MisFiT City Forum

Health Discussions => SayNOtoMSG.com :: To Your Health - Dedicated MSG Section => Topic started by: Gram on October 10, 2010, 04:35:43 PM

Title: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Gram on October 10, 2010, 04:35:43 PM
My husband and I both have reactions to MSG.  We hardly ever eat out anymore, but last Friday for our anniversary we went to Olive Garden and we ordered chicken parmigian.  We both had headaches and overall weakness.  We are guessing that the chiken must have had the MSG.  I had read somewhere that Olive Garden didn't use MSG except in their soups.  Have others experienced this?
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on October 10, 2010, 06:30:46 PM
Whoa, that is horrible news.

My wife, Sassafras and the administrator of the Misfit City Forum, is terribly allergic to MSG and all its derivatives.  Olive Gardens has been a safe haven for us in the past.  I just read your post to my wife and she said, "Well, then, I guess we'll have to go there and order the Chicken parmigian."  She can tell within minutes, usually, if there is any MSG in the food. We have learned that when ordering chicken, we ask that the chicken be an actual breast of chicken and not a chicken strip or other processed piece of chicken.  

By the way, since we live on the road for months at a time and depend on restaurant food much of the time, one simply has to learn to ask the right questions to assure that they will have an msg free meal.  My wife has made up a card that lists many of the ingredients that the food industry uses to hide the fact they are using msg.  If you would like a copy of one in a pocket or wallet size for free, simply email us at saynotomsg@yahoo.com include a mailing address (we have been getting requests with no address) and we will gladly send you one. Or you can go to http://www.saynotomsg.com/basics_list.php , copy the list to a word document and print it.  We did this for years and used it while shopping.  The card, though, is much handier.  Our only request for those interested in a Laminated Pocket Card is to join our Forum.  Joining is free!!

warmly,

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on October 11, 2010, 12:02:43 AM
Gram,

Sorry to hear about your and your husband's MSG reactions.  And I am really sorry to hear that you suspect it came from Olive Garden.  This is very disheartening news because, as Mick stated earlier, I react to MSG severely.  Olive Garden is the only chain restaurant that I consider safe (except for their soups, as you already know).

Chicken Parmesan.  The only thing that I can think that might be the culprit here is the amount of Parmesan.  The different websites that I have read say that Parmesan has a very high amount of Glutamate, or Free Glutamate, depending on the website.  I have Parmesan on my salad and entries, but this is in moderation, not an entire dish.  It's different than tomatoes or mushroom because they are "nature grown".  All cheeses are processed in some way.  And anytime man has the chance to dabble with the process of anything, that item has the chance of containing un-natural Glutamates.  I also wonder if the recipe for Olive Garden's Chicken Parmesan calls for other cheeses - especially by-product cheeses.  I have noticed lasagna recipes throughout the internet calling for cheeses that are in fact cheese by-products.  These items are not guaranteed MSG reaction getters according to known websites, but the processing for these items calls for hydrolysis and autolysis which are red flags to any MSG sufferer.

I know this, when Mick and I go to Olive Garden, I'll get the Chicken Parmesan.  It will be interesting to find out if I react to it.  I will also do more research on the internet in the meantime.

Also, what Olive Garden's did you and your husband visit?  It might be interesting to find out if the Olive Garden's is chain-owned or independently-owned.

I hope our replies are helpful and I look forward to hearing from you.
_____________
Just Me

Sass


BTW...
I have had a few waiters and waitresses share with me some backroom secrets.  They have told me that the base for their salad dressing is Newman's Own (http://www.newmansown.com).  I do have their salads and I am not shy about getting that last olive in the bottom of the bowl.  So far, I have not reacted to the dressing.  On their website, the only ingredient in the Caesar Dressing that sends up any flags is Xanthan Gum.  This ingredient is on the "sometimes" list.  In dressing or maybe even hot chocolate, there might not be a reaction.  For me, it is when it is in toothpaste that I get a reaction.  That is where the "sometimes" fits into play.

Take care.

And...   W==(:D)== W==(:D)== W==(:D)==

 [welcome] to the City!!!
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: john2729 on June 02, 2011, 02:33:05 PM
I suffer from migraines from MSG. I recently visited Olive Garden with my family, I usually get the mixed grill which I never usually have a problem with.  Last night I ordered chicken gorganzolla and today I have a terrible migraine. I called Olive garden but they said they don't use MSG. I'm pretty sure it was the chicken gorganzolla after so many attacks you can usually pinpoint the cause.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on June 02, 2011, 05:40:50 PM

John,

Welcome to the Misfit City Forum.  We are sorry to hear you had a bad experience at Olive Garden.  This is the one restaurant that Sassafras and I can eat at without her getting a reaction.  she normally orders the shrimp scampi and I order the chicken Marsala.  We share, so both dishes are safe.  We also eat a whole lot of salad with them normally filling the bowl a couple of times.

We went to the Olive Garden site and couldn't find the dish you ordered.  It must be very new.  We will email Olive Garden requesting ingredients and will report back here with their response.  How knowledgeable are you of all the different ingredients that can cause an MSG type reaction?  Go to http://www.saynotomsg.com/basics_list.php for a pretty complete list of most of the excitotoxins used by the food industry.

