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Quinoa

A great deal of evidence points to the importance of a plant-based diet.  Animal protein whether it is seafood, eggs or meat has a negative impact on your cardiovascular system.  In Joel Fuhrman's new book " The End of Heart Disease"  he suggests no more than 2-3 servings of animal protein a week. That's tough especially with a family who expects meat at every meal.  I'm making it my mission to find fabulous, family friendly recipes that are entirely plant-based.  While it may not be practical to completely abandon animal protein, my hope is that you begin to veer away from it little by little. 

I know quinoa has been and is a popular food.  Sometimes popular culture gets nutrition wrong but with quinoa they have hit a home run!  Quinoa is a grain that has numerous benefits:

  • Very Nutritious
    • This is the nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams). This applies to cooked quinoa.

      Protein: 8 grams.
      Fiber: 5 grams.
      Manganese: 58% of the RDA.
      Magnesium: 30% of the RDA.
      Phosphorus: 28% of the RDA.
      Folate: 19% of the RDA.
      Copper: 18% of the RDA.
      Iron: 15% of the RDA.
      Zinc: 13% of the RDA.
      Potassium: 9% of the RDA.
      Over 10% of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6.
      Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E

  • Contains plant compounds called flavonoids that are anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-depressant and anti-viral
  • High in fiber and protein
  • Has a low glycemic index which means it doesn't cause a spike in your blood sugar

(adapted from authoritynutrition.com)

This makes quinoa a great addition to any meal.  However, I find quinoa alone to be bland so finding interesting and easy meals that incorporate this grain is tough.  My recent favorite is Quinoa and Vegetable "Fried Rice."  

The great thing about this recipe is that it also incorporates lots of veggies so you not only get the benefit of the quinoa, you load up on your vegetables (need to get those 9 servings a day)!

 

Quinoa and Vegetable "Fried Rice"

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 small onion, diced

8 oz. sliced mushrooms

1 head of broccoli, cut into florets

1 zucchini, chopped

1/2 cup frozen peas

1 can chick peas

2 carrots, peeled and grated

3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup uncooked quinoa, 2 cups water)

1 tbsp grated fresh ginger

2 tbsp coconut aminos (gluten free substitution for soy sauce)

1 cup cashews (optional)

 

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Add garlic and onions and cook until translucent (4-5 minutes).
  2. Add mushrooms, broccoli and zucchini until tender (3-4 minutes).
  3. Add peas, carrots and quinoa.  Cook, stirring constantly until heated through (1-2 minutes).
  4. Add ginger and coconut aminos (I usually add a little more than listed in ingredients) and toss to combine.  
  5. Serve immediately with cashews if desired.

Recipe adapted from Arbonne's 30 days to Healthy Program

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