Quinoa has made its way into the health food market in the last couple of years. Originally known to the Inca as the “mother seed” and considered sacred, quinoa has been a staple food for many cultures for more than 5,000 years. Today it’s known as a “superfood” and has exploded onto the market in natural markets, farm-to-market restaurants, and even into some snack bars.
What is Quinoa?
Many think of quinoa as a grain. However, it is actually a seed. The seed is harvested from the goosefoot plant. The goosefoot plant is related to Swiss chard, spinach and beets. Quinoa is most commonly found in a salad or part of a side dish, and is increasingly popular as part of breakfast.
Why is Quinoa So Healthy?
1. Protein: Quinoa is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids— perfect for vegetarians looking to add more protein to their diets.
2. Fiber: Quinoa contains twice as much fiber as other grains do.
3. Vitamins & Minerals: Quinoa contains iron, lysine, magnesium, riboflavin (B2) and manganese.
4. Gluten Free: Since quinoa is not a wheat or grain, it is gluten free.
5. Complex Carbohydrate: Quinoa has a low-glycemic index and is a complex carbohydrate, making it a great food for weight management.
Cooking with Quinoa
When cooking with quinoa, it’s important to make sure that the seeds are rinsed well. The outside is coated with saponin, which can be toxic at high levels. A good rinse will reduce the saponins. My preferred way to eat quinoa is to soak and sprout it overnight, then warm it up in the morning for breakfast.
Soak one half to one cup of quinoa overnight. It works best to soak in a glass container with room for the quinoa to expand. In the morning, rinse the soaked quinoa then add to a saucepan with a little water (the quinoa will soak up more water while being heated). Heat for around 5 minutes over medium heat. Take off heat then add some coconut milk, berries, jam, or other toppings and enjoy. This is a simple meal that you can take on the go with you and prepare in minutes!
That’s the dirt for this week. Next week I’ll give you little tips to get you through the winter and be prepped for the start of race season once again!