I would like to ask if you had a diet pop or a wine with the meal. Did you request a special dressing with your order? Also, what other things did you eat in the previous 12 hours before you ate at Olive Garden?  These are the questions we had to ask ourselves daily 12 years ago to be able to get a handle on what was causing Sassafras' reactions.

I hope you will continue to share with us.

warmly,

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on June 02, 2011, 06:02:50 PM
I suffer from migraines from MSG. I recently visited Olive Garden with my family, I usually get the mixed grill which I never usually have a problem with.  Last night I ordered chicken gorganzolla and today I have a terrible migraine. I called Olive garden but they said they don't use MSG. I'm pretty sure it was the chicken gorganzolla after so many attacks you can usually pinpoint the cause.

John,

I would like to thank you, also, for joining MCF.    [welcome]

Mick brings ups some very good questions and I would like to add a question.  Does the Chicken Gorganzolla have a lot of Parmesan Cheese?  In my research, I have found that some websites claim Parmesan Cheese makes the list of foods that may cause reactions.  Though, when I eat at Olive Garden I get Parmesan Cheese added to my salad and entree with no side effects.  Since any cheese is processed, I would imagine eating a lot of it could cause reactions.  Gram, who started this thread, reacted to an entree heavy in Parmesan.  I haven't had this dish yet, so I can't say if I would react.

Thank you again for joining.

Warmly,

Sassafras
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on June 02, 2011, 06:16:00 PM


This is a letter I sent via their own website to Olive Garden.  We wait expectantly for a reply

Mick

We have a forum called misfitcityforum.com  and have a section on MSG.  We have had a couple of posters that have complained of having reactions to your food, in spite of us stating that you do not use MSG except in your soups.  If you go to http://www.misfitcityforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=886.new#new You may read them yourself.  By the way, we are not sure which restaurant these events occurred.  Would you be willing to share the ingredients of a dish called Chicken Gorganzolla?  We could not find it on your website.

Please respond as we are still claiming your restaurant is the only chain restaurant that we know of that is safe for those suffering from MSG and other excitotoxins.

warmly and still loving your food,

Mick Zellar
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on July 11, 2011, 07:10:19 PM
Mick and I have not got a reply from Olive Garden's yet, so I messaged them again.  The following is my request for answers:

I picked a location because I had to, so I picked the closest to me.

I am concerned about some of your entrees having MSG (monosodium glutamate)  or other excitotoxins.  These excitotoxins include Hydrolyzed Protein, Autolyzed Yeast, Sodium Caseinate, and Carrageenan. 

I have ate at Olive Garden's in the past and I have not had a reaction.  But, what has alarmed me is there are people that HAVE HAD reacts when eating some of the various entrees serviced.  Are there some entrees that are safe to eat and some I should stay away from during my next visit?

Any information would be helpful.

Warmly,
Sassafras


Hopefully this will elicit a response.

_____________
Just Me
 Sass
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on July 20, 2011, 07:49:15 AM

I sent two emails to Olive Garden without response.  Sassafras did finally get a response and hopefully she will share it with us.  Olive Garden has admitted to using hydrolyzed protein as a flavor enhancer in this email and warned her that because they outside sources for some of their dishes, they couldn't say for sure what dishes were safe for her.  She also found in her research that Olive Garden has contracted with a consulting company to increase the their profits.  One of the things they have done is to reduce the number of regional plants for the processing of foods.  This increases the time foods are on the shelf between processing and serving, which always causes the use of excitotoxins such as hydrolyzed vegetable proteins to mask the package and age tastes that occur with these sort of distribution/processing decisions. 

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on July 20, 2011, 03:56:38 PM
I received the long waited email from Olive Garden's on July 14, 2011 and Mick and I have slowed down enough for me to post it on the Forum.


Quote from Olive Garden's Guest Relations:

Dear Sassafras:

Thank you for taking the time to contact us at olivegarden.com.

Olive Garden does not add MSG to any food products. However, we cannot, with complete accuracy say that MSG is not added by our suppliers to any products we purchase. Additionally, our products may contain hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP). Hydrolyzed vegetable protein is used as a flavor enhancer and individuals who are sensitive to MSG may also react to HVP. Particularly when it comes to adverse or life-threatening reactions, we are unable to recommend any menu items with the assurances we both need. We empathize with the challenges presented to you when you weigh decisions regarding dining out.

If Guest Relations can be of further assistance, please write us again through olivegarden.com (www.olivegarden.com/company/contact_us/ ) or call us at 800-331-2729. We look forward to serving you with Hospitaliano at any of our Olive Garden restaurants.

Jibri
Olive Garden Guest Relations



I am not happy with this news.  I am actually a little peeved.  I have always liked the idea there was a restaurant out there that catered to everyone.  Now, Olive Garden's has fallen in line with other restaurants doing the MSG-laden two-step.  Yee-haw!!

The only thing I can offer to our readers is, if you eat at Olive Garden's you may get an MSG/excitotoxin reaction.


If you do take a chance and eat at Olive Garden's, then I ask that you please let other readers know what you had to eat and if you reacted to the meal.

