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What is an elimination diet?

Many food intolerances go undetected or undiagnosed because of one simple reason: most people never isolate the offending food or foods from their diet. If you eat something everyday that is creating a low level of inflammation, then you will have a chronic inflammatory condition. People can suffer for years with colitis, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rashes, skin problems, headaches, even asthma and other chronic health complaints not knowing that they may just have a food intolerance.

Find our how to start an elimination diet at home

Unfortunately, there are currently no accurate tests available to test for food intolerances, which create a much milder reaction than a typical IgE reaction from a full blown food allergy. So, people with intolerances can remain undiagnosed and can continue to suffer without any direction on how to alter or improve their diet. There is one method that does work, though. It may take some trial and error, but an elimination diet is the best available way to figure out if you have any food intolerances/ unknown hidden source of inflammation in the body.

What is an elimination diet

An elimination diet is just that – a diet of elimination, in other words, taking out certain foods from the diet in a systematic approach. With each stage of elimination, you monitor your conditions – whether it be an itchy rash or other skin outbreak, gas pain or bloating, headaches, insomnia, even irritability and moodiness. The question to ask yourself with each elimination phase is this: Is my symptom better, same or worse? If you do have a food intolerance, you can quickly see a pattern in not too long of a time. For example – every time I eat x food, y food or z food – I find myself scratching under my arms and when I don’t eat those foods, I’m not itchy at all.

The best part of doing an elimination diet is that

  1. You can find patterns in your reactions relative to what you are eating;
  2. You feel more confident knowing that you are not crazy and that you are actually reacting TO something and
  3. Moving forward, you have the power to choose when you want to take a chance with something you eat or if you prefer to eat “safe” clean foods instead.

If you’ve had a chronic inflammatory condition like I had with my horrific eczema that was caused by ONE food additive, then you know how truly awful it is to wake up every morning not knowing if it’s going to be a good day or a bad day and when you have a flare, not knowing how long you will suffer. Your life gets constantly sidelined by your illness and you just pray for a day when you’re not in pain and/or thinking and feeling miserable.

The other best part of doing an elimination diet is that you have to potential to get your life back. If you can control your flares and inflammation, then you can regain a sense of normalcy which is a welcomed relief after being sick. Although it is a lot of work and you have to be strict with each phase in order to get results, an elimination diet is totally worth it in the long run when you have the freedom of good health again.

How to do an Elimination Diet

Trust me when I say it’s much better to work with someone on this, especially if you want to fast track the whole process and get results as quickly as possible. With my health coaching and Iridology clients, I ask a series of questions relating to certain symptoms to understand what types of food may be the problem. Here are just a few:

  • Do you have headaches, sensitivity to light and sound or trouble sleeping?
  • Do you feel itchy, have rashes, red bumps, flakey scalp, cracked lips or ridges in your fingernails?
  • Do you have aches, pain, stiff joints or suffer from hot hands and hot feet?

All of the symptoms are pieces of the puzzle and will help me to immediately start asking very detailed questions about what types of food you eat. The questions I might ask include:

  • Do you use flavored salt such as garlic salt?
  • Do you use soup stock in your cooking (even organic veggie soup stock)?
  • Do you eat seaweeds such as miso soup, nori rolls, kelp or other seaweed snacks?
  • What is your normal breakfast every day?
  • Do you always eat the same lunch or does it vary? If it varies then what do you eat?
  • Do you drink flavored tea such as orange blossom?
  • What type of jams or jellies do you buy?

I will have you going to your cupboard and fridge and checking labels and ingredients for me. We’ll go through each ingredient together, one by one and I will explain which one I think is the problem and why.

If there are other foods a certain ingredient may be in, I will ask you – do you also eat any x, y or z? Most people are blown away by the level of detail that we get into so quickly, but that’s what’s needed in ordered to find the offending foods, additives or combination of both. You see, you can have an intolerance to a food ADDITIVE just as much as you can have an intolerance to a food itself. So, we always have to look for both. If you only look for one, you can miss 50% of the problem or more. We have to have 2 perspectives at once – the potential of an ingredient in a food being the problem as well as the potential for a simple food intolerance itself, such as an intolerance to almonds, onions, celery, gluten or wheat. Usually people who have an intolerance of some type will be sensitive to a few foods or additives at the same time.

