I feel the need to include every sort of disclaimer here because these foods are not perfect and I am sure many will find reasons to criticize them. However, I will absolutely admit how hard it can be to switch your family to a whole food based diet when coming from the standard American diet. While theses foods are not ideal and can be very inflammatory due to poor quality oils, sugar, non-organic, high in x,y,z etc. they may help reduce free glutamate exposure and/or are slightly cleaner options when switching to a whole food diet. Strictly avoiding processed sources of free glutamate has been essential to our health, especially our son’s neurological health. Please keep in mind that many of these foods can also feed underlying pathogens which can additionally create a surge in glutamate. The following items have been linked via Amazon and/or Thrive Market affiliate accounts where I may earn a commission from. Products may need to be sourced based on availability and/or pricing.

Be sure to take a look at my Instagram page saved stories for our favorite grocery finds, all categorized by store.


Animal Protein

When it comes to animal proteins, we try to look for fresh, locally sourced, organic, grass-fed, pasture-raised, wild/net caught meat, fish, eggs and animal protein without any additives, colorings or fillers. US Wellness Meats and local farmers markets may be good sources for meat. Cured meat, smoked meat, jerky, luncheon meat, cold cuts, long-cooked meat and meats cooked at an extremely high temperature will have higher levels of glutamate because of the protein degradation. Based on individual sensitivity you may see a reaction to these meats, but the more processed the meat, the more likely a reaction will be. Often, if the meat is listed as “uncured” it is still cured in salt, which will result in free glutamate. Fillers such as “natural flavors”, “spices”, “coloring”, “extracts” or “powders” are added to meat as a source of free glutamate, so we recommend avoiding these as well.

Cook time and temperature can also contribute to creating free glutamate and cause a reaction in highly sensitive individuals. Extremely high heat cooking (400 degrees and above) and the longer the food is cooked at those high heats (like wok cooking, high-heat skillet cooking, smoking, BBQ, etc.) causes the peptide bonds in the proteins to break down creating more free glutamate. However, lower temperature roasting and sautéing meats do not break down the protein or create as much free glutamate. A reaction to this would be based on individual sensitivity.

Additionally, consumption of too much meat/protein can lead to protein fermentation in the gut which can increase glutamate levels, inflammation, phenols, clostridia, ammonia, etc.  We personally really try to limit our meat consumption to once a day or less.