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Restaurant Cards for Celiac, Gluten-Free & MSG-Free

The best part of world travel is the excitement and adventure of exploring new places, meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. The worst part if you are sensitive to gluten or Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) can be the food. While most people dream of eating exotic foods from around the globe, food allergy sufferers see it as a minefield, one which is even harder to negotiate a language barrier. And yes, this applies even to raw foodists! It can be very difficult in foreign countries to explain that you don’t want bread with your salad or croutons or crostini or some other fried breaded condiment on top. It can be even more difficult to ask for a salad dressing with no MSG and sauces with no MSG. Even if you do order something fresh like homemade salsa or guacamole, there can be hidden added ingredients like chili sauce which will inevitably contain MSG. The result? Spending your perfect dream vacation night at home in bed with a migraine, itchy rash, puffy face or rapid heartbeat wondering why you can’t seem to relax on your holiday! No way, we don’t want that!

Actually, these recommendations apply to any high-raw food people eating out, even in their own country…and you will soon see why.

A connection between Gluten Foods and MSG/Ribonucleotide Intolerance?

On thing that I have found in my experience is that the majority of foods that contain MSG also contain gluten. I discovered this in my own health journey when trying to determine the cause of an unbearably itchy rash that I suffered with for 2 years while living in Australia. After finally going on an elimination diet and taking all wheat and gluten out of my diet, my rash improved by about 85%. But, I was still occasionally eating flavored rice crackers, dried seaweed and flavored tofu products which have no gluten but do contain ribonucleotide, the food additive that I now know was the cause of my ‘ribo rash’.

After I removed all ribonucleotide-containing foods out of my diet, the rash cleared entirely, 100% without any reoccurrence! And, I went back to eating plain wheat and gluten products with no problem (this was about 1 year before I went on a raw food diet). What I discovered is that most snack foods, soups, sauces dressings, and flavored foods that contain MSG and/or ribonucleotide, also contain gluten.

It is my opinion that some people are in fact misdiagnosed with a gluten intolerance when actually they have an intolerance to MSG and ribonucleotide but are ‘labeled’ with a gluten allergy because it’s an easy and obvious label to put on a patient with the ‘typical’ gluten intolerant complaints. (Note: Gluten intolerance is different to a full gluten allergy (Celiac Disease) and most people fall into the intolerant category, one which is not able to be tested for definitively). When you look at the reactions that people get from gluten vs. MSG and ribonucleotide (itchy rash, migraine headache, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, puffiness, bloating, etc.), you will see that they are nearly identical reactions.

I’ve even seen many raw food clients who still complain of itchy rashes because, for example, they may be eating Vegenaise as a treat or they complain of headaches from drinking high-protein shakes with pea protein (another form of MSG in disguise). Even nutritionists and raw food chefs come to me for an Iridology session and we identify offending food additives in their diet which are making them sick. My point is: people don’t know about food additives and they are not taught about them in school!

Well, if the ‘experts’ don’t know how to eat clean food themselves, then how can one possibly eat gluten and additive-free food while traveling?

How to Order ‘Clean’ Food on the Road

First, order salads with no salad dressing. Ask for plain fresh lemon on the side. If you like, you can also ask for some extra-virgin olive oil. I personally bring my own organic cayenne pepper, cumin and paprika to add to all of my salads in restaurants.

Stay away from sauces, even if they look fresh and smell yummy. Yes, a little bit can do a lot of harm (think migraine on the beach under the moonlight, not good!).

MSG is a flavor enhancer and excito-toxin that overstimulates the brain

In Asia, you will always have to be careful with MSG, because in addition to the sauces, they love to add MSG in powder form to food. Take the gluten-free restaurant card that I suggest you travel with below and add “NO MSG” in the language that you need. You can use Google Translate for this. Take care of the details before you leave for your trip.

In South America, if you are sensitive to food additives, you will most likely have a problem with their salt which has a non-caking agent in it called Yellow Prussiate of Soda (YPS), a derivative of arsenic. This has proved to be a huge problem for me on my travels in Central America and South America, but luckily I figured out the problem pretty quickly. Bring your own Himalayan Salt. Add the words “No SALT” in Spanish “Sin Sal” to the bottom of your gluten-free restaurant card.

Do NOT trust what the waitstaff tell you.

