Scott Kustes | January 1 2006
Regardless of one’s level of Paleo-ness, everybody needs a nice bowl of oatmeal or a side of rice occasionally. Quinoa (keen-wa or kee-NO-a), a distant relative of spinach in the goosefoot family, is a non-grain that cooks and tastes (what taste?) just like a grain. The seeds of quinoa can be used as a substitute for oatmeal, rice, and many other true grains as the texture is exceptionally similar. The beauty of quinoa is that it is a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids, including lysine which is deficient in grains. Further, quinoa also contains omega-3 fatty acids, minerals, B-vitamins, and is gluten-free for our celiac friends. (Ed.-This is not entirely true as there is a water soluble fraction from Quinoa that does cause a positive reaction in celiacs despite the lack of gluten. It is interesting to note that botanically quinoa is classified as a fruit and as Scott notes is a member of the spinach family; however, similar needs often produce similar solutions where evolution is concerned. Quinoa although not a grain has developed a full assortment of antinutrients similar to those found in grains. Scott notes some of these antinutrients below. Quinoa is delicious, fairly nutritious and should be regarded as essentially a grain, both with regards to antinutrients and carbohydrate content.) It also contains none of the allergens common to grains from the grass family such as wheat, rye, barley, oats, and corn. What wouldn’t a CrossFitter love about this food? While it may not be Paleo, it fills in nicely in the myriad recipes that call for grains of some sort. A note of caution: quinoa has a layer of saponins which may be mild toxins. These saponins are generally washed off prior to purchase, but just to be safe, give the quinoa a good thorough rinsing prior to preparation. This link has more information: http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/foods_view/0,1523,74,00.html.
Each ¼ cup contains 2.5g fat, 29.5g carbs (2.5 g fiber), and 5.5g protein.
2.5 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1/4 cup olive oil (add 1tbsp to make a perfect 4:1 F:C ratio)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt, optional
1/4 cup lemon juice
3 tomatoes, diced
1 cucumber, diced
2 bunches green onions, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 carrots, grated
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Pepper, to taste
This is a standard Middle Eastern vegetarian salad that is typically made with basmati rice. It makes a nice side dish and is a switch from the lettuce groves that CrossFitters normally eat. Boil quinoa and water. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Allow to cool to room temperature and fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine olive oil, sea salt, lemon juice, tomatoes, cucumber, green onions, celery, carrots and parsley. Stir in cooled quinoa and give your pepper mill a few turns. Toss in 4 or 5 blocks of Trader Joe’s pink salmon or some other protein of your choosing to make a 4x meal.
Zone blocks: 20C, 72F = 3.6:1 F/C ratio. 20C, 81F with an extra tbsp of oil making nearly perfect 4:1. Each ½ cup yields 1C, 4F.