The effects of hidden food additives on Fibromyalgia symptoms

Fibromyalgia stole several years of my life. In 2002, I came down with what I thought was the flu – but it just wouldn’t go away, and doctors couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. Nothing they did for me seemed to help. After more than 15 different prescription medications, countless appointments with various specialists and more than a handful of diagnostic procedures; I was eventually diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. For years, I lived in pure misery, suffering from a debilitating “invisible” illness for which doctors told me there was no treatment, no cure and no known cause.

Fortunately, in 2007, I stumbled upon some information that changed my life forever. I learned that there are ingredients in processed foods (e.g., high-fructose corn syrup, MSG, artificial colors/sweeteners) that are making people sick, tired and overweight. Immediately upon reading this information, my husband and I inspected the ingredients label on everything we were eating; and we came to the harsh realization that what we had been putting into our bodies wasn’t really even food. Every ingredient label in our kitchen was filled with mysterious words and chemical names!

Without hesitation, we completely purged our kitchen of processed foods and mysterious chemical ingredients – we threw food away, gave food away, and even sold some of it at our garage sale! We said good-bye forever to things like Lean Cuisine meals, Slim Fast bars, soda, chewing gum, ice cream and fast food. We began making all of our food at home…from scratch. We scrutinized the ingredients label on everything we purchased from that point on; and if it contained even one word that we didn’t fully recognize as having come from nature, we didn’t put it in our grocery cart. We also began to seek out local farmers and purchase as much food as we could directly from them – we wanted to fill our bodies with foods from the earth, not chemicals from a lab.

Within just a few months of these dietary changes, I realized that I was no longer in any pain and my fatigue and all of my other symptoms had completely dissipated, as well. No longer were my arms so weak that I could barely drive. No longer was I too fatigued to get out of bed. No longer was I in so much pain that I couldn’t bear to accept a hug from my loved ones. Actually, I couldn’t remember the last time I had suffered an episode of the abdominal cramping, insomnia, chest pains or racing heart beat that had plagued me for the last 5 years, either. In fact, it seemed that I felt better and had more energy than most people I knew (and 5 years later this is still the case for both of us – as long as we eat a completely additive-free diet)! So I kept reading every book I could get my hands on, and I still haven’t stopped educating myself about avoiding food additives and preparing natural, wholesome foods. The more I have learned about food additives, the more shocked and disgusted I’ve become. And when I read about the array of health problems (headaches/migraines, Fibromyalgia, digestive problems, cancer, chronic pain and fatigue, anxiety, depression, etc.) that are associated with these chemicals, it made me very angry!

One of the food additives that upset me the most is Monosodium Glutamate (“MSG”). Perhaps you are aware of the health effects associated with the MSG that is commonly used in Chinese food. However, many consumers are not aware that this very same MSG is added to all sorts of foods at restaurants and grocery stores, as well. Soups, potato chips, frozen dinners…and even foods that you would assume are just one ingredient (e.g., peanuts or sour cream) often contain MSG. MSG is a highly- processed food additive that is added to foods as a flavor enhancer. By over-stimulating our taste buds, MSG tricks our brains into thinking that a food item tastes good.

Unfortunately, according to experts like neurosurgeon Dr. Russell Blaylock, M.D., MSG also over-stimulates and disrupts our nervous systems which causes and exacerbates an array of health conditions (Fibromyalgia, headaches/migraines, vision problems, digestive distress, heart attacks, hyperactivity, obesity, infertility, etc.). For this reason, Dr. Blaylock refers to MSG (and artificial sweeteners, such as Aspartame) as an “excitotoxin.” Physiological responses to these excitotoxins are not allergic reactions – MSG and Aspartame are toxins, so everyone is sensitive to their effects to some degree.

Of course, it is best for all consumers to limit ingestion of MSG. Unfortunately, labeling laws have made this task difficult. By hiding MSG on ingredients labels under innocent-sounding names, such as “natural flavor” or “yeast extract,” food companies can legally add this toxin to food while preventing consumers from realizing it’s in there. With the many dozens of hidden names for MSG on food labels, avoiding this toxin can be challenging. One way to limit your exposure to MSG is to prepare all of your foods at home…from scratch. Even then, you must be certain to check the ingredients label of every item you use in your recipes because hidden MSG is often lurking in places you’d never suspect, such as some brands of canned tomato paste and canned tuna!

Of course, food additives are not the only factor to consider when treating Fibromyalgia. There are a variety of natural approaches that provide relief for those who are suffering. I am not a doctor, and I am certainly not advising anyone to abort their current treatment plan. However, “we are what we eat,” so I do encourage everyone to scrutinize their diets and to eat as many additive-free foods as possible. I am thankful everyday that I have found a solution that has worked for me and so many others.

