Culinary Risk Taking – MSG – Root Hog or Die

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Socorro, New Mexico, isn’t long on good restaurants.  But during the several years I lived there, I had a favorite restaurant, and a favorite menu item.  The place was owned and operated by an elderly Chinese man with whom I was on friendly, bantering terms. 

This lasted until the discovery that MSG in food causes my blood pressure to skyrocket.  A few times per week I’d sit myself down, they’d bring the usual, and a couple of hours later my pulse would be visible almost anywhere a blood vessel showed.  This was accompanied by a pounding in my head, maybe audible, maybe only seemingly so.

After I figured out the connection between my favorite food item and the blood pressure problem I attempted to discuss it with the owner, though we had a language barrier.   The result was an outburst of anger and indignation.  I didn’t know yet the MSG was the cause.  Just that particular menu item.

I solved the problem by eating elsewhere, but eventually learned that Chinese restaurants, particularly, lean heavily on adding MSG to their foods, and that a surprisingly large number of people have reactions to it similar to mine. 

I also began watching the labels on food I bought to prepare at home.  What I discovered was that a person sensitive to MSG had best carry a magnifying glass in his pocket and read those labels carefully.  Almost everything a person might buy in a can is loaded with it, but especially soups and soup-bases.  If a label slips past and gets inside the vehicle it notifies the owner by the rods knocking.

But I was going to say, I love oriental food, and I was in town yesterday, so I clenched my teeth and decided it was a day for risk-taking.  There’s an Oriental buffet I’d never tried, so I pulled in.  I tried asking whether they had MSG in their food, but it was clear she didn’t understand me.  So I went root hog or die.

The food was mediocre, but I didn’t die.  I took a couple of extra blood pressure pills when the pounding in my head started, and by the time I got home my blood pressure was so low I didn’t have any business being alive.

I found myself wondering why the FDA cops who faint and revive themselves over one-in-a-billion risks to human health otherwise haven’t jumped on this like ugly on a monkey.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules: 

Historical Events Duplicated Today?

Old Jules, does any time in history correspond to what’s going on within the US today?


17 responses to “Culinary Risk Taking – MSG – Root Hog or Die

  1. That photo is quite interesting…as are you! ~Sherry~

    • Thanks Sherry. The photo was part of an email forward someone sent me about WalMarts in China and the products they carry, display, etc. Same with the Horse Milk Powder a few days ago. Gracias, Jules

  2. I have the same reaction and hate it because I love Chinese food. Some times we have to give up some things so that we can stick around for a little longer.

  3. I had a perfectly good gall bladder removed because of MSG. I found every time I ate Chinese or Kentucky Fried Chicken I ended up curled in a ball on the floor in extreme “gall bladder type pain”. Which also led to an addiction to prescribed Demerol. I now don’t eat MSG and I don’t have pain; I do miss the Demerol occasionally though.

    • Hi there Lady/w/truck: Good seeing you this morning, even incognito. I never knew that about KFC, but I don’t recall eating at one. I’m obliged for the warning. As for the Demerol, they used to use it to knock me out when I still went to doctors. I have a condition they think justifies running a snake with a camera on the end down my goozle every six months to see if I was dying yet. I never developed a liking for the Demerol, but I developed a healthy dislike for physicians. Gracias, Jules

  4. I didn’t know about MSG causing high blood pressure, I eat a lot soup and canned foods and that would explain what’s going on with me. Thanks for the information I’m going to look into this for my own health.

    • Hi Wayne: I hope it doesn’t turn out to be causing you a problem, but if it is, I’m glad you have a better shot knowing about it than you did. The fact DizzyDick says he’s having a problem with it should be an indicator it’s a common reaction. Best to you. Jules

    • I quit buying the canned and soup-starter kits. It is so easy to make wonderful soup from fresh ingredients at a reasonable cost. They freeze well too for convenience. Good luck!

      • Thanks Texas June. I don’t know how cans came to get themselves shut out of the lives of people as a means of acquiring preserved food, but I reckons they’re a distant voice in history for me. Gracias, Jules

  5. Thanks, this MSG could be the problem. I’m looking into this. MSG does seem to be causing health problems for many including me. Thanks for the warning.

  6. Love the magnifying glass for the msg and “ugly on a monkey.” Love Chinese food, always feel terrible after I partake in the eating.

    • Aspergers: It’s a shame. I’m still fond of Vietnamese, Korean, Thai, and Indian dishes. Mostly I just make them myself, though. A person has to pay more to eat them in town, maybe because they don’t have MSG in them. I’m told soups without MSG are a lot more expensive, though available. Gracias, J

  7. MSG is definitely to be avoided when possible. It finds it’s way into lots of packaged food and almost always at Chinese restaurants. Might as well look at the salt content when reading those labels to.

    • earthstonestation: Yeah, it’s a fact about the salt in anything canned or packaged. Luckily salt doesn’t seem to try anything dramatic on my body [yet]. Gracias, J

  8. For me, MSG causes an immediate migraine headache, and aspartame causes severe flu symptoms (the longest one a full six weeks) before I discovered the correlation. Everyone should be aware of these side effects to save themselves a lot of pain and medical bills!

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