That applies to all countries, everywhere, all the time. People who are not sensitive to gluten or MSG have no idea what’s in a chipotle sauce or a aioli sauce or a soup stock cube. They are thinking, ok this person can’t eat bread or Chinese food. I have had some of the best restaurants (and raw food restaurants) serve me food containing MSG or ribonucleotide when they swore there was none. I’m sure that has happened to many others too! Be sure your card gets to the chef.

Plan B

If unsure, don’t eat it! Why take the chance? It’s simply not worth it. In a bind, I have ordered plain rice or a plain baked potato or plain steamed veggies because that was the only uncontaminated food I could order. This will happen on occasion if you are traveling in different countries. I would rather lose 1% of my ‘perfect rawness’ and eat clean, safe food than eat some crazy raw food chipotle taco that is going to make me sick for 2 days. Every time I’ve had to do that, I have been so happy with my decision!

Use Restaurant Cards for Celiac and Gluten-Free

In addition to what I recommended above, definitely consider using the awesome restaurant cards for Celiac and Gluten-Free. These are available for free from celiactravel.com and are available in 54 languages. If you combine using these cards with a little bit of know-how, you are much more likely to get a clean, safe meal. Remember, most foods that contain gluten also contain MSG. In many countries, it will be difficult (or even impossible) to explain what MSG and ribonucleotide are (hey, it’s difficult even in the USA!). By using the card, you are explaining in a concise, easy way that will less stressful for you and there is a much better chance that the chef will understand your request. In my case, I simply cross out the part about milk, eggs, cheese, meat and fish being ok for me to eat.

It’s a good idea to laminate your card to keep it clean and readable during your travels.

Here are some example of the Celiac & Gluten Restaurant cards:

English Gluten-Free card (from celiactravel.com)

Spanish Gluten-Free Card (from celiactravel.com)

French Gluten-Free Card (from celiactravel.com)

Thai Gluten-Free Card (from celiactravel.com)

Even a Mongolia Gluten-Free Card! (from celiactravel.com)

Don’t forget, It’s a good idea to laminate your card to keep it clean and readable during your travels. Enjoy your trip, and enjoy health travels!

If you liked this article, check out my post on Why I don’t buy 90% of the ‘food’ at WholeFoods.

More on Traveling Raw:

What’s Wrong with Vegenaise

The only thing I would use is the glass jar, well cleaned of course

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news again, but it’s high time people start learning the difference between healthy food and ‘healthy-looking’ food. Now, I’ve never been someone to eat ‘replacement foods’ or vegan alternatives to animal-based foods, but I know a lot of people who do consume these foods, and most of them do so because it’s vegan and they think it’s healthy. Vegan, yes…but healthy? No!

Here’s the problem with Vegenaise – it has hidden forms of MSG in disguise. “Oh, Jennifer…not again!” Well, I did say that I was sorry. What’s worse, Vegenaise recently got listed as “one of Ellen’s favorite things” on the Ellen Degeneres show. This makes me sick, because many people may try this product, not feel good and then think that a high raw food or vegan diet doesn’t work for them. They may go back to their old Standard American Diet (SAD) never to venture into the land of raw food and health again.

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.

Never believe what you read on the front of a food product. Always read the list of ingredients before you decide to buy.

Looking at the label, it’s easy to get distracted by all the healthy smoke and mirrors like “vegan, gluten-free, dairy free and non-GMO.”

But keep reading. Do you see “brown rice syrup and soy protein?”

Not good. Not good at all! Actually I’m suspicious of the mustard flour too, I but can’t prove that one. (What is mustard flour anyway…shouldn’t it just read “mustard seed” or “ground whole mustard” if it is a natural ingredient?

Checking the list of hidden names for MSG, or monosodium glutamate, meaning ingredients that contain factory created free glutamates on msgmyth.com you will see:

Hidden Names for MSG from msgmyth.com

As a raw foodist but more importantly as a person who eats only natural, whole and pure foods, I would not eat Vegenaise, knowingly. And the reason why I say that is because I’ve seen Vegenaise as an added ingredient in salad bars at health food stores in the USA (and also in Hong Kong). If you don’t look carefully, you could easily be eating a fresh, raw salad with all the organic bells and whistles and find yourself with a headache later, restless sleep through the night and a cranky irritable ‘snappy’ nature and maybe even a puffy face the next day. You might even find yourself itching your scalp, your eyes or your leg and meanwhile have no idea whatsoever that the cause of your discomfort was from that Vegenaise. Too many times, people swear to me that they only eat organic and they never eat MSG, Disodium Inosinate, Ribonucleotide, or Disodium Guanylate (which can be legally hidden in the other ingredients like “onion powder” or “natural flavors”).