Additionally, if we do identify a “normal” food like oats as the potential inflammatory food, then we also have to look at the botanical family of foods related to that food since they can have similar proteins and can cause cross-reactivity.

Can you see why I suggest to work with someone who has experience with elimination diets?! Yes it can be complicated and it can feel overwhelming BUT if you can crack the code, then you’re basically home free.

Start with a Reaction Journal

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to start this process on your own, then the best thing to do is to keep a Reaction Journal. Start the journal by writing exactly what your symptoms are and when they seem to occur. For example: loose stool, urgency to go to the toilet mid-morning, some pain with passing of stool, puffy eyes, dry eyes, itchy neck and swollen feet. Whatever problems you have write them down, even if you’re not sure whether they are all related or not. All of this information can help you in the future.

When you have a reaction, note it in your Reaction Journal. Here is an example:

“Wednesday ate cheese panini with avocado and mayo for lunch, side salad of iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. Stomach bloated up afterwards, had mild pain or soreness in the gut. Very tired all afternoon, foggy brain.”

Add as much detail as you know or can remember. What type/brand of mayo? What type/brand of bread in the panini? Notice how I included the type of salad dressing. All of those details become critically important when we are looking at ingredients. There is a plethora of possibilities in just this one example of what the problem could be and that’s why keeping track of information and reactions is so important. (By the way, I’d put my money on either the cheese, the bread, the mayo or the ranch dressing. The foggy brain is often a sign of sensitivity to canola oil, and that could be in the mayo and the dressing. Pain and bloating can be a reaction to dairy, cheese enzymes or wheat and/or other ingredients in the bread or even hidden glutamates in the dressing.)

Moving forward, if you do want to try the elimination part of the diet, then you take out all of the potential problematic foods and try each of the remaining foods on its own. Eat only avocado by itself – do you feel better, same or worse? Repeat the same process with the iceberg lettuce. Then, add ONE of the suspect foods back in at a time, not adding more than 1 suspect food in a 3-day period. So for 3 days, eat the bread as the only new or suspect food in your diet. Along with the bread, eat only foods that you know are safe. (If you don’t know what else you can eat, then just stay as basic as possible with no oils, salt or spices.) How do you feel? (Obviously don’t continue to eat it if you feel bad.) If you are ok, then add one more food back in again. And so on and so on.

Hopefully you address the entire diet at the same time so you have a list of what foods you are eliminating and you can monitor the whole diet – breakfast, lunch and dinner – all at the same time. This is what I do with my clients, but focusing on one list or one type of food additive (such as preservatives or flavor enhancers, for example) within the entire diet at a time. Continue to keep your Reaction Journal, because it’s possible that you will get the major offenders out quite quickly but it might take some additional time to get out the low level reactors. Everyone’s level of sensitivity and reaction times are different; there is just no one-size-fits-all approach.

Don’t give up!

If you ever feel discouraged, just think about how many months or even years you’ve been sick. If the cause of your suffering was easy, you would have figured it out by now. The first time I did an elimination diet, I had no idea what I was doing and no one to help me and it took me 9 months to figure out what foods were the cause of my rash. Nowadays, when I work with a new client, I usually figure it out for them in 4-6 weeks or less (usually less if they are more attentive in following the elimination guidelines).

Don’t forget – when you do find the offending foods, it’s best to divorce them and say bye-bye forever. No one night stands and no getting back together. You’ll probably experience a real process of grief that takes place when you have to remove foods from your diet (why me/this isn’t fair, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually….acceptance). I always warn my clients about this, try to prepare them for it and encourage them to get a coaching package so they can work through it and get the emotional and mental support they need over a series of weeks or months. If you go it alone – be prepared and give yourself some space to be human. It’s a big step in your healing journey. Good health awaits!

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:

What is an elimination diet?

Many food intolerances go undetected or undiagnosed because of one simple reason: most people never isolate the offending food or foods from their diet. If you eat something everyday that is creating a low level of inflammation, then you will have a chronic inflammatory condition. People can suffer for years with colitis, gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rashes, skin problems, headaches, even asthma and other chronic health complaints not knowing that they may just have a food intolerance.

