MSG, I Curse Thee!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned some water retention issues I was having. They are back this week, big time. I’m troubled. I have had to take water pills three of the last four days. I got on the scales and didn’t like what they said. I had gained back the pounds I lost. And this, despite the fact that I’ve been very strict on my Keto. I have eaten a ton of veggies the last two weeks. Fresh ones.

As I looked closer at my notes, I see that on Friday, and on Monday, I ate hot dogs. I cooked them on Friday, and ate the leftovers on Monday. Turns out, they are loaded with MSG. Bingo. Nailed it. But what’s going on with my body that I’ve become so sensitive to MSG?

I’m not a scientist. I’m not a nutritionist. I’m not going to attempt to answer those things from a medical perspective. Just doing some research, and using my noggin, I’ve come up with some sad conclusions.

First, MSG is in so many pre packaged things. It’s a flavor enhancer. It makes bland things taste better. I remember as a kid, my mom would buy ‘Accent’ from the supermarket to sprinkle in recipes. It was a little miracle in a shaker. It was MSG. I believe it’s still sold in the USA.

MSG is a staple in Asian Restaurants, at least in the States. I remember there being lots of MSG jokes once upon a time. It’s in, or at least was, many fast food items.

I’m not against it’s existence, or it’s use. But I have developed an intolerance to it over the years. And now that the years have started to add up, the intolerance has increased. I know that when B and I went out to restaurants, I was often swollen and bloated the next day. Heck, sometimes by the time we got in the car to go home.

Now I realize that I have to avoid the stuff. Keep in mind, that my blood pressure medicine already makes me retain fluid, so I’m at a disadvantage from the get go. So it might mean that I have to avoid pretty much all pre packaged food. I don’t know. I never gave a thought to the hot dogs. I did notice they tasted a bit salty.

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered my pork rinds were full of MSG, and I haven’t had any of those in the last two weeks.

My veggies have all been fresh or frozen, mostly fresh, except for some Brussels Sprouts, and they were frozen. It has to be from the pre packaged meats. I will need to check the packages more closely on my salami, sardines, and smoked salmon.

I don’t use bouillon cubes, because of MSG. And I hardly add any salt to my cooking. I might uses a tea spoon for my whole supper, and that would surprise me. I have had lots of diet cola lately. That could be the source of some of the extra sodium.

Some people have said that as they’ve gotten older, they can’t eat as much spicy food. Fortunately, that has not happened to me. But saltiness has become a challenge to me. And apparently, the sodium load in MSG has become almost an allergy. So, I have to watch closely, and read labels thoroughly.

This is one of the reasons I track what I eat. I want to know what goes into my body, and how my body responds to it. My body is changing.

For example, I’ve always liked hot peppers. No, I love them. When I was young, they always affected my bowels; both in terms of volume, and burn. Not any more. When people say, ‘oh, that will hurt tomorrow’, I just smile.

Oh, I just thought of something. I don’t sweat in this country. In America, I used to sweat up a storm. Partly from work on the farm, and partly because summers are just plain hot. Here, I hardly ever sweat. That would get rid of some extra saline. I would need a sauna, and the only one in town is closed due to Covid. Hmm… something to think on.

Ok, I’m starting to ramble. Stay tuned.

An Update Regarding Water Retention

I am finding things rather interesting at the moment. It’s only the 4th day since I renewed my real focus on Keto/South Beach. But I have already noticed some dramatic changes.

First, I haven’t been as hungry. That’s weird. I’ve been starving for several weeks. I had to start eating breakfast again about 6 weeks ago. Obviously, that has something to do with the sugar and wheat that had crept back into my diet. I look at my notes and see that I had donuts at least once a week. Not the half dozen or so that I used to have. But I would have 2 at a time. Sometimes twice a week. And it looks like I had a small frozen pizza once a week for several weeks. I wasn’t paying attention. In fact, I have one in my freezer now. It’s been there for a week, tempting me.

I just ate fat and protein the first two days. I had no vegetables. I paid a price for that. Do I need to go into it? Yesterday, I had broccoli and cauliflower, and I had a little bran. I will do similar today. Figure it out!

But the main thing I’ve noticed, has to do with the water retention I wrote about a couple weeks ago. It got to the point where I was taking my prescription diuretics 5 to 6 days a week. I was getting concerned. Every night, my legs were swollen to the point my socks were uncomfortable.

My refocus began Saturday. On Sunday, I started having a natural diuretic effect. That’s normal when you start any kind of diet. I was surprised it started so quickly. I can’t explain that yet. But I eliminated more water on Sunday and Monday, without the pills, than I usually do with them. Seriously. I’ve even had to get up three times each night to go to the toilet. And it has continued so far today.

I realize that’s a bit TMI, but it’s quite interesting. It makes me wonder how much of my recent weight gain has been water. And what caused it? Does sugar cause fluid retention? Does flour? Is it a combination of my blood pressure medication and sugar or flour? How much MSG has been in the frozen pre prepared meats I’ve been eating?

These questions are worth investigating. But right now I need to get over to the greenhouse and tend to my tomatoes and peppers. I just wanted to share my thoughts with you.