My dish is Shrimp Scampi with Alfredo Sauce over Linguini or Angel Hair Pasta.  I have the salad before the meal.  I have reacted to the salads due to not removing the croutons.  My bad!!  My reactions are mild - a head rush before the main course.  I don't get migraines the next day so I know the Shrimp Scampi and the Alfredo is ok.  Now, if someone takes my advice and gets this dish, please let us know if you react.  People do react differently than others.  We have to stick together and help everyone out that we can.

Mick reminded me that I do eat some of his Chicken Marsala on Angel Hair Pasta.  I don't react to this dish either.  Again, if you eat this dish, please share your results.

Please share any other news or results you have about your Olive Garden experience.

I hope this information is helpful despite it's disheartening news.

___________
Just Me

Sass
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: tsth on September 13, 2011, 06:39:14 AM
Was doing a google search after my son had reaction last night...and came across your site.  He also had the Chicken Parmigiana and experienced tingling/numbness/dizziness/nausea/etc.   We were discussing low blood sugar as the cause until I remembered that we had MSG issues in my family and I started a web search this morning.  Just wanted to say that my son also mentioned that he has this reaction every time he eats at OG, and he always orders that particular dish...just thought I'd add to your forum with this info. as the other replies helped me to put together the pieces to solve his medical mystery.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on September 13, 2011, 07:25:47 PM
Tsth,

Thank you for joining our Forum and posting about your son's MSG reactions.  Olive Garden has become a very disappointing place to eat.  I assume you read the response I received from Olive Garden.  It was really a "Buyer Beware" statement from them.  You may want to go to our website www.saynotomsg.com for more information concerning MSG and other excitotoxin allergies. You may also want to print a list we have compiled of ingredients that are replacing MSG but are as bad or worse.  You'll find it at http://www.saynotomsg.com/basics_list.php or http://www.misfitcityforum.com/forum/index.php?topic=220.0

We are traveling at the moment and a couple of days may pass before we respond to a post.  Please keep us updated with your son's travails and keep up the good fight.

Warmly,

Sassafras
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: avavavaa on May 03, 2012, 03:27:18 PM
I got MSG reactions from Olive Garden too.
Two days ago, I went to Olive Garden for lunch and ordered 'seafood pasta with garlic butter and white wine sauce'
I also had salad before entree. I had mild allergy reaction after the meal but I didn't take it seriously. And last night,
I ate the left over togo food- seafood pasta and now I'm suffering so bad. I feel dizzy, keep sneezing and my nose keeps producing mucus. That's my reaction always whenever I eat MSG. I love seafood and pastas but so many restaurants use MSG as enhanced flavors. I'm so sad, I can't go to Olive garden anymore.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on May 03, 2012, 03:46:31 PM
Avavavaa,

Thank you so much for an update of another item in the Olive Garden menu.  I haven't visited OG for about a year because their use of Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP).  It is a shame, because it use to be such a safe restaurant, before they chose to go to the dark side.

________________
Thank you for joining the Forum.

Sass
Title: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: truejeans on March 15, 2013, 02:33:06 AM
I've eaten at Olive Garden in the past & gotten the MSG migraine after being told they don't have MSG in their foods. Recently, I went to OG with friends, to celebrate someone's birthday, and very specifically asked for what item(s) were free of both MSG and Autolyzed Yeast Extract. The manager came to our table, talked to me about it and had the chef personally prepare me a meal using their gluten-free chicken breast, pasta and a freshly made marinara type sauce. The sauce wasn't spiced as much as the usual one, but I thankfully had NO reaction this time! :-)
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on March 15, 2013, 06:52:38 PM
Welcome to the forum.  Sass and I have been traveling the past two days, so we were not able to respond to your posts immediately.  We are now ensconced in a motel in Las Vegas awaiting the beginning of the ASD Trade Show and will be able to interact in a timely fashion for the next week.

At one time, we were able to tell people that it was OK to eat at Olive Gardens but as they themselves admitted in an email to Sassafras (previous entry in this thread), they are not a safe place to eat.  I will say without equivocation to never ever go to Olive Gardens again.  They started using excitotoxins because they began preparing much of their food at a regional center so as to increase profits.  They surely didn't do it to lower expenses so they could lower the price of their food.  If anything, they have increased their prices as they increased their use of excitotoxins.

If you value your health, stay away from Olive Gardens.

I think this post by you, truejeans, has prodded me to create a list of restaurants that use excitotoxins.  Maybe we can get one of them to try to defend their use of brain cell killing, headache creating, ADHD giving, etc, chemicals in their food just to increase profits.


Keep up the good fight.

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on March 18, 2013, 10:15:00 AM
I've eaten at Olive Garden in the past & gotten the MSG migraine after being told they don't have MSG in their foods. Recently, I went to OG with friends, to celebrate someone's birthday, and very specifically asked for what item(s) were free of both MSG and Autolyzed Yeast Extract. The manager came to our table, talked to me about it and had the chef personally prepare me a meal using their gluten-free chicken breast, pasta and a freshly made marinara type sauce. The sauce wasn't spiced as much as the usual one, but I thankfully had NO reaction this time! :-)


I am surprised that you were able to find helpful people at Olive Gardens.  The last time I was there, the manager was willing to be helpful, but corporate had his hands tied.  The guy just didn't know how to help me.

