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Old 06-19-2013, 05:48 PM
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Should I treat quinoa like any other grain?


Like most yuppies, I discovered quinoa in the last few years. Since it's easier to cook than rice and has a nice mouth-feel than a few other classic meal-bases, I've been using it a lot in my cooking.

Supposedly, it's got all kinds of advantages over things like rice, bulgur wheat, oatmeal, etc.: it's a complete protein, has a higher fibre content, maybe even has a lower glycemic index.

But is it really much better for me than any of the options listed above? How about whole-wheat al dente pasta? The second everyone begins calling a food healthy, I'm skeptical.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:01 PM
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I don't quite get the question, so I'm hoping this is an answer.

Yes, quinoa has more protein and fiber than some grains. (I have it in my head that quinoa isn't a grain, but I don't want to go looking for that because it's not too important to my comments.) For some/many/most people, this makes quinoa easier to fit into an eating plan because it isn't quite so empty as some grains, nutritionally.

For me, because it doesn't have gluten, I can eat it, unlike all varieties of wheat, rye, and barley and other grains that are contaminated by wheat. This shouldn't impact most of the world, but there is a big "gluten free" push going on right now, so quinoa is benefiting from that.

I think it's a bit odd tasting, so I'm not utterly in love with it. It's useful for soups, but it's also pretty calorie-dense for the amount of satiety it gives, so I tend toward avoiding it in cooking unless something really needs a starch.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:05 PM
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Oh, sorry, I didn't finish the question. D'oh.

What I meant to ask is: should I treat it like any grain, in the sense that I eat it in moderation and try to make it only a small-ish part of meals the way I would with any starch, or can I afford to have more in the place of, say, boring vegetables (e.g. carrots) or meat?

Ah, and your comment regarding calorie density is a major answer to my question. I don't need a more calorie-rich diet, as I have a pretty sedentary job.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:12 PM
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I personally would treat it like a grain that has a bit more punch rather than as a substitute for a vegetable, but that's because I tend to feel better when I limit my carb intake somewhat. I'm one of those people who eats rice and twenty minutes later wants more rice, and quinoa isn't that different for me (though it does stick longer than rice).
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:18 PM
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Quinoa is not actually a grain. It is a seed, but you can use it and cook it as a grain. I also use it instead of rice, but I also use it as a breakfast cereal. Add a little maple syrup, bananas, nuts and berries. I also add some soy milk when I use it as a cereal. I don't know what you mean by moderation. It is very healthful and you can't eat too much. For one reason, it is quite filling.
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Old 06-19-2013, 06:32 PM
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Since this is about food, let's move it over to Cafe Society.

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Old 06-19-2013, 06:45 PM
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Quinoa has also become controversial, and politically/ethically incorrect.

tl;dr: Quinoa has historically been an indigenous staple food source for poor Bolivians. Now that it has become chic the foreign demand has driven prices up, so that poor Bolivians can no longer afford it. Instead, they are driven to consume cheaper junk food, to their nutritional detriment.

(For an opposing view, see here. See also Quinoa: Good, Evil, or Just Really Complicated? in Mother Jones for further discussion.)

Last edited by Senegoid; 06-19-2013 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:04 PM
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Wait, you can digest quinoa? I got the impression that it was just passing through to keep the bowels moving.
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