Time to take the organic wool off the non-GMO eyes and understand what and how these chemical additives can affect you, your health and the health of your family.

My advice: Do NOT use Vegenaise. Ever. Check all salad bar ingredients before choosing to buy. If you don’t know or if it isn’t listed, ask. If the staff member seems unsure or can’t provide a clear, concise list of ingredients, then please don’t take the chance.

I have found high glutamate-content ingredients aka hidden MSG in 99.9% of the restaurants I’ve been to, and that includes vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO, organic and raw food restaurants.

Chefs are simply not educated to the level of hidden names for chemical food additives. I even had a certified raw food chef tell me recently that they were giving their newborn baby soy formula (something that is known and proven to have hidden MSG in the form of Organic Brown Rice Syrup, Organic Soy Protein Concentrate. Yes, you should be familiar with those offenders by now!). Giving high glutamate-content foods (even more concentrated in liquid form than in solid foods) to a newborn baby is a sure way to have many, many sleepless nights. If a certified raw food chef doesn’t know to avoid those for their own child, do you think they will know how to make a ‘safe’ salad by checking all ingredients on all sauces, dressings and spice mixtures? Do you think they will know what to ask the supplier?

Please don’t think you’re doing yourself a favor by choosing the soy-free version of Vegenaise. You will still find Brown Rice Syrup and Pea Protein, just as bad! It’s like choosing cocaine instead of crack….you won’t get any halo for that upgrade!

Their Horseradish Sauce: Brown Rice Syrup Pea Protein, Natural Flavor.
Tartar Sauce: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein.
Roasted Garlic Vegenaise Gourmet: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein, Natural Flavor.
Barbecue Vegenaise Gourmet: Seriously? Natural Smoke Flavor, Red Brown Rice Syrup, Spices, Natural Flavor, Pea Protein.
Chipotle Vegenaise Gourmet: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein, Chipotle Powder, Natural Smoke Flavor, Natural Flavor, Paprika Extract.
Pesto Vegenaise Gourmet: Brown Rice Syrup, Pea Protein.

I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried!

Are you starting to see a pattern here? Your body is an organic being and it’s sensitive to chemical derivatives and extracts. These ‘crack’ food additives add a lot of flavor to food making it additive, savory and yummy, but they also over-stimulate your brain. And your central nervous system. And that is not a good thing! High glutamate ingredients also over-stimulate your appetite, making your hungrier hours later and even into the next day. In lab studies, the common protocol to make a rat gain weight is to give it Monosodium Glutamate (MSG). Do you want to be a food industry rat? I certainly don’t!

You only use their salad dressings? Well, let’s check them out:

Vegan Honey Mustard: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Natural Flavors, Spices. (I love how they put the Non-GMO…it’s like saying, ‘Hey, I have some crack to sell you…but don’t worry…it’s Non-GMO and organic!’)
Vegan Sesame Dijon: Brown Rice Syrup, Natural Flavors.
Vegan Thousand Island: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Spices.
Organic Miso Ginger: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein.
Spicey Southwestern Ranch: Brown Rice Syrup, Non-GMO Soy Protein, Brown Rice Syrup (again), Vegetable Enzyme, Vegetable Enzyme (again), Spices.

Make your own healthy version with:
Raw apple cider vinegar, shredded fresh raw ginger, fresh lemon, fresh garlic and water. Easy!

There’s something to be said for using all pure, natural whole ingredients and for feeding your body foods that boost your health and immune system. It’s not hard to make your own salad dressings and sauces at home, and actually it’s cheaper too. I don’t advocate the non-vegan version of these sauces either…they are full of the same added ingredients! What I advocate is REAL FOOD. A dressing made with fresh lemon, fresh garlic, cayenne pepper, cumin and fresh parsley, as an example. Isn’t it time to make the change, throw out these inferior foods and start giving your body what it deserves?

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!

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!

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!

