We’re very excited to introduce Theresa Hedrick, MS, RD, LD, our newest dietitian blogger and expert adviser to MSGdish. Theresa is a food and nutrition communications consultant and an instructor at Oregon State University. She is passionate about making nutrition fit within the constraints of the real world – which is something she communicates regularly through both social and traditional media channels.
Theresa is the author of several published peer-reviewed scientific studies, and has written nutrition and technical articles for magazines. She’s also been featured as a nutrition expert in radio interviews, where she’s effectively tackled a lot of misinformation related to food.
Theresa brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to MSGdish and we’re ecstatic to have her on our team!
Q: How did you decide to become a Registered Dietitian?
I wanted to go into a field that I would never get tired of. I am fascinated by how the human body works and how what you put into it affects its performance, hence the nutrition career path.
Q: Are there any particular populations and/or issues that you are most interested in advising?
I’m most interested in helping people find small manageable tweaks they can make to improve their overall nutrition that will also fit into their busy daily lives. My favorite types of people to work with are the ones who just put in a long day at work, broke up the kids’ fight, and cleaned up the dog’s accident only to realize that they now have to figure out what to put on the dinner table.
Q: What is one of the most memorable moments in your work experience?
I will never forget the gentleman who told me he ate apple pie every morning for breakfast. He was laying in the hospital bed after his heart attack and objected to my assertion that there might be other breakfast options he could consider. He thought apple pie was the perfect breakfast food because (1) it was baked and (2) it contained apples. No matter how I or his 40-something year old son who was in the room tried to explain it, there was no opening him up to the idea. I eventually started looking around the room for hidden cameras.
Q: What is your take on monosodium glutamate (MSG)?
I’ve heard the flavor of MSG described as that flavor you’ve always known but couldn’t describe because you didn’t have a word for it. That was exactly my experience when tasting MSG for the first time, a while ago. It’s so amazing to think that a little white powder can replicate a beefy, meaty taste, but now that my world has opened up to it, I feel like all the cooking I did before my discovery of MSG was kind of one-dimensional.
Q: Why do you think MSG has such a bad rap?
I think people vaguely remember hearing something about MSG and Chinese food in the 90s. They feel like they’ve heard something about MSG being bad, aren’t really sure what that “something” is, but figure it must be true. Then they see “no MSG” splashed on some food labels and restaurant menus, and the myth gets reinforced. I don’t think most people realize that the myth was busted years ago and that there’s extensive scientific evidence showing that MSG is safe.
Q: What is your favorite go-to healthy week-night dinner?
If I want a quick and healthy week-night dinner, I look for one dish in which I can pack a lot of food groups (especially vegetables). Because I love pizza, that’s usually my go to. It only takes a few minutes to roll out the fresh ball of dough I get for $1.50 at my local grocery store. I use a lower sodium pizza sauce and pile on a more vegetables than will fit. I top it all with a reduced fat mozzarella cheese, and toss it in the oven. My quick, healthy, tasty (and cheap) dinner is done in 20-30 minutes.
Q: If you had to create an “umami-bomb,” what would be your main ingredients?
Mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, some sort of aged meat, and MSG. Maybe all in some sort of breakfast hash. Hmm, I’m going to have to start experimenting with this…
You can view Theresa’s full bio on our About page, here.