Live Total Wellness

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Quinoa Quiz

The Quinoa Quiz - A Super Food That Answers Your Nutrition Questions

What is quinoa? If you haven't heard about quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), you're not alone. Many people have yet to learn the encouraging details on this super food. Although not a pantry staple in most kitchens YET, quinoa soon will be. This seed (no, it's not a grain) has a rice-like appearance with a fun crunchy texture and slightly nutty flavor.  If you know spinach, Swiss chard, and beets, you know some of quinoa's relatives. Once called the Gold of the Incas, quinoa is well on its way to becoming revered all over the world. Let's see why.

Winner of 9 Essential Amino Acids

With just a quick run down of the nutrients in quinoa, it's not hard to see why this food is considered  one of the best super foods in the world.  Quinoa is a good source of protein, but not just any protein.  The protein quinoa supplies the body is complete protein, supplying all nine essential amino acids. This fact alone makes quinoa the perfect super food choice for vegetarians, vegans, or anyone concerned about getting a healthy dose of protein in their diet. Quinoa is especially rich in lysine, the amino acid that is essential for healthy tissue growth as well as repair.

What Can Quinoa Do For Me

We can start with a few basics you will recognize right away.  Besides being a complete protein, quinoa is loaded with dietary fiber, calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Magnesium is abundant in quinoa. Known to be beneficial for relaxing blood vessels, magnesium, along with riboflavin, appears to benefit those who suffer from headaches, even migraines. Manganese joins with copper to form an enzyme which guards against cell damage caused by free radicals.

The health benefits gained from including quinoa in your diet include helping reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cataracts, and gallstones. For pregnant women, quinoa is a great way to increase iron intake naturally, which is important for baby's healthy development.

Because quinoa is lower in carbohydrates than other grains, many people substitute quinoa for grains because it is a very filling food that releases its energy slowly throughout the body, to satisfy your appetite longer. This is a great way to stay on a weight loss program without starving.

If you are eating a gluten-free diet like me, this is a wonderful new food to discover.  Because quinoa is gluten-free, and has many of the same characteristics of grains and rice, there are numerous ways to use quinoa in your recipes.

What Do I Do With This Stuff

Raw quinoa is most often bought pre-rinsed, but if it isn't, rinse it in a colander lined with cheesecloth. (I always rinse mine) Then follow the directions on the box. Quinoa is cooked similar to rice; usually a 2 to 1, water to quinoa ratio.  Cooked quinoa has a nice light texture and a mild, slightly crunchy and nutty flavor.  You'll see the little white "rings" when it's cooked.  Quinoa can be found in 'red' or 'white'.  The nutritional value does not change with the color.

Once cooked, you can use quinoa in many pilaf dishes, adding vegetables, stocks, and seasonings to taste. Just try substituting quinoa into any of your recipes that call for rice and see how you like it.  Quinoa also makes a nice fluffy side dish all by itself.  Add herbs and seasonings if you like and spoon alongside chicken, fish, or meat for a tasty side dish with great crunchy texture.

Another favorite way to serve quinoa is cold in salads.  Add sweet corn kernels, spring onions, kidney beans (or any bean or choice), bell pepper, and celery into a bowl of cooked and cooled quinoa, toss, and you have a light salad that's full of flavor.  Mix in a balsamic vinaigrette dressing for even more pizzazz.

One of my favorite recipes using quinoa is to mix it with feta cheese, Greek olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and some Greek seasoning.  Then add some Balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil.  It's a great lunch or dinner!

Quinoa can be served at any meal, and is available in several forms, even flour. For breakfast, you can serve quinoa with berries, nuts, and milk as a cereal. The flour can be used for baking along with whole grain wheat or as a substitute. Fitting quinoa into your healthy diet is not at all difficult with all these choices.

Once you include quinoa in your diet, you'll be looking for all sorts of ways to serve it.  It won't be hard to find! This is a very versatile super food that deserves a spot in your pantry.


Mary Frances S. said...

I'm a new follower from the Monday Mingle. Such a cute site! Would love a follow back!

My Journey With Candida said...

My sister loves quinoa, me.... I just have a hard time with it. Of course, when I was using it for my candida diet, I ate it plain. I didnt care how my food tasted. I ate to live only.

I really should try it again. The cold salad might be something I could try it in. I know it is VERY healthy for me, so hey.. I just might try it again.

Mare said...

Great to have you following Mary Frances! Hope you find a lot of helpful information.

Chef in Training said...

You have a great blog! I am visiting from the blog hop! I am your newest follower and would love it if you would follow me back too! Thanks so much!

Mommy LaDy Club said...

I had no idea about this. It sounds almost too good to be true! Do you mind if I put this up on our CEO page where I feature recipes and activites from blogging friends? I usually include a photo and link back to your post.

I also wanted to thank you as Co-Host of the Mompreneur Blog Hop for coming by and linking up! Please feel free to check back in through the month and meet more Mompreneurs

Maria said...

Hi mare! :) thank u so much for stopping by and leaving such a sweet comment! I really appreciate it! You've got a great blog!! I love reading about health and food n all its benefits. I have to admit, my eating has been far from healthy lately! Thanks for sharing all this awesome info!! Your grandchildren are adorable.
I look forward to reading more!
Have a great day!
Maria :)

Anita @ Cedar Hill Ranch said...

I am so delighted to be following back. I have some quinoa, and need to try it again.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you have to pre-rinse it before cooking or doing any other food prep.
Cool site and great to connect with you on voiceBoks.
Wishing you a wonderful day,
Español para Niños (Spanish for Kids)

Mare said...

Barbara, yes I do prerinse the quinoa everytime. Otherwise it has a weird taste and smell.

Courtney, I would love for you to feature my link. Thanks so much for the support!

Jaz said...

Aloha! stoppin over from vboks! This is new to me, haven't heard of it. Interesting enough, if I can find it here in Hawaii I'll deff. try it!

This Mom's Heart said...

We eat a lot of brown rice. I have heard of quinoa (in fact, sime runner friends of mine were talking about it just last week), but I have never tried it- sounds like a fun substitute for a rice rut! Found you on the vB Members to remember. :)

MsAngelStarr said...

I love quinoa!! I make pilafs and something very similar to the feta dish you mentioned only with a few more ingredients and we eat it cold as a salad... lots of great tips, I'll have to start experimenting more soon! New follower from Voiceboks. Have a great day!
Angela @ First Comes Baby...

Nishana said...

That's completely a new eatable for me. I have never ever heard of quinoa before. Thank you for sharing the health benefits of such an amazing grain.


Julie said...

Now this is something I think I'll give a try. I'm hoping I can find it in the pasta or rice section at Cub or Super one. I need something different then pasta and rice so am game for something new. Thanks for the idea.
Off to read some more. Take care and God Bless!!

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