A vegan friend of mine was going on and on about how quinoa was such a marvelous food. I finally gave in and he told me a few fascinating facts about this plant grain which is also defined as a cereal. The great advantage for him as a vegan is that quinoa is chock full of protein and provides a great supply of amino acids which are really the building blocks of the body. That is one reason why body builders love it as it is a complete protein. But the other advantages are notable for ordinary guys like you and me.
The history of quinoa
The Incas regarded this grain as sacred and it is no surprise to learn that they called it the ‘mother of all grains’. It can grow in all sorts of climates and is not so dependent on water. That is one reason why the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) has listed it as a super crop. It is easy to grow and harvest.
The great health benefits of quinoa
It reassembles in many ways the well known grains and cereals such as soya, wild rice, chia seeds and buckwheat. When you ground it to flour, it is gluten free so that is another reason for its popularity. The other benefits are that it is low in calories. It is also a complex carbohydrate which means that it provides fiber for the body and also can be a great help in fighting weight gain, avoiding diabetes and also preventing heart disease. It has all the major vitamins that you need and is full of antioxidants which can fight off the free radicals to help preserve cell growth.
Introducing quinoa into your cooking
There are lots of ways of using quinoa in your daily diet. I know lots of friends who use it in salads and others who even make porridge from it. It is a great substitute for white rice and couscous especially when you want a healthy change. You can cook it just like rice in a rice cooker but cooking it in the normal way is also fine. My vegan friend told me that he loves to add it to salads containing broccoli and seeds plus a little mint. I also have used it with other salads which contain my favorite cheese such as mozzarella or cottage cheese. Add it into soups as well. You can even use it to make delicious puddings and other desserts.
A few simple precautions
We should always remember to wash quinoa thoroughly before using it in any form as it is covered in a toxic natural chemical known as saponin. This is rather like a detergent so it sometimes added to water for washing clothes and so on. I know a few people who find its taste rather strong so it may take some getting used to. Apart from these considerations, it really is one of the healthiest food choices you can make.
When my vegan friend asked me how I was getting on with quinoa, I was happy to tell him that it is now a regular addition to our diet.