More on Food Additives:

Hidden Sources of MSG on Food Labels: Video Guide

Jennifer shows you how even so-called healthy and even organic foods can have hidden sources of MSG in them. MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a flavor enhancer that adds a salty, savory flavor to foods. In Europe and Australia, they call these additive ‘E numbers’ and MSG is E621. If you have an intolerance to MSG, you can experience migraine headaches and insomnia.

Some countries will list it as 621. But, did you know that food manufacturers can also legally ‘hide’ MSG in other ingredients, such as ‘yeast extract,’ ‘pea protein,’ ‘soy extract,’ ‘Vegetable Protein Extract,’ ‘Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP),’ ‘Autolyzed Yeast,’ ‘spices’ and even ‘natural flavorings’? If not, you need to see this video. Jennifer even finds MSG in a organic non-GMO chicken stock. Knowing the trickery in food labels can help you increase the quality of food you are buying instantaneously.

More on Food Additives:

Raw Food for Weight Loss – Before and After Pictures

Can a Raw Food Diet be the answer?

A Raw Food Diet can be a wonderful diet to help people achieve weight loss. One of the main reasons why it works is because when you eat raw food, you naturally avoid the cooked food temptations that may lead you to over-eat. Raw food also digests very easily and allows the body to get back into balance at it’s own natural pace.

Remember that it doesn’t have to be forever! You can use it as a tool to get to your ideal weight and slowly you can re-introduce cooked foods back into the diet. Eventually you may want to eat more raw foods anyway and that’s ok too! But so many people make the mistake of thinking this is an all-or-nothing now-and-forever type of decision and it doesn’t have to be that way!

Just consider that you may actually have a better chance of long-term success if you do a Raw Food Weight Loss Program rather than a full fasting program. You will also be high-boosting your mineral and vitamin reserve and therefore gaining inner strength, increasing immune function and also cleansing the cells, blood and tissues.

I was successful using a Raw Food Diet to lose weight and the best thing was that I ate as much as I wanted! I didn’t have to count calories or scale portions or weigh meals – in fact, I ate more than everyone else around me and I still lost weight! It’s true!!

Jennifer Cooked (Before) & Jennifer Raw (After)

One book that really helped me initially go all raw was The Sunfood Success Diet System by David Wolfe. Nowadays there are so many Raw Food Potlucks on craigslist.org and meetup.com. Imagine finding a new network of friends to help support and encourage you along the way!

It’s been 4 years since I started my raw food journey. I continue to feel better, more energetic, healthier and younger every day! And I have maintained my weight loss without ever feeling like I am on a limiting diet.

Jennifer Cooked (Before) & Jennifer Raw (After)

I now offer one-on-one Private Coaching for Raw Food Weight Loss. I can help you identify where you may be making mistakes and get you on a fast track to feeling good and looking great. There is nothing special about me, in fact, I am exactly like you! So, if I can do it, believe me, you can too!

More on Manifestation and Weight Loss:

Food Containing Ribonucleotides – The Ribo Rash from Food Additives 635, 627 and 631

Chemicals & Additives are hiding in your foods!

Chemicals & Additives are hiding in your foods!

This additive is salty and savory just like MSG. It is found in many of the same foods as MSG. The chemical name is Ribonucleotide, and often the reaction people get from eating it is an extremely itchy, irritable rash which we call the ‘Ribo Rash.’

If you think seaweed crackers are healthy you are wrong!!
If you think flavored tofu is healthy you are wrong!!

We are being poisoned slowly by these additives. People from all over the world are being affect by intolerances and allergies to food additives more than ever before. It is so important to eat a diet that is natural, whole and pure.

This additive, can be ANY of the following 3 names or numbers on a food label and they are universal, i.e. the same in every country in the world:

Ribonucleotide – #635 – E635

Disodium Guanylate – #627 – E627

Disodium Inosinate – #631 – E631

It is often used in combination with MSG, monosodium glutamate or #621.

