Say NO to MSG
Dedicated to the Public Awareness of Monosodium Glutamate and other Excitotoxins.
Jennifer B. :: MSG Story and Request for Laminated Card



Thank you so much for your wonderful website! For the past 5 weeks I have been dealing with an unknown illness. I have been to the ER 7 times due to severe hives and swelling. Once by EMS due to anaphylaxis. I have seen loads of specialist including....General practitioners, Allergist, Internal Medicine, Infectious Disease, Rheumatologist, Dermatologist, Chiropractor, and an Acupuncturist. I have spent $$$$ on labs and hospital stays. I have had swollen joints, horrible body aches and headaches. I have been tested for EVERYTHING from bacterial infections to autoimmune diseases. All of my blood work comes back with nothing present except a high iG E showing a very strong allergen present. My allergist tested me for a laundry list of foods...nothing coming back on the moderate or even high side of positive. The final diagnosis was chronic idiopathic urticaria. This diagnosis is unacceptable by me and I refuse to live my life on antihistamines and prednisone!! After 5 long weeks of not being able to care for my 7 month old son alone (my husband works offshore and had to come home), shedding tears every day, being prodded and poked, feeling hopeless and slipping into a depression a dear friend of mine who is a newly licensed Neuropathic doctor gave me the name of a Chiropractor in Austin, TX who performs Applied Kinesiology. Now I know that AK gets a bad wrap in the medical society since it can not be proved by science but I believe in it and after everything I had been through I thought why not. I made the drive to Austin only yesterday to meet with this amazing man. I spent about and hour with him discussing my symptoms. He performed the muscle testing technique and told me that 90% of hives are caused by some sort of food allergy. After only 5 minutes of testing he told me he knew exactly what was causing my illness....MSG!!!! I was shocked!! I knew I was allergic to MSG because I had a reaction as a young child that did NOT involve hives but rapid heart beat and severe headache. My whole life I have tried avoiding MSG at Chinese Restaurants or labels that specifically do not list MSG as an ingredient. I would have never guessed that this could be the culprit of my current allergic reaction. I was amazed...he never looked at my lab work but this made since. My labs shows a high amount of allergen in my blood but is also showing that I am not allergic to any foods. Well this makes since! I am not allergic to meats or vegetable but could I be allergic to what is going on them? He continued to explain to me that a true food allergy will occur 30 minutes to 2 hours after ingested and will leave your blood stream rather quickly where as MSG stays circulating in your blood stream longer; hence my continues hives. I have been consistently ingesting MSG therefore I am consistently covered in hives. He went on to explain how every physical body has a threshold and it seems as though mine has been maxed out. My eating habits have changed immensely after having the birth of my son. My time is limited so my diet consist of quick and easy meals being mostly frozen or canned. I even try to get " healthy frozen meals" lol. He went on to explain that MSG is hidden as other ingredients and I was shocked to find out that almost everything that has been going in my mouth contains MSG!! Even my hair and facial products. He told me that he is very confident that this is what is causing the hives etc and recommended that I eat a STRICT NO MSG diet for 2-4 weeks to see if this is in fact the culprit. I came home and began researching MSG on line when I found your very helpful website. I would love a laminated card by the way. :-) Today will be my first MSG free day; probably in my whole life!!! I am anxious and nervous to get to the grocery store, but excited for the challenge. I know this will be a lifestyle change but if this means I get my health back and get to hold my child pain free then I won't look back. I will keep you updated on my progress and if in fact I am hive free in 2-4 weeks then PLEASE you this as a testimonial!! I really appreciate your informative website and thank you for making this information free and available to the general public.

Thanks again! Here is my address for the laminated card.

[Address and other information omitted for privacy.]

Kind Regards,

Jennifer B.




What an amazing story. We would like to share it on our website as well as our forum at and our Facebook page which you may want to join. It is called Say No To MSG. Search for it and look for our logo. Your story is being repeated around the world and particularly in the US where there are more and more people becoming dependent on processed food. We hope our efforts will not only help people, but also let them know it is OK to get angry and loud. We recently had an inquiry concerning whether a particular brand of "100 % natural chicken nuggets" had a recall. We explained that there is no such thing as a 100% natural chicken nugget and don't eat it whether it had a recall or not. There is a whole generation of people that have been raised on processed foods, fast foods, frozen foods and flavored snacks and so they just aren't aware of the damage being done to themselves when they eat these chemical stews.

