MSG lurks in virtually every processed and packaged food we eat, from veggies to organic milk. No matter our diligent efforts to avoid this additive, it’s likely to launch a sneak attack from time to time. Fortunately, a dash of cream of tartar may be all you need to alleviate those raging MSG reactions.
What is MSG and Why Is It in My Food?
Monosodium glutanate (MSG) is a glutamic acid created from the fermentation of molasses and starch foods. It’s added to foods (notoriously Chinese foods) as both a preservative and flavor enhancer. When heated, MSG can rapidly turn toxic, producing side effects that range from mild to serious. Symptoms of MSG sensitivity include:
- Tingling skin
- Burning sensation in the chest and neck
- Swelling of the face, mouth, and tongue
- Panic attacks
- Difficulty breathing
- Elevated blood pressure
- Stuffy or runny nose
Cream of Tartar to the Rescue
If you are MSG-sensitive, it is handy to have cream of tartar on hand. Scan the spice section of your local grocer for some cream of tarter—a white, odorless powder formed from the sediment that collects in the bottom of barrels during winemaking. When a teaspoon is mixed with 8 oz of water, cream of tartar neutralizes the toxic effects of MSG. Cream of tartar is traditionally used in food preparation to stabilize egg whites and sugary syrups and chocolates. In the same manner, cream of tartar stabilizes your body by forming an alkaline environment and raising your pH, thus mitigating MSG headaches, allergies, and the like.