Look for 635, 627 and 631 in tasty, salty processed foods such as:

Instant noodles, flavoured potato chips, Doritos, Pringles

Flavored (eg BBQ, chicken) biscuits and rice crackers

Packet or canned soups or stocks and stock cubes

Meat pies, hot dogs, sausage rolls

Some instant mashed potato

Seasoning in the stuffing of supermarket fresh chickens

Flavouring salt added to rotisseried chickens

Flavour added to frozen turkey

Pre-prepared or instant sauces, gravies and meals

Salad dressing, flavored tuna

Devondale Light with Calcium

Pasta meals including macaroni cheese

Marinated meat from your butcher

Sausages from your supermarket or butcher

Wasabi covered peas and most wasabi sauces

Some fast foods such as chicken, french fries, batter for fish, Burger King’s veggie burger, everything from KFC (it’s in their chicken salt)

Check even fresh chicken labels closely as there have been some recent reports

Pre-packaged curry sauces

Flavored tofu products (tofu hot dogs, tofu burgers, etc)

Oyster sauce

Green hot sauces used in Middle Eastern dishes (usually served with falafel/hummus)

Check all labels for soy sauces, oyster sauces, jars of curry and Asian sauces

Some salsas – check labels

I still have to watch labels and always be aware of what I am eating.

Foods to Avoid, All Containing Artificial Flavoring

Foods to Avoid, All Containing Artificial Flavoring

If you think you are having a reaction to ribonucleotides or you want to ask me specific questions about my rash, please do not hesitate to contact me.

For additional information, read my personal story of suffering from the ‘Ribo Rash.’
To learn about food labeling, go to: The Truth in Food Labeling – Food Additives to Avoid & Hidden Sources of MSG

More on Food Additives:

Feature Detoxification Organ: The Skin

Good skin starts on the inside

Good skin starts on the inside

There is a multi-million dollar industry out there right now just waiting for you to buy more products, book more laser treatments, dermabrasions, rejuvenations and whatever other latest trend they develop in an effort to stop the process of aging and give you more youthful, healthy looking skin. What they forgot to mention, however, is that healthy skin starts on the inside. There is no amount of cream, ointment, gel, powder or tincture that can give you nice skin.

If you know my personal story of having had a terrible skin rash for over 2.5 years, you know that I speak from experience! During that time, I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would ever get a compliment on my skin again. Now, I have people telling me that my skin is beautiful all the time! Do you want to know my secret? Living natural, whole & pure! It’s that easy! I avoid food additives and eat as natural a diet as possible. The only thing I put on my skin is pure, raw, organic, virgin cold-pressed coconut oil. From my perspective, if you can’t eat it, then you shouldn’t be putting it on your skin!

We have to remember that the skin is an organ, and in fact it is the largest organ in the entire body. It is also an eliminative organ, meaning it assists the body in detoxification by pushing out toxins directly through the cells and membrane of the skin. If you do not have a natural, healthy glow, it means that your body inside is overloaded with toxins. Nothing that you try on the outside will give you long-term positive results as long as you continue to hold on to too much toxicity inside.

When you do a cleanse, you are giving all of your organs a chance to rest, re-balance and rebuild. Any type of cleanse or detox will naturally help the skin.

There are some additional things that you can also do to help your skin do it’s job.

1. Wear more natural fibers in your choice of clothing.

Natural fibers such as cotton, hemp, silk, linen, bamboo and tencel all help the skin to breathe. Artificial materials such as nylon, lycra and polyester tend to be much more harsh on the skin because the skin is not able to breathe properly. Wearing these restrictive garments for too long can trap sweat and other surface debris, leading to breakouts, rashes and other skin disruptions.

In addition to the clothes you wear, you also need to be mindful of the sheets you sleep on and the pillowcases you use. Try to switch to cotton or silk for all your bed linens – it is much healthier for your skin!

2. Practice Dry Skin Brushing.

Dry Skin Brushing Daily for a Natural Detox

Natural Daily Detox

Dry Skin Brushing is something you can do every day as a quick and easy way to open up the pores of the skin, allowing the skin the breathe better and naturally brushing off toxins and surface debris. Be sure to use a natural bristle brush, not a nylon brush! You can usually find a natural dry skin brush at your local health food shop.

Use your Dry Skin Brush every day for about 5-7 minutes before you go into the shower (i.e. when your skin is dry). Always brush towards the heart. Dry skin brushing is also excellent for lymphatic circulation and is a good over-all natural detoxifier.

3. Regular Sauna or Steams

Essentially, the body eliminates most toxins naturally by sweating. Sweating speeds up the release of acids and toxins directly through the skin. Try to get into a routine of doing a steam sauna or a far-infrared sauna 2-3 times per week.

