Pyro Maim Ya’ of Pynk Fitness is back with her latest installment on nutrition and health. Word on the street is that eating well means that pink sparkle ponies randomly show up on your doorstep. Or baby bunnies. That second one can be proven.
Rainy weather puts me in a domestic mood, so I’m cooking a large pot of quinoa on the stove to throw into recipes all week long. What?! You say you’ve never tried quinoa? Oh honey, I’m about to expand your culinary horizons.
Quinoa looks like a grain, but it’s actually a seed from a vegetable closely related to spinach and swiss chard. It’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa has a high-protein content (8.14 grams per cup), which makes it a great cholesterol-free and low-fat source of protein for vegetarians and vegans. Because quinoa is a seed, it also contains a bit of healthy fat (about 3.4 grams per cup), which our bodies need to absorb nutrients more completely.
So how do you cook quinoa? First, soak it in a pot of cold water for five minutes to remove any residue and help the seeds cook evenly. Drain it through a mesh sieve and return to the pot, adding water in a 2:1 ratio to the quinoa. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is has absorbed most of the liquid. Fluff it with a fork and make it fancy with herbs, spices or aromatics.
You can swap vegetable, chicken or beef broth for part or all of the water, or experiment with adding a little lemon, lime or orange juice to liven up the little seeds for a gluten-free alternative to rice or pasta. Or you can use your plain cooked quinoa for a fantastic breakfast alternative to oatmeal – it’s a super choice for those who work out in the morning.
I’ll make a big batch over the weekend so that I can make quick breakfasts all week long, adding chopped apples or pears, walnuts or pecans, chia seeds or hemp hearts, and a little almond or coconut milk along with plenty of cinnamon and occasionally a drizzle of honey or a dollop of yogurt. This can easily be thrown into a travel mug and eaten on the way to work with a spoon, and you’ll be amazed at how energized you feel all day long.
Quinoa was once called “gold of the Incas” and was highly prized for increasing the stamina and recovery time of Inca warriors. They would eat balls of quinoa before long marches or going into battle. You go into battle every day at work, at school, on the track and in the gym. Eat like a warrior for the power to conquer it all! Start regularly fueling your body with quinoa and tell me in a few weeks how you feel. I love to hear good news.