It was so long ago, I think I had the Shrimp Scampi or the Seafood Alfredo.  The one thing I know I get a reaction from is the croutons in the salad.

About the "gluten-free" chicken breast:  Gluten and Glutamate are not related.  So, unless the only chicken in the restaurant that wasn't spiced or seasoned was the gluten-free variety, it irritates me that the manager suggested it.

I will have to try Olive Gardens again sometime.

Warmly
Sass



Note:  This note doesn't have any bearing on this thread topic, but rather other posts made by myself and Mick in the past and maybe in the future.  Mick and I are working off the same computer.  So, sometimes when we are posting, we forget to check who's logged in.  I posted this reply under Mick's name yesterday, but I corrected it this morning.  I don't always correct these errors, so sometimes it looks like I have the same comprehension able politics and sports as Mick does.  And of course, anyone that we have conversations with on the internet, and in person, knows that simiply isn't true.  So, I just wanted to clear that up.  Post-on people of the City!!
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: dvcwinner on April 21, 2013, 05:55:24 PM
Hi all..new guy here...just googling and found this...I have a bad reaction to MSG..racing heart, jitters, shakes...I read your forum and posts and ingredient list...I find Chinese food does me in the most...today, however,  we had Olive Garden..now, I've never had an MSG reaction before...their salad does not upset me..however today, I had 1 and a half breadstick,loaded with garlic salt, and then chicken Alfredo...I had a bad reaction...racing heartbeat, shakes, everything. I usually stay away from the garlic salt everywhere, as that seems to get me...

Thanks for reading.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on April 21, 2013, 07:44:35 PM
Glad you're here.  Olive Garden used to be 100% safe minus their soups, but as you may have read in this thread, they are now run by people that feel or is ok to sicken 15% of their customers by using numerous excitoxins including MSG.  They are no different than any fast food chain restaurant.

Keep up the good fight

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: skylamor on December 30, 2013, 08:07:03 PM
I found this forum after searching for msg and Olive Garden. It seems when I go there, does not matter what I order the next 1-2 days I get a horrible migraine. The only thing I can eat is the plain salad, no cheese, croutons, or dressing. Might as well not go. The soup is put of the question, not only is the msg loaded in that but so is sodium. I've had the eggplant parmigiana, a few bits of my husband's tour of italy, even the child's pasta and marinara sauce.  I request gluten free pasta as I try to do gluten free most of the time. But, I have gotten the migraine with and without gluten free. I think it's in their marinara sauce. Are there any restaurants that people here have gone to without reactions? Any at all? I really cannot eat out anymore.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on December 30, 2013, 09:01:48 PM

Sorry to hear about your reactions, but that is why we are here.  Olive Garden used to be a safe restaurant to eat in, but because of corporate decisions to increase profits by building their product in a regional center, they became msg and other excitotoxin users.  I cannot suggest anything other than their salads that would be safe for you.  Unless you have Celiac disease, your problem is not gluten.  The food industry has created a "gluten free" buzz, confusing consumers into thinking what they are doing is good for them.  Many of the "gluten free" foods have excitotoxins that would give you a migraine as well as other symptoms.

We have found most Italian restaurants are OK.  Italian cooking uses wonderful spices and don't need the excitotoxin kick, unless they are a chain restaurant and they have started processing their foods at a regional center. We travel almost year around and eat in a lot of different restaurants.  One must learn what to ask when ordering and also what not to order.  Go to http://www.saynotomsg.com  This is our information site and it gives you a good base for learning how to eat out and not suffer from the symptoms of ESS (excitotoxin sensitivity syndrome).  What part of the country are you from. If we know that, then we can give you some hints on where to eat and what to order.

Keep up the good fight

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on January 02, 2014, 11:45:10 PM
I found this forum after searching for msg and Olive Garden. It seems when I go there, does not matter what I order the next 1-2 days I get a horrible migraine. The only thing I can eat is the plain salad, no cheese, croutons, or dressing. Might as well not go. The soup is put of the question, not only is the msg loaded in that but so is sodium. I've had the eggplant parmigiana, a few bits of my husband's tour of italy, even the child's pasta and marinara sauce.  I request gluten free pasta as I try to do gluten free most of the time. But, I have gotten the migraine with and without gluten free. I think it's in their marinara sauce. Are there any restaurants that people here have gone to without reactions? Any at all? I really cannot eat out anymore.

Skylamor,

Thank you for joining and posting!  And welcome to the Forum!!   [welcome] W==(:D)==

I use to love going to Olive Garden.  I use to order the Shrimp Scampi or the seafood dish with mussels, scallops, and shrimp with garlic butter sauce.  I didn't vary too far from the seafood portion of the menu.  And I never got anything breaded.  I did have some of my husband's Chicken Marsala.  I was fortunate enough not to get severe reactions from eating at Olive Gardens.  I stopped going to Olive Garden because there were so many people suffering from ESS (Excitotoxin Sensitivity Syndrome) who had meals filled with excitotoxins, that I decided not to go anymore.

