Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Liquid Hand Soap Recipe

I originally found this recipe on Pinterest and it came from One Good Thing by Jillee .  I liked it because it was not only cruelty-free but non-toxic.  I read through a lot of the reviews, and the problems some people were having so I changed the directions, to make it faster to create and easier to use.

INGREDIENTS:

container with lid that can hold up to 64 ounces
4 c. hot water
2 oz. fragrance-free bar soap (I used 1/2 bar of Kirk's Castile...found with other bar soap at the grocery store), grated or thinly chopped with knife.
1/2 T. vegetable glycerine *other types of glycerine may not be Vegan

DIRECTIONS:

Put grated soap and hot water into container, tighten lid, shake and leave to sit.  Every so often shake again for the next few hours.  When soap pieces are dissolved pour mixture into large pot, and bring to a boil *this step is necessary to kill any bacteria in water (so that soap will keep), but also for adding in glycerine.  Turn on low, allow bubbles to subside and stir in glycerine.  Take pot off burner and allow to cool completely (should congeal and look like white slime).  Pour soap into blender and liquify. (This breaks up the blob of soap, putting air into it).  Pour back into original container and use it to fill up small pump, bottles.

Note:

*I have heard you can get vegetable glycerine at pharmacies (most times you have to ask because they) keep it behind the counter.....I have heard you can possibly get it at Walmart and or Target.  I ordered mine from Amazon HERE.  It was $8.99, which seems like a lot, but at 1/2 tablespoon used for that much soap it would make 64 bottles of soap the same size I made here, and cost 14 cents per bottle

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Do No Harm?

It hit me about a week into my Veganism, that a lot of Vegans like to throw around the phrase "Do no harm" so  I began to wonder what the average Vegan's stance was on abortion.  I came to find out that there are both pro-choice Vegans and anti-abortion Vegans (I have discovered that pro-choicers detest the phrase "pro-life".....a lot of people respond like, "so you're saying I am anti-life?".....I didn't make up the phrase....anyways, I now use "anti-abortion").  I have taken an anti-abortion stance ever since I was a child, and I stand firm with that, however, I would not judge a person for deciding to have one.
Someone said to me before, "but that sounds pro-choice to me"....not true...I still think abortion should be illegal.
I have read that there is debate that Vegans or Vegetarians should take an anti-abortion stance since they say they value life.  I don't think that's true.  I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I do have a problem with Vegetarians and Vegans throwing out the phrase "do no harm" or similar phrases about life when they think animals should be spared from torture and murder, but not a human fetus if the mother so chooses.
If you are now assuming that I am a conservative, you're wrong.  I'm not liberal either.  I don't claim a side because I agree and disagree with things on both sides.  I guess you could say I am a huge fan of peace, love and life.   I believe that human life, animal life, and the earth should be loved, cared for and respected.  I believe that people should be allowed to love and marry who they want.  War makes me sad, especially when innocent lives are lost.  I do believe in the death penalty, and DO NOT think you can compare a murderer to an innocent fetus or animal.  I don't know how I feel about guns.  I think murders would happen anyway if they were banned, and the thought of the government being allowed to have them, but not the average citizen doesn't sit well with me.  I do hate the fact that I live in a neighborhood where there are armed gang members walking around at all times of the day, but if buying and selling guns were outlawed...the good guys would not have them, and the bad guys would still get their hands on them.
I rarely speak out about what I believe in because I am bound to upset someone, and I HATE debates and arguments.  All of this stuff has been swirling around in my head lately, and since I have become a Vegan I have reevaluated a lot.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Vegan Nachos

So, I tried to make bean burgers on Saturday night and it wasn't really something you could form into a patty once I got them mixed up.  We threw it (which was basically a black bean dip) in the fridge and went out to dinner instead.  Tonight I wanted to try a few recipes out and end up with a slammin' plate of gooey nachos.  I used the "bean dip" as well, and here is what I came up with.  It was so yummy.

Vegan Nacho Sauce

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups water
2 cups raw cashews
2 lemons, juice of
3/4 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garlic powder (heaping)
1 teaspoon onion powder (heaping)
3 teaspoons salt
1 (7 ounce) can pimientos (including the liquid)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (not brewers yeast!)

Directions:

Soak raw cashews for a few hours (this will help the sauce be more smooth and less grainy from the nuts though the flavor is good either way).
Put 2 1/2 cups of water into a blender with all of the ingredients and blend until smooth.
Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan and add the remaining water.
Heat the mixture in a saucepan for about 20 minutes.
Stir continually to prevent it from burning.
Add water to desired consistency (optional).


Black Bean Dip
Ingredients:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 tablespoons diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons minced red onion
2 small garlic cloves, minced
1 cup cooked black beans
4 1/2 teaspoons prepared yellow mustard
2 teaspoons flour
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat; cook and stir diced red bell pepper, red onion, and garlic in the hot oil until soft, 5 to 7 minutes.

Combine the bell pepper mixture, black beans, mustard, flour, chili powder, cumin, salt, and black pepper in a food processor; blend until the beans are completely mashed.


Vegan Sour Cream


1 cup raw cashews (must not be roasted or salted)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 -2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 small lemon, juice of
1/4 c. water
1/2 t. sugar

Directions:


Cover cashews with water and soak for a few hours, or overnight.
Pour off all water, and place nuts in food processor, blend well.
Add 1/4 cup cold water, salt, vinegar and lemon juice and sugar.
Puree for 3-4 minutes or until completely smooth and creamy in consistency.
Use in any recipe that calls for sour cream.
Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to a week.
Guacamole

INGREDIENTS:

2 standard avocados, peeled
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 T. fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tomatoes, diced
1/4 cup onions, diced

Put all ingredients together in food processor and blend until smooth. 
 
 --------------------------------------------------------
 
I used blue corn chips, and also topped nachos with:
sliced black olives
diced tomatos
lettuce
taco sauce
green onions

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Parabens

Before starting all of this I had no idea that not only would I be label reading with food, but that I would also be convicted to label read personal care and cleaning products.  I decided that I wanted to faze out use of those things that contained animals products, but what I came to find out that there were other reasons to know what was in stuff.   I was stupid to assume that anything you put on your body had to be non-toxic.  I am now learning what's in some of these products and as I discover these things I want to share them with you.  I figured Parabens were a good place to start since there are a lot of personal care products I've seen that are labeled "Paraben Free".  According to the "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics"......

"Parabens are used to prevent the growth of microbes in cosmetic products and can be absorbed through the skin, blood and digestive system. They have been found in biopsies from breast tumors at concentrations similar to those found in consumer products. Parabens are found in nearly all urine samples from U.S. adults of a variety of ethnic, socioeconomic and geographic backgrounds.


