Eating Healthy: the Basics

1. What is a healthy breakfast?
2. What is a healthy lunch?
3. What is a healthy dinner?
4. How much should I weigh?
5. How many calories should I be eating?
6. What is the best way to lose weight?
7. How can I keep my weight loss goal in mind and stay motivated?
8. What is a healthy weekly weight loss?
9. How to set weight loss goals and make them happen
10. How to keep a food diary, and why it is essential to successful weight loss
11. Are all fats bad for you?
12. Are saturated fats bad for you?
13. Are unsaturated fats good for you?
14. Are carbohydrates bad for you?
15. Is fiber good for you?
16. How to read nutrition/food labels
17. How to plan your weekly menus
18. Why should I eat less salt?
19. What do the sodium (salt) numbers mean on food labels?
20. What is The Mediterranean Diet?
21. Why eating vegetables is good for you
22. Why eating fruit and nuts is good for you
23. Why are cereals and whole grains good for you?
24. What are legumes, and why are they good for you?
25. Why is eating fish good for you?
26. Which fats and oils are good for you?
27. Are dairy products good for you?
28. Which meats should I not eat?
29. Is drinking alcohol good for you?
30. Is it important to measure your ingredients?
31. Are snacks good for you?
32. How to choose the right portion size
33. Can you lose weight with a smaller plate?
34. Eat healthier by cleaning out your pantry
35. Which oils and fats should I keep in my pantry?
35. Which oils and fats are good for you - and when should I use them?
36. Which carbohydrates are good for you?
37. What is the best chicken or turkey for you?
38. Are dairy products good for you?
39. Which nuts and seeds should I eat?
40. Is red meat like beef or pork bad or good for you?
41. Is eating dessert good or bad for you?
42. Is drinking soda bad for you?
43. Is drinking coffee bad for you?
44. How can healthy food taste good? Part 1
45. How can healthy food taste good? Part 2
46. How to eat healthy while eating out
47. Are vitamins and supplements necessary to eat healthy?
48. How to eat healthy while traveling


Eating Healthy: the Basics

How can healthy food taste good?
Part 2

several fresh button mushrooms


Umami?.... Ooooo MAAHHH mee.

This has become one of my favorite words. I just love saying it - umami, umami, umami. It sounds like a Buddhist chant - a very sensuous word. It is also one of my favorite tidbits of food information.

Umami is usually defined as the taste of foods that are pungent or aromatic, like mushrooms or cheese or roasted chicken. It is sometimes described as "savory," but it is much more complex.

The umami taste has long been recognized by the Japanese, but only recently seriously considered by other scientists. The feeling of Western researchers had been that there were only the four other taste buds. The perception of savory foods was simply felt to be the combination of two or more of the taste buds being activated.

Knowing about this fifth taste bud is critical for you in cooking healthy. Emphasizing and enhancing umami flavors makes it much easier to successfully create healthy recipes that taste great. Because umami flavors seem to convey a feeling of comfort, focusing on those flavors helps me create dishes that are emotionally as well as physically satisfying. For instance, roasting mushrooms until they are browned to the point of being caramelized intensifies their rich umami flavor. This can be done with almost no added fat, so recipes can be lush and satisfying with fewer fat and calories.

Similarly, using the finest quality Parmesans or other aged cheeses may be higher in fat, but the better quality cheese has a more intense umami flavor—so you can use less in a particular recipe. Just one ounce of authentic Italian Parmigiano-Reggiano adds a lovely, complex, mellow umami flavor that’s also salty and slightly sweet.

As you are looking at recipes, cooking meals and eating dinner think about the all of the flavors in the dish. How can they be enhanced? By paying attention to the balance of all five flavors you can understand the importance that each of the taste buds plays in how satisfying your food is.

Umami foods

Caramelizing foods like onions enhances the umami flavor
Garlic (especially Roasted Garlic)
Roasted nuts
Soy sauce (use low sodium soy sauce)
Truffles (the fungus, not the chocolate)
Cheese, with aged cheeses being more savory
Pecorino Romano
Dried mushrooms (like porcini) ground into a powder is essentially pure umami flavor and will enhance almost any recipe with essentially no added calories.