Some other habits I developed over time at OG was not to eat any croutons.  Try to eat more greens with less dressing (though this was hard to do) because their base is a Paul Newman's dressing, I think it is Caesar.  Though Parmesan is high in bound and free glutamates, I don't react to its use like other people.

Now, having said all the that and maybe getting your hopes up along with others, Olive Gardens might have changed SO MUCH that nothing is safe.  I don't know. I haven't eaten there for at least three years.

About your other plights:

Gluten-Free has nothing to do with ESS.  The symptoms you are dealing with come from excototoxins, not gluten.

There are NO safe restaurants.  There are safe meals that can be found at most restaurants.  Sometimes you'll have to create your own meal.  Every restaurant you go to you have to ASK QUESTIONS.

Make a journal of your meals.  Note those things you react to, and don't eat them again.  Learn what all those chemical sounding names mean, and design your meals so you will avoid those that cause you problems.

Read labels on EVERYTHING, including toothpaste, hair care, make-up, medicines, waterless sanitizers, and anything you swallow, apply to your body, or inhale.  Read everything on this site, at SayNOtoMSG.com (http://www.saynotomsg.com), and the multitude of sites available on the internet.

I wish you the best and keep us informed on your progress, Skylamor.

Keep up the good fight!

Warmly,
Sassafras

Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: skylamor on January 05, 2014, 12:16:25 PM
Thank you so much for your great replies, Sassafras and Mick. Well, I was expecting to hear what you said about restaurant choices being next to none but hoping to hear there was one maybe! Oh well..... I pretty much eat at home now so I know what I'm ingesting. I have not been diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity. I chose to give it up because when I eat pastas or breads with gluten it always caused severe bloating. Once I stop eating it that stopped. I tried baking my own breads from scratch using no salt (in case it was to do with sodium) but it did not matter. So, it worked for me to eliminate gluten for the most part. These gluten free products do have things in there that are not good for an msg sufferer, I know. Anyhow, it's good to know that there's other people out there with the msg issues as I have. People that don't have msg reactions do not understand. They are really lucky....

Thanks again...
Skylamor

Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on January 05, 2014, 09:16:25 PM


My Friend,

I just wish there is a restaurant that we could simply trust to prepare food without us having to ask questions.  Oddly, there are types of food that tend to be safe, but not a restaurant that I would ever say, sure, they only serve good wholesome, home cooking.  Pizza is normally a save food, if you don't have Italian sausage on it.  Sometimes the sausage is OK, but sometimes the processor of the sausage uses excitotoxins for some of their spices.  Italian restaurants normally have a pretty good menu that is safe to eat.  I think it is because they use natural spices that don't need flavor enhancing.  But, fair warning, even in Italian restaurants, most soups will have a canned stock as a base and that is where the bad things are found.

Mexican restaurants are normally safe, but not chain Mexican restaurants.  They also use strong spices in cumin, chili powder, cilantro and garlic which do not need flavor enhancing.  If the restaurant is part of a larger conglomerate, though, it is important to ask if they get their sauces from a can or central processing plant. 

We have found certain foods are safe to order when traveling.  Grilled ham and cheese is a good order.  Fish if they are baked or broiled with no seasoning or lemon.  Salads if the heads are chopped on site and do not come from a bag or aren't treated with a fix-it to keep them from browning.  Breakfast, but ask that they don't use any spicing on your potatoes and don't use any special "pancake" butter on the eggs or pancakes or French Toast.  Also, when ordering omelets or scrambled eggs, ask for "fresh" eggs, rather than bottled eggs. Do not use any flavored creamers in your coffee, which many restaurants provide. Avoid most sweetened pastries unless you can read the ingredients.  Many today use maltodextrin and other fake sugars.  Baked potatoes are OK, but not mashed potatoes unless they actually boil and then mash them and never any spiced potatoes like garlic potatoes.  No gravy or soups or ice cream (carrageenen) or diet drinks.  It is good to get to know a restaurant and their staff. Find one that understands your needs and wait staff that are responsive.  We have restaurants across the nation that have come to know us and we make it a point to stop at while traveling. Since we travel a lot, we depend on restaurants and have learned how to avoid the things that will cause Sassafras symptoms.  By the way, if we stop at a new restaurant and are not able to get answers for our questions, we will leave rather than risk sickening Sass.  There have been times, in a small town, after leaving a restaurant, we have gone to a grocery store and purchased fresh fruit and vegetables and picnicked in the car/van, which, by the way, is a lot more satisfying.

Eating at home can be an answer, but eating out, with care, can be OK as well.  You mentioned that pasta causes you to bloat.  I remember that in college, I came to realize that if I ate spaghetti, within a couple of hours or less, I would feel like it had doubled in my stomach.  This caused me to use much less pasta than I had in the past, which helped.  Now that I am diabetic,  using less pasta is better for me anyway.

Wishing you well

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on January 06, 2014, 12:19:03 AM
Skylamor,

Mick gave some really good food ideas.  There are other helpful restaurant tips, and I will post them when they come to me. 