Products That May Contain Parabens


Parabens are several distinct chemicals with similar a molecular structure. Four of these occur frequently in cosmetics: ethylparaben, butylparaben, methylparaben and propylparaben. Methylparaben and propylparaben are the most common of these, each appearing in well over 10,000 of the 25,000 products in the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database.

Parabens appear mostly in personal care products that contain significant amounts of water, such as shampoos, conditioners, lotions and facial and shower cleansers and scrubs. While concentration limits are recommended for each paraben, these recommendations do not account for the use of multiple parabens in a single product or for exposure to parabens from several products by a single individual.


Health Concerns

EWG's Skin Deep database, which compares cosmetic ingredients to over 50 international toxicity databases, indicates that parabens are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation. Since parabens are used to kill bacteria in water-based solutions, they inherently have some toxicity to cells.

A 2004 UK study detected traces of five parabens in the breast cancer tumors of 19 out of 20 women studied. This small study does not prove a causal relationship between parabens and breast cancer, but it is important because it detected the presence of intact parabens – unaltered by the body’s metabolism – which is an indication of the chemicals' ability to penetrate skin and remain in breast tissue.

Of greatest concern is that parabens are known to disrupt hormone function, an effect that is linked to increased risk of breast cancer and reproductive toxicity. Parabens mimic estrogen by binding to estrogen receptors on cells. They also increase the expression of genes usually regulated by estradiol (a form of estrogen); these genes cause human breast tumor cells to grow and multiply in cellular studies.

Cosmetic manufacturers, particularly those in the natural/organic sector, are seeking effective alternatives to prevent microbial growth in personal care products. Another solution is to sell products with a shorter shelf life. Companies are testing new product formulations and have created preservative-free products with a shelf life of six months to one full year. For the products most people use daily – their favorite lotion, face wash or shampoo – products are likely to be used up before they would expire."


You can visit EWG.org to search your cosmetics and see what they contain and what those ingredients are.


Friday, March 22, 2013

Food Food Food

I haven't posted a regular update in a few days on how things are going on the home front.  As you can probably guess being a new Vegan convert IS TIME CONSUMING.  I have been cooking a lot, and I wanted to share some of the recipes I've made the past few days that I really enjoyed.

Pizza Night:

Easy Home made Pizza Sauce Recipe

Low-carb Pizza Crust Recipe  (just 7 net carbs per WHOLE CRUST) I never made homemade crusts before and it was super easy.

Side of Cheesy Kale Chips


Dessert...mmmmm

Banana Chocolate Chip Cookies  (three ingredients only)...unless you're me and you throw in nuts too


I love M-M-Mexican!!!

Sweet Potato Burritos  (leave out the cheese to make it Vegan or add your favorite cheese substitute)

Southwest Pasta Salad  (I wanted a hot dinner, so I added added a sauce made with vegetable broth, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, garlic, pepper, apple cider vinegar and a roux made with earth balance and unbleached flour)  I also sauteed all of the veggies and added black olives


Tomorrow I am going to a local famer's market in the morning.  I am really excited to see if I can find some different items and better flavors.  I am very excited to start a vegetable garden this summer and I am hoping I can find some starter plants (I don't do well with seeds) that are organic.  If I can manage to keep it all alive it should save us some money.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

What's in your food?

I'm sure a lot of you know that there are hidden things in food.  I myself have known and ignored for a long time what was in gelatin and hotdogs.  When I was looking up "Natural Flavors" today I found that it could include any part of any plant or animal.  Here are some other ingredients I found that may be smart to stay away from because you are Vegan or are concerned about the health risks:

Gelatin

derived from collagen, a protein often collected from animal skins.  The source varies depending on the type of food,  The gelatin in desserts, for instance, comes mainly from pig skin. Gelatin, which is a thickening agent, can also be found in frosted cereals, yogurt, candy, and some types of sour cream.


Shellac

Candy is often coated with shellac, a sticky substance derived from secretions of the female Kerria lacca, an insect native to Thailand.  Shellac makes jelly beans, candy corn, and other hard-coated candy look shiny. It may be called a “confectioner’s glaze” on the packaging. So sweet, and yet so sick.

Saltwater injections

in a practice called plumping, manufacturers inject salt and other ingredients into raw meat (mostly chicken) to enhance flavor and increase the weight of the meat before it’s sold.  Meat that’s been injected may say “flavored with up to 10% of a solution” or “up to 15% chicken broth.” Regular chicken has about 40 to 70 mg of sodium per 4-ounce serving, while plumped chicken can contain 5 times or more than that amount, or 300 mg and up.

Ammonia

strong smelling chemical found in household cleaning products, but it’s also used as gas to kill germs in low-grade fatty beef trimmings.  The trim (of animal meat) is prone to having more bacteria on so they use ammonia as a kill step to deal with the bacteria during processing. This controversial practice started around 2001, and the resulting product—sometimes called pink slime—is used as a filler in ground beef.

Bisphenol A

or BPA, has been removed from most hard plastics (including baby bottles and sippy cups), it can still be found in the sealant in the lining of some cans.  This can be especially problematic with acidic foods like tomatoes...the concern is that it leaks into foods.  BPA has been linked to brain, behavior and prostate problems, especially in fetuses and children.

Silicon dioxide

AKA ....sand.  It’s used in a lot of things as a flow agent and partly because it does a nice job of absorbing a little bit of atmospheric humidity that would cause clumping in a variety of things.
 You'll find in in salts, soups, and coffee creamer.

Carmine

AKA Crimson Lake, Cochineal, or Natural Red #4 ...a red food-coloring that comes from boiled cochineal bugs, which are a type of beetle.  There have been reports that the bug-based coloring can cause severe allergic reactions in some people, including potentially life-threatening anaphylactic reactions, so the FDA now requires that the ingredient be listed clearly on food and cosmetic labels. It can be found in ice cream, Skittles, Good n’ Plenty, lemonade, and grapefruit juice.


Propylene glycol

This chemical is found in antifreeze.  Propylene glycol has lubricating properties which aid in making spice concentrates, not to mention condoms. And if you need good mixing in food, this is your compound. Things that don’t mix well in water do disperse well in propylene glycol.  You'll find it in Sodas, salad dressing, and beer.


 L-cysteine or cystine

this non-essential amino acid is made from human hair or duck feathers and is used as a dough conditioner to improve the texture of breads and baked goods. Again, since cystine comes from natural sources, you can eat “natural” and still have hair in your food.

