SOWING THE SEEDS OF CHANGE WITH QUINOA
So far this year, we’ve discussed the merits of nourishing our bodies with much-needed essential nutrients. We’ve discussed the top THREE Nutrients to Consume to Stop the Unhealthy Eating Cycle. We’ve also discussed the importance of fat in the daily diet – in the post Exploding the Fat-Makes-You-Fat Fallacy.
The elements we’ve discussed – to be exact – are macronutrients. They’re the essential nutrients needed to create and sustain energy. Essential macronutrients include:
- Carbohydrates – (i.e. healthy veggies)
- Proteins – (from plant-based sources and/or animal-based sources)
- Fats – (healthy fats from plants, nuts, and seeds)
Do you notice anything missing from this list? What about grains? While the standard American diet (S.A.D.) promotes grains as a primary source of nutrients, for those of us with autoimmune conditions and/or inflammatory conditions, reducing (or even eliminating) grains from the diet can prove quite beneficial. As you can see, the essential nutrients we need can be obtained from veggies and other healthy sources.
If you can’t imagine a grain-free lifestyle, you’ll be glad to know that there are healthy alternatives. Consider the wildly versatile benefits of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah). Quinoa is everywhere these days. If you haven’t at least heard of it, you must not watch or read much about gluten-free cooking. Yes, quinoa is a gluten-free food. It also packs a nutritional punch with 8g of protein and 5g of fiber per 1 cup serving, and is considered a low-glycemic food. It’s also a good source of micronutrients such as magnesium, phosphorus, and manganese among others.
The protein and fiber in quinoa provide an even, steady source of energy without the insulin spikes caused by many grains – just another benefit of this true superfood. But then, of course, it doesn’t act like other grains because …
Quinoa is NOT a grain –it’s technically a seed.
But here’s where this little gem of a superfood shines – its adaptability! Quinoa can be cooked and used in just about any recipe. It can be used as a side dish, in casseroles, stir-fries, in soups, stews, or salads. It can be baked into breads, pancakes, muffins, and crusts, etc. It can be used in breakfast cereals and even decadent desserts. It’s one of the most versatile and easy-to-use foods to have on hand in your kitchen.
(Quinoa Preparation Tip: Don’t skip the step of rinsing your quinoa before cooking. Omitting this step can greatly affect the taste/flavor of your quinoa.)
Would you like more ideas on how to use this amazing food? Do recipes such as Quinoa Crusted Pork Chops, Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews, Quinoa Bread Pudding, and Quinoa Pastry Crusts sound tantalizing? Then check out Chef Susan Irby’s book – The Quinoa Cookbook from the Complete Idiot’s Guide series. With over 180 recipes – this book is SURE to include something to tickle your fancy. NOTE: While not every recipe is gluten free, many are.
When Susan (@TheBikiniChef) and I (@SueInge) met on twitter we waxed poetic on the finer benefits of quinoa. When I learned she had a quinoa cookbook we discussed it at length (of course, in 140 characters or less). I was thrilled when she mailed me my own book and I’ve since dogeared the pages and dragged it back and forth to demonstrate at my lectures. When others read the extensive recipe list they say, “I need that cookbook!”
My response is, “I’m sorry, but you’ll have to get your own copy. Mine’s spoken for.”
Do you have a favorite quinoa recipe or grain-free tip? Do share below – we’d love to hear it.
RADIO ALERT: Tune into KABC AM 790 THIS Saturday evening – January 26th – at 7:00 PM to hear my interview with Susan Irby, the Bikini Chef! We’ll chat about food allergies/sensitivities and how they can affect your opportunities to heal.
Reminder: The Weight Loss and Wellness Summit 2013 is still going strong! Don’t miss out on my lecture THIS week so be sure to register for FREE. Listen in on helpful subjects such as weight loss, nutrition, fitness, motivation, etc. Keep up the good work and finish out this valuable health summit on a strong note!
Just started eating these fine seeds recently…had no idea they had that much protein!
They are a true super food! Yum and SO versatile – love to share the amazing variety of recipes you can try. I always have some on hand frozen. Can be used in any meal when it’s handy.
I try my best to have a balanced diet and I’m still sort of working through different options to find the best combination I need for my daily nutrition.
So far I stick to fresh food as much as I can and I try to have lots of fruits and nuts in my diet, too.
For carbs, I usually have brown rice. My protein is from beans and nuts. I try and stay away from meat products. As for dairy, well, I have been told that its not very good for my condition (endo) so I try not to have so much as well.
I rarely have quinoa because its not widely available where I’m from. I think figuring out the right diet is important for those who suffer from chronic illnesses. I know my life has changed a lot after I was diagnosed. I had to change my eating habits but I noticed that I feel much better than I used to. Things aren’t perfect but I am happier and healthier.
Dylan — thanks so much for your comment! You sound like you’re on the right path. It’s a self-discovery journey that takes a bit of experimentation. Some do better with more protein, some with less. Some need more veggies, less fruit. Others do well with fruit. It’s very common for dairy to be problematic with those of us with fibromyalgia, autoimmune conditions, and anything chronic. There are so many dairy alternatives, however, it’s an easy one to work around. Again, congrats on your successful journey and I’m very happy to hear you’re doing well!
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