I would say that any restaurant - chain restaurant or not - has something which is safe for every ESS (Excitotoxin Sensitivity Syndrome) sufferer.  Of course, that "something" might only be a pine float but still something nonetheless.  [A "pine float" is a glass of water with a toothpick.  Just a little humor.]

This post does remind me of one incident in Las Vegas last year.  While traveling, we tend to go to Denny's because I know what I can order and not get sick.  But, we were getting tired of the same older meals, so I asked our waitress about other restaurants in the city.  She suggested Blueberry Hill Restaurant.  The restaurant emphasized pancakes from "scratch", "homemade" mashed potatoes, and "homemade" desserts.  Impressive.

Breakfast is usually always safe for me, even in the evening, so we tried it.  We also asked questions about their evening meals and were impressed.  That evening, I think, we went there again and we had a very helpful waitress.  I asked questions and she answered them or found out the information if she didn't know.  When my meal came, I was suspicious of my side, which was rice.  I ordered it because I was told it was cooked with only water.  It turned out the rice wasn't just plain white rice, but mixed with Uncle Ben's in a box, which had, I think, Autolyzed Yeast.  Nonetheless, I couldn't have it, and our waitress quickly substituted it for something I could have.

The point of the story is, no matter how many questions you ask, you might get something you can't eat.  I can tell you that this has happened to me plenty of times.  It might seem "fussy" to some people, but not wanting to get sick isn't "being fussy", its being smart and healthy.

I hope this helps you (and others).

Keep up the good fight!!
_____________
Sass
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on January 17, 2014, 10:23:09 AM

I just noticed that this thread about Olive Gardens has over12,000 hits, by far the most of any topic in the health section by over 10,000 hits.  This tells me that there are a lot of people that have suffered after eating there.  My suggestion is don't eat there unless they change back to there old ways and quit using excitotoxins in their food.

Keep up the good fight

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: cmalik824 on March 17, 2014, 03:09:28 PM
I get severe migraines from MSG, but have only discovered this in the past 6 months and am still testing EXACTLY what I can and cannot eat. I see a lot of mentions of soup here and how it is clearly not safe which I too accepted to be true since I cannot eat canned soup without a reaction, but I gave it a chance anyway to see if it is a trigger for me and I did fine. No migraine at all! That doesn't mean anything for anyone else's case, but for me it was fine. I had both the Minestrone and Zuppe Toscana. Does anyone know if MSG specifically is listed as an ingredient for these two soups? I am still experimenting with all the "cousins" of MSG and found some to be safe for my migraines and others not. Because I desire to be healthy overall- I try to avoid all of them anyway, but just curious. :)
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on March 19, 2014, 09:56:36 PM
I get severe migraines from MSG, but have only discovered this in the past 6 months and am still testing EXACTLY what I can and cannot eat. I see a lot of mentions of soup here and how it is clearly not safe which I too accepted to be true since I cannot eat canned soup without a reaction, but I gave it a chance anyway to see if it is a trigger for me and I did fine. No migraine at all! That doesn't mean anything for anyone else's case, but for me it was fine. I had both the Minestrone and Zuppe Toscana. Does anyone know if MSG specifically is listed as an ingredient for these two soups? I am still experimenting with all the "cousins" of MSG and found some to be safe for my migraines and others not. Because I desire to be healthy overall- I try to avoid all of them anyway, but just curious. :)

Cmalik824,

First, welcome to the Forum!!   [welcome] (;D)b W==(:D)==

As an MSG sufferer, I can tell you that your reactions will only get worse as time goes on.  There is way to build up an immunity to MSG and Other Excitotoxins (MSG&OE).  I tell that because you may not react to certain items now, like the soups are Olive Garden, but as time progresses, your body will become more sensitive to these harmful ingredients.

Soups, for the most part, are not safe.  Canned soups and bouillons are always bad.  Pre-made broths from a can or box are 98% bad.  There are a couple, three on the market which seem to be okay.  Kitchen Basic (which I am familiar with), Pacific something Organic broths (I have been conversing with someone by email about this, I was hoping they would share here), and another brand which looked to be okay, but I haven't tried.

The biggest thing you have to do for yourself is Read Labels!!  I can tell you something is safe today and yet tomorrow, the ingredients might be different, rendering them not safe.

Soups from Olive Garden have always had Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) in them.  I don't presume that will change... ever.  When an ex-boyfriend and I went to Olive Garden back in the mid-nineties, I didn't notice any reactions during the many times we were there.  But one evening, we did the All You Can Eat Soup and Salad, I I remember reacting to the soup.  Dizziness, spinning, non-responsiveness to our conversation.  These reactions subsided and I was able to eat the rest of my meal, probably because I didn't have anymore of the soup.

I didn't know I was reacting to MSG&OE at that time.  I didn't find that information out until 1999.

As a rule, when going out to eat, I never eat soup with a meat-base, like beef or chicken.  I will eat some of the clam chowders because they are my weakness, and some the cheese potato soups.

Before trying a new soup, always ask questions.  Bouillons?  Stocks?  Reason: If they use any of these, they are NOT the safe kind.  More questions are about the seasonings and spices used.

Also, any ingredient which has been Hydrolyzed, like HVP, contains at least 20% MSG.  Some manufactures add additional MSG increasing the MSG load up to 50%.