We started our journey with eliminating msg and other excitotoxins in 1998 when we were traveling in Florida and Sassafras would get sick every other day. We discovered in Florida, everyone uses a fix-it on the lettuce to keep it from browning and this was making her sick. The next fall we bought our first computer and started researching. Sassafras is a web builder and I suggested about 10 years ago she share the information we had accumulated with others that are suffering and our website Say NO to MSG - Monosodium Glutamate - Index is the result of that effort. We are traveling again, as we do a couple of times a year and are in the New Orleans area for a couple of days. We'll get the pocket card out to you ASAP. If you have any questions concerning ingredients feel free to email us or better, call us. We are here to help.

Keep up the good fight.


Mick and Sassafras Zellar


Anonymous in Texas :: Laminated Card Request



Last week I watched a video of Dr. Blaylock speaking on the topic of excito toxins and the subject has not been off my mind since. My first response was to go through my pantry and refrigerator. I was horrified at the idea that all the while I was breast feeding my son to ensure he received the extended health benefits, I was also poisoning him with excitotoxins. I immediately rushed to Whole Foods with the goal of spending as much money as necessary to protect his health only to discover that Whole Foods is really no better than Kroger when it comes to flavor enhancers. My five year old son exhibits what I fear are mild symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder and I am convinced it is a result of excitotoxins. I would really appreciate if you would send me two laminated cards with the list of common excitotoxins for myself and my neighbor.

Yours is the best website I found on the topic and so I posted a link to your site on my Facebook page. You should make use of social media to get the message out there. Perhaps create a Facebook page but definitely include a Facebook and Twitter share button on your website.

Thank you for the work you are doing to create awareness.

Warm Regards



Thank you for your kind letter. Sassafras is, herself, very allergic to MSG and other excitotoxins which is why we found ourselves a few years ago with a lot of information that we decided to share. Since she is also a web builder, creating the website seemed to be the easiest way to do this.

You have just begun a very rocky trip in the food industry attempts to deceive us while they continue to use excitotoxins denying their effect on us and changing ways of labeling to mask their use. We travel a lot, so there are times we are not able to update the website as we receive or find new information, but our goal is to create a loud group of people that are concerned with the accelerated use of excitotoxins and fake sugars in our food. We are also concerned with the people that suffer directly, such as your son, and that is why we offer the pocket card.

When you first start this program, you should know you are going to have to simply throw things out. Then so much of what we are used to eating because of the ease of preparation and flavor has to be discarded. Sass and I have a very large spice cabinet and, when we can, do all our own cooking. This includes making our own stock for soups (really easy to boil a chicken and freeze the stock in an ice cube tray and then use the chicken for things like soup or chicken salad.), never believing a NO MSG label on a food product without analyzing the ingredients on the label, and continuing our education of everything that is added to our foods.

We have a forum at that has a section dedicated to diet and MSG issues. Please join and share your travels as well. We are going to post your email on this forum without your name. We will include your name if you let us know it is OK, but we felt the letter was important for others to read.

Let us know if we can help you with your journey. The card has all of our contact information on it and you can feel free to phone, write or email us at any time.

Keep up the good fight.


Mick and Sassafras Zellar



Thank you for your kind and informative email. I am nothing if not vocal about the things I care about. So count me as part of the loud group. I joined the forum when I found your site.... I am happy for you to post my letter but I would rather it be anonymous to protect my son's privacy.

You two are awesome.


Vera B. :: How can I counteract MSG when I have eaten it?


Thank you for your website. I will return and be helpful where I can. For now, though, I know I do have a sensitivity to MSG and watch the foods I buy at the store and in vending machines, and I am careful when I eat out... usually. I just went to a buffet with friends from work to join a retiree and have some fun. We did - but now I'm noticing there was likely MSG in something (I ate both from a Chinese center and the salad bar at the buffet - grrrrr - both good candidates for having it in the food because it is at Greektown Casion in Detroit, MI !!!) and I am having my "typical" symptoms that I usually have when I've ingested MSG. (And I haven't done THAT in a long time!!! I KNOW what to watch out for normally...)

What can I do when I know I have ingested MSG - by having my symptoms? (for me, it is a little bit of heart palpitation and flushing in the face - I can REALLY feel it in my ears! My ears are my barometer for illness, allergic reactions, and such things) I am also asthmatic and have been handling that with quercitin and bromelain (with no adverse reaction at all).

Thanks for any suggestions you can give me - if not for this incident, at least for the future. I know sometimes this has really scared me and the symptoms have been far worse - this is not one of the bad episodes.

