My favorite powergrain has a dark side

20 Mar

Quinoa!  Pronounced KEEN-OH-WAH, is amazingly delicious and highly, highly nutritious.  With the inclusion of lysine in its amino acid profile, it’s basically a complete protein (comparable to dairy) with the added benefits of magnesium, manganese, and b-vitamins.

Quinoa has all the essential nutrients for proper muscle function and recovery.  I love the stuff and I cook with it in an unlimited number of applications including stirfrys, soups, pancakes (a trick I picked up in Peru), and salads!

I recently had the chance to meet and chat with arguably the greatest ultra-marathoner in U.S. history, Scott Jurek.  Jurek won the Western States 100 mile race 7 straight times straight, the Badwater 135 mile race through Death Valley, and recently he ran 165.7 miles in 24 hours ALL on a strictly vegan diet! I asked him if one of the secrets to his success was his diet regimen.  Jurek immediately said that quinoa is a food he includes in his diet almost daily and with every meal! He’s shown cooking quinoa in a NYT article written about him.

But sadly, even quinoa has a dark side as reported by the NYT in a recent article. The countries from where the grain-like seed originates are struggling to afford their beloved, ancient grain as international demand continues to spike. The price has been soaring to the point where many of the farms growing quinoa can literally not afford to keep any for themselves. Even more troubling, the shift of the local people of Bolivia and Peru to switch to, and prefer, processed food over more traditionally revered foods.

While I love and utilize quinoa and will undoubetly continue to do so, articles like this certainly make me more aware of the impact that my purchasing decisions can have on a global scale.


HE’s Caprese Quinoa:

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • Organic red or yellow baby tomatoes (cut in half)
  • Basil (chopped)
  • Mozzarella cheese (in water, small spheres)
  • Balsamic vinegar and olive oil (1-3 tablespoons)
  1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil with a pinch of pink himalayan sea salt
  2. Add quinoa, reduce to a simmer, stir, and cover
  3. Cook 12-15 minutes until water is fully absorbed
  4. Fluff quinoa with a fork and add halved tomatoes, chopped basil, cheese, oil, and vinager
  5. Combine ingredients gently and add salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon

Always going for glory!


Healthbent Entrepreneur


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