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To MSG or Not MSG? That is the question. 
Jan. 30, 2009 9:39 am 
Updated: Feb. 3, 2009 7:15 pm
Yesterday on the recipe exchange someone pointed out they do not use MSG or anything with the word "Seasoning" in it. This led me to wonder, with all the tricks of avoiding certain items, such as MSG, processed foods, butter, or even salt, how much are actually avoided?

Personally, I come from a family who used crystalline MSG like it was salt. If I cook traditional dishes served to me while I was a child and notice it doesn't even taste the same, the main culprit is MSG.

I try to avoid MSG and salt to the best of my knowledge while cooking. I keep processed food to a minimum. Eating out at a restaurant/fast food restaurant and bringing food home from a "restaurant/fast food restaurant" is seldom to not even done. (Last time we did anything like this we were on the road driving from Texas to West Virginia during the holidays. My husband and I felt so gross because we could feel the junk food sweating out of us.) We have a garden during the warmer months and a green house during the winter months.

Breakfast usually consist of some type of carbs (ie pancakes, bagel, toast) and 2 fruits.
Lunch usually consist of carbs/meat/1 type of vegetable or 1 type of fruit or if I'm really good both.
Dinner usually consists of carbs/meat/2 vegetables and no dessert. :(

Yes I do know that dairy products are not listed above. I am not a big dairy person but will use milk, cheese (I LOVE CHEESE), sour cream, cream cheese, half and half, heavy whipping cream, and yogurt if I need to. Our main source of calcium are calcium chews and vitamins.

Snacks during the day does not include chips, cookies, and junk food but yogurt, fruits, veggies, or what ever I made special for the week. Last week was a fondant cake. This week was Scotcharoos.

Getting back to the topic of avoiding foods, how do others do it? What do you substitute butter with? Do you just make recipes without the salt/or decreased salt like I do? Do you buy Certified Organic everything like my sister does? Do you try to make homemade everything, ie tortillas, stock, etc, and hope for the best?

Jan. 30, 2009 11:12 am
It's so hard! My husband has high blood pressure & is not supposed to have salt. It's in everything so you have to cook from scratch. I buy unsalted butter or make my own. I don't really think the substitutes are any better for you. That is a great idea to have green houses.
Jan. 30, 2009 11:29 am
Thank you Scotdog. Yes we have a 6X8 greenhouse and the dryer runs up to the bottom of it to keep warm. Also, we have a small heater in there. I do alot of cooking from scratch but my main concern right now is butter and salt. Salt is pretty easy because I just omit it if I can. Butter though is HARD. So far the only thing we use butter in is definitely boiled veggies. Still, we seem to use up alot of butter for this and that recipe.
Jan. 30, 2009 1:50 pm
Joshephine, I do not sub butter for anything- Usually I'm subbing other stuff for butter- I use that and olive oil and sometimes a combination of both. Butter in moderation is not bad for you unless your concerned about the hormones in the milk than I would go organic. I think if your preparing most of your meals and snacks at home your doing WAY BETTER than the average American. I too avoid MSG, in fact, I think my son is allergic to it. There are certain things that he eats that have always made him sick to his stomach and we think this may be it.
Jan. 30, 2009 2:35 pm
I saw that thread yesterday too. When I was making dinner last night, I used a veggie cube to make broth. I checked the label, it has MSG in it too! Yikes! I am going to be better about checking this stuff before I put it in my cart and bring it home. I'm sure if I shopped at a different store I could find healthier versions of the same thing without msg!
Jan. 31, 2009 4:44 am
Ok I understand we should all try and be healthy. I do have a garden every year and love the green house idea. Tell me more please. BUT you said your family used MSG like salt so how are they doing. Do you see any bad side effects in them ? I do use MSG in egg rolls and I don't think a little is so bad.
Jan. 31, 2009 7:54 am
Hi, Josephine! I have food allergies (and so do many of my friends and family), so I try to cook in the most natural way I can. (No I don't mean that I cook in the nude!) LOL! I don't buy processed food (because I'm allergic to soy). I just try to find healthy, food that is good tasting as well.
Jan. 31, 2009 9:49 am
To SWEETJAM: Yesterday I realized that within 4-5 days, we went through a pound of butter! That's why I wanted to cut down or substitute butter for something much healthier.
Jan. 31, 2009 9:50 am
To Jenny: True most stock and alot of Campbell's Soups have MSG. So do most junk foods, restaurants, and God knows what else.
Jan. 31, 2009 9:57 am
To countrygirl: We have a 6X8 greenhouse from Sam's Club. It is close to the door outside our patio. We will soon have those puzzle/square floor mats(from Sam's Club) and right now we put a sheet of typar to cover the floor. We have the dryer air running up into the floor so it has extra heat when the dryer is on. Also, we have a small ceramic heater set on 40 degrees for extra heat. My husband said it cost about 20-30 dollars a month (without the foam floor). We will be starting veggies soon but right now we have herbs and plants.
Jan. 31, 2009 9:59 am
Cooking in the nude, hmmm? I would be scared of popping oil on my skin! I'm sorry to hear about your food allergies. As of now, I am allergic to shellfish/iodine but can take a few (maybe 10 at the most) cocktail shrimps. I've been building my tolerance since I was little.
Jan. 31, 2009 10:14 am
Josephine - you can substitute oil for butter. I use grapeseed oil - it's light, healthy and doesn't have any odd or off flavor to change the flavor of the food.
Jan. 31, 2009 5:55 pm
Grapeseed oil? I've never used this. I'll have to try it out. Thank you.
Feb. 1, 2009 1:31 pm
I make recipes that I like. I do buy mostly organic. I use real butter, never any subs. I don't use velveeta or processed cheeses.
Feb. 2, 2009 8:41 am
I do too. I usually buy organic stands on the road, small farmer's market in town, but not Certified Organic because it costs too much. I'm not a big Velveeta fan but do cook with it if I have to.
Feb. 2, 2009 7:20 pm
I have a family history of high blood pressure & high cholesterol (Mom was from the Philippines & Dad from Guam). I had no problems with either until I started approaching 50. I switched to Smart Balance to reduce the saturated fat & eliminate trans fat. It's consistency is very much like butter. I've cut back on salt, too. I'm finding that when I eat out now everything tastes like it has too much salt.
Feb. 3, 2009 7:15 pm
I know right? I've never understood why people even bother adding salt. I would switch to Smart Balance or something like it but husband is against that. He LOVES butter. He will eat a butter/sugar sandwich or butter/onion sandwich everyday if he could.
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