Forever on the search for healthy ways of eating, I have been researching grains and a plant based diet. Some grains contain gluten which can have harmful effects on the body. Gluten, pronounced glooten, is defined as:
A substance present in cereal grains, esp. wheat, that is responsible for the elastic texture of dough.
Just like the word sounds, gluten acts like a kind of glue in your body and can cause digestive problems. People suffering from Celiac disease cannot have any gluten at all. Even if you do not have Celiac, gluten can still cause problems in your body. People experiencing an intolerance to gluten is on the rise because it is in wheat and many of our foods have been made from a wheat base.
For several years now we’ve been told to have wheat versus white flour products because they are better for us; have more fiber, vitamins and nutrients. This is true. They are better for us than white flours which have had all the vitamins sifted out. But, in typical American fashion, we can’t just improve a little, we have to go into over kill and make everything wheat based until it becomes not so good for us anymore.
Eating grains is still important for our health so I have been learning about the different grains that do not have gluten. A few of those are buckwheat, brown rice, wild rice, and Quinoa.
Quinoa, pronounced keenwa, is a small grain that cooks up in a pot with water similarly to rice. I thought, “That sounds easy enough. I’ll try it.” I bought a box of Quinoa, cooked up a pot, sautéed some veggies and fixed myself a nice, healthy bowl of grains topped with veggies. The Quinoa when cooked looks like the little Styrofoam beads that fill a bean bag except clear rather than white. It not only looks like clear Styrofoam beads, it tastes like it is made out of cardboard.
Zero flavor, strange texture.
Not one to waste food (my cheap side showing through again) I made myself eat the whole bowl all the while thinking, “I’m never eating this again.” And sure enough, I didn’t (for about 2 months).
Then I thought, “Maybe I didn’t use enough spices. I probably just need to jazz it up a bit.” So I tried it with veggies and salad dressing. Um, cardboard with salad dressing on it still doesn’t taste good. I vowed (again) that I’d never eat it again.
Then, in the grocery store, while buying Cous Cous (which has gluten) I saw that Near East makes flavored versions of Quinoa. I love their Cous Cous and wild rice so I thought I’d give it one more chance. Eureka! It was yummy!
I made the Rosemary & Olive Oil flavor first and then I tried Roasted Vegetable. Both were delicious. So, if you are new to this and want to try Quinoa, I recommend the Near East brand. It may not be as healthy as plain Quinoa, has more than 5 ingredients in the box, but it is still way healthier than white rice, has loads of protein and fiber, and it actually tastes good!