Eating Well — Quinoa

Consider this.  Shun the traditional deprivation diets with their woeful success rates and focus instead on eating well.  Eat to savor, not to wholly deprive.  Prepare a simple inventory of healthy foods, preparations and menu options — including a list of wellness foodstuffs (e.g., beets, swiss chard, legumes, nuts, avocados, blueberries) that you enjoy but have not been eating.  Food that is vibrant and light, full of nutrients but not spartan or bland.  Incorporate them as staples.  Then, buy, cook, eat and repeat. 

Quinoa is an amino acid fecund, high fiber seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Not only is quinoa high in protein, it supplies a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. I could wag on about its other nutritional benefits, but it’s good food, so enough.

This recently rediscovered annual herb has been cultivated for thousands of years in the Andes and was referred to as “the gold of the Incas” which sounds perversely ironic given the wholesale pillage, slaughter and conquest of the Incan peoples by Spaniards seeking precious gold in the 16th century.

A plant that is very hardy and drought resistant, it bears clusters of seed on top of the plant that can range in color from white, orange, red, purple, to black, depending on the variety. The ancestral seed color of quinoa is black with the other colors having been attained from mutations and botanical breeding.

The seeds are coated with a bitter tasting saponin which is removed by rinsing the quinoa several times in water to remove the saponin dust.

From the plant Chenopodium quinoa, quinoa are actually seeds related to their hale and hardy cousins, beets, chard and spinach. Protein rich quinoa’s fully rounded amino acid profile is especially well endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. It is also a superb source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, riboflavin and phosphorus.

Quinoa resides comfortably in salads, soups and as a side.

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