Thursday, January 8, 2009

UGH!!! Japanese Food Companies!

While living here I discovered that "fake sugar" (sorbitol, nutrasweet etc) were one of the main reasons for my heart palpitations. I started getting them when I was about 19 and I never knew what caused it but I finally made the connection here after I drank diet coke and my heart went racing an hour or so later. I stayed away for a few days and no heart palpitations. I tested myself by drinking some diet drink and bam...heart palpitations so...I stopped eating/drinking everything "diet" which was pretty easy in Japan since diet foods weren't/aren't as numerous as in the States. I stay away from all gum and diet drinks and I cook most of my own food since I stay away from gluten and dairy. So I thought I was safe....WRONG!!!!!!

Lately my heart has been palpitating again. I woke up last night with it beating wildly. Thankfully I learned a long time ago how to put it back into normal rhythm but I knew something was wrong. I thought about it. We have been eating a ton of kimchee lately. At the store we had checked it for gluten and soy sauce (all Japanese soy sauce has wheat in it and I learned how to read those words) and it was fine but this morning I handed him the container and asked him to read the ingredients aloud. So he read...blah, blah, blah, blah, sorbitol, blah....what!!!! There is sorbitol in the kimchee?!!! Apparently Japanese companies are just putting it in wherever they want to and it isn't being touted as diet food so I didn't even think to read for that. So I now have new things to check for on all packaging!!!! I'm sad too because that kimchee was soooo delicious!! Well....I'm off to the supermarket to find another brand!!

6 comments:

Suzanne said...

I have had the same issue on and off for a few years but have never figured out exactly what's been causing it. I would have never thought of "fake sugar" as I don't have it often... but now I'm wondering if that's it! I'm definitely going to investigate that one!

Can I ask - how did you learn to "put it back into normal rhythm"? I was told once that if you try to 'blow your nose' but plug your nostrils while doing it, this will help stop the palpitations while they're happening? I've tried that but it just makes my ears pop instead :( I've also been told that making yourself cough really hard will stop it too, but that hasn't helped either...

I've never had kimchee before but have always wanted to try it. Will have to make a note to find some that's sorbitol-free :)

FromJapanWithLove said...

Suzanne-I would say that "fake sugars" cause about 95% of my palpitations. As to how to normalize my rhythm....this is really hard to explain but I will do my best. As soon as it starts-I stop what I'm doing. I hold my breath and kind of hunch over...I hunch my shoulders into my chest (if that makes sense). I visualize....not quite visualize but rather (ok...I'm going to sound corny here) tune into my heart and rhythm and imagine it slipping back into normal. If I do this as soon as it starts it works right away. If I wake up from sleeping and my heart is already racing then it can take a bit longer. After almost 20 years of practice it always works...of course prevention is the best way!

Kimchee is amazing!!!! I hope you try it sometime!

Amathev said...

I drink diet stuff all the time, not because I'm on a diet or anything, I just find the taste sweeter.
I had no idea they'd be able to cause such a problem.

Suzanne said...

Thanks, I will definitely try that! (Both your little trick and kinchee :)

Hope you have a good weekend!

FromJapanWithLove said...

Amathev-I know lots of people drink it for different reasons...taste, less sugar, etc but I guess I figure the less chemicals the better! I think I actually really made the connection because I tried to stay away from it because I didn't want the chemicals and then my cravings got bad and I gave in and then within 1 hour my heart was racing and that is how I made the connection. I have a friend who has to stay away from all fake sugars because she gets migrains from them!

nerida said...

My husband has the same issue. In the early days he ended up in hospital for three days thinking he was having a heart attack, before everyone worked out what was going on. Caffine does the same to him.

You should try to make your own kimchee (I know how addictive it is, so stopping eating it is not an option!), then you know exactly what's going into it. My Father-In-Law makes his own and its delicious.

I found a great post here
http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/2008/03/kimchi.html with an easy recipe and links to others.

Good luck!

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