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Quinoa: The Wonder Grain

By Daryl H. Bryant (355 words)
Posted in Living with MS on May 16, 2013

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Quinoa: The Wonder Grain

If you are on a gluten free diet, you have probably heard of quinoa. Referred to as a grain and often times mispronounced, this exciting new food lives up to all the hype. Not only is it chock full of nutrients, it has long been used for its medicinal properties and tastes great.

Unlike other grains, quinoa is a complete protein all by itself. This means you don't have to combine it with something else to make the inherent protein work for your body. It has two to three times as much protein as rice does for about the same amount of calories.

Quinoa comes in a wide variety of forms, making it easy to add to any meal. It makes protein-rich breakfast porridge. Add dried fruit, nuts, seeds and sweetener to spice it up. It serves as a great substitute for rice in almost any dish. You can sprout it, too! Just soak the seeds in water for 12 hours and then let rest in a jar. It can even take the place of popcorn if you put it in a pan with oil and pop it.

If you happen to experience allergies or sensitivity to gluten, quinoa is naturally gluten free. Quinoa flour makes a great baking substitute. Combine it with other gluten-free flours for the best results. If you find it has a bitter or soapy taste to it, roast the quinoa flour on a baking sheet before adding it to a recipe.

Quinoa is a seed that is produced by a leafy vegetable similar to chard. It is native to South America and has been enjoyed there for thousands of years. In fact, it was a staple food until Spanish conquerors banned the native peoples from growing it. It was rediscovered by Americans in the 1980s but only recently become widely popular. Today, hundreds of thousands of pounds of quinoa is grown in Colorado and surrounding areas. Native to high altitude climate, it makes sense that quinoa grows best in Rocky Mountain States.

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