A foodie's quest to turn up the heat through strength and conditioning with whole food and a hungry mind.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Quinoa (keen-wah): The Seed That's Treated as a Grain

Ever get tired of those traditional, inferior to quinoa grains like wheat and rice?  Although wheat, corn, and rice have their benefits, quinoa, actually a seed related to spinach and beets, supercedes grains by a huge margin. 

Replace one or two of your current staple grains with quinoa and you will be graces with a multitude of benefits including:

  • Quinoa is rich in protein content. In fact, it is a complete protein as it contains all the essential amino acids, especially lysine, which is required by the body to grow and repair tissues.
  • It has high content of manganese in it, which acts as antioxidant in the body and helps it get rid of dangerous cancer cells and other diseases.
  • The seed proved to be a good source of magnesium, which provides relief from migraine headaches, relaxes blood vessels, and decreases the risk of hypertension.
  • Riboflavin present in quinoa reduces the frequency of migraine attacks, by producing energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells.
  • The presence of potassium and magnesium in quinoa prevents clogging of arteries and hence, relieves stress on the heart.
  • Quinoa has low content of saturated fats and cholesterol, making it an ideal food for every health conscious consumer.
  • It is a good source of calcium, which is extremely important for the growth of healthy teeth, bones and skin.
  • The grain is a boon for people who are allergic to wheat and are suffering from Celiac disease, as it is gluten free.
  • Quinoa is a wonderful source of fiber for the body, which aids easy elimination and toning of colon.
  • The food is rich in carbohydrates, an efficient fuel for energy production required by children and athletes.
  • It is a good source of insoluble fiber that helps avoid gallstones, especially in women who are more prone to them.
  • The high content of copper present in it helps in oxidizing glucose, produces skin coloring agent melanin and acts as catalyst in the formation of hemoglobin.
Source:  http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/benefits-of-quinoa-6494.html

I first purchased and cooked this superfood several years ago after seeing it promoted on The Food Network. I had the chance to continue my experience and pass it on to Kelley and my Mom while worked at Whole Foods 3 years ago.  Quinoa has become a staple in our kitchen and proves to be a great option in vegetarian and meat dishes.  It's also a great sweet treat when cooked with coconut milk and cinnamon. 

Here's an easy recipe that is similar to what I make a lot:

Mexican Style Quinoa and Black Beans
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 lime yields lime
1/8 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 cup chopped green pepper
1 cup tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup black beans
1 cup quinoa

1.Rinse raw quinoa in cold water. Use a coffee filter so the seeds do not slip through a sieve.
2.Put a cup rinsed quinoa and 1 and 1/2 cups water in pot. Bring to a boil and lower heat. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes.
3.Chop all vegetables and place in glass bowl.
4.Add olive oil and canned tomatoes.
5.Blend quinoa with the mixture and add cumin.
6.Squeeze lime into mixture. Garnish with cilantro.
7.Let chill until mixture has "set" (about 10-15 minutes).
8.Eat and enjoy!
Recipe found here.

Try your own creations by substituting quinoa for one of your favorite dishes with another grain.  And remember, to make your dish a little better.........Just Add Cayenne!!

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