I tried to answer your questions to the best of my ability.  Mick and I just got back home, and I wanted to answer your email before anymore time elapsed.

Again, welcome to the City!!!   ::D

Warmly,
Sass
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on March 20, 2014, 11:54:03 AM
I get severe migraines from MSG, but have only discovered this in the past 6 months and am still testing EXACTLY what I can and cannot eat. I see a lot of mentions of soup here and how it is clearly not safe which I too accepted to be true since I cannot eat canned soup without a reaction, but I gave it a chance anyway to see if it is a trigger for me and I did fine. No migraine at all! That doesn't mean anything for anyone else's case, but for me it was fine. I had both the Minestrone and Zuppe Toscana. Does anyone know if MSG specifically is listed as an ingredient for these two soups? I am still experimenting with all the "cousins" of MSG and found some to be safe for my migraines and others not. Because I desire to be healthy overall- I try to avoid all of them anyway, but just curious. :)

Welcome to the Forum and thank you for your post.  Everytime somebody other than Sassafras and I post, it underlines for the other readers that there is a large community of sufferers.  Surprisingly, most sufferers are in some sort of quasi denial, such as you are.  If you are showing symptoms from excitotoxins some of the time, then you are sensitive all of the time.  It gets worse, and not better.  If you can eat the soups at Olive Gardens without any symptoms, then you may have some other problems besides ESS (excitotoxin sensitivity syndrome).  We started this forum to share information that we have accumulated over the past 15 years through research and Sassafras' own sensitivity issues and to give an opportunity for other sufferers to share their experiences as well. We are not much interested in debate.  What we report is founded on experience and other published research.  We do not give medical advice, but we do give explicit advice about what an ESS sufferer will react too.  There is no need for you to experiment with the "cousins" of MSG.  They are not cousins, but simply chemicals that have been produced that has MSG in them or in the case of fake sugar, cause the same reactions as MSG.  Sadly, ESS doesn't allow you to be selective on which excitotoxins you need to avoid.  You need to avoid all of them.  All sufferers, if they want to eliminate the debilitating symptoms in their life, have to become label readers and be willing to deny themselves of favorites from the past.  When you are willing to say, "I DON'T WANT TO GET SICK EVER AGAIN FROM EXCITOTOXINS!", you will, then, start to become symptom free.

Keep up the good fight

Mick
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: misfitguy on March 20, 2014, 12:41:43 PM
CMalik,

You asked if anybody knows what ingredients are in the soups at Olive Garden.  Olive Garden does not share their ingredients, but I went to a "copy cat" recipe site.  They do give you a good indication where the excitotoxins enter the soup dishes.  In the minestrone, all the ingredients look good except for the four cups of "vegetable stock".  Vegetable stock, except for a few manufacturers, has hydrolyzed vegetable protein and autolyzed yeast in them.  It is what makes the stock strong tasting and gives it a hardy boot.  I included the recipe so you can see for yourself.

Olive Garden Copycat Minestrone Soup {Slow Cooker}
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Ingredients

4 cups low-sodium vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups water
2 (14.5 oz) cans diced tomatoes
1 cup diced celery (3 stalks)
1 cup diced carrots (2 carrots)
1 cup diced yellow onion (1 small)
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp dried crushed rosemary
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 1/3 cups diced zucchini (1 small)
1 1/3 cups shell pasta
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 (15 oz) can white navy beans or cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can Italian green beans, drained
2 cups slightly packed chopped fresh spinach
Finely shredded Romano cheese, for serving (Parmesan works too)
 
Directions

Add vegetable stock, water, tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and sugar to a slow cooker. Season with salt and pepper to taste and cook on low heat 6 - 8 hours or high 3 - 4 hours.
Add in zucchini, pasta, garlic, kidney beans and white beans and cook on high heat and additional 30 - 40 minutes until pasta is tender. Stir in spinach and Italian green beans and cook several minutes until heated through. Serve warm topped with Romano cheese.
Recipe Source: Cooking Classy


Concerning the Zuppa Toscans Soup:  There are two ingredients that we would be concerned with.  The first is the Italian sausage.  Many, in fact, most Italian sausage has excitotoxins in them.  When we pizza out, we always order it without sausage for that reason.  The other item is 3 cans of chicken broth.  I can guarantee you that if the broth is in a can, it will have flavor enhancers in them because it overcomes the taste of the can that sneaks in over a period of time.  Since all restaurants use broth or stock from Sysco type food suppliers, I can again assure you they all use flavor enhancers to overcome frozen and shelf life flavors.  I posted the recipe below of a copy cat site since Olive Garden does not or will not share their ingredient information.

I called them on 3/20/2014 and asked if they used flavor enhancers in their products.  The individual that I talked to said I really needed to give them specific dishes so I asked about the minestrone and he said I would have to give them more so their "team" would have more to work with.  I said how about this question, "Does Olive Garden use hydrolyzed proteins in any of their dishes?"  He didn't believe they could answer such a vague question.  I gave him my contact information and asked if he would send me the results of his "teams" research.  I guess we are in a holding pattern because Olive Garden doesn't seem to be able to tell us, their customers, what is in their food.  Stay tuned for further development.

