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EatingWell Blogs

September 12, 2014 - 3:07pm

MSG—or monosodium glutamate—is a flavor enhancer used in savory foods, especially Asian foods. It contains sodium, but only a third of the amount that you’d get from the same amount of salt.

MSG also includes glutamic acid (aka glutamate), an amino acid that’s found naturally in foods like tomatoes, mushrooms and soybeans and is the source of our fifth taste—umami.

In fact, we eat about 13 grams of natural glutamate a day on average, compared to only around half a gram from MSG.

Some people say they have an MSG allergy—or that MSG gives them headaches, worsens their asthma, causes chest pain or palpitations, or causes mild mood changes or other symptoms, all of which are collectively referred to as Chinese Restaurant Syndrome (because MSG is commonly found in Asian-style meals).

Contrary to popular belief, decades of research...

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September 12, 2014 - 2:46pm

There are all sorts of rumors about canola oil—so let’s sort fact from fiction.

First, you may have heard that canola oil contains high levels of the toxic compound erucic acid. Not true. “The rapeseed plant that canola oil was originally derived from does contain high levels of erucic acid, but it’s been bred out of the canola plant we get our oil from today, so levels are very low and not harmful—the FDA regulates how much is allowed (no more than 2 percent),” says Libby Mills, R.D.N., a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. In the late 1960s, traditional plant breeding methods—not biotechnology—were used to rid rapeseed of its undesirable qualities and canola was born. Today most of our canola oil is genetically modified, which adds a certain creep factor for some people. Truth is, there’s no hard evidence that genetically...

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September 12, 2014 - 9:30am

Though the low-fat craze has come and gone, many of the beliefs we have about fat are tough to let go of.

Recent research raises new questions about fat and its role in health, particularly when it comes to saturated fat. It’s hard to know what to believe.

It’s true that fat—at 9 calories per gram—has more calories per gram than proteins or carbs (which each have just 4 calories per gram). And trans fats, mostly found in hydrogenated oils, are still considered harmful to our health.

Foods can certainly be healthy without a low-fat label, and it’s OK to embrace that fact. Fat adds flavor to foods and helps keep you full, because it takes a long time to digest. Many fats are good for you, like the heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olives and avocados. Plus, sometimes the good kind of fat that...

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September 12, 2014 - 9:18am

Instead of wandering aimlessly through the grocery store aisles on Sunday, I’m sticking to the 28-day meal plan. By week 3, I’m getting used to having all of my dinners and sides already chosen. All I have to do is come home and cook—one of my favorite things to do already!

This week we’re having an Asian stir-fry, a flavorful chicken sandwich, the super-cute potato-kale hash with eggs, an easy pasta, a hearty chowder, steak and more. With all the variety, we get so excited to sit down for dinner every night.

Get the full 1-month Healthy Dinner Plan!

So hang in there and keep cooking with me! Maybe you’ll see why I love cooking and feeding people so much. I’d also love to hear which recipes...

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September 4, 2014 - 10:59am

For the second week in a row, I can answer the question “What’s for dinner?” without having to consult my Pinterest board, food blogs or giant binder of recipes. I’m using the 28-day meal planner instead, where the healthy meal planning, including sides, has already been done for me!

Get the full 1-month Healthy Dinner Plan!

Brisket sandwiches, African-spiced chicken stew, 20-minute Thai noodles, olive-spiked fish stew, vegetarian enchiladas and more are all on the menu with the convenient meal plan.

Here’s what I’ll make from the...

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