Whole Foods Lifestyle - Quinoa and complete proteins

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08-04-2008, 12:00 AM
I wasn't sure if this would be better here or in the vegetarian forum but I figured maybe at least a couple people here eat quinoa :). I think I remember Nelie mentioning quinoa.

I just read that Quinoa is a complete protein - which means that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids that our bodies do not produce (so we must get them through our diet). That's fantastic!

Other vegan sources of complete proteins include amaranth, buckwheat, nutritional yeast, hemp, and soy. Dairy products and eggs are also complete protein sources. I don't know about meats, but I imagine they are as well. According to a couple of sites I read online, we can obtain complete proteins by combining foods in our diet like peanut butter on whole wheat bread, eaten either in combination or separately on the same day.

Do you guys keep track of your types of protein - especially making sure you are getting complete proteins (the essential amino acids)? If you do keep track, how do you do it? I'd love to learn more about this. Also, any ideas on how to eat/use quinoa? Thanks! :)

08-06-2008, 01:31 AM
I eat hemp milk, quinoa, nutritional yeast, or soy products at least once per week (hemp milk, quinoa and nutritional yeast at least once per day, soy products not as often). Since I eat a variety of other plant proteins, I don't worry about combining proteins.

It's my understanding that the idea of "protein combining" is a 1970s-thing and not a worry for people who are eating a variety of foods. I don't know of any reputable nutritionists--vegetarian or omnivore--who maintain that combining is necessary. Foods don't have to be eaten at the same meal to "combine." If you eat rice for lunch and beans for dinner (to use one example), then you still get the protein benefit. Frances Moore Lappe (author of Diet for a Small Planet) was one of the main proponents of the theory and even she changed her mind about it in later editions of the book. She said as long as your diet isn't based on refined flours (or fruit--such as a fruitarian diet--or tubers) then you should have no problems with sufficient protein.

That said--quinoa is MAD CRAZY DELICIOUS--and I eat it whenever I get the chance. :) You can eat it for breakfast, cooked with dried fruits and nuts. Or you can eat it for other meals as you would use any other grain. I like to make a quinoa pilaf with chopped veggies.

08-06-2008, 08:46 AM
I get my quinoa at the Whole Foods a couple of miles south of me. They sell it in bulk, but they only have the one variety. I guess quinoa hasn't caught on in Texas. :-(

08-06-2008, 02:15 PM
Hi, the title of this thread caught my eye here is a recipe for quinoa:

"Curried Quinoa with Peas and Cashews"

2 Tbs. Canola oil or Butter

1 C. carrot juice

1 onion, 1/4 finely diced, 3/4 coarsley chopped

1 C. peas

1 C. quinoa, thoroughly rinsed

1/4 C. thinly sliced scallions, including a little of the greens

2 tea. curry powder

salt and freshly milled pepper

1/2 C. cashews, roasted and coarsely chopped

2 zucchini, diced into small cubes

2 Tbs. chopped cilantro

1. Heat half the oil in a small soup pot, add the finely diced onion, and cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Stir in the quinoa, 1/2 teas. curry powder, and 1/4 tea. salt and cook for 2 minutes. Add 2 C. boiling water then lower the heat. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining Tbs. oil in a 10-inch skillet. Add the chopped onion, zucchini, and remaining 11/2 teas. curry powder. Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 C. water, the carrot juice, and 1/2 tea. salt. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes, then add peas and scallions and cook for a few minutes more. Stir the vegetables and cashews into the quinoa. Taste for salt and season with pepper. Serve in soup plates garnished with cilantro.

I juiced carrots in my juicer for this.

I wanted it a bit drier than the called recipe so I used less water and about 1/2 to 3/4 of the called for carrot juice. Once it was completely assembled I added the cilantro directly into the mixture.

"Quinoa is an excellent source of magnesium, iron, potassium, copper, and phosphorous, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin. It is higher in protein than cereal grains, with a more balanced concentration of amino acids. " Christina Pirello

Christina Pirello is an author of whole food books. I have, "Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Whole Foods but Were Afraid to Ask"

This recipe is from " Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone" by Deborah Madison

08-06-2008, 02:34 PM

Betsy, protein combining does seem tedious :dizzy: glad to hear it's no longer in practice really.

Clayr, thank you for the recipe! :D

08-06-2008, 02:48 PM
Not vegetarian, so the complete protein isn't as much of an issue, but I LOVE quinoa. I use it alot like rice. In fact I substituted cooked quinoa in my fried rice recipe and hubby loved it (once he tasted it). When I handed him the bowl, he was rather suspicious, "looks like birdseed," he said.

I found it interesting that the Aztecs considered it such a prize that athletes and warriors were often paid in quinoa (much as Roman soldiers were paid in salt).

08-06-2008, 10:01 PM
I love quinoa! It's so yummy and it cooks much quicker then other whole grains. It's my go-to grain when I'm in a hurry. You can substitute it in any recipe that calls for rice. I haven't tried this yet, but I bet it'd make a good pudding too!

As far as protein is concerned, most Americans consume more then enough protein. I wouldn't worry about it as long as you are eating a wide variety of foods. betsysunqueen is correct, food combining is unnecessary as long as you get some of all the essential aminos at some point during the day.

I eat very little meat myself and I focus more on making sure I get enough iron and b-vitamins versus focusing on protein.

08-13-2008, 03:51 PM
I'm going to have to give it a try, how do you cook it?

08-13-2008, 06:29 PM
You cook it pretty much like rice, but what I like to do with quinoa, rice, and other grains is to cook it more like pasta. Lots and lots of water, and then strain in a seive when done.

I'd like to say that it's because it gives the grain a better texture (and I think it does, as the grains are less likely to become sticky), but my main reason is that I am a very careless cook and anything requiring precise timing, I'm likely to burn.

Another method I often use (same reason) is the crock pot. You add the same amount of water called for on the package for boiling, but you put them in the crockpot on low. I often do it overnight, so I have a porridge in the morning for breakfast. Wheat berries are also very good cooked this way. They're chewy and very good to eat on their own, with a tiny bit of butter as a cereal or as a side dish, or stirred into other cereals or yogurt or salads.

08-14-2008, 02:09 PM
Ah, I'm trying to like quinoa, but it seems so tasteless, even after I gave it the pilaf treatment. Doesn't seem very filling to me either.

09-02-2008, 05:14 PM
In fact I substituted cooked quinoa in my fried rice recipe and hubby loved it (once he tasted it). When I handed him the bowl, he was rather suspicious, "looks like birdseed," he said.Hahah! Mine said almost the exact same thing the first time I served quinoa. Followed by "It's called what? What's that???" (Um, the stuff you have in front of you, dear!)

I make it fairly often, although not as often as I should. Hmmm. I'm going to see where I can fit it into this weeks plan. :)


09-02-2008, 05:17 PM
I think your question was answered but my goal is to follow a vegan diet and I don't keep track of my proteins as I have a pretty varied diet without much 'junk'. I do eat quinoa occasionally but I like mixing up the grains I eat.