Rennet

is derived from the mucosa of veal calves’ fourth stomach, this ingredient is frequently used in the production of cheese to curdle the milk. Often listed simply as “enzymes” on an ingredient panel, it can be very hard to know exactly what you’re eating when you buy cheese.


You can find even more info through the Vegetarian Resources Group FAQ on ingredients found in food.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Peach Pie Juice

INGREDIENTS:

4 ripe peaches, pitted
3 small to medium sweet potatoes, peeled
1/2 t. cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Run peaches and sweet potatoes through juicer.  Whisk in cinnamon

Makes about 2 - 12 oz. servings

Orange Carrot Juice

INGREDIENTS:

4 oranges, peeled
4 large carrots, peeled

DIRECTIONS:

Run oranges and carrots through juicer.

Makes about 2 - 12 oz servings

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Pig at the Slaughterhouse

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION IS IN GRAPHIC DETAIL.
 
I debated doing posts like this because I did not want to sound judgmental.  I myself did not try to think about the animal my bacon once was while I was enjoying a delicious BLT.  It was barely three weeks ago that I was still eating meat.  I did not want to know these things because I did not want to feel guilty.  Let me tell you.  EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW EVERYTHING that goes on with their food before it gets onto their plates.  Today I checked out the book: Slaughterhouse: by Gail A. Eisnitz from the library.  This is what I learned about pigs at the slaughterhouse. 


The following information was reported by former workers at a John Morrell plant in Sioux City SD, which has since closed as of 2010.   This is still a pretty accurate depiction of what goes on in an average plant around the US.

John Morrell is now owned by Smithfield, who also owns,  Armour, Carando, Cook's Ham, Curly's Foods, Eckrich, Farmland, Gwaltney, Healthy Ones, Kretschmar, and Margherita 

The drivers that bring the pigs to the slaughterhouse must deal with the crippled hogs themselves by beating them to death with lead pipes.  A lot of times when pigs come in on trucks they are dead from being exposed to extreme temperatures while being transported.  They can die from heat stroke or freeze to death.  Dead and expected dead pigs are sent to be ground up into feed, fertilizer or other products.  Sometimes in a pile of dead pigs there will be one that is still alive, it is up to the person who grinds them to either kill them first or just stick them in the grinder alive.

Pigs are prodded and corralled, it takes a lot to get them where they need to go because they get anxious when they smell blood. To get pigs to move they sometimes stick the electric prodder in their eye. 

-Pigs are stunned with electricity on their head (or any other part if the stunner doesn't care) to render them unconscious.

-Next shackled and hoisted upside down by one leg

If a pig ends up at the shackler without being unconscious the shackler has to beat it over the head with a lead pipe to try to render it unconscious.  If too many pigs end up in the catch pen alive, the shackler has no choice but to hang them up kicking and squealing and the sticker has to try not to get kicked or bit.

-Next stuck by a 6 inch blade and bled out....

if a pig does not get knocked unconscious they just go straight to the sticker....most of the large sows and hogs are not unconscious when they get stuck.  If the voltage is turned up it would work, but then they risk a "blown loin" which makes the meat look bloodied and bruised, so it's not worth as much money.  A lot of stickers end up being alcoholics from using alcohol to deal with the trauma of killing live pigs every day, and end up having problems with violence and assault.

If a pig gets to the sticker still conscious he would have to try to beat it over the head until it passed out.  If the pig falls off the shackles while conscious the sticker has to tackle it, stick it and run because the pig will run around and try to fight until it bleeds to death.

-Then scalded in boiling water set at 140 degrees to remove hair.

Pigs that are still conscious end up in the boiler kicking and squealing trying to swim and either drown or scald to death.

-Pigs are then Eviscerated (removal of entrails /  disembowelment)

Often times workers are under so much stress and pressure to work fast and get the job done that they abuse the pigs to take out their frustrations.....especially the sticker who is going to have to kill the pig anyways and doesn't care where he sticks the pig and how many times.

When inspectors are coming in to a plant the staff is alerted days in advance so everyone will work according to law/code, so the inspectors rarely find fault in the plants even when there are allegations of violations.

So here....lets put a face to your porkchop.

This information does not even include their treatment before they get to the slaughterhouse.  Imagine how traumatic their life is from the time they are born until they die.

Health Benefits of Vinegar

Vinegar is a product of fermentation. This is a process in which sugars in a food are broken down by bacteria and yeast. In the first stage of fermentation, the sugars are turned into alcohol. Then, if the alcohol ferments further, you get vinegar. The word comes from the French, meaning "sour wine." While vinegar can be made from all sorts of things -- like many fruits, vegetables, and grain. Vinegars contain acetic acid, other acids, vitamins, mineral salts, and amino acids.

-Insect bites or stings will be soothed quickly by pouring vinegar on it.

-Pour vinegar on sunburn

-Salicylic acid is what you use on warts. Vinegar is acetic acid and works in the same way, however more gently.

-Just 5% of vinegar mixed in a solution of your choice, can kill 99% of bacteria, 82% of mold, 80% of germs (viruses).

-A teaspoon or two of vinegar will cure hiccups.

Apple Cider Vinegar: 

Apple cider vinegar, otherwise known simply as cider vinegar or ACV, is made from cider or apple must, and has a brownish-gold color. It often is sold unfiltered and unpasteurized with the mother of vinegar present, as a natural product. Because of its acidity, apple cider vinegar may be very harsh, even burning, to the throat. If taken straight (as opposed to used in cooking), it can be diluted (e.g., with fruit juice or water) before drinking.  It is also sometimes sweetened with sugar or honey. The pH of apple cider vinegar is typically between pH 4.25 and 5.00 if undiluted.

-Two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar and honey mixed with enough hot water to melt the honey has been known to help with headaches and weight loss. A 2005 study of 12 people found that those who ate a piece of bread along with small amounts of white vinegar felt fuller and more satisfied than those who just ate the bread. 

-Bathing in some apple cider vinegar can help with urinary tract infections. I read someone who didn't have a bath tub, used a used cotton ball with apple cider vinegar and swabbed the urethra and it took care of the problem .

-Apple cider vinegar has helped skin conditions from eczema to aging brown spots.

-Apple cider vinegar helps fight against food cravings.

-If you drink a teaspoon or so of apple cider vinegar in a glass of water to help with digestion, bowel function, cholesterol, and even preventing ulcers. 

-gargling with or drinking apple cider vinegar can help calm a sore throat and speed up the healing process *although may make you gag

-Diabetes. The effect of vinegar on blood sugar levels is perhaps the best researched and the most promising of apple cider vinegar's possible health benefits. Several studies have found that vinegar may help lower glucose levels. For instance, a 2007 study of 11 people with type 2 diabetes found that taking two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before bed lowered glucose levels in the morning by 4%-6%.

