts doing some explaining.

Beware of ‘clean and green’ looking products


Looks so healthy, proclaiming to ‘eat your vegetables.’ You should be an expert by now: ‘Natural Flavor,’ ‘Onion Powder,’ ‘Garlic Powder.’ Other flavors of this brand also have ‘Yeast Extract.’ Note this is Sea Salt flavor!

Don’t think bulk foods are food additive safe – still read the ingredients!


Bulk does not make a healthier option. You have to read all labels, always and forever. Here we have ‘Corn and Soy Protein,’ ‘Natural Smoke Flavor,’ ‘Yeast Extract,’ ‘Natural Flavor.’ Ever wonder why these ingredients are always in salty, savory foods and not in sweets and cakes? Because MSG is a salty, savory flavor enhancer. It makes salty foods taste even more savory and it is chemically addictive. This bulk snack mix is from Fresh Market.

Always check the ingredients, even if you think the food ‘should’ be ok!


An obvious offender: Monosodium Glutamate, or MSG. This photo was taken at Fresh Market (a correction to my November 2012 newsletter).

So what do I buy at WholeFoods?

I love fresh juice and smoothie bars, and fruit, aka REAL FOOD!


If the WholeFoods has a juice and smoothie bar, I’m so there! I also buy fresh fruits and veggies, preferably organic and on sale.

Choose 100% Certified Organic Superfoods to avoid any added fillers


I like to check out the 100% raw and organic Superfood section.

There are some healthy raw food options at WholeFoods


I look for organic flax and hemp seeds, bulk organic raw pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds, raw apple cider vinegar and a raw granola, as a treat.

Stick to fresh raw vegetables with no added dressings or sauces


At the Salad Bar, I choose RAW FRESH VEGGIES only. I do NOT trust the pre-made salads or the pre-made salad dressings. I use olive oil, apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice as a dressing.

A quick lesson on Monosodium Glutamate:

Monosodium Glutamate is a flavor enhancer and an excito-toxin, also known as MSG. It can be listed on a food ingredient label as 621 or E621 (these are universal numbers used everywhere in the world). MSG is known to overstimulate the flavor in food, making it taste better. The problem is that it also overstimulates the brain (making it an excito-toxin). For some, the reaction can be headaches, sensitivity to light and sound (especially in children), insomnia or restless sleep, anxiety, irritability, vertigo, dizziness and even depression.

Because a lot of consumers are aware of the dangers of MSG, the food industry has invented new ways to hide MSG in food, the main way being to ‘hide’ it in another ingredient. This keeps the cost of production low (using cheap flavor enhancers to create a tasty food), and still makes the food very marketable, appearing food additive-free by promoting non GMO, organic or ‘all natural’.

The result: more consumers buy and that means more profit.

The other additives which are similar to MSG are Ribonucleotide (635), Disodium Inosinate (631) and Disodium Guanylate (627). These 3 flavor enhancers are what I call the ‘New MSG’ because they are being used more and more to give that same ‘salty savory tasty excito-toxin additive yumminess’ to a food, but the food can be labeled as ‘MSG Free’ or ‘No Added MSG.’ These flavor enhancers tend to react with people in a slightly different way: in men, they can raise uric acid levels resulting in early symptoms of gout, and in women: an itchy intolerable rash. Men can also experience the ‘ribo rash’ too but in my experience, the rash is more common in women.

So what’s the bad news?

The bad news is that ALL 4 of these flavor enhancers can be legally hidden under 50 other names. The most common ones I see, especially in ‘so-called’ healthy food are: Yeast Extract, Pea Protein, Spices, Natural Flavors, Smoke Flavor, Malt Extract, Annatto, Soy Protein, Wheat Protein, Corn Protein, and Yeast Protein. I have reacted to Onion Powder, Vinegar Powder and Garlic Powder enough times to add them to my personal list of ‘DO NOT EAT’ as well. For a complete list of hidden names for MSG or high factory created glutamate ingredients, go to msgmyth.com.

If you think you have reacted to a food which is either not labeled correctly or is label suspiciously, you have every right to contact the company by email and ask what’s in their food.

You can do this in every country in the world, even as an ex-pat living in a foreign country. I suggest that you word your email in this way:

“I recently ate your xyz product and x hours later I experienced the following reaction: (describe symptoms here). I have discussed this with my doctor and he/she has informed me that I need to know for medical reasons all of the ingredients that was in the food. Specifically, I need to know if you use MSG (Monosodium Glutamate), Ribonucleotide, Disodium Inosinate or Disodium Guanylate in any of the ingredients that you use to make your product. Also, I need to know how much factory created free glutamate is in the following ingredients (list suspicious ingredients like pea protein, yeast extract, malodextrin, soy protein, natural flavorings, etc here). Thank you and I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my inquiry.”

I do NOT suggest that you write any emails like this: “Jennifer said blah blah blah blah and Jennifer’s blog post says blah blah blah so what do you have to say about that?!” Please, be professional and courteous if you are writing an inquiry to a company. You have to ask the right questions to get the right answers. These companies have legal teams that know how to respond and get through hoops if you do not ask the right questions. My goal is that every product be required to label their total factory created glutamate concentration and any hidden ingredients or flavor enhancers so ultimately, you can make the best choice of food for you!

I’ll be writing more blog posts about this in the future, so be sure to sign up to my RSS feed!

For more on how to start an additive-free diet diet, how to manage food allergies or what minerals you may specifically be deficient in, book a private health consult with me via Skype.

How to Book Your Health & Nutritional Coaching Session:

1. Take photos of your eyes with a digital camera.
2. Email the photos to me for approval.
3. We schedule a time to meet via phone or Skype!

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