Monday, July 13, 2009

MSG-Free Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

MSG. It's one of my arch nemesis, and now that I'm pregnant, something to vehemently shun. During some of my pregnancies, I have suffered from "restless leg syndrome". The symptoms are exactly as the name describes...the uncontrollable urge to move ones legs, especially while trying to relax or fall asleep. This is a most disconcerting be lying in bed and to have to begin kicking your legs violently in a effort to relieve the sensation. Sometimes it would become so severe that I would have to get out of bed and exercise, then take a hot shower. I remember even bringing it up to my obstetrition and saying that I had read that taking extra iron might help. He said, well, yes, then, you should try that. So helpful.

Over the years, I have become more familiar with the causes of restless leg syndrome. It turns out that the comsumption of MSG is believed to be one of the underlying factors. Recently, I was an unwitting participant in a tiny scientific experiment and now I am exponentially more motivated to stay away from the poison.

I am a fan of hummus and it has become a staple in my diet since I've become a vegan. I love to make my own, but while I was visiting my mother in the states, I decided to buy the pre-made roasted red pepper hummus at Walmart. It was rich. It was delicious. It was addictive, and I ate the whole tub in one day. I didn't feel all too guilty, however, because it only totaled about 800 calories, had no animal products, very little sugar and virtually no fat. That night however, I realized that it probably contained much more MSG than I had bargained for. As I lay in bed between the twins, my legs began to tingle and feel the uncontrollable need to move. Because it would have been counter-productive to my sleep had I viciously kicked my legs back and forth as the twins were fast asleep on either side of me, I found myself flexing my feet and calves over and over and over again until I fell asleep.

After careful consideration, I truly believe that the prepared hummus, with it's perservatives and "natural flavors" was the culprit of my difficult night's sleep. MSG is tricky because manufacturers now know that consumers are trying to stay away from it, so they have given it different names. Here are some examples...

Calcium Caseinate
Monosodium glutamate
Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
Textured Protein
Monopotassium glutamate
Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
Yeast Extract
Autolyzed Plant Protein
Yeast food or nutrient
Glutamic Acid
Sodium Caseinate
Autolyzed Yeast
Vegetable Protein
Extract Senomyx (wheat extract labeled as artificial flavor)

And believe it or not, there are TONS of other names, too! For a complete list, click HERE .

In order to avoid eating hummus with MSG ever again, I looked up an easy roasted red pepper hummus recipe, and here is what I found!

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

4 cups cooked chick peas/garbanzo beans (To cook dry beans, soak overnight, drain, and boil for several hours until tenderl)
2/3 cup tahini (sesame seed paste, found in health food stores)
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup - 1 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (purchased fresh or from a can)
2 teaspoons salt

Blend all ingredients in a blender, preferrably a Vitamix, until smooth.
Serve with pita bread or pita chips, or, in our case, tortillas, and garnish with parsley and olive oil poured into a well dug out of the center of the serving.

Now, honestly, hummus isn't something the whole fam loves. It's more of a personal treat, but I have found two members of the family who love it as much as I do. Take a look-see...

Hope you enjoy this as much as the twins and I do! Thanks for coming by!

I am pleased to list this post @ Biblical Womanhood's "Frugal Friday". Check out her blog for TONS for great money-saving tips!
I am also pleased to list this post at...
-Kelly's "Real Food Wednesday",
-Tip Junkie's "Talk to me Tuesday",
-5 Minutes for Mom's "Tackle It Tuesday",
-Tammy's Recipe's "Kitchen Tip Tuesday",
-Blessed With Grace's "Tempt My Tummy Tuesday",
-Mary's "Tightwad Tuesday",
-Jen's "Tasty Tuesday",

and a newly discovered carnival...

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Astrid in Bristling Acres said...

Thanks for sharing your hummus recipe! I've been in the mood for a good hummus!

Amanda @ Serenity Now said...

Visiting from Jen's party. :) I love hummus and this one looks fab!

Lara said...

I'm glad you posted this because I had no idea they were using different names for msg! Just one more reason to make everything we eat from fresh whole foods. I have been buying hummus from Costco because it's so easy. My entire family loves it and would eat it by the gallon if they could. My problem is I don't like the fried chips we eat it with. Maybe I'll start making them eat it with my homemade sour dough pitas. They won't be happy about that but they'll get used to it.

Have you ever tried raw hummus? It's ok but not as divine as the original stuff.

Deanna said...

I love hummus! It is just delicious! and sooo good with all the fresh veggies from the garden.

Cheryl B. said...

Have you visited the 'Biblical Womanhood's "Frugal Friday" ' site lately? Yes, she came back on, but to say that she's taking at least a season of rest from blogging ...

Signing Out said...

Wow, it's amazing to find out they put in foods. I try to stay away from MSG myself. I'll have to look at the label on the hummus that's in the fridge and see if it's hiding in there.

Your hummus looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.


Susie said...

That looks like a yummy and healthy tackle.

B said...

Great post..can't wait to try it.

Dora Renee Wilkerson said...

I just love the pictures of the babies eatting..

I am a BIG hummus fan. Roasted Red Pepper Hummus is my favorite!!

Thanks for sharing that. I'll be sure to try your reciepe sometime soon.


Dora Renee' Wilkerson

Lisa@BlessedwithGrace said...

Recipe looks good.....PICTURES WERE AWESOME!!! I am glad you joined us for TMTT this week.

Kristin said...

Thanks for the recipe! I will have to make this. Dh is not a veggie person :-( but enjoys hummus every once in a while. And he also works at a plant that produces MSG. Another :-( They tell the employees that MSG causes weight loss, hm. It's also in a LOT more products than you think. Chips, sauces, ketchup, dressings-many things that have "natural flavorings" listed on their ingredient list are hiding MSG in there.

Bethany Cox said...

i just wish that instead of foods saying "no MSG" they would say "no excitotoxins" because there are MSG-like compounds out there that aren't quite the same, but are excitotoxins nonetheless and have the same effect, so its tricky. that is where all the different names for MSG come in. in case you were wondering.

Brenda said...

I love homemade hummus too and always mix it up changing the ingredients a little. I have trouble getting it as smooth as the store bought stuff, but its still worth it since its so much better for you.

Nice recipe

B. said...

Love hummus- but never made it as I always thought it was too difficult! But now.... I may be trying it.

Unknown said...

Never made hummus. I really need to try is recipe. THANKS!!! Geri

Shellbelle said...

Oh yes, homemade hummus is always the best! You should try roasting your own red peppers, it's so easy and the result is fabulous! I also add freshly diced peppers (any color) to mine before serving, it gives a nice crunch to the finished product.

Your twins are adorable!

Unknown said...

I have been looking for a recipe for roasted red pepper hummus. Thank you, thank you!!

Mary Bergfeld said...

It's hard to entertain and inform in so short a space, but you managed to do it. I really enjoyed your post and your babies are just delightful.
Have a wonderful day.

Nicole Feliciano said...

Happy Friday! Thanks for the MSG lesson. I hope you’ll stop by my Friday Feast link/recipe exchange and share this recipe.

Unknown said...

Love the pictures of the twins - so cute. Thanks for the recipe. Red pepper hummus is one of my absolute favorite things to eat. Beginning August 5, I will be hosting Crock Pot Wednesdays on I hope you will join me. THERE WILL BE PRIZES:)

Susan said...

I love the sound of your recipe- I also suffer when I eat MSG as does my brother. We both adore hummus and your recipe is one that I will made for our next gathering. Your bolg is great too- glad I found you!

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