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There's loads of great stuff out there to enhance your physical and spiritual health. Every two weeks, All Spirit Fitness brings you something we've found useful. Sometimes it's a brand new fitness tool, sometimes it's an everyday item that you can find at the store. Whatever it is, rest assured that if it's on this page, we think it's great!


organic quinoa from eden foods
If you can't find quinoa locally you can buy it through Amazon

If you want to choose your carbs carefully, then quinoa should be at the top of your short list. It's loaded with nutrients and it even has a decent amount of protein. In fact, since it contains lysine - an amino acid you don't generally find in grains - its protein is more complete (roughly equivalent to milk) that what you usually find in the plant world. In actuality, quinoa isn't a true grain - it's the seed of a plant that's a distant relative to spinach. (Does the spinach connection mean it contains iron? You bet!) And quinoa is gluten-free - something that those allergic to wheat will appreciate.

Much has been written about quinoa's ancient history - it was originally grown in South America and was a favorite among the Incas in Peru. But then invading Spaniards disrupted the natives' way of life, and for several hundred years, the popularity of quinoa went into a slow decline. Only recently this trend has begun to reverse with quinoa's resurgence in North America. It makes sense that the search for more nutritious food would lead to quinoa - along with iron and protein, it also contains healthy amounts of calcium, B vitamins, phosphorus, potassium and vitamin E.

Why quinoa spent so many centuries dipping in popularity is a mystery because it's delicious! Most of the quinoa you'll find while shopping is yellow or light brown in color, and the seeds are about the same size as millet. It cooks up quickly, in about 15 minutes (but always to remember to rinse it first to make sure it clean of any of its bitter residue). For extra flavor you can cook it in vegetable or chicken stock, or add spices. The texture is both soft and a bit crunchy, thanks to the external germ that appears like a spiral-shaped tail when it's done cooking. Quinoa's taste is a bit difficult to describe - it's a little nutty in flavor. While the flavors aren't exactly similar, if you like couscous you'll probably like quinoa. In addition to using it as a side dish, much like rice or potatoes, or adding it to soup, you can also buy quinoa pasta and flour. Quinoa is extremely versatile, tastes great and is packed with protein and nutrients - no wonder some people call it "the perfect food"!

Here is a recipe for Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf.

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