Find our how to start an elimination diet at home

Unfortunately, there are currently no accurate tests available to test for food intolerances, which create a much milder reaction than a typical IgE reaction from a full blown food allergy. So, people with intolerances can remain undiagnosed and can continue to suffer without any direction on how to alter or improve their diet. There is one method that does work, though. It may take some trial and error, but an elimination diet is the best available way to figure out if you have any food intolerances/ unknown hidden source of inflammation in the body.

What is an elimination diet

An elimination diet is just that – a diet of elimination, in other words, taking out certain foods from the diet in a systematic approach. With each stage of elimination, you monitor your conditions – whether it be an itchy rash or other skin outbreak, gas pain or bloating, headaches, insomnia, even irritability and moodiness. The question to ask yourself with each elimination phase is this: Is my symptom better, same or worse? If you do have a food intolerance, you can quickly see a pattern in not too long of a time. For example – every time I eat x food, y food or z food – I find myself scratching under my arms and when I don’t eat those foods, I’m not itchy at all.

The best part of doing an elimination diet is that

  1. You can find patterns in your reactions relative to what you are eating;
  2. You feel more confident knowing that you are not crazy and that you are actually reacting TO something and
  3. Moving forward, you have the power to choose when you want to take a chance with something you eat or if you prefer to eat “safe” clean foods instead.

If you’ve had a chronic inflammatory condition like I had with my horrific eczema that was caused by ONE food additive, then you know how truly awful it is to wake up every morning not knowing if it’s going to be a good day or a bad day and when you have a flare, not knowing how long you will suffer. Your life gets constantly sidelined by your illness and you just pray for a day when you’re not in pain and/or thinking and feeling miserable.

The other best part of doing an elimination diet is that you have to potential to get your life back. If you can control your flares and inflammation, then you can regain a sense of normalcy which is a welcomed relief after being sick. Although it is a lot of work and you have to be strict with each phase in order to get results, an elimination diet is totally worth it in the long run when you have the freedom of good health again.

How to do an Elimination Diet

Trust me when I say it’s much better to work with someone on this, especially if you want to fast track the whole process and get results as quickly as possible. With my health coaching and Iridology clients, I ask a series of questions relating to certain symptoms to understand what types of food may be the problem. Here are just a few:

  • Do you have headaches, sensitivity to light and sound or trouble sleeping?
  • Do you feel itchy, have rashes, red bumps, flakey scalp, cracked lips or ridges in your fingernails?
  • Do you have aches, pain, stiff joints or suffer from hot hands and hot feet?

All of the symptoms are pieces of the puzzle and will help me to immediately start asking very detailed questions about what types of food you eat. The questions I might ask include:

  • Do you use flavored salt such as garlic salt?
  • Do you use soup stock in your cooking (even organic veggie soup stock)?
  • Do you eat seaweeds such as miso soup, nori rolls, kelp or other seaweed snacks?
  • What is your normal breakfast every day?
  • Do you always eat the same lunch or does it vary? If it varies then what do you eat?
  • Do you drink flavored tea such as orange blossom?
  • What type of jams or jellies do you buy?

I will have you going to your cupboard and fridge and checking labels and ingredients for me. We’ll go through each ingredient together, one by one and I will explain which one I think is the problem and why.

If there are other foods a certain ingredient may be in, I will ask you – do you also eat any x, y or z? Most people are blown away by the level of detail that we get into so quickly, but that’s what’s needed in ordered to find the offending foods, additives or combination of both. You see, you can have an intolerance to a food ADDITIVE just as much as you can have an intolerance to a food itself. So, we always have to look for both. If you only look for one, you can miss 50% of the problem or more. We have to have 2 perspectives at once – the potential of an ingredient in a food being the problem as well as the potential for a simple food intolerance itself, such as an intolerance to almonds, onions, celery, gluten or wheat. Usually people who have an intolerance of some type will be sensitive to a few foods or additives at the same time.

Additionally, if we do identify a “normal” food like oats as the potential inflammatory food, then we also have to look at the botanical family of foods related to that food since they can have similar proteins and can cause cross-reactivity.

