Quinoa Nutrition and Benefit for Human Body

If quinoa is new to you, you may be wondering what all of the fuss is about.  Why does Self magazine consider quinoa amongst the top foods that runners should consider including in their diets?  Why does Oxygen magazine say that if you want flat abs, you should make sure that quinoa is a regular in your meal plans?

It turns out that this tiny seed is actually a nutritional powerhouse!  This super food is loaded with vitamins and minerals.  Specifically, it is a great source of folate, iron, magnesium and zinc. The fact that it has magnesium, copper and phosphorous means that quinoa is especially good for those that have migraine headaches, atherosclerosis and diabetes.  When it comes to fueling up for exercise or dropping a few pounds, cooking quinoa really makes sense.  This is thanks to the fact that one cup of cooked quinoa has just 220 calories.  Quinoa is a great source of healthy carbohydrates, and also provides 5 grams of fiber and 8 grams of protein per serving.

The protein in quinoa is of particular interest.  Quinoa may just be the perfect food for vegetarians because it is one of the few non-meat foods that provide all eight of the essential amino acids that our bodies need to repair themselves.  Unlike grains, quinoa is a great source of lysine which plays a critical role in cellular repair.

Why Cooking Quinoa is so Important to Me!

If you are like me, eating healthy has not always come easy to you.  I must confess that when I was growing up, it was much easier to find a package of Ding-Dongs in the house than it was to find something healthy.  I was raised on every kind of processed junk food you can imagine – cokes, chips, Little Debbie’s – you name it!  I shudder to think of just how much Cheese-Whiz I actually consumed as a child.

Little did I know that the convenience foods that my parents loved so much were actually loaded with harmful preservatives!  In a time before organics, chances are that even the fruit was loaded with pesticides.  The truth is that very little of what I ate back then actually provided my body with any nutrition at all.

Still, my weight stayed in a reasonable range.  I was never the skinniest girl on the block, but I wasn’t overweight either. And then I got older – It’s funny how everything changes after 30.

My boys were born just 14 months apart.  After the birth of my second son, I knew I had to do something.  So I did what every reasonable person would do.  Went on a fad-diet (low-carb) and lost 36 pounds in 6 weeks.  My diet consisted of blue cheese burgers and lots of meat loaded with creamy sauces.  Nothing was healthy and there was not a carbohydrate to be found!

And, of course, I eventually gained it all back and more.

The problem, while I certainly value protein in my diet, the reality is that I couldn’t care less if I ever ate meat again.  I just really don’t enjoy it and because of this, eating low carb just isn’t sustainable for me.  (Plus being without my carbohydrates makes me cranky!)

It wasn’t until a few years later that I ran across Tosca Reno and her Eat Clean Dietand Eat Clean Diet Cookbook. This is where I first heard of this nutritious seed called quinoa.

I was skeptical at first, but I’m pretty adventurous, so I decided to give it a try.  My first quinoa recipe was the Quinoa with Sundried Tomatoes recipe in the Eat Clean Diet Cookbook.  I was hooked, and even better so were my fussy preschoolers and carnivore husband!  Since that time, I have tried dozens of different quinoa recipes from quinoa salad to quinoa meatballs!  I am looking forward to sharing my favorite quinoa recipes with you!

Quinoa is a great part of a clean eating lifestyle, and can be adapted to suit just about anyone’s taste! Whether you are looking to drop a few pounds or are an athlete trying to improve your nutrition, you can’t go wrong with cooking quinoa.  Since I’ve added quinoa to my diet and adopted clean eating in my lifestyle, I have dropped a little over 20 pounds.  I hope you will join me on my slow and steady journey to health! I will be sure to share my favorite quinoa cooking tips with you!

I will also share other great recipes with you with a focus on those that are healthy. (But I must admit that I do still indulge at times if something is really great I cannot promise I wont share!!!) After all, quinoa is AMAZING but a girl (or guy) needs some variety in their life!  Look for my favorite hummus recipe, black bean recipes,  stir fry recipes and steak recipes.

I know that a lot of readers that come to this site are vegetarians, and I am making a special effort to include recipes that are vegetarians.  In fact, I am making a commitment to add at least one meatless dish a week.  I follow a reduced meat diet and am trying to trend my family out of eating so much meat, so this is going to help me as well. I actually just started reading Vegetarian Times  magazine and am really excited about the amazing recipes there.  Being a vegetarian is something that I really hope to become one day.


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