The Quinoa Standard

Liza and QuinoaGreetings from the planet we call Brooklyn, where the peeps can’t get enough of healthy (organic, gluten free) food. Look at my daughter, Liza, standing alongside of 130 pounds or so of quinoa. At $10 for a 26-ounce bag no less. A picture says it better than words.

Quinoa, a seed not a grain, is a wonderful source of complete protein, providing all of the essential amino acids. It is also a good source of dietary fiber and a host of other nutrients. It made the Incas thrive. But that’s an awful lot for the USA..

Furthermore, we happen to be in a grocery store in Crown Heights, a once posh residential neighborhood that took a deep dive in the 1960s, but is now coming back. I guess quinoa is an economic indicator. Invest with confidence in a quinoa-forward neighborhood.

Here are some quinoa recipes from Cooking Light: Cooking with Quinoa: 22 Recipes

Your thoughts: Do you eat quinoa?

A Whole Lotta Grain Goin’ On

I am keenly aware of “nutrition rules” that the average person does not understand. Take the rule, “Make Half Your Plate Whole Grains,” from the government’s Choose My Plate campaign. Whole grains are cereal kernels that include the bran, the germ, and the inner most part of the kernel (the endosperm) that are intact, ground, cracked, or flaked. Check out this image of a kernel. To follow the guideline, people may pick up some commercial whole wheat bread or a box Wheaties – both great – but not quite enough. We are really expected to eat whole grains in main- and side-dishes to reach at least three one-ounce servings per day. (E.g. one serving is 1 cup whole-grain ready-to-eat cereal, ½ of brown rice or some other grain, or 1 regular slice of 100% whole-grain bread.)

The Whole (Grain) Kit and Caboodle

While seated at my daughter’s kitchen table the other day, I looked up to see a teaching opportunity.  There, in her open cupboard, was an assortment of whole grains. I saw whole bulgur (cracked wheat), whole grain farro, sweet brown rice, quinoa (actually a seed, not a grain), whole wheat bread crumbs, wheat berries, amaranth, oatmeal, Cream of Wheat, Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, popcorn – couscous, orzo and panko bread crumbs (not whole grains) – and four legumes: red lentils, green lentils, black beans, and cranberry beans. Her whole wheat pasta, whole grain crackers and canned beans were on another shelf. From what I’ve seen, this is not your typical American cupboard.

Recipes!

Get ideas and recipes using whole grains from these bloggers: 101 Cookbooks, TheKitchn and Sprouted Kitchen. Yesterday, my daughter made this yummy Meyer Lemon Grain Salad with Asparagus, Almonds and Goat Cheese, but really, there are so many recipes on these sites.

To read more about whole grains, see my article for Diets In Review, The Whole Truth About Whole Grains, or hear me talk about whole grains in a Diets In Review’s Health Buzz video.  For a longer read, see Whole Grains The Inside Story from the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s Nutrition Action Healthletter, a consumer publication that I’ve been reading for 30 years.

Your thoughts: How do you eat whole grains? What’s your favorite recipe? Please share!