Zuppa Toscana Soup {Olive Garden Copycat Recipe}
Yield: 6-8 servings

Ingredients

2 tsp olive oil
1 lb Italian Sausage (casings removed if necessary)
4 oz bacon (about 5 slices), diced into 1/2 to 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1 small onion)
3 (14.5 oz) cans low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 lbs Russet potatoes, scrubbed and rinsed then sliced into halves, halves diced into 1/8 to 1/6-inch slices
1 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt, then to taste
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups half and half
1 cup lightly packed kale, chopped into bite size pieces
finely shredded Romano cheese for serving, optional
 
Directions

Heat olive oil in a large non-stick saucepan over medium-high heat. Crumble sausage into 1-inch pieces and add to saucepan. Cook sausage, stirring occasionally until cooked through. Drain sausage onto a plate or baking dish lined with paper towels leaving 1 tsp fat in pan, set sausage aside. Add diced bacon (being sure to separate pieces from each other if you stacked them when slicing) to fat in saucepan, return to heat and saute 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced onions to bacon in saucepan and saute mixture until bacon is cooked through (not crisp) and onions are tender, about 5 minutes longer.
Add chicken broth, water, sliced potatoes, sugar, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring soup just to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and stir in half and half, kale and cooked sausage. Cover saucepan and simmer 25 - 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are very tender. Use a spoon or ladle to remove excess fat from top of soup if desired. Serve warm topped with Romano cheese.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: tbear22 on July 18, 2016, 12:36:55 PM
I was at Olive Garden Saturday with my family and had  the Chicken Piccata.  I asked for no tomatoes.  The first one they brought out had the tomatoes and the waitress took it back.  The second one they left off the tomatoes and left off the capers and used a totally different sauce.  By the time they made the third one my kids were finished and I took it home.  I ate it today for lunch and now, 20 minutes later, I have a really bad headache.  It has to be something with their chicken because that is the only thing I ate for lunch with water.  I normally get pasta dishes and don't have trouble.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Arlrock57 on April 13, 2017, 10:23:52 AM
I ate at Olive Garden two nights ago, thinking nothing of MSG in my food! The next morning I had a headache like I normally get if I have MSG, it got worse, I was dizzy, couldn't stand up, was vomiting. It was the worst reaction I have ever had. I ordered the cheese ravioli with marinara sauce, salad, and two breadsticks. I don't understand what I could have eaten that would have had me react this way. I thought there was no way OG would have MSG in their food, imagine my surprise when I found this thread! Has anyone reacted this way from this food order? I have never reacted like this from Olive Garden before, but I've never had their ravioli.
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on April 17, 2017, 11:20:58 PM
Arlrock57,

 [welcome] to the Forum and thank you for posting your incident at Olive Garden on our Forum.  Reactions to MSG and Other Excitotoxins can be tough.  The reaction you encounter was a violent reaction which must be heard. 

I looked up information concerning the ingredients in Cheese Ravioli, unfortunately I wasn't able to find what cheeses were used.  Recently,  there has been an influx of people reacting to dinners with cheese at Olive Garden.  Cheese is normally safe, but as soon as a company, like Olive Garden, responds to cost, the cheeses used can be of low quality which are typically bi-products, and these bi-product cheeses will cause reactions in people with Excitotoxin Sensitivity Syndrome  (ESS).

If you go back to Olive Garden, my suggestion would be to avoid the cheeses, even the parmesan cheese on the salad.  Also, avoid anything breaded.  I'm not talking about bread sticks, I'm talking about breaded chicken, pork, beef, fish, vegetables... anything.  Then report back here with the results.  Of course,  the best way to avoid Excitotoxin-laced food is don't go back to Olive Garden ever again or any other establishment where you react.

Be sure to contact Olive Garden with a detailed account of your reaction if you haven't done so already.  They have to be held accountable.

Keep up the good fight!!

Warmly,
Sassafras Zellar
Title: Re: Olive Garden Msg reaction
Post by: Sassafras on April 17, 2017, 11:53:47 PM
I was at Olive Garden Saturday with my family and had  the Chicken Piccata.  I asked for no tomatoes.  The first one they brought out had the tomatoes and the waitress took it back.  The second one they left off the tomatoes and left off the capers and used a totally different sauce.  By the time they made the third one my kids were finished and I took it home.  I ate it today for lunch and now, 20 minutes later, I have a really bad headache.  It has to be something with their chicken because that is the only thing I ate for lunch with water.  I normally get pasta dishes and don't have trouble.

TBear,
I remember your post and I'm thinking I must have sent you a response via email or along with your Laminated Card.  I am unsure why your post on the Forum never was answered so I apologize to you and our fellow members and onlookers.

The dish, Chicken Piccata, you had looks to be safe visually.  I have attached a picture of Chicken Piccata.  I think the culprit was the parmesan breaded zucchini.  I don't know if the parmesan breaded zucchini always come with this dish or if there are choices, but this item is a definite reaction to people suffering from Excitotoxin Sensitivity Syndrome (ESS).

I hope this information is of help to you and to our readers.

Keep up the good fight!!

Warmly,
Sassafras