-High cholesterol.  A 2006 study showed evidence that vinegar could lower cholesterol. However, the study was done in rats, so it's too early to know how it might work in people.
-Blood pressure and heart health.   Another study in rats found that vinegar could lower high blood pressure. A large observational study also found that people who ate oil and vinegar dressing on salads five to six times a week had lower rates of heart disease than people who didn't. However, it's far from clear that the vinegar was the reason.

-Cancer.  A few laboratory studies have found that vinegar may be able to kill cancer cells or slow their growth. Observational studies of people have been confusing. One found that eating vinegar was associated with a decreased risk of esophageal cancer. Another associated it with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

Balsamic Vinegar:


Balsamic vinegar is an aromatic, aged type of vinegar traditionally crafted in the Modena and Reggio Emilia provinces of Italy from the concentrated juice, or must, of white grapes (typically of the Trebbiano variety). It is very dark brown in color, and its flavor is rich, sweet, and complex, with the finest grades being the product of years of aging in a successive number of casks made of various types of wood (including oak, mulberry, chestnut, cherry, juniper, ash, and acacia). Originally a product available to only the Italian upper classes, a cheaper form of balsamic vinegar became widely known and available around the world in the late 20th century. True balsamic vinegar (which has Protected Designation of Origin status) is aged for 12 to 25 years. Balsamic vinegars that have been aged for up to 100 years are available, though they are usually very expensive. The commercial balsamic sold in supermarkets is typically made with concentrated grape juice mixed with a strong vinegar, which is laced with caramel and sugar. Regardless of how it is produced, balsamic vinegar must be made from a grape product


-Balsamic can help prevent anemia and fatigue

-Balsamic may reduce the frequency of headaches

-Balsamic antioxidant may slow the aging process


 -Weight Loss.  Balsamic vinegar can be used as a substitute for salad dressing or marinades. When used in place of other dressings or marinades that are more fattening, it results in a lower calorie intake. Balsamic vinegar also works to suppress the body's appetite and increase the amount of time it takes for the stomach to empty, which can contribute to weight loss by preventing overeating. According to Nutrition Data, balsamic vinegar is a source of calcium, iron, manganese and potassium, which improve the body's functioning and weight loss abilities


-Antioxidants.  Antioxidants work to repair damage caused by free radicals, which are products produced by the oxygen used in our body. Balsamic vinegar contains polyphenols, antioxidants that can protect the body from heart disease and cancer.  The grapes that are used to make balsamic vinegar also contain antioxidants that fight against cell damage, improve the body's immune system and make blood platelets more flexible, thus preventing heart or circulation problems. Another element found in balsamic vinegar is a bioflovanoid, called quercetin, which also has antioxidant properties and helps fight immunity deficiencies.

-Bone Health.  Pepsin and acetic acid both help improve absorption of crucial minerals into the body such as calcium and magnesium.  Both of this minerals are abundant in balsamic vinegar and are vital for healthy and strong bones.

Red Wine Vinegar 

Wine vinegar is made from red or white wine, and is the most commonly used vinegar in Mediterranean countries and Central Europe. As with wine, there is a considerable range in quality. Better-quality wine vinegars are matured in wood for up to two years, and exhibit a complex, mellow flavor. Wine vinegar tends to have a lower acidity than white or cider vinegars. 

-Calcium absorption has also been linked to the consumption of red wine vinegar, according to scientists in Japan and reported on Thirdage.com. Researchers found that feeding animals a 1.6 percent solution of vinegar for 32 days increased the rate of calcium absorption. Researchers also found a 40 percent rise in the calcium levels of chicken broth when vinegar was added to the solution.

-Researchers in Seville, Spain, found that adding a 5 percent solution of acetic acid, found in red wine vinegar, produced bactericidal activity and was effective against strains of Salmonella, Yersinia and monocytogenes. According to the research done at Instituto de la Grasa, CSIC, adding red wine vinegar to foods inhibits the growth of these bacterias.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Soy Exposed

I have heard from numerous people over the past couple of weeks, though conversations about my new Vegan diet, that soy products are not good for you.  I have already decided not to buy soy milk, yogurt or tofutti sour cream (check out this homemade recipe for non-soy sour cream substitute) but there are so many of the meat and cheese substitutes that are full of soy, not to mention countless recipes using tofu.  We as a family never purchased any of these products before now, so I can imagine that someone who becomes Vegan has the potential of all of a sudden consuming much more soy than they ever had in their diet before.  I was putting off doing research because I just didn't want to give up something that makes the Vegan diet easier.  I came to realize, though that if soy was bad I didn't want to defeat the purpose of trying to make my body healthier by giving it something potentially hazardous.  Here is what I found:

(taken from: Keeper of the Home )

1.  Soy Disrupts Our Sex Hormones


Soy is known as a phyotestrogen.  This means that it contains natural compounds that mimic estrogen in our bodies.  This sounds like good news for some people, such as post-menopausal women.  But what are the effects of phytoestrogens on babies, little boys and little girls, young women and young men?

For babies on soy formula, a 1994 study shows that they are consuming the hormonal equivalent of up to 10 contraceptive pills a day.  Little systems can’t handle that overload; it puts children at risk for everything from early-onset puberty to permanent endocrine damage. This might surprise you: the governments of Israel, Switzerland, the UK, and New Zealand have all issued statements against the use of soy formula for babies.

Little boys who consume soy may have higher risks of testicular cancer, and little girls may face higher risks of breast and ovarian cancers, due to longer exposure to sex hormones.  There is also a possible link between soy and lower sperm counts in young men.

Just 100 grams of soy contains the hormonal equivalent of one contraceptive pill.  Considering all the hormonal diseases that are running rampant today in the West (including infertility), it seems wise to check our consumption of soy.

2.  Soy Disrupts Our Thyroid


The thyroid is part of the endocrine system, just as the sex hormones are, so these two issues are intimately related.  The phytoestrogens in soy also act upon the thyroid to have a goitrogenic effect, which means they depress thyroid hormone production, slow down thyroid metabolism, and potentially cause an increase in the size of the thyroid (known as a goiter, hence the term goitrogenic).  All of that adds up to one thing: hypothyroidism.

Some experts estimate that there are as many as nine million undiagnosed cases of hypothyroidism in the United States alone.  If you have any hypothyroid symptoms, try to eliminate soy from your diet right away.