Can you see why I suggest to work with someone who has experience with elimination diets?! Yes it can be complicated and it can feel overwhelming BUT if you can crack the code, then you’re basically home free.

Start with a Reaction Journal

If you’re feeling ambitious and want to start this process on your own, then the best thing to do is to keep a Reaction Journal. Start the journal by writing exactly what your symptoms are and when they seem to occur. For example: loose stool, urgency to go to the toilet mid-morning, some pain with passing of stool, puffy eyes, dry eyes, itchy neck and swollen feet. Whatever problems you have write them down, even if you’re not sure whether they are all related or not. All of this information can help you in the future.

When you have a reaction, note it in your Reaction Journal. Here is an example:

“Wednesday ate cheese panini with avocado and mayo for lunch, side salad of iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing. Stomach bloated up afterwards, had mild pain or soreness in the gut. Very tired all afternoon, foggy brain.”

Add as much detail as you know or can remember. What type/brand of mayo? What type/brand of bread in the panini? Notice how I included the type of salad dressing. All of those details become critically important when we are looking at ingredients. There is a plethora of possibilities in just this one example of what the problem could be and that’s why keeping track of information and reactions is so important. (By the way, I’d put my money on either the cheese, the bread, the mayo or the ranch dressing. The foggy brain is often a sign of sensitivity to canola oil, and that could be in the mayo and the dressing. Pain and bloating can be a reaction to dairy, cheese enzymes or wheat and/or other ingredients in the bread or even hidden glutamates in the dressing.)

Moving forward, if you do want to try the elimination part of the diet, then you take out all of the potential problematic foods and try each of the remaining foods on its own. Eat only avocado by itself – do you feel better, same or worse? Repeat the same process with the iceberg lettuce. Then, add ONE of the suspect foods back in at a time, not adding more than 1 suspect food in a 3-day period. So for 3 days, eat the bread as the only new or suspect food in your diet. Along with the bread, eat only foods that you know are safe. (If you don’t know what else you can eat, then just stay as basic as possible with no oils, salt or spices.) How do you feel? (Obviously don’t continue to eat it if you feel bad.) If you are ok, then add one more food back in again. And so on and so on.

Hopefully you address the entire diet at the same time so you have a list of what foods you are eliminating and you can monitor the whole diet – breakfast, lunch and dinner – all at the same time. This is what I do with my clients, but focusing on one list or one type of food additive (such as preservatives or flavor enhancers, for example) within the entire diet at a time. Continue to keep your Reaction Journal, because it’s possible that you will get the major offenders out quite quickly but it might take some additional time to get out the low level reactors. Everyone’s level of sensitivity and reaction times are different; there is just no one-size-fits-all approach.

Don’t give up!

If you ever feel discouraged, just think about how many months or even years you’ve been sick. If the cause of your suffering was easy, you would have figured it out by now. The first time I did an elimination diet, I had no idea what I was doing and no one to help me and it took me 9 months to figure out what foods were the cause of my rash. Nowadays, when I work with a new client, I usually figure it out for them in 4-6 weeks or less (usually less if they are more attentive in following the elimination guidelines).

Don’t forget – when you do find the offending foods, it’s best to divorce them and say bye-bye forever. No one night stands and no getting back together. You’ll probably experience a real process of grief that takes place when you have to remove foods from your diet (why me/this isn’t fair, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually….acceptance). I always warn my clients about this, try to prepare them for it and encourage them to get a coaching package so they can work through it and get the emotional and mental support they need over a series of weeks or months. If you go it alone – be prepared and give yourself some space to be human. It’s a big step in your healing journey. Good health awaits!

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:

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.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

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:

What I Learned from taking a traditional Nutrition Course…and What I Didn’t Learn

I recently completed the Nutrition, Health, and Lifestyle: Issues and Insights Course at Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing. It was an extremely insightful experience to see what a traditional Nutritionist learns and eventually coaches or advocates to their clients.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

I decided that it would be a unique “cultural exchange” to experience what traditional Nutritionists learn. Although I did learn a few useful things that I will outline below, for the most part I was shocked and disappointed to see the mis-truths and lack of unbiased information being presented to the students. Well, we all know that industry sponsors many universities through expensive grants, so could we really expect these teaching institutions to maintain an impartial perspective?

