Quinoa – the unsung hero

Quinoa, quinoa, how did it take me so long to find you?

Quinoa is a grain like crop with edible seeds. It has a texture that is somewhere between rice and cous cous, yet is a pseudocereal as it is not a member of the grass family. Quinoa is classified as something called a chenopod which means it is closely related to spinach and beets.

A “grain” native to South America, Quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas” who recognized its value in the stamina of their warriors. Nutritionally Quinoa is high in fiber and has more protein than any other grain (12-18%). What’s more is that Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all nine essential acids. Not only is Quinoa a good well balanced source of all the amino acids, making it perfect for vegetarian and vegan diets, but it is also rich in  lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Quinoa is also rich in Riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and a host of other vitamins and minerals.

Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.

Fluffy, creams, slightly crunchy and slightly nutty, quinoa is cooked by submerging in at least twice the amount of water of the quinoa you are trying to cook, and then adding whatever spiced, herbs or flavours you wish to infuse it with.

I generally add vegetables to my Quinoa while I am cooking it, and once it is cooked (after about 15-20 min of simmering) I like to toss it through fresh baby spinach leaves – however there are a myriad of ways to prepare this super-food and literally thousands of sweet and savory recipes for quinoa in my favorite recipe book – google.

Recipe for the Tricolor Quinoa featured above available here <- *click*

I knew nothing about Quinoa until I met my nutrition adviser and personal trainer Noeleen.

Noeleen has been studying health, wellness and nutrition all of her life and is giving a talk tomorrow inside the Lifestyle/Wellness center in Kloof Street.

Her talk starts at 10:30am, runs for 2 hours and costs only R100.

I strongly recommend anyone interested in their personal health, wellbeing and interested in lowering their body fat attends – she has opened my eyes to a whole new way of eating.

You can read more about Noeleen’s seminar here <- *click*

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  1. #1 by Howard Byrle on April 4, 2013 - 12:07 pm

    Although vegetarianism may seem like a modern idea, in reality, its health benefits have been known for many years in cultures around the world. India and the far east make up the largest percentage of the world’s vegetarians, both for health and spiritual reasons. One group of people, the Hunza, who live near the Himalaya’s have a diet which is exclusively vegetarian. Members of their community reportedly often live to be over 100 years of age.`

(will not be published)