Research about the effects of food additives on Fibromyalgia has been limited, but promising results were published many years ago in the Annals of Pharmacotherapy. I hope to see more studies conducted in the future. Until then, I will continue educating consumers about the health-depleting effects of food additives, sharing my personal return-to-health story, and teaching people how to shop for and prepare natural, additive-free foods.

I know that these changes seem overwhelming and there are a million “reasons” why you “can’t” make these changes. Believe me, I felt the same way! Just five years ago, I was eating fast food, candy, diet pop and frozen dinners. I had no idea how to cook, and I was also battling a chronic illness and suffering from extreme fatigue, weakness and pain. So, if I can make these changes, anyone can!! It’s just a decision that each of us must make to take an active role in maximizing our own health and wellness and to make conscious decisions about what we put into our bodies. I truly hope that you will consider the information that I have presented here and start doing your own research to begin making changes in your own life.

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How to Avoid Hidden Food Additives at the Grocery Store

Are you doing your best to avoid food additives like High Fructose Corn Syrup, hydrogenated oils, MSG, Aspartame, and artificial colors and flavors?

In the video below, learn how the food industry is allowed to hide ingredients on food labels and how it affects your health!

Even if you are spending a lot of time, effort and money to avoid these ingredients, and even if you shop exclusively at natural foods stores, you still may be ingesting these additives without even realizing it!

If you need recipes and grocery shopping guidance to get you started, check out our e-book, “Eating Additive-Free” (a Natural Cookbook & Shopping Guide that includes 160 additive-free recipes).

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Grow your OWN natural produce at home

One family’s backyard vegetable garden.

In this post, guest author Peter McAllister shares with us why it’s important to start your own garden. He also explains a few of the first steps you’ll need to take to transition your yard from grass to produce.

So what about you? Do you grow your own food? If so, why do you think it’s important? What tips do you have for others who are just getting started? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below….
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“There is growing awareness about the level of chemical fertilizers and pesticides going into our fresh produce. Commercial producers of fruit and vegetables often use chemical fertilizers and pesticides to control the yield and health of their crops. From the producer’s perspective they want the highest yields with the lowest losses to pests possible because their business is more profitable this way.

However, there is growing awareness about some of the adverse effects of the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Because of this, a growing number of consumers are choosing to eat organically produced fruit and vegetables. This can be done either by purchasing organic produce from stores or growing your own produce.

Adverse effects of the use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides

  • Chemical poisons are carried on through the food chain and can have a knock on effect in harming animals.
  • When you eat fruit and vegetables that have had chemical pesticides applied to them you too are ingesting this poison.
  • The production of chemical fertilizers and pesticides has a far greater impact on the global environment than natural substances.

Growing your own fruit and vegetables is easier than you may think. All it takes is a well maintained growing patch that receives ample sunlight, water and nutrients.

How to set up your own vegetable patch

The first thing you want to consider is the position of the vegetable patch. The position of your growing area will vastly affect the yield you gain. One of the biggest considerations is sunlight. You want to position your growing area so that it achieves the most sunlight possible throughout the day. You can do this as scientifically or as instinctively as you like. One way of accurately measuring the sunlight exposure your garden gets is to set up a camera at a fixed point that has a good overall view. Once an hour take a picture of your yard for an entire day. You can then look at these pictures in a “timeline” to see which areas have the most sun for longest over the course of a day. Or, if this is not your style, you can set up the growing area in a position that you know has good general light exposure (at least 6 hours for most vegetables).

Once you have decided upon an area in which to grow your produce you need to set it up properly. If you just dig up some earth and plant seeds, the chances are you will get less than satisfactory results.

Rotavators/tillers make working the soil much easier!

The first thing to do is mark out the area you want to have designated for growing. You can then lift up the grass (if there is any) by using a turf cutter to cleanly remove the top grass layer. The next stage is to prepare the bed for planting. The best way to do this is to circulate and loosen up the soil. This can be done manually by digging or automatically using a rotavator.

Add organic fertilizer/compost to your garden!

For optimal results you will also want to mix in some organic fertilizer with this soil. The type of compost/fertilizer you use will differ depending on what you want to grow. For example, tomatoes require a high amount of nitrogen, where as carrots/peas are not as dependent on this nutrient. Ask at your local garden centre to get the most appropriate fertilizer mix for your purposes.

Growing can be a tricky procedure and you will learn as you go along. Over time your yields should get bigger and your plants’ health improve. Growing your own food is not only rewarding but also fun; eating food you have grown from scratch yourself is endlessly more rewarding than going to the grocery store.”

About the Author

Peter McAllister is employed by SGM contracts who supply equipment and services such
as
 rotavators for sale. We support sustainable living and like to encourage green projects such as home food growing. For more information see http://www.sgm-uk.com

Food Marketing Translations

I wish I knew the original source for this graphic that I found on Facebook. It’s difficult to read, but I believe it says “TheWildDiet.com” at the bottom??? Well, either way, I thought this was great and had to share!

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