-- Vera





Thank you for your email. I appreciate it when people share their questions and knowledge.

First off... I use Benadryl to combat my MSG reactions. I have got it down to a science where sometimes a half tablet will do the trick. For really bad reactions, I will take 1 or 2 tablets and 3 or 4 ibuprofen.

I have my share of buffet stories, but let me warn you that lettuce on buffets usually comes from a bag, and bag lettuce has a fixative to preserve freshness, even if it say "No Preservatives". It's not as pointed as Campbell's and Progresso Soups saying "No MSG* (*except that found naturally in Yeast Extract which contains a small amount of monosodium glutamate)" or "No MSG Added" on Lawry's seasoning though there are "natural flavors", so your best bet is to only eat lettuce that is chopped daily at the restaurant rather than cross your fingers with buffet bag lettuce.

Oh, if you had ranch dressing on your salad, then you had MSG and other excitotoxins. ALL ranch anything has MSG/excitotoxins... period!!

I have learned to stay away from buffets. 9 out of 10 times I will eat from the menu rather than a buffet. I do go to the casino in St. Ignace, MI for crab legs and eat other items, but I eat plain foods - white rice, mash potatoes with NO gravy, veggies. I am fussy. Sometimes overly fussy, because I have taken the attitude that "I don't want to get sick AGAIN" so I stay away from the food that COULD have MSG or other excitotoxins. I am even fussy about the butter I use.

Now, you could have done okay with your food choices on the buffet. Though, you might have had cream or artificial sugar you put in your coffee, diet pop, one of those latte/mocha drinks, or raspberry tea. Or it could have been the pie you had that someone didn't mark as sugar free. Sometimes it's the little things. Sometimes it's a combination of everything.

It's not just important to eliminate MSG but other excitotoxins as well. Example, anything autolyzed has three times more toxicity than MSG and anything hydrolyzed is five times more toxic. Also, companies can drop off the words "autolyzed" and "hydrolyzed" in their list of ingredients. It just makes our life harder.

My suggestion is to print out the list of ingredients to avoid so you can use it for your reference.

If I can help you in any other way, please let me know.


Sassafras Zellar


Cynthia Jones :: Alive Pain Free, LLC


Hello Sassafras and Mick,

I wanted to thank you for the knowledge you have provided the world on MSG. I have had chronic pain for twenty five years and was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia ten years ago. I refused taking prescription drugs for the rest of my life. After non-stop searching and research I discovered your site. I have eliminated MSG from my diet and have been pain free since August 2007.

I have decided to launch an info publishing site to explain my story and help others with Fibromyalgia (FM). There is no denying the connection between MSG and FM. The world needs to know this info and I feel it is my life's purpose to help spread the word.

Thank you again for all your hard work!

If there is anything I can do to help you on this crusade please let me know.

Happy Holidays to you and your team.

Highest regard,

Cynthia Jones
Alive Pain Free, LLC




Thank you for your kind letter. If you don't mind, we would like to add it to our website as a testimonial. I can see you are doing the good fight, but it is a difficult one. For instance, did you know that autolyzed yeast causes the same reaction to individuals as MSG? I noticed in your blog dated November 28, 2009, you stated that Swanson was MSG free. They sure claim it on their label, same as Campbells and Progresso. But if you follow the little asterisk, you will find a disclaimer that says, "A small amount of glutamate occurs naturally in yeast extract." It is important to notice that there is nothing natural about yeast extract. Their use of the word of "glutamate" is an attempt on their part to not mention MSG, which, by the way are the same thing. The use of the phrase "yeast extract" is a shortening of the phrase "autolyzed yeast extract" and so goes the battle. The only reason yeast is autolyzed is to manufacture msg. Period.

I would suggest that you tell your readers if they would like to use stock or broth, they simply boil a chicken and create their own. Sassafras does this with chicken, turkey and recently a slow cooked pork roast. Then she freezes them in ice trays she has measured out in the past. 7 ice cubes from these trays equal a cup of stock/broth. No MSG.

Sassafras has found a brand called Kitchen Basics. It is clean and seemingly wholesome with no hidden excitotoxins. Personally I like her homemade stocks/broths better.

I am sorry if I am sounding condescending. I hope we can share more information in the future.


Mick and Sassafras Zellar


Jodi G. :: Shampoo


Hi, I stumbled upon your site today and wow! I'm thrilled to find all your information -- looks like I need to watch my family's eating a little better!!! I'm wondering what shampoo have you found that is safe [because] my sister washes her hair lot and then battles headaches practically everyday. I'm beginning to wonder if there is a connection ???? Her shampoo has the citric acid!

