Including me! Because it's so delicious and nutritious.. and I want to dedicate a little blog post to it.
Quinoa comes with a delicious nutty taste to it and it’s so versatile. It can be used where you would usually have your pasta, your rice, your potatoes for example. But it can also be added to salads, stews, soups. If you want to go all out, try sprouting it for an even more nutritious food!
Cooking it is as simple as pasta, just add double the amount of water together with Quinoa in a pan. Boil and reduce heat, simmer for 10 mins and let sit with the heat turned off completely for another 5 mins. You should see white little sprouts coming out of the seed. On this note – Quinoa is actually classified as a seed, not a grain. It comes in different colours from red, to white to black and they have different intensities in taste.
Now, what happens when you put this superfood in your body?
Your stomach will be happy as it’s not difficult to break down, your intestine likewise as it can be easily absorbed.
Your body will be excited to get all the amazing amino acids present in this food which it can use to repair tissues and for normal body function. Quinoa is one of the very few plant based proteins that count as a complete protein as it comes with all the 9 essential amino acids.
Then your bowel will be delighted to know that there is a second benefit – fibre! Quinoa contains almost twice as much fibre as other grains which can help constipation, but also regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol.
Your muscles will be happy as they will be supplied with lots of oxygen supported by iron which will help transport oxygen throughout your body.
Your nervous system can be calmed with a good portion of Quinoa for dinner after a stressful day thanks to the magnesium.
Also, your muscles will get a good portion of Riboflavin and Folate which are important B vitamins that are responsible for energy metabolism.
Research has also shown that two phytonutrients are present in Quinoa in very high amounts – quercetin and kaempferol. Both of which are extremely strong antioxidants so they will help your body fight and break down free radicals.
One more, a decent amount of Zinc will also be supplied for healthy skin, hair and nails.
That’s one healthy happy body right there, just from a bit of Quinoa :)!
BUT.. and there is a but of course, as with all things. Quinoa has become a bit of a controversial product. Be mindful, buy fair trade and organic. Due to the massive success Quinoa has over here in Europe but also North America and prices sky-rocketing accordingly, the people harvesting it cannot afford to buy it anymore. Plus, due to the high demand production of the grain has become less sustainable as mass production is being prioritized over sustainability. The soil cannot keep up with nurturing the plant and fertilizer have to be used.
What used to be a sacred grain - the mother of grains even for the Incas, a traditional staple in South Amercian kitchens, produced on a small scale has become another victim of our mass society.
Just something to bear in mind when purchasing, eating and enjoying your delicious Quinoa creations :)!
My favourite recipe is on my recipes page - a Quinoa, Kale and Avocado Salad.
It's called Kale!! Sorry to disappoint, it's not a new pair of fancy shoes or beautiful dress.. Just Kale. But look at this beauty, it's purple! Lol.. I got so excited in the shop that bought three of these, we never know, the world might end tomorrow, so at least I want to have eaten enough of this because it's also delicious :)
On top of the deliciousness and the stunning looks, this guy is also a superfood and extremely nutritious.
This cruciferous leafy green vegetable is full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer nutrients.
Kale is a great source of vitamin K which contributes to healthy bones, quick and efficient wound healing and acts as an antioxidant.
It has also been shown to have cholesterol lowering effects and being a cruciferous vegetable it aids liver detoxification.
Do you need more convincing? Maybe my super delicious warm salad that I made with it..
Boil a sweet potato while you are chopping up the kale leaves, bell peppers, garlic, parsley, and little squares of tempeh. Fry the tempeh with your garlic in coconut oil until golden brown. In another pan, just lightly steam your kale and when everything is done, cut sweet potato into pieces, add everything together in one pan. Add creamed coconut, nutritional year, sea salt and pepper, mixed seeds - finito!
Don't make your life too complicated, when it can be easy!
Just steam your favourite leafy green, I have chosen kale, together with some tenderstem, broccoli or cauliflower.
In the meantime rinse some tinned lentils, chickpeas or other beans that strike your fancy and peel some carrot or courgette spaghetti (loving my new julienne peeler!).
Now I'm not saying you should eat tinned foods as a general rule, but this is way way better than grabbing a ready meal in the super market - I mean like massively better. And it literally takes 3 minutes if you're quick, 5 minutes if you're slow or potentially 7 if you're clumsy like me and all the cupboard content falls on your head...
Add some ground nuts and seeds, throw everything in a bowl, add olive oil, sea salt and pepper - eat! Yummy yum :) x
Did you know that 70% of your immune system is actually located in the gut? A good reason to keep said part of your body healthy. How to do this? Be friendly with your good bacteria, they can do wonders!
Surely, some of you if not many have heard of Probiotics by now.. they have become about as trendy as Bikram yoga or a vegan diet. Now, they do cost quite a bit of money hence why I would like to introduce you to water kefir - it's cheap, easy, just as healthy and tasty.
For those among you that eat dairy, you can also make your own milk kefir or yogurt. This post is however, about water kefir, so if you want to know more about dairy kefir, just leave a comment below.
To get started, you need to order your kefir grains (available from many online shops), this doesn't cost a fortune and is usually delivered within days.
Recipe for water kefir
- 1/2 cup of kefir grains
- 3 cups of spring or mineral water (no tap water because of the chlorine, no filtered or distilled water because kefir needs minerals)
- 2 tbsp of organic brown sugar
Sugar is added because this is what the grains thrive on. Stevia, chemical substitutes or honey won't support the kefir fermentation or growth. The grains will eat the sugar and ferment in this process. At the end there won't be much of the sugar left, so you don't have to be concerned about the sugar content.
Put the sugar in a glass jar of 1 - 1.5 litre in size. Add the water and the kefir crystals. Give it a good stir with a wooden spoon. The grains don't like anything metallic.
Don't close the jar fully as some air should be able to get in.
Leave the kefir to culture for 24 - 48 hours depending on how much of the sweetness you want to be left.
Don't leave the grain culture for longer than 72 hours.
Strain out the kefir grains using a nylon sieve, never use metal as it can kill the bacteria.
Bottle and store the liquid water kefir in the fridge and let it ferment for another 1 or 2 days.
At the same time you prepare a new batch to culture. The grains cannot be left without sugar (food) for too long. It's almost like having a new pet :)! It may take a few batches before your kefir grains effectively remove the sugar from the water as they are adjusting to the new environment.
Once the kefir is ready you can drink it pure, add lemon juice or whatever strikes your fancy.
If you go on holidays or want to take a break because you are busy going to the cinema, studying or whatever the heck you might be busy with, you can also store the grains in the sugar water jar with closed lid in the fridge for up to a week.
As an alternative you can also try making coconut water kefir. You won't need any sugar here as the coconut water naturally contains enough sugars to feed the bacteria. However, don't overdo the coconut batches as the sugar content is not high enough for the bacteria to live off it forever - so they might eventually die and we don't want that eh :)?
Happy fermenting! And let me know how it goes x
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I enjoy studying, creating, exploring and most importantly eating nutritious food and balancing my life with yoga.