Thursday, December 17, 2009

From Scratch


One of the biggest changes I've made over the past month is that I have stopped eating most food additives (you know, the stuff that has unpronounceable names in the ingredient list of most processed foods).

Do you remember back when I was complaining about my chronic migraines, and the neurologist said the only solution was to go on medication and stop breastfeeding?

Well, I didn't want to go on medication for life, and I didn't want to stop exclusively nursing Ginger. So...I have been on a mission to figure out a natural way to get rid of my near-constant migraines that I've been dealing with for over a year now.

One of my blogger friends, Michelle, posted this a month ago, and it set me off down a whole new path.

I know that I am very sensitive to what I eat...the things I eat affect me in a way that they don't affect most other people. For example, I used to consume a lot of artificial sweeteners, and had horrible side effects from that. When I cut all artificial sweeteners (specifically aspartame) out of my diet completely in 2005, it was really life changing for me. I had so much more energy. I felt better.

After reading Michelle's post, I decided to pick up a few books and read up on excitotoxins and their effects on the brain. So far, I have read three books by Dr. Russell Blaylock. He is controversial. What he says isn't for everyone. But I have to say, it has helped me.

He identifies hidden sources of MSG in foods. According to Dr. Blaylock, MSG, Carrageenan, and Aspartame can cause the a host of health problems...including chronic migraines!

The list of hidden sources of MSG is long. Here it goes:

These ALWAYS contain MSG

Glutamic acid
Monosodium glutamate
Calcium caseinate
Textured protein
Monopotassium glutamate
Sodium caseinate
Yeast nutrient
Yeast extract
Yeast food
Autolyzed yeast
Hydrolyzed protein
(any protein that is hydrolyzed)
Hydrolyzed corn gluten
Natrium glutamate (natrium is Latin/German for sodium)

These OFTEN contain MSG or create MSG during processing

Malt extract
Natural pork flavoring
Citric acid
Malt flavoring
Bouillon and Broth
Natural chicken flavoring
Soy protein isolate
Natural beef flavoring
Ultra-pasteurized Soy sauce
Stock Barley malt
Soy sauce extract
Whey protein concentrate
Soy protein
Whey protein
Soy protein concentrate
Whey protein isolate
Protease enzymes
Anything protein fortified
Anything enzyme modified
Anything fermented
Natural flavor(s)
& flavoring(s) Enzymes anything Seasonings
(the word "seasonings")

As you can see, when you cut all that out of your food, you can't eat much except for foods made from scratch.

I spent a whole day reading food labels around our house and figured out that basically everything I was eating before contained those ingredients. So, I quit all that kind of food cold turkey, and since then have had very few headaches. In fact, the only times my headaches have come back have been the two occasions I fell off the wagon.

And, losing weight has become much, much easier. I would say my weightloss has become nearly effortless, after months of struggling to lose 1/2 pound week eating the way I was before. I guess that's what happens when you eat fruits and vegetables...common sense, but I'm just now getting it. Better late than never, right?

Mr. Mustard was very skeptical at first. But, as he's seen the changes in me, he has become really supportive. As a family, we're becoming more conscious of the food we're eating, and I think that's a good thing.

As far as being sick with the bug that started in September, I am still sick. If someone sneezes in my general direction, I get even sicker. I picked up something yet again the other day at the pediatrician's office. I cannot understand why I have had a sore throat, cough, and varying stages of the flu for three months solid now. Nothing seems to work: not antibiotics nor steroids nor vitamins nor over-the-counter meds have fixed it. I am hoping that my dietary changes will help my overall health and immunity. Otherwise, I just don't really know what to do. I am wondering if I am going to have my chronic cough and runny nose and sore throat for life. I'm learning to live with it - three months and running, it's just become sort of "normal" now I guess.

But even though I haven't kicked "the bug"- I feel about 1000% better now that I am not battling constant chronic migraines. It's amazing how much better life is when you don't feel like your head is going to explode!

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