Thank you!





I will send you a longer email when I get back from our show this weekend. But to answer your question about what shampoo I use - it is Suave Daily Clarifying - the clear variety. The "More Manageability" formula I feel has been altered and may cause headaches. I know the fragrance is too strong for me.

When I email you again I will give you some more information about shampoos.

Tell your sister to eliminate Ranch Dressing. Another headache causer.

Thank you for your interest in my site.

Talk to you soon.


Sassafras Zellar


Corey H. :: Request for Information and Reply (with no response)



I am a Dietetic intern at Kansas University Medical Center in KC, and attempting to make a MSG free menu. My first problem is them MSG is not the culprit it is the free glutamic acid that causes the problems. However most list of foods containing "MSG" only contain glutamic acid not Monosodium Glutamate "MSG". Thus my menu project turned into no added glutamate. I just wondered if you have any suggestions on how to analyze a menu for MSG foods, because MSG is only one form that glutamic acid can be added as. As an example: Foods like gelatin are listed as containing MSG but do not, they contain the amino acid glutamate.




Thank you for the questions. Since the dietetic field has shown little interest in MSG and other excitotoxins, I am pleased to see that you are. Our knowledge comes from my wife's allergy and her reactions to excitotoxins and also from the information that is being shared on the internet with other sufferers and researchers.

A pretty good list of those ingredients that contain excitotoxins that cause reactions to my wife and others and are known to cause damage to brain cells is on our website at . We also believe that this list is not complete. The food industry is finding many ways to hide their use of excitotoxins by shortening names like autolyzed yeast extract to yeast extract or extracts.

If you have noticed that I am using the word excitotoxin and not glutamates. Glutamates are found naturally in nature and are needed to stimulate the blood cells for nourishment to enter so it may be carried to the brain. The problem comes from man-made or artificial excitotoxins and not the ones found naturally in nature. Besides, if it is found naturally in the ingredients, for instance tomatoes are high in msg naturally, they don't have to list it as an ingredient and actually they don't need to since it does not cause reactions to individuals that are highly allergic.

So if you use the list that we have developed or any of the other lists that are found on many other websites, you would be safe in concluding that you are offering a menu free of msg and all its other derivatives.

You must also include Aspartame and any other artificial sugars. They cause the same reactions and are highly damaging to brain cells. The FDA refused approval of Aspartame for 17 years before Ronald Reagan's appointment to the FDA approved it only weeks into his term as president. By the way, at the time, Donald Rumsfeld, the ex-Secretary of Defense for GW Bush, was CEO of Searle & Company, the holder of the patent for Aspartame and it was after a meeting with President Reagan that Aspartame was approved, in spite of the research that showed it caused brain tumors in laboratory testing.

I would think that designing a diet free of excitotoxins in an institutional environment would be difficult since they depend on a lot of processed foods and most of these have excitoxins to protect the flavors. Good luck and please keep us informed. If you have questions concerning the information I gave you, please ask. If you have doubts or if the information seems to disagree with your courses, again, please let me know. Since I have never met a dietitian that seems to give a rats *** about excitotoxins, I would guess that the harm to us ingesting excitoxins is not taught in the curriculum.

Concerning a list of foods that would be safe to use on an MSG free menu, there isn't one. Remember the bad guys are the man-made excitotoxins. So when you hydrolyze a protein, which is done simply to create msg (or a derivative as an excitotoxin), it has no nutrional value. The only value derived when it is added to a food product is the bottom line for the food processor, since it will add to shelf life, eliminate packaging and freezer induced flavors and allow them to use second rate ingredients. I would like to point out two ingredients that are baffling; disodium inosinate and disodium guanalate. The only use these very expensive ingredients have is to release hidden excitotoxins. They are simply a catalyst. This is why we offer a list of ingredients, rather than foods.

One more thing, Campbell's Soup Co. has recently created a new line of soups that claims to be free of MSG. If you read the label, you will see an asterisk next to MSG. When you find the footnote (it is very small print) it will say something like, "except for that naturally occurring in autolyzed yeast." Now for a fact. The only reason you would autolyze yeast is to create an MSG type of excitoxin. By the way, autolyze yeast and hydrolyzed proteins cause a larger reaction to sufferers than simple MSG. They are even worse.


Let us know if this helps.


Mick and Sassafras Zellar