3.  Soy Contains Anti-Nutrients


Anti-nutrients are chemicals and compounds that prevent nutrients from being properly used by the body.  Here are two examples of anti-nutrients found in soy:
Protease Inhibitors

Soy contains protease inhibitors, which frustrate the body’s digestion of protein.  Studies show that this could cause the pancreas to be over-worked in the digestion process, and eventually lead to pancreatic dysfunction.   Protease inhibitors are found in especially high amounts in raw soy – one reason raw soybeans are considered toxic.  Heating and processing the soy lessens the amount of protease inhibitors considerably, but it is never completely eliminated.
Phytic Acid (or Phytates)

Soy (and many other grains, as well) contains phytic acid, which acts like a magnet for many important minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, therefore preventing their absorption into the body.  Though phytic acid can also help with ridding the body of unnecessary and/or unwanted heavy metals such as lead and mercury, this cleansing effect is bad news for those who rely heavily on soy for mineral content in their diet, such as those in developing nations.

What About Soy in Asian Cultures?


Many people are understandably surprised when they discover the negative effects of soy, and often point out that Asian cultures have eaten soy for thousands of years, with seemingly great health benefits.  There are two important factors to consider here.

1.  Asian cultures have historically eaten soy primarily in its fermented forms: miso, tempeh, soy sauce, and tamari are all fermented soy products.  The fermenting process significantly lessens the protease inhibitors and phytates in soy, almost to the point of elimination.  Tofu is the only non-fermented form of soy that has been historically common in Asian cultures.

2.  Traditionally, Asian cultures have eaten these soy products in small amounts, more as sauces and condiments than main dishes.  A typical starter of soup with three cubes of tofu is very different from a tofu-based entree where tofu is acting as a meat substitute.  The average Asian diet in China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, and Taiwan includes between nine and 36 grams of soy per day.  Compare that to a cup of tofu (252 grams) or soy milk (240 grams).



Learn more about soy from these sources:

Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon
The Whole Soy Story, by Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD
Whole Soy Story.com
Soy Online Service.co.nz
Soy Alert: Health Food or Danger?
Natural Health News: Be Aware of Soy Risks
Do Soy Foods Negatively Affect Your Thyroid?
Wikipedia: Soybean


 In addition here are some dairy free cheese and meatless meat recipes I found that do not use soy products:

Cheese:

Baked Almond Feta
Vegan Block Cheddar
Vegan Nacho Cheese Sauce
Vegan Queso Blanco Dip
Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Meat:

Vegan Pepperoni
Soy-free Vegan Ground Beef
Vegan Meatballs
Home-style Vegan Meatloaf
Vegan Sausage Patties
Vegan Italian Sausage Links
Chicken Burgers
Chickenless Nuggets (in his recipe he calls for soy milk...just use something else)

My weekend

I had a fabulous weekend.  My mood is much better.  I am sure I can attribute my feeling overwhelmed last week to my hormones due to my period coming.

Friday I made the Engine 2 Diet's "sweet potato lasagna".  I did not like it.  I even made my own marinara sauce.  There is something seriously wrong with with measurements of this recipe, so beware if you make it.  You don't need 2 boxes of noodles, and I omitted the spinach and mushrooms, and only used 1/4 of the carrots and the 9x13 dish was still leaking in the oven...sheesh!  Maybe the recipe creator had a lasagna dish similar to that of Marry Poppin's magic bag?

Saturday the hubby and I had a date planned by me.  Every other weekend we take turns planning a surprise date for each other.  This time it wasn't a surprise because I told him about it ahead of time, but we still had a lot of fun.  We traveled an hour to Ann Arbor, Michigan.  It seems like Vegans have it easier up there...too bad the cost of living is so high.  First we went to Trader Joes.  I really like their prices and we found some great deals.  I had only been there once a few years ago, and Dan had never been there.  Then we went to Whole Foods.  We had fun looking at everything in every aisle (we were probably annoying to some of the regulars).  I had an unexpected reaction while there:

The smell of raw meat in the butcher section made me sick to my stomach.  This is interesting because "M" (10 year old daughter) had the same reaction to the smell of the hot dogs at school during lunch.

Afterwards we headed to Barnes and Noble to waste a couple minutes before dinner.  I wrote down a bunch of titles of books in the nutrition section and in the vegan cookbook section.  I found 1/3 of them on our local library website and ordered them.

For dinner we went to Hut-K Chaats.  We were lucky enough to meet the owner/creator/chef who not only explained the entire menu to us and recommended dishes, but also shared his passion for health, life and food.  He himself, with diet has reversed his type 2 diabetes.  Half of the menu is Vegan and the other half Vegetarian, so we were in heaven.  The food was so amazing I got home and looked up tons of Vegan Indian food recipes to try.

Yesterday (Sunday) we had my in-laws over to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday.  I made Garbanzo Tomato Pasta Soup which to the recipe I added tomato sauce and fresh basil and oregano.  Also roasted asparagus with balsamic vinegar and I made a batch of apple crisp.  The food went over really well, and they liked their first Vegan meal I cooked for them.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Phase #2

Phase #2

  •  Stop buying all cleaning products and toiletries that are not all natural and Vegan

  • Make homemade cleaning products and toiletries if possible so I can control all ingredients and best of all...SAVE MONEY!
  • use up or give away all cleaning products and toiletries that contain animal products and chemicals to rid our home of toxic chemicals. (this is going to take a while)
  • Buy only organic produce
  • start a vegetable garden
  • start a compost pile 
  • stop buying plastic bags and using them for storage, and stop throwing away plastic grocery bags (must figure out what to do with those dirty diapers), only recycle them.  I am not ready to do the cloth diaper thing, but luckily potty training will be in the next year.
  • inspire those around me to eat healthier

  • build a support group of contacts and friends who are Vegan (making friends with another Vegan family would be awesome)
These are my goals and I will share with you when I have completed this phase. 


Week 2 Finished...New Stats!

Me:
start -  250.8
after 1 week -  244.4
now - 241.2
lost  -  9.6 lbs.

Dan (hubby):

start  - 243.2
after 1 week  - 238.0
now - 236.2
lost  - 7 lbs.

Megan (10 year old)

start - 110.6
after 1 week - 109.8
now - 107.6
lost -  3 lbs.

Phase 1 COMPLETE!

