Curb Cravings With Quinoa
Article by Diana Walker
Quinoa, an Ancient Grain (Seed)
Quinoa is a “rediscovered” grain that has many health benefits.
You pronounce Quinoa as “Keen-Wa”.
This ancient food was once considered to be “the gold of the Incas” and is finding its way back into the modern diet. People who want a grain that is less allergenic than wheat and as versatile as rice should consider quinoa.
Quinoa is technically a seed, although it looks like a grain. It is the seed of a green leafy plant. When you cook quinoa it becomes fluffy with a bit of a crunch. It is truly a uniquely textured food that many people enjoy when they first encounter it. When quinoa seeds are cooked, the shell of the grain (seed) separates from the center, creating the dual texture. It has a nutty flavor and is a perfect substitute for rice or pasta.
Quinoa comes in several different varieties including yellow, orange, pink, red, purple and black. The most common variety is the yellow kind, which becomes semi transparent when cooked. The leaves of the quinoa plant are also edible and nutritious, although they are sometimes hard to find.
Quinoa is a “super grain” because it has so many healthy benefits. It contains all of the essential amino acids in addition to lots of iron, potassium and B vitamins. It’s a great option for vegetarians because it offers nutrients that most people get from meat.
Quinoa is a Complete Protein
The protein that quinoa provides is complete protein. It includes all nine essential amino acids, and has a high concentration of lysine. Lysine is necessary for tissue growth and repair and is especially necessary if you lead an active lifestyle.
Quinoa provides high concentrations of calcium, manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus. Since they are seeds instead of grains, they have a higher good fat content. The fats in quinoa are heart healthy and beneficial for brain functioning.
Quinoa Helps Curb Cravings
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Unlike other grains, quinoa won’t spike your blood sugar and leave you craving more carbohydrates. The fat and protein content in quinoa are balanced with the carbohydrates, so it will leave you full and satisfied. It will fill you up and keep you fuller for longer than rice, pasta or breads.
How to Cook Quinoa
Quinoa makes a quick meal and is easy to prepare. Rinse off the seeds to remove the coating, and then place the quinoa in a pot (2 parts quinoa to 1 part water). The seeds cook in about fifteen minutes. They can also be prepared in a rice cooker. Adding broth instead of water or adding veggies is a great way to liven up the flavor of the dish.
Quinoa flour is an easy way to get more of the grain into your diet. Since it is gluten-free, it makes a great substitution for people with celiac disease or those who just want to get the benefits of the grain. In order for bread and other baked good to bake properly, you can only substitute 75% quinoa flour for wheat flour. So if a recipe calls for 1 cup of flour, you can use three-quarters of a cup of quinoa and quarter of a cup of wheat. Even with this mixture, you’ll still be reaping the rewards of eating quinoa.
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quinoa chocolate chip cookies
Image by ivers So, i decided i would try out the Mystical Magical Incan Super Grain (that's technically not a grain), quinoa. So I cooked it. And I ate some. And it's not for me. Not as a side dish anyway. It feels like eating bubbles of tasteless air, and it looks like creepy fisheggses. So I tossed it in some cookie batter. They came out pretty well considering I had no eggs (and only whole wheat flour).
Image by RahelSharon A quinoa plant