NOTE: I found it. I was just munching on some Pork Rinds, my favorite go to Keto snack, and there it was in the ingredient list, MSG. I threw them out. I had only eaten a few of these, but that explains so much. I have been eating those like they were going out of style. For the last three months I’ve had an individual serving bag of them nearly one a day. That’s a lot of MSG. My heart is broken, but the mystery is solved. Now I just have to figure out what I’ll do for snacks. I don’t like veggies for snacks. Thinking caps on.

Water Retention War!

Happy Water Droplet vector files image - Free stock photo ...

I’m always amazed at how many rather deeply personal matters I describe to you. It’s like I have no filter or restrictions when it comes to my body and the challenges related to weight loss. So be it. I tell you this stuff, because it’s real. And I want you to know the truth. On Instagram, for example, there are thousands of awesome, motivational, before and after pics of people’s weight loss journeys. I love them, too. They keep me going. Yet they rarely talk about the struggles they faced.

Have you noticed how many more of them are photos of women, than of men? Yes, I know there are men who have Instagram pages. Most of them are guys who have become body builders. That’s cool. As odd as this might sound, I was once one of those dudes. It was long before Instagram. Frankly, it was before the internet. So it was many hairs, and pounds ago.

When we look at Instagram closely, we can see that many of the women are also using the gym to shape their bodies as they lose weight. It’s obvious in the muscle tone. There is nothing wrong with that. But the fact is, some of us are getting a bit long in the tooth for highly strenuous workout routines. And there just isn’t much demand for photos of 60 something individuals on the world wide web. Discrimination! πŸ™‚

In the world of the Great Apes, the big bellied Silver back Gorilla is much more desirable to females than the young, buff members of the society. How I wish….

I digress. Sometimes, I see a rabbit, and just want to chase it for a while. Thanks for your patience.

I told you last week, that I’m stuck. I’m not just on a plateau, my tires are spinning and I’m throwing mud, but getting no where. This week I’m going to address one of the factors contributing to this crisis. I’m retaining fluid. Badly.

Three years ago, this month, I had open heart surgery; a triple bypass. It would have been a quadruple, but one of my valves is in the wrong place. It is connected to another valve rather than to the heart itself. Now that’s weird, and it looks odd on the scans and diagrams I’ve seen, but when I had my heart attack and strokes, that weird deformation kept me alive. It was placed just right, so that it didn’t clog up with plaque, so when the rest of my heart flow slowed down, that valve stayed open.

Anyway, I am on blood pressure medicine. I take three kinds. One statin, one actual blood pressure med, and a blood thinner. As a side note, the thing I hate most about the blood thinner is when I cut myself shaving or get a scratch on my arm, or, a nose bleed. They bleed forever. They just don’t want to stop.

I have changed the blood pressure medication a couple of times, because it causes me to retain fluid. My legs were swelling up and felt like they were going to explode. My doctor, switched medications and gave me a diuretic to help relieve the retention. It worked great. In fact, I usually had to take the diuretic only once, sometimes twice, each week.

But in the last month, I’ve had to take one on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday. I only skip Friday and Sunday, because my schedule is so full that I don’t have time to stop and go to the toilet every ten minutes. But the next day, I’m desperate for a pill.

It scared me at first. I was afraid something was wrong with my kidneys. But according to tests, they are working just fine. Relief. Unfortunately, my blood pressure is still so high I can’t wean myself off the medication. I need to lose more weight. Grr….

By tracking my food intake, I have found a possible factor, salt. Let me explain. I don’t use much salt it my cooking. It’s already in my butter and cheese. I will sprinkle a little on my hamburger as I cook in, or on my chicken thighs, pork chops, etc. But not much, and not often. I use a lot of hot sauce, and mustard, and those are also full of salt. I don’t like the taste of over salted food.

But over the last few months, since my wife has been in the USA working, I’ve been cooking for one. So I’ve often bought frozen meat products. Things like Pork Tenderloin, frozen cooked hamburgers, chicken kiev, things like that. Those are loaded with salt. Some of them even have MSG.

The biggest culprit of all, has been my consumption of pork rinds. Pork rinds are highly recommended on the Keto Diet. They are full of fat, but have no carbohydrates. I love the things. I will crush them a bit and use them in salads to add some crunch. I will eat them with homemade dip. But it turns out, that here in the U.K. They are chocked full of salt. I’ve eaten them at least 5 days a week for a couple of months.

So, what am I to do? First, I have to cut back on my Pork Rinds. I found a variety that doesn’t have as much salt. Unfortunately, those are not always available. I’ll have to stock up on them next time they are available. But I’ll also have to go back to cooking ‘raw’ meat. No more, frozen pre made stuff. It has other carbs, I know, but I factor those into my daily allowance. I just hadn’t factored in the salt. Hot dogs will have to be reduced, too.

The main disadvantage of this, is, cost. Those frozen meats, and hot dogs, are so cheap. And they taste great. Calories and carbs have not been affected. But this water retention is becoming troublesome. So I have to do what I have to do.

I will track this for a couple weeks, and get back to you on the results. I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any problems with water retention? If so, what has caused yours? I know some other people here who have had it caused from their blood pressure medication. The good news is, the water pill they give me is called Fouresemide. It can be taken daily with no side effects or addiction. I have asked often about it. I don’t want to risk my kidney function.

One other thing I need to do, is sweat. I need to exercise in the heat, and maybe visit the sauna. I’d love to hear your tips. Talk to you soon.