This will greatly assist your body’s detoxification process and is also a very good natural stress reliever!

More on Skin Cleansing:

The ‘New’ MSG – Is it even more deadly than MSG itself? Ribonucleotides & The Ribo Rash

I like to call this additive the ‘New’ MSG, or monosodium glutamate, because many food manufacturers want to be able to market their product as having ‘No MSG,’ but of course they have to add flavor somehow…so they are using these other flavor enhancers more than ever before. We are being led from one nasty chemical to another with these additives in our foods.

This additive is salty and savory just like MSG. It is found in many of the same foods as MSG. The chemical name is Ribonucleotide, and often the reaction people get from eating it is an extremely itchy, irritable rash which we call the ‘Ribo Rash.’ Below is my personal story of suffering from the ‘Ribo Rash.’

In 2004 I arrived in Australia and I started to develop a very itchy red rash on my body. It started under my arms, in my inner arms, on my lower back, on my breasts and around my eyes.

An unhappy sufferer of the Ribo Rash - - - Reclaiming my health (no more rash!)

An unhappy sufferer of the Ribo Rash – – – Reclaiming my health (no more rash!)

The rash quickly got worse. It seemed to spread like fire actually, itching like crazy and making me mental. I had never experienced anything like it before, and there seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what would trigger it. Creams seemed to make it worse – somehow they felt like they were ‘trapping’ the rash inside of me. I could not control my desire to tear my skin off from the itching; I especially enjoyed scalding my skin with hot water – what a sick feeling of relief that provided!! I also started getting heart palpitations…at any time my heart-rate would increase from 60 beats per minute to 140, and I had no history of anxiety whatsoever. I was generally eating quite healthy (at least so I thought); I didn’t smoke, barely drank, exercised (obviously), so how could I be so sick?

Friends told me to meditate. Doctors told me it was a simple case of excema. I had a complete round of testing done and everything came up fine. I was tested for heavy metal poisoning, various viral infections, standard food allergies (milk, wheat, eggs, gluten, etc); I had chest x-rays and EKG’s done – and they found nothing. The only thing that came up suspect during that time is my URIC ACID levels were high. The doctor suggested that I go on medication to bring down the uric acid; he said I was in danger of having gout. (I now know that food additive #635 Ribonucleotide can cause uric acid levels to rise.)

At the best of times, the rash was mainly around my eyes

At the best of times, the rash was mainly around my eyes

Eventually, out of desperation, I started my own ‘elimination diet’ in an effort to narrow down the possibility of it being a food allergy. I just had this feeling that the rash was being caused by something I was eating. I had tried all the changes of soaps, washing powders, etc etc, and I felt like I had no other option to even try. It was at least 1 year of suffering with the rash at this stage, not always as bad as the photos mind you, but always present and always itching like hell. The elimination diet was worth a try.

I started off by telling people at my new job that I was a celiac (i.e. no wheat or gluten). I also started keeping a food diary, writing down what I ate daily and when I had an outbreak. The wheat and gluten-free diet helped tremendously, and now I know it is because ribonucleotides are often found in products containing wheat. About once a month or so I would still have an outbreak, but it seemed manageable – I kind-of got to the point where I accepted the rash as a part of my life and decided I could tolerate it in the small amounts I was getting.

Puffed out after a nice anaphylactic reaction to #635

Puffed out after a nice anaphylactic reaction to #635

At the same time though I started to get more of an anaphylaxis reaction in addition to the rash, so when I had an outbreak, my lips and throat would swell. I started to take anti-histamines and I carried them with me where-ever I went. It is crazy to think back now how I just carried on living through all of that!

Finally the day of reckoning came to me. I hadn’t eaten anything the previous day and I made a salad using the cheap salad packets at work. About an hour later I started to feel the itchiness start in my face, eyes and lips. Somehow I just knew it was the salad dressing. I quickly did an internet search on ‘food additives itchy rash’ and instantly found Sue Dengate’s site. Actually I sobbed tears of joy while I read countless stories of others who had suffered with the SAME EXACT symptoms as me, and I KNEW that I was not crazy, I knew at that moment that I had found the cause of my suffering. There was no doubt in my mind that I was suffering from the Ribo Rash. I noted the list of foods on her site that contain 635, and when I checked my food diary, EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAD A REACTION I had eaten #635. Even on the wheat-free gluten-free diet, I realized that I had eaten seaweed-flavored rice crackers, the veggie burger at Hungry Jack’s (with no bread), cheap salad dressings, and other flavored tofu products which were causing my outbreaks. Sometimes when I try to tell people what happened to me, they cut me off and say, well I don’t eat any of that crap…and I say YOU HAVE NO IDEA THE CRAP THAT YOU ARE EATING!!