I am pleased to say that we have completed phase 1.  We do still have 1/2 container of grated Parmesan cheese and some tika masala sauce in a jar I have to figure out what to do with, but other than that we are rid of all animal products.  These were the steps I set for myself

Phase #1
  • go over all food products we have, read labels, and figure out which are not Vegan 
This step was not as hard as I thought. A lot of products say "contains milk or whey" or clearly state they have animal products in them.  A good rule to follow is that if the ingredient is not a food you recognize, don't purchase the product.
  • finish up or give away all food products which contain animal products (no wasting)
The "finish up" part has been hard because we just didn't really want to eat things knowing what's in them now.  The "give away" part was fun.  Not only did I feel good about getting things out of the house, but also that I was helping someone with a need.
  • stop buying food products which contain any type of animal products
Not only have we done this but also have been buying food without other harmful additives and chemicals if we can tell.  The easiest thing to buy is produce.
  • stop buying anything containing high fructose corn syrup
This is not hard to do one you know what staples you have to replace.  We had to give up our favorite Heinz Ketchup, Kraft BBQ sauce and Smucker's Jelly/Jam.  I look forward to trying to make some of these things myself.
  • find substitutes for products we can't live without (for now)
What I have discovered is that not all substitutes are good for you.  I still have a problem with finding canned products without a bunch of sodium.  I also do not like the crazy ingredient lists in those "fake" meat and dairy substitutes either.  We are limiting ourselves with these substitutes and trying to stay away from too much soy. I still need to research the effects of soy because it's in so many "heath food" products.
  • educate self on ingredients to look out for
 THERE ARE SO MANY.  It's very overwhelming when label reading.  Below I'll make a list of things I am completely avoiding or have given up.

  • research local markets to purchase items and price compare
 I was shocked to discover that my regular grocery store carries items at cheaper prices than the health food stores do.  I do know the area produce markets have cheaper prices than the grocery store, but I plan on shopping at local farmers markets to really save on produce.


Other things I have given up / are avoiding:

- Aspartame / Artificial Sweetners

- Caffeine
I also gave up coffee because I don' t care for the taste with the substitutes added in I started drinking 1/2 the amount the first week, and then dropped it completely without having withdraw symptoms.  I can't believe I quit coffee after having it nearly every morning for 15 years, but I don't miss it.  I do realize there is caffeine in chocolate which I do still consume every once in a while.

- Refined Sugar
I do not buy it anymore.  I have a stevia/raw sugar blend I'm using for now, and I also bought some agave syrup.

- Bleached Flour
I have been buying unbleached for about a year now.

- Grains that are not "Whole Grains"

- Products that clearly have MSG (I am still learning how to spot the other names for it)

- Anything that says it has artificial color or flavor

I can't believe we're done with this phase already.  Now time to plan the next one.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

pizza

I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed the past few days.  I feel like I need a break from food planning and prep.  I know it'll be easier when I get a recipe collection we all like that I can cycle through, but for now it's a lot of work.  My favorite part is the shopping.  I guess I'm missing the convenience of saying "Hun, I am having a bad day, can you go grab something for dinner." or being able to prepare a meal in 30 minutes, which seems nearly impossible now.  I am nowhere near giving up on this, so I'm hoping I feel better about it soon.
Yesterday I made  Quick Penne with Vegan Cream Sauce and some green beans.  I loved it, but the kids were neutral.  After dinner I went out and stopped to look around more at one of the health food stores in town.  When a sales associate asked me if she could help me I told her I needed help trying to figure out how to get more protein.  According to My Fitness Pal.com it was telling me I needed about 25% more than I was getting.  I found some Rice Protein powder (vegan), but it was $14.99 for 20 servings, and if the whole family was going to use it that would be quite an expense.  Right away when I told her we were eating Vegan she started making faces, and when I told her I had kids she asked in this whiny voice"You can't even let them have eggs?She'd already told me she used to be Vegan, so I don't understand why she was treating me like an alien from another planet.  She went into something about complete proteins...pairing up certain foods together and said other than that she couldn't help me....Okay, whatever!  Later on I looked up complete proteins and so many sources said it was a myth .  I also looked up how much protein a woman needs per day and the amount was less than what My Fitness Pal was recommending.  So, I think I am going to just keep eating my beans, nuts, seeds and veggies and not constantly worry myself to death.
Today I made a soup recipe that tasted pretty horrible.  It was hard to get the kids to eat it when I didn't care for it.  I also made my Crusty Bread recipe but I used wheat flour instead and added 2 tablespoons each of flax and sunflower seeds.  I used the original recipe to make a second loaf, cut it into cubes and put it in the freezer so I can make croutons out of it.  I could not find croutons at the grocery store (in the regular food section) that was okay for a vegan diet, so I figured I'd make my own.
Today I also planned out all of next week's meals....6 meals, 2 desserts and 3 juice recipes.  I am also going to make juice for the kids from now on instead of buying it.  They absolutely loved the apple juice I made for them.
On Saturday the hubby and I are going on a little road trip up to Ann Arbor ALONE!!  We are having a day long date and are going to hit "The Great Lake Zoological Society", Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and a veg-friendly restaurant called "Hut-K".  I am really looking forward to it...especially since I don't have to cook that day! :)
 

Disinfectant Spray

After watching Chemerical I decided to try to make my own cleaning supplies and most toiletries once my supply ran out.  I ran out of what I was using in the kitchen to clean the counters, which was Kroger brand multi-surface spray.  I bought this so I could also clean the glass in the kitchen and not worry about streaks.  I don't know how much I spent on it, but I would guess somewhere in the range of  $1.50 - $3 a bottle.  Yesterday I got what I needed to make homemade disinfectant spray:

INGREDIENTS:

2 tsp. Borax (found in the laundry aisle at the grocery store), and the box cost me $4.69
2 tsp. Baking Soda (a box of generic cost me 69 cents)
4 Tbs. Vinegar (a bottle was $2.49)
4 c. hot water
large empty spray bottle (I spent $1.99) but you could use an empty one from another product washed out well.

DIRECTIONS:

measure out Borax, baking soda and vinegar into bottle.  Pour in 4 cups hot water, replace nozzle and shake to mix.

Minus the cost of the bottle, this recipe costs a whopping 9 cents....I'm sold!

*you can also add about 20-25 drops of essential oil for added scent, but you must shake well before each use

*I used a funnel to get the ingredients into the bottle....makes it a lot easier.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Today

I've not really been feeling myself the past two days.  This not being able to sleep past 7 am thing is kicking my butt.  I am sleepy all the time.  Today I also do not have much energy either.  I don't know what to attribute it to, but I am going to go to bed early tonight.  Last night's half hour early was not enough.
Today I spend a total of three and a half hours preparing food in the kitchen.  If you want to eat as healthy as possible, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the kitchen (or if you're rich, hire someone else to do it).
I am too lazy to take photos and type out recipes for what I made, so I will just post the links to the original recipes:

For dinner we had:

Asian Cole Slaw   which was so delicious!

African Peanut Soup  (which on my serving I sprinkled some nutritional yeast and crushed wheat crackers)

and.... Chocolate Coconut Tapioca Pudding  (YUM)




Agave Corn Bread

"This bread was so yummy and very moist.  Original recipe found HERE."


INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup soy, almond coconut or rice milk
1/4 cup agave nectar
2 tablespoons olive oil


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease a muffin pan. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl; stir in the applesauce, soy milk, and agave nectar. Slowly add the oil while stirring. Pour the mixture into 9x9 baking dish.  Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick or small knife inserted comes out clean, 40 minutes.

Serves 10

Garden Salad with Lime Cilantro Dressing

"This salad was very yummy, but the dressing was very tart.  I would recommend adding some agave nectar to sweeten it.  Original recipe found HERE."

INGREDIENTS: 

1 head of lettuce, washed and leaves cut or torn into large pieces
2 tomatoes, sliced or quartered
½ red onion, thinly sliced
1 avocado, sliced or diced
1 tbs finely chopped cilantro
Juice of 2 limes
2 tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dressing whisk the chopped cilantro, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper together.
Combine the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and avocado in a large bowl.
Toss the salad with the dressing and serve.

Black Bean Dip

"This dip was awesome.  The only thing I did differently was to heat it up on the stove.  I had never purchased "chipotle peppers in adobo sauce", but I found them in the ethnic Mexican food section at the grocery store. Original recipe found HERE"

INGREDIENTS:

(About 2 cups)
1 (14 oz) can black beans, rinsed and drained
¼ teaspoon salt
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon minced canned chipotle chile in adobo
½ tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

DIRECTIONS:
1. Place all the ingredients in food processor until the dip is smooth and creamy, scraping the down the bowl as needed.
2. Transfer the dip to a serving bowl, sprinkle with fresh cilantro and serve with tortilla chips.

Cinnamon, Apple, Celery Juice

This was a nice, light juice.  If you don't like celery BEWARE...it tastes mostly like celery  Original recipe found HERE.

INGREDIENTS:

16 stems of celery
4 apples
1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon

DIRECTIONS:

Run Celery and Apples through juicer.  Whisk in cinnamon.

Monday, March 11, 2013

My weekend

This past weekend was very nice.  I feel like I got so much accomplished.  I have to contribute that to the increased energy that this new lifestyle had given me.
On Saturday I did the grocery shopping for the week. I hit a local produce market and got a huge cart-full for $39.  I was compelled this time not to take away any plastic baggies for individual items and at check-out, so I took my reusable shopping bags in, but at the back of the store they had boxes you could take for free, so I used them instead.  Here's a photo I snapped in the parking lot because I was so proud of my healthy purchases.  At my regular grocery store I did about 1/3 of my shopping in the organic/health food section and the rest in the other parts of the store.  I was there a very long time because I was using the new app,  Fooducate I talked about in a post from the other day to scan items and compare.
I bought my first natural, non-animal product toiletries as well.  I got "Tom's of Maine" brand deodorant for my hubby (his arm pits are going to smell fresh and citrusy), and a nice pomegranate conditioner from another brand of natural products.  I am going to try to make some home-made toiletries and cleaning products, so if I try something that works well, I'll post the recipes on here.  Speaking of that, last night I watched the documentary called "Chemerical" which exposes the toxic chemicals we are ingesting, breathing and putting on our skin every day with the cleaning and personal care products we have in our homes.  This, in addition to the animal products in ingredients of these things are why I also want to change what we buy in the non-foods department.  Those of you who get Netflix can watch it on there.

Saturday dinner at Red Robin was great.  Those of us who got the Gardenburger were pleased.  "P" (8 year old son) wanted chicken fingers, so I didn't push him.  We got "N" (18 month old son) the kid's spaghetti with marinara and a side of fruit.  I have never eaten so healthy there!
Later that night I was so excited to use some of the new produce I had purchased earlier, so I made not only three new juice recipes, but I juiced some oranges for a dessert I'm making this next week.  The first juice recipe was the Carrot, Apple Beet I posted yesterday (so yummy and such a beautiful color) and two more I'll post as I taste test them.

Yesterday I got a lot accomplished.  I cleaned the kitchen and organized the food storage we have with our new health products.  Then I got a large stockpot of chili going for dinner.  I used my standard recipe, leaving out the meat, beef bouillon cubes and Worcestershire (which contains anchovies) and put in Kroger's Simple Truth Meatless crumbles.  We were all surprised how "normal" it tasted.  I also made some Agave Corn Bread, which was so tasty.  I will post these recipes later on.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Carrot, Apple Beet Juice

INGREDIENTS:

3 Beets, peeled and chopped
3 carrots, peeled
3 apples, without cores

DIRECTIONS:

Run all ingredients through juicer.  Shake or stir well before serving.  Served chilled or over ice.

Makes approx 25 ounces

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Few Discoveries

Yesterday was a pretty good day.  Since I've started this diet if I wake up in the morning earlier than I have to get up I can't get back to sleep.  This morning I was up at 5:55 am.....bleh!  After reading numerous websites regarding this I discovered this is a common thing.  Vegans/Vegetarians may need less sleep only because their quality is better.  I still don't like it! :)

Nothing much to report food wise.  I had my normal breakfast and leftovers for lunch.  For dinner I made Italian Kale , baked sweet potatoes, and salads with three kinds of lettuce, spinach and veggies.  I bought Bac-Os for the kids since they can't have bacon bits anymore, but I'm sure they're still not that great health wise.

Last night I was supposed to go get my first tattoo but the artist called and rescheduled for Monday.  I had said a few times over the last week "I need to hurry up and go get a tattoo before I find out it's not Vegan."  I was joking, but when I looked it up today I found out it may not be....ugh!  You can read this article to see what I've found.  I am still going to get one, but I am going to ask whether the black they're using is "bone black".  Also aftercare products like A&D, Vaseline, Petroleum Jelly and Aquaphor, all have animal ingredients.  You can look HERE for a list of Vegan tattoo aftercare products.

Another discovery came after I thought "I wish there was an app that you could personalize with ingredients to avoid in products so that you could scan bar codes and be warned of what you are looking at".  I found one called Fooducate which is a website and app that is pretty cool, but you can use What's in this Stuff? app and site to add all types of ingredients in.....boy is that going to take a long time!  When I get my list of "ingredients to avoid" done I will share it on here.

Since I probably won't post on here tomorrow about today, I'll let you know what we have planned.  Today my mom is watching little "N" and we're taking the older two to see "Oz: The Great and Powerful".  Then after retrieving  "N" we are going to go to Red Robin and take advantage of their Veggie Burger option.  I assume the kids will have fries (not the best option, but Vegan) and I will either get a salad, veggies or fruit.  I read that the only Vegan salad dressing option there is: Natural Toasted Sesame Dressing.