Many times during the course, I felt like I was being fed propaganda created directly by the food industry and/or Monsanto themselves. I actually feel bad for anyone who spends the money on a 4-year Nutrition Degree, because they may enter their study with high hopes of helping others, but how can they really help guide others through nutrition and diet when they are being taught lies? It’s truly a shame to see a system that is so broken and so far away from the relevance of a real natural, whole and pure diet and its effect on one’s health.

What I Learned

As I mentioned above, there were a few things that I learned from this course, or at least that I felt were truthful and relevant. They include:

-Professor showed several studies comparing a vegetarian diet to meat-based diet and how vegetarians have reduced risk of cancer, diabetes, etc.

-Professor mentioned that, “Even though we are living longer in the US, we are also living sicker.” I would agree!

-Professional explained superfoods, nutrient-dense foods, phyto-chemicals and importance of nutrients in the diet. Obviously this is important, and was factual in the course.

Superfood are Nutrient-Dense Foods
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

-Professor cited a study that showed vegan and vegetarian diet offer significant benefit in diabetes management. Additionally, it was pointed out that vegan and vegetarian diets also improve plasma lipid concentrations and have been shown to reverse atherosclerosis progression.

-Professor cited the position of the American Dietetic Association that “appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.”

-Professor discussed the importance on B12 and Omega 3 Fatty Acids in a vegetarian and/or vegan diet. Certainly important factors to consider, and should be addressed for meat-eaters too!

-Professor accurately showed the excess of salt, fat and sugar in the Standard American Diet and the related high obesity rates in the United States.

Clearly these facts cannot be denied!

Typical American Diet: Excess in Fat, Salt and Sugar
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

United States #2 in Obesity Rates
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

In summary, some good information about the benefits of a vegetarian and/or vegan diet was presented, and some factual information on obesity and the lack of fruits and vegetables in the Standard American (SAD) Diet was mentioned.

The other parts of the course are where I found myself wincing and shaking my head in utter dismay.

What I Didn’t Learn

Most notable items not addressed, under-addressed or mis-addressed in this course:

-Professor downplayed any danger associated with GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) foods, saying that “GMO has been around for centuries and centuries” and then stated that GMO has been around for “thousands of years.”

How did they isolate proteins in labs thousands of years ago exactly?

-Professor mentioned soy as a complete protein but of course no mention that 94% of soy in the USA is GMO and no mention or even peep about consuming GMO foods in relation to higher risk of infertility and food allergies.

Isn’t this of utmost importance when working with people and the nutritional relevance of their diet to health?

-Professor stated that, “Consumers may need to educate themselves before they jump on the bandwagon of something that they don’t understand,” and went on to add that with GMO foods “we are feeding areas of the world that don’t have the distribution and supply that we have.”

Spoon-fed propaganda from Monsanto PR…or what?

Anyone who is working with nutrition and food allergies, autism, ADHD and infertility (all of which have completed skyrocketed in the last decade worldwide) knows that something has seriously gone wrong.

If you are unsure in any way, please watch these documentaries on GMO foods and health: “The World According to Monsanto,” “Food, Inc.,” “The Future of Food,” “Seeds of Freedom,” “Genetic Roulette,” “Scientists Under Attack,” and “The GMO Trilogy.” Some of these documentaries can be watched for FREE online at http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/.

I also highly recommend the book The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It by Robyn O’Brien for extensively researched information and links to studies on GMO foods and food allergies. An excellent read for anyone looking to learn more on the subject of GMO foods and health!

Yes, it is true that we need to educate ourselves!

-Professor downplayed importance of organic foods, stating that “an organic apple is not going to be more nutritious than a conventionally grown apple.”

No mention of pesticides, GMO proteins or the simple fact that organic soil has more nutrients in the soil. How, why?? How can a “qualified” Nutritionist ignore the nutritional value of organic food?

In fact, reviews of multiple studies show that organic varieties do provide significantly greater levels of vitamin C, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus than non-organic varieties of the same foods (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20359265).

Organic food has been shown to have higher nutrient concentrations,
yet Vanderbilt University’s Nutrition Course says: No Difference.

