In a small saucepan, mix all ingredients together. On the stove-top, bring to a boil on medium-high heat; stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Let cool and then put into your serving container. Use in all your favorite recipes! 😀
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), is a nutritional powerhouse with ancient origins. It was originally cultivated by the Incas more than 5,000 years ago; they referred to it as the “mother of all grains.” It contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a great source of protein for vegetarians. Quinoa is also high in magnesium, fiber, calcium, phosphorus, iron, copper, manganese, riboflavin and zinc.
While quinoa is widely considered a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called Chenopodium or Goosefoot, related to chard and spinach. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain and has a similar effect as other whole grains in helping to stabilize blood sugar.
It has a waxy protective coating called saponin which can leave a bitter taste. For best results, rinse quinoa before you cook it or even soak it for a few hours or overnight. When cooked, it has a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture. Try it in soups, salads, as a breakfast porridge or as its own side dish.
For quinoa, and whole grains in general, the majority of digestion occurs in the mouth through chewing and exposure to saliva. For optimal nutrition and assimilation, it is vital to chew your grains well and with awareness. A great meditation is to find a calm place, without distractions, to sit down for your meal. Make it a habit to chew each bite 20 times or more. See how this simple practice can help your digestion and overall focus for the rest of your day.
I like using quinoa in stir-fry’s, soups, in place of the pasta in a pasta salad (just chop up veggies, olives, cheese etc and add your favorite Italian dressing!). If you google “quinoa pictures”, you will get all kinds of new salad recipes for all your summer parties! There are even quinoa cookies & pancakes, quinoa burgers, and cold salads! 😀 I like to also use it as as a hot side dish to a main course that needs a little more protein. YUM! Enjoy this recipe below!
**Quinoa can be cooked and cooled, then frozen for later recipes!
~Until next week, Coach Shannon
Recipe of the Week: Quinoa Pilaf
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup quinoa
2 1/4 cups water or chicken stock
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
pinch of salt
Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.
Boil the water and add quinoa and salt; cover and reduce heat.
After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.
Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.
Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.
PS: Feel free to comment below on how you use quinoa! 😀
When it comes to increased health, it’s not just what we eat but how we eat. Digestion actually begins in the mouth, where contact with our teeth and digestive enzymes in our saliva break down food. But these days most of us rush through the whole eating experience, barely acknowledging what we’re putting in our mouths. We eat while distracted—working, reading, talking and watching videos on our iPad—and swallow our food practically whole. On average we chew each bite only eight times. It’s no wonder that many people have digestive problems.
There are many great reasons to slow down and chew your food.
>Saliva breaks down food into simple sugars, creating a sweet taste. The more we chew, the sweeter our food becomes, so we don’t crave those after-meal sweets.
> Chewing reduces digestive distress and improves assimilation, allowing our bodies to absorb maximum nutrition from each bite of food.
> More chewing produces more endorphins, the brain chemicals responsible for creating good feelings.
> It’s also helpful for weight loss, because when we are chewing well, we are more apt to notice when we are full.
In fact, chewing can promote increased circulation, enhanced immunity, increased energy and endurance, as well as improve skin health and stabilize weight.
> Taking time with a meal, beginning with chewing, allows for enjoyment of the whole experience of eating: the smells, flavors and textures. It helps us to give thanks, to show appreciation for the abundance in our lives and to develop patience and self-control.
>The power of chewing is so great that there are stories of concentration camp survivors who, when others could not, made it through with very little food by chewing their meager rations up to 300 times per bite of food. For most of us 300 chews is a daunting and unrealistic goal. However, you can experience the benefits of chewing by increasing to 30 chews per bite. Try it and see how you feel.
Try eating without the videos, computer, Blackberry, newspaper or noisy company. Instead just pay attention to the food and to how you are breathing and chewing.
This kind of quiet can be disconcerting at first, since we are used to a steady stream of advertising, news, media, email and demands from others. But as you create a new habit, you will begin to appreciate eating without rushing. You have to eat every day—why not learn to savor and enjoy it?
Everyone has times when they are low in energy. We all want to get that shot of espresso or a can of soda pop, Red Bull, or 5-Hour Energy Drink, etc, but the effects are not long lasting. By the way, do you have ANY idea what ingredients you are drinking with those canned drinks?! If not, then do some research. Can you pronounce the ingredient names? Michael Pollen once said,
Michael has a very good point! 😀 Here are some tips to increase energy without all those unpronounceable words for ingredients!
Reduce or eliminate caffeine.
The ups and downs of caffeine include dehydration and blood sugar ups and downs, making mood swings more frequent.
Most Americans are chronically dehydrated. Before you go to sugar or caffeine, have a glass of water and wait a few minutes to see what happens.
Caution: Soft drinks are now America’s number one source of added sugar.
Eat dark leafy green vegetables.
Green is associated with spring, the time of renewal and refreshing, vital energy.
Greens are full of vitamins and nutrients and great for improving circulation, lifting the spirit, purifying the blood and strengthening the immune system.
Broccoli, collards, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, kohlrabi, arugula and dandelion greens are some of the many to choose from.
Use gentle sweets.
Avoid sugar and chemical-made artificial sweeteners.
Use gentle sweeteners like maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave nectar and stevia.
Also eat sweet vegetables such as yams, carrots and beets.
Get physical activity.
Start with simple activities, like walking or riding your bike—start with 10 minutes a day and increase.
Get more sleep and rest and relaxation.
When you are tired or stressed, your body will crave energy.
These cravings are often a result of being sleep-deprived, going to bed late, waking up early, for months and years on end.
Evaluate the amount of animal food you eat.
Eating too much meat, dairy, chicken and eggs can lead to low energy. So can eating too little! Experiment. Respect your body’s individuality.
Take time for yourself.
Find activities that restore your energy, such as a walk, a bath, a museum, a movie or whatever you enjoy, and schedule a weekly date with yourself to do these things! If you need more ideas, read this blog post from two weeks ago- Loving Yourself.
Get in touch with your spirituality.
We are spiritual beings in a physical world.
Find ways to get in touch with your spiritual side, be it meditating, studying Scripture, dancing, drawing, going to church or being in nature.
Get rid of relationships that drain you.
People can drain you of your energy. It doesn’t mean that they are bad, but it is good to notice who drains you and why.
See if you can transform those relationships by communicating and setting boundaries, or end the relationship.