Okay, well, it's time to meal plan for the next week and go shopping.  Grocery shopping is actually more fun for me now...maybe because I subconsciously felt guilty for the crap I was buying before?

Friday, March 8, 2013

Monosodium Glutamate

One of the documentaries I watched the other day warned against Monosodium Glutamate (or MSG as we know it).  I had heard of it, and assumed it was "bad" since I had seen "our food does not contain MSG" posted on the menus at Chinese restaurants.  I also assumed that since/if it was bad that it was something used a long time ago and wasn't in food anymore.  I was wrong.  A LOT of products contain MSG.  So I did some research and this is what I've found.

MSG is a food additive found in a lot of processed foods, used in restaurants, and even in some baby formula as a "flavor enhancer".  It makes foods taste and smell better and makes canned foods taste less metallic.  Although it has no taste it can trick you in to thinking your food tastes better than it does with the fifth basic taste: umami .

The following was taken from
MSG: Is This Silent Killer Lurking in Your Kitchen Cabinets by Dr. Mercola


In 1959, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration labeled MSG as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS), and it has remained that way ever since. Yet, it was a telling sign when just 10 years later a condition known as “Chinese Restaurant Syndrome” entered the medical literature, describing the numerous side effects, from numbness to heart palpitations, that people experienced after eating MSG.
Today that syndrome is more appropriately called “MSG Symptom Complex,” which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identifies as "short-term reactions" to MSG. More on those “reactions” to come.

Why MSG is so Dangerous
One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.” In it he explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more.
Part of the problem also is that free glutamic acid is the same neurotransmitter that your brain, nervous system, eyes, pancreas and other organs use to initiate certain processes in your body.  Even the FDA states:
“Studies have shown that the body uses glutamate, an amino acid, as a nerve impulse transmitter in the brain and that there are glutamate-responsive tissues in other parts of the body, as well.
Abnormal function of glutamate receptors has been linked with certain neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease and Huntington's chorea. Injections of glutamate in laboratory animals have resulted in damage to nerve cells in the brain.”
Although the FDA continues to claim that consuming MSG in food does not cause these ill effects, many other experts say otherwise.
According to Dr. Blaylock, numerous glutamate receptors have been found both within your heart's electrical conduction system and the heart muscle itself. This can be damaging to your heart, and may even explain the sudden deaths sometimes seen among young athletes.
He says:
“When an excess of food-borne excitotoxins, such as MSG, hydrolyzed protein soy protein isolate and concentrate, natural flavoring, sodium caseinate and aspartate from aspartame, are consumed, these glutamate receptors are over-stimulated, producing cardiac arrhythmias.
When magnesium stores are low, as we see in athletes, the glutamate receptors are so sensitive that even low levels of these excitotoxins can result in cardiac arrhythmias and death.”
Many other adverse effects have also been linked to regular consumption of MSG, including:
  • Obesity
  • Eye damage
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue and disorientation
  • Depression
Further, even the FDA admits that “short-term reactions” known as MSG Symptom Complex can occur in certain groups of people, namely those who have eaten “large doses” of MSG or those who have asthma.
According to the FDA, MSG Symptom Complex can involve symptoms such as:
  • Numbness
  • Burning sensation
  • Tingling
  • Facial pressure or tightness
  • Chest pain or difficulty breathing
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Drowsiness
  • Weakness
No one knows for sure just how many people may be “sensitive” to MSG, but studies from the 1970s suggested that 25 percent to 30 percent of the U.S. population was intolerant of MSG -- at levels then found in food. Since the use of MSG has expanded dramatically since that time, it’s been estimated that up to 40 percent of the population may be impacted.
How to Determine if MSG is in Your Food
Food manufacturers are not stupid, and they’ve caught on to the fact that people like you want to avoid eating this nasty food additive. As a result, do you think they responded by removing MSG from their products? Well, a few may have, but most of them just tried to “clean” their labels. In other words, they tried to hide the fact that MSG is an ingredient.
How do they do this? By using names that you would never associate with MSG.
You see, it’s required by the FDA that food manufacturers list the ingredient “monosodium glutamate” on food labels, but they do not have to label ingredients that contain free glutamic acid, even though it’s the main component of MSG.
There are over 40 labeled ingredients that contain glutamic acid, but you’d never know it just from their names alone. Further, in some foods glutamic acid is formed during processing and, again, food labels give you no way of knowing for sure.

Tips for Keeping MSG Out of Your Diet
In general, if a food is processed you can assume it contains MSG (or one of its pseudo-ingredients). So if you stick to a whole, fresh foods diet, you can pretty much guarantee that you’ll avoid this toxin.
The other place where you’ll need to watch out for MSG is in restaurants. You can ask your server which menu items are MSG-free, and request that no MSG be added to your meal, but of course the only place where you can be entirely sure of what’s added to your food is in your own kitchen.
To be on the safe side, you should also know what ingredients to watch out for on packaged foods.

Here is a list of ingredients that ALWAYS contain MSG:
Autolyzed Yeast
Calcium Caseinate
Gelatin
Glutamate
Glutamic Acid
Monopotassium Glutamate
Monosodium Glutamate
Yeast Extract
Textured Protein
Hydrolyzed Protein
Sodium Caseinate
Yeast Nutrient
Yeast Food 

These ingredients OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing:
Flavors and Flavorings

Seasonings

Natural Chicken Flavoring

Anything Enzyme Modified
Soy Sauce
Malt Extract
Malt Flavoring
Natural Flavors and Flavorings
Protease
Soy Protein Isolate
Soy Protein
Natural Pork Flavoring
Natural Beef Flavoring
Bouillon
Carrageenan
Corn Starch
Maltodextrin
Pectin
Barley Malt
Citric Acid
Anything Ultra-Pasteurized
Powdered Milk
Enzymes
Anything Protein Fortified

So if you do eat processed foods, please remember to be on the lookout for these many hidden names for MSG.
Choosing to be MSG-Free
Making a decision to avoid MSG in your diet as much as possible is a wise choice for nearly everyone. Admittedly, it does take a bit more planning and time in the kitchen to prepare food at home, using fresh, locally grown ingredients. But knowing that your food is pure and free of toxic additives like MSG will make it well worth it.
Plus, choosing whole foods will ultimately give you better flavor and more health value than any MSG-laden processed food you could buy at your supermarket."


You can also visit MSG Truth.com for a list of specific products at stores and restaurants that contain MSG.

READ YOUR INGREDIENT LISTS!!  I had three products sitting on my dining room table for one meal that had Monosodium Glutamate listed on their labels, but how many more were lurking in my fridge and cupboards or ones that snuck it in by it being an ingredient within an ingredient?