I was not eating junk food. If you think seaweed crackers are healthy you are wrong!! If you think flavored tofu is healthy you are wrong!! We are being poisoned slowly by these additives. It was 9 months into the elimination diet when I finally made this life-altering discovery.

This additive, can be ANY of the following 3 names or numbers on a food label and they are universal, i.e. the same in every country in the world:

Ribonucleotide – #635 – E635

Disodium Guanylate – #627 – E627

Disodium Inosinate – #631 – E631

It is often used in combination with MSG, monosodium glutamate or #621 (E621).

Foods to Avoid, All Containing Artificial Flavoring

Foods to Avoid, All Containing Artificial Flavoring

It took about 3 months from the time I eliminated #635 from my diet for the rash to go away entirely. It did not itch whatsoever during that time, it just slowly but surely started to clear up.

After 3 months I finally contacted Sue Dengate personally to thank her and tell her my battle with the Ribo Rash so she could include my story on her site. She told me I had one of the worst cases she had ever seen. Since then I have worked with her to help educate people to the dangers of this chemical. My photo is on her site and is also in her DVD entitled ‘Fed Up with Children’s Behavior – How Food Additives Affect Behavior.’

When the DVD was released in Australia in 2006, I was featured on Today Tonight, a 30-minute news program, to discuss my story.

NO ONE should go through what I went through. It it so obvious to me now that I was suffering from an extreme allergic reaction, and it angers me that doctors are so completely ignorant! How could any medical professional shrug off such an extreme reaction and say it was stress?? I went to many different doctors during that time. It is unfortunate that they are not being educated about the dangers of food additives.

It’s been 5 years now since I eliminated #635 from my diet. I have no rash whatsoever, not even the tiniest spot anywhere on my body. People often compliment me now telling me I have ‘amazing skin.’ Sometimes I tell them, ‘You have NO IDEA how much that compliment means to me.’ I think they think I’m crazy, but they just have no idea what I’ve been through. For 2 years I was embarrassed to go out in public; I felt unattractive and uncomfortable all the time. Now I have beautiful skin which radiates from the inside out.

I still have to watch labels and always be aware of what I am eating.

Eating Natural, Whole & Pure means NO RASH for me!

Eating Natural, Whole & Pure means NO RASH for me!

You can now imagine why the thought of an all-raw food diet started to appeal to me. Perhaps this allergy was a blessing in disguise for me because it was really after this whole experience that I decided to try eating all raw. In fact, I started to see the raw food diet in a completely different way - to me it now represents safe and healthy eating in a way that I could have never comprehended before. I now understand first-hand the poison that is in our processed foods and I am so happy to be able to make the choice to not continue to poison myself anymore.

On occasion I have been accidentally exposed to some ribonucleotide, especially when eating out at restaurants. It happens less and less to me now as I learn from experience what foods it is in and what foods are ’safe.’ But if I do have a reaction, I go home and immediately take about 10-12 charcoal tablets. That seems to absorb the toxins and chemical and usually after about 30 minutes I started to feel better. If after 45 minutes I still feel itchy or hot, I take another 3-4 tablets. It is much more natural on the body to do this rather than even think about taking any anti-histamines.

If you think you are having a reaction to ribonucleotides or you want to ask me specific questions about my rash, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Also please be sure to read Sue Dengate’s site and educate yourself on the dangers of all of the nasty additives.

If you know anyone who has a child suffering from ADHD or Autism, please refer them to this site as well; we are only now just discovering the links between food additives and behavioral problems in children.

If you have been affected by the ribo rash, please leave a comment and include your story below so that we can continue to educate others and hopefully prevent more suffering!

More information on what foods to avoid: List of foods that contain 635, 627 and 631.
To learn about food labeling, go to: The Truth in Food Labeling – Food Additives to Avoid & Hidden Sources of MSG

More on Food Allergies: