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Superfood's 101: Quinoa, we need you

September 22, 2013 4 min read

Hi Everyone, Let's talk about Quinoa. If you don't know what this is (as my friend Kaz this year didn't) I would like you to give this amazing grain a try this week - its perfect to take to work etc .. First things first, have you heard of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah)? Have you tasted it or cooked with it yet? If you are shaking your head no, you need to get hip with the times. Quinoa is the hottest thing around since sliced bread.  And for good reason. It looks like a grain, cooks like a grain, and tastes like a grain, but it is not a grain.  It's better.  It is actually a seed that is related to spinach. It is considered a complete protein and contains twice as much protein than rice and other grains. It is higher in essential minerals than wheat, corn, or barley. It is rich with fiber. And, it is naturally gluten free and easily digestible.  No wonder why it is the latest craze. Although, my favorite thing about quinoa is that it is insanely versatile and can be incorporated in so many ways. The most obvious is as a stand alone side dish, but we're both more creative than that. You can also use quinoa as a protein in salads, in baked goods, as filler for stuffing, as a crunchy topping for a dessert .... and so on and so on. You get the idea. I predict the quinoa fad is here to stay. Quinoa is considered a complete protein, because it contains all eight essential amino acids. Most grains are lacking in at least one amino acid. This makes it a good protein source for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Plus, quinoa is gluten-free. I can honestly say I eat Quinoa everyday. I have replaced it for my porridge oats - I am totally addicted to the convenience of it - Quinoa can be boiled into a savory rice or added to soups, stews, or casseroles as a more nutritious substitute for rice. It can also be eaten as a sweet breakfast cereal. Not only is quinoa delicious eaten as a hot grain, it can be a tasty addition to cold vegetable salads or bean/grain salads. Quinoa can also be ground into a nutritious flour. It can be substituted in a recipe for rice, couscous, millet, barley, or any other grain. If like me, you will either eat it puffed - (as below) images-3 Puffed Quinoa - This is perfect as you can mix it with your whey protein in the morning and it makes a cool breakfast option - or a late night snack. or you will buy it raw & cook it ... (as below) images-13 images-12 Raw Quinoa - I tend to make a lot at once and put it in the fridge for my week. It's not rocket science, just cook it until its soft - like rice. Cooked Quinoa - This is cool as once you have it available in the fridge you just add your almond milk ( or coconut milk is the best for a sweet alternative)  - put it into a small pan & warm it through for a delicious hot breakfast - This is a great replacement to my usual porridge oats - Tip: Add fresh vanilla pods, raisins, coconut milk & sprinkle with cinnamon to make your Quinoa breakfast pop ! Note: Try not to make it to runny make sure you have enough quinoa to milk. Cooked Quinoa - I add it to my meal - It's so easy to use as it can be sweet or savoury. Don't be afraid to use it in curry dishes, soups, stews etc ... I tend to replace it for Rice, Porridge, Pasta, Fries, anything really .... even other beans. IMG_8310 Convinced yet ? Ok how about this ..... Quinoa is rich in protein, fiber, amino acids, B-vitamins, iron, copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. It is perfect for vegetarians because of its protein content - and unlike meat, it is free of saturated fat and cholesterol.  Quinoa grain is actually more like a vegetable than a grain. Quinoa is a close relative of spinach, kale and Swiss chard. Quinoa grain can help you lose weight in a variety of ways. Vitamins Quinoa seeds are rich in eight essential amino acids and vitamins such as magnesium and calcium. Quinoa is also high in iron and vitamin B 12. Both iron and vitamin B 12 are essential for energy production and weight loss. If you are deficient in B vitamins, it can slow down your weight loss because your body won’t be able to synthesize nutrients as efficiently. Satisfying Quinoa is high in dietary fiber and protein. The protein and fiber found in quinoa can make you feel fuller, which will make you less likely to binge on unhealthy foods. Quinoa contains approximately seven grams of protein per serving and six grams of dietary fiber. Quinoa is especially helpful for vegetarians trying to lose weight who have trouble finding foods that will fill them up. Dietary fiber binds to fat and cholesterol, which causes your body to absorb less fat and cholesterol. This is one way that quinoa can help you lose weight. The fiber found in quinoa also reduces the plaque build-up along your arterial walls, which reduces your risk of heart disease and stroke. Low Glycemic Index Quinoa is low on the glycemic index. The glycemic index indicates how carbohydrates affect your blood glucose. Because quinoa has a low glycemic index, it means that quinoa is safe for diabetics and it won’t spike your blood sugar. When your blood glucose is significantly elevated it crashes, causing you to crave more sugar or simple carbohydrates. When your blood sugar is unbalanced, staying on a diet and making healthy eating choices is difficult because you crave sweets and refined breads. Quinoa is 35 on the glycemic index, which is relatively low and similar to most vegetables. Low Calorie Quinoa is relatively low in calories. One serving of cooked quinoa contains approximately 172 calories. Even if you ate two or three servings of quinoa, you would get a much larger quantity of food for fewer calories than you would eating a plate of pasta, for example. source Want more Diet Tips ? - Click Here  .

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