-Professor advocated the use of “fortified foods” as a way to increase nutrient consumption, specifically advocating milk fortified with Vitamin D, fortified breakfast cereals, and fortified sports drinks like Gatorade.

Why ignore the value of organic whole foods yet advocate processed foods that are chemically fortified with inorganic vitamins and minerals? No mention of the antibiotics and hormones in conventional milk, the added sugar in breakfast cereals or the chemical colorings in sports drinks. Wow.

-Professor downplayed the dangers of chemical food additives in the diet.

In my professional experience, more people are being affected by all types of food additives more than ever before, because food additives are being used in food more than ever before!

Flavor enhancers (MSG, ribonucleotide), nitrates, sulfites, aspartame and other artificial sweeteners and chemical colorings are creating an absolute health epidemic! To gloss over this issue and to not acknowledge the danger of food additives in relation to nutrition and health is both irresponsible and just plain idiotic. I’m truly devastated to see the education so lacking on this topic. Sadly, the food industry has a lot of money to hide the truth.

Nutrition Courses teach that MSG is “Generally Recognized as Safe” or GRAS
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

Because Monosodium Glutamate was used in foods before 1958, the FDA considers it as “Generally Recognized as Safe” or GRAS. Other foods which are categorized as GRAS are salt, pepper, vinegar and baking powder. How is it possible that MSG is considered as safe as vinegar? And hasn’t the amounts of concentrations of MSG increased in foods since 1958, making it a higher risk contaminant and something that should be re-evaluated in the interest of public health and safety?

The worst part of all is that this is what Nutritionists are learning in school. Will they be able to identify an MSG intolerance in their client? Chances are extremely slim, because they are taught that MSG is “safe!” I cannot count how many clients I have worked with suffering from migraines, insomnia, depression, heart palpitations, anxiety, vertigo, itchy rashes, puffiness, sensitivity to light and sound and even behavioral and learning problems in children: all of which were reversed when we removed MSG and/or Ribonucleotides and all hidden forms of MSG out of the diet.

You cannot advise people on food and not take into account the potential effect of chemical food additives!

-Professor spoke with David McCarty, Senior VP Operations of Smart Balance spreads for 30 minutes and praised his product line for being a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids and for being a “heart-friendly” food.

Smart Balance “butter” is not something that I even consider a FOOD!

What is natural about spreadable butter containing genetically modified (GMO) soy and artificial flavor which is surely where they are hiding the salty, savory flavor enhancers and/or some hidden form of MSG to actually give this greasy mess some type of taste that is palatable to humans?

How are consumers protected when food companies “self-regulate”?
from Vanderbilt University’s School of Nursing

If you are a non-vegan, you are much better off eating REAL butter with 2 simple ingredients: butter and salt. I am amazed to see Smart Balance call itself a “heart healthy” food when Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) is known to cause heart palpitations. People may eat this mess and think they are having a heart attack!

Vegans can simply use extra-virgin olive oil, an organic almond butter or tahini (sesame seed) paste. People on a raw food vegan diet will not need any spread to put on bread, and they can use fresh lime or lime for salad dressing and add tahini to a raw cracker. Easy!

To summarize, I do not feel that I wasted my time by taking a traditional nutrition class. Actually, I would recommend it to anyone working with nutrition, diet, people and food. It’s important to know what the “mainstream” teaches in order to have a better understanding of what your client may have faced previously by seeing a traditional nutritionist in the past.

That said, there still may be some nutritionists who think and learn outside of the box and may actually have an awareness of other factors that affect food and health, mainly GMO foods, quality of food (organic vs. conventional) and the relation of food additives to health. As a client, the best thing to do is to check your nutritionist’s website or ask them if they will go to the level of food additives and food quality during your session. If they reply that their approach is centered only around protein, carbs, fats, minerals and vitamins, then please take my advice: keep shopping until you find someone who will go deeper to help you have the best health ever…because you deserve the very best, in food and in health!

For information on how to work with me for Your Best Health, please go to my Coaching Page.

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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.

All information in this article is for educational purposes only.
It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.

Now of course WholeFoods does sell meat and various processed 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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