In this age of fast food, frozen food, canned and prepackaged food, how do you stay safe from the onslaught of MSG?

MSG'D!! Part 5: What Do I Eat Now? 5 Steps to an MSG-free life. |


Seeing that you’re reading this article (and hopefully the whole series), you’re on the right track! : )


The next time you go shopping, carefully check the ingredient labels. And don’t think that eating organic will save you, there are hidden MSGs in organic foods too! Chances are, if you’re buying something packaged in any way, it will have some form of MSG in it.

So, in general, when shopping, avoid:

  • anything boxed
  • anything canned
  • anything frozen (though single ingredient frozen veggies/fruits are usually safe)
  • anything packaged or processed in any way

Yep, that’s pretty much everything but bone-in meats, and fresh fruits and veggies…. Don’t despair, it’s worth it!

MSG'D!! Part 5: What Do I Eat Now? 5 Steps to an MSG-free life. |

Avoid fast food restaurants as much as possible. Even opt for Asian food over fast food. In most Asian restaurants, the food is *usually* prepared in the restaurant. The cooks will *hopefully* know what’s in it. In American restaurants and fast food chains, the food is usually prepared at a plant somewhere, frozen, and shipped to the restaurant. The cooks will usually not know what is in the food they are giving you. So opt for Asian and ask them to keep the MSG out of your meal (and avoid the buffet). Best choice IMO: Chipotle. They are the one restaurant I know of that’s working hard to get MSG and inhumanely raised animal meats out of their dishes. It’s pretty much the only place my family eats out.

When eating out anywhere avoid:

  • alcohol (you need your liver in good working order in case you have an MSG reaction)
  • all soups, sauces and gravies (they usually come from an MSG-containing base or can)
  • all dressings other than oil and vinegar
  • marinated foods
  • croutons
 If you do happen to eat at fast food restaurants, avoid:
  • chicken items
  • sausage items
  • products with parmesan in them
  • Kentucky Fried Chicken (no joking here people – I’ve read that their chicken has so much MSG in it that in at least one country they’ve exceeded the legal limit for adding MSG to chicken. Ha.)
  • Burger King (yes, they’re the second biggest MSG offender)

MSG'D!! Part 5: What Do I Eat Now? 5 Steps to an MSG-free life. | www.RaiasRecipes.comAt Asian restaurants always ask for no MSG in your food and avoid:

  • soy sauce (use vinegar and wasabi instead)
  • sushi rolls (ask for sashimi with no seaweed)
  • sea tangle
  • fish and seafood extract
  • dishes that look too mixed and marinated
  • saki
  • the buffet (you can’t keep the MSG out of it. . . .)

When eating out do:

  • drink green tea with your meal
  • eat fresh veggies
  • eat fresh fruits for your dessert


Bread, cereal, crackers, salad dressing, tomato sauce, soup, stock, ice cream, even chocolate chips. Sigh… I know, this is going to be hard. Thus, the real last step:


If you have a hard time getting your family (or even just yourself) off MSG, it’s ok. Expect some complaints from your kids and/or spouse when their meal tastes different. But don’t give up – they’ll get used to it. Remember, excitotoxins are addicting! Talk to your family gently and encourage them, don’t badger them. No body wants to change because they’re forced to. : )

Lest you think I am writing this because I have found the magical MSG-free path and my family and I eat MSG-free 100% of the time, I am sorry to disappoint you. I can attest to the hardness and near impossibility of keeping MSG out of your house. Like I said, the first step is being aware, just don’t stop there! It’s ok to take baby steps. . . .

MSG'D!! Part 5: What Do I Eat Now? 5 Steps To An MSG-Free Life |


Want to know more about MSG?

Check out the rest of the series:

Part 1: A Little History and Some Scientific Studies
Part 2: Excitotoxins and the FDA
Part 3: Reactions
Part 4: Aliases and Misc. Uses
Part 5: What Do I Eat Now? (you’re here now)


Sources for the past five articles: 

Nourishing Traditions [Revised Second Edition], by Sally Fallon & Mary Enig, pages 49, 130,  143, 278, 383, and 620

{This article is liked to Raising Homemakers Link-Up and Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways.}