Saturday, March 9, 2013

Food Facts: Quinoa, March's Grain of The Month

That's right.
According to The Whole Grain Council
Quinoa is "March's Grain of The Month".

This is because in the South American Uyuni Salt Flats, 13,000 feet high on the plains of the Andes, quinoa is harvested in late March. For two days, the peoples in the Andes Mountains hold a traditional Harvest Festival this time of year to celebrate this super grain.
Quinoa, Flowering!
What makes quinoa so super?
Personally, I think quinoa has reached "Celebrity Status" not because of its tie to sacred Incan rituals, but because it's a great source of protein. Just one cup provides 8 grams of protein! So, maybe the Incan peoples weren't so far off believing quinoa empowered them, and was why they could survive the harsh conditions of the Andes Mountains. Maybe a little more quinoa in my diet could have helped me fair better through this harsh, bitter cold winter we've been having!
Let's not leave out our U.S. Native American Indians. 
History shows that they too grew Quinoa
 - in fact caves along the lower Mississippi have revealed 
remnants of Quinoa in charred baskets!
So, just 1 cup provides 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber (>3grams = high fiber food). This combo - protein and fiber - has been shown to help you feel fuller, longer. What's more is, unlike beans, quinoa protein is a complete protein.
Super Me!
One cup of quinoa provides 20% of the RD value of Folate and B vitamins, aiding in tissue repair; it's high in potassium to help with regulate blood pressure; provides magnesium, nature's muscle relaxant; and phosphorus for that high energy ATP molecule; as well as iron to help your blood carry oxygen - oh yeah, all this for only about 220 calories!
Quinoa is versatile, too. 
See, it's not really a grain, but a seed to a plant related to the beet, chard and spinach family. This makes it a perfect "cereal, grain or flour" substitute for people who are looking for gluten-free alternatives. Lots of home bakers are substituting wheat flour with quinoa flour to make breads and pastas. 
Quinoa is so popular,
you don't have to make anything yourself, 
there are lots of products already marketed using quinoa
- like pasta and surprisingly, even beverages!
Quinoa cooks in about 10-15 minutes, and can be eaten plain like a couscous, or added to rice, beans, soups or salads. Some great recipes can be found at Bob's Red Mill,  Cooking Light, and The Whole Grain Council.

This one looks delicious:
Chick Pea Bajane
Do you eat quinoa?
Do you have a favorite quinoa recipe?
I'de love to learn more.
Train Smart Today!
Post a Comment