Quinoa (keen-wah) is an ancient “grain” native to South America. Once known as “the gold of the Inca’s” for it’s ability to increase power and stamina of their warriors. Quinoa actually is not a grain at all, but the seed of a plant related to beets, chard and spinach.
Quinoa is not only very high in protein, but is a complete protein source because it includes all 9 essential amino acids. It also contains high levels of the amino acid lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair making it a perfect choice for athletes, vegans and anyone training hard. Quinoa has a very low gluten content for those choosing a low gluten diet and those diagnosed with Celiac.
Quinoa is also very rich in:
- B Vitamins
- Vitamin E
Quinoa is also great for migraine sufferers, diabetics and those suffering from atherosclerosis.
How to prepare Quinoa-
Although quinoa has already been cleaned, it is recommended that you first rinse to remove any remaining saposin residue that can leave a soapy, bitter taste.
Cook 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid- vegetable or chicken stock or just plain water.
Quinoa can be thick and a bit starchy when cooked. Try allowing a few minutes uncovered for the quinoa to cool and dry before adding veggies. Also try tossing first with a bit of olive oil.
Add fresh or cooked veggies to the cooked quinoa along with fresh herbs and dressings like a lemon vinaigrette.
Try dry roasting the quinoa before cooking for a nutty flavor.
My favorite use of Quinoa-
Add a cup of quinoa to your favorite chili recipe to add extra protein or to replace animal products.
Why add quinoa to your diet?
The fiber content helps maintain a healthy GI tract and is satifying- helping us stay satisfied longer.
Slower digestion helps control blood sugar.
But keep in mind, they are still a carb dense in calories so should be used in moderation. Not treated like vegetables and fruits, where you should be getting the bulk of your carbohydrates. Also consider timing. Insulin sensitivity decreases during the day, therefore if you are looking to lose fat should be eaten earlier in the day or pre and post work out. We will touch more on timing at a later date, but if you have questions feel free to ask!