A Happy and Healthy New Year!

I hear a LOT of chatter about “my diet starts tomorrow!”, “I think I’m going to go gluten-free to lose some weight”, and my favorite “Just signed up for a new gym, so I know I’m going to go every day, and 2013 will be my year.” I appreciate all of the gusto, and that people decide to make a change, with a definitive date in mind (i.e. New Years day), and I REALLY want everyone to be successful, so why don’t we make a resolution we can stick to?  Perhaps, being healthier in 2013! There are so many things you can do to be healthier without making ridiculous requests of yourself that you know you won’t be able to keep.

How do I go about being healthier?

Make a commitment to exercise: Try something new, something different, and something you aren’t committing to for a whole year! So don’t spend a ton of money at a gym, maybe get a pack of passes to a yoga and/or Pilates studio? Pole dancing? Spinning? Boot camp? Pick your poison; try something new, and stick to a two to three month commitment.  There’s no need to be married to it, if you like it, stick with it, if you don’t, you are not out a ton of money and you will find something new, but you are trying something new exercising, and you’re excited about it, which means you’re more apt to do it.  Paying a ton of money and signing a years contract to a gym does not mean you will actually be going there to run on that hamster wheel…right?

Take the time for nutrition: Make a food journal, if you feel that you need to step up your diet and eat healthier, and figure out where your calories are coming from.  Don’t cheat yourself, but write down everything (including beverages) that you ingest during the day, and try to find ways to make it healthier, or cut calories.  Do you snack on candy at work? Bring trail mix (full of fiber, some sweetness from dried fruits, and protein from nuts) which will keep you satiated longer than candy and you will feel better, or just bring some protein in the form of nuts, yogurt, jerky, etc. if you bring your own snacks that you enjoy and are healthy, it will cut down on the amount of mindless snacking, that can add up in calories! Plus making your own food, you have more control over the ingredients and the amount of fats/sugars added, so your nutrition is literally in your own hands.

Try to decrease refined sugars: It is difficult and definitely a commitment, but I am not a huge fan of people quitting things cold turkey, as it were. Watch the foods you are eating, and read nutrition labels, and try to cut out anything with extra sugars added and cut down on how much you add to your morning coffee (for example), or breakfast cereal.  Try Coconut palm sugar or agave, something that is not a chemical, with a low glycemic index that still makes your sweet tooth feel satiated!

Commit to eat out LESS: Eating out or getting take out foods a lot, not only will cost a lot, but there are hidden fat and calories in take out food, that you wouldn’t add yourself.  If you don’t cook, maybe grab a friend and take a cooking class?  Or just teach yourself, as long as you make a commitment to learn to cook, you can do it…even if not burning toast is a feat for you, give yourself a pat on the back for getting it done! Some food items that seem like you have to buy them because they would be hard to make, are so easy to make and more delicious when you make them yourself, like: hummus and pita chips, salads, soups, etc..  So simple, and you can cut fat, calories, and extra sodium! I made a tomato basil bisque with 1/4 of the fat and calories that you would normally get at a restaurant- so easy, fast, and yumbos!


Easy, yummy, good for you, and cost friendly!

Easy, yummy, good for you, and cost friendly!

Try not to obsess about numbers: I am the opposite of most people and I don’t even own a scale.  I judge my weight based off of how I look and feel in clothes.  I roughly know what I weigh, but I am never certain until I go for a check up and I get weighed! But, if you are someone who weighs themselves a few tips: don’t do it daily (especially for women, hormones can really mess with that number), but weigh yourself at the same time weekly (this will give you a better average), and don’t be so obsessed with ONE number that you want to weigh.  Just be healthy, and exercise, and your weigh will come down to what it should be; if you starve yourself or workout like bonkers to hit a certain number, once you hit it, you will most likely won’t stay there: you set yourself up for failure.

Truly making a commitment to yourself and bettering your health is the first decision that you make, from there on, it is so easy to stick to it: buy healthy foods (buy groceries primarily from the outer aisles of the store), stock up on healthy snacks and keep them around (if you have easy access to healthy foods you are more apt to eat them), and try some new exercises, grab a buddy and go! The only person that can impeded your commitment to a healthier you IS you, so make that decision, go for it fully, and take charge over your own body.  It will feel good to be healthy, and starting off with healthy choices makes you feel good and will lead to a chain reaction of healthy choices.  So here’s to 2013 and a healthier version of you!!!

Yours in Good Health


Another Reason to Know the Source of Your Food.

There have been many cases of food coming from other countries, being contaminated, causing significant health issues, and then we never really hear about it again. I have been asked recently a lot about the contaminated powdered milk and baby formula from a few years ago, if other foods had melamine in them, and what the big deal is?  I think this Melanine issue in foods from China merely highlighted the fact that we need to really take a good look at where our food comes from and the standards that we have in the US, UK, and EU are not shared worldwide.

What was the big controversy?

In 2007 and 2008, a factory in China that was producing formula, tried to undercut the competition, by cutting their milk production costs by using raw milk (non-pasteurized) and then cutting it with water to increase the volume. In order to make the milk products have that have the appropriate amount of protein, they needed to add something. Protein levels are usually checked through the levels of nitrogens present. What they decided to add is Melanine.  Melanine is and organic powdered chemical that is very high in nitrogens, and it is frequently found in adhesives, plastics, countertops, etc. It is NOT a form of food, and it has no nutritional value. Melanine was found in wheat gluten, rice proteins, frozen yogurt, some coffee drinks (with Milk products), and various pet foods that came from China. It is actually detrimental to our health, and this is not an approved additional supplement/practice by any of the organizations worldwide that regulate food.

What are the side effects of Melanine?

Most of all the information that we have regarding the effects of Melanine are from animal studies, as it is nowhere deemed safe for human consumption, so it has never been studied. When the pet food contaminated with Melanine were hitting the shelves in the US, large numbers of animals died, shortly after ingesting the foods. Melanine can cause irritability, blood in the urine, high blood pressure, and renal (kidney) failure.  It is assumed, based upon animals, that the Melanine crystallizes with other byproducts in the body, and can clog up the kidney tubules causing kidney stones and lead to total blockage of urine passing, leading to renal failure.

 What does this mean?

Well, since the issue in 2007 and 2008, the use of Melanine has become much more scrutinized, and foods from China are now being tested for it, so we are pretty certain foods do not have it.  But the whole issue made me really question foods processed outside the US.  I clearly try to live a clean lifestyle, I eat organically and minimally processed (as much as possible), and I like to think it works for me, and I realize it is not possible for everyone. But I really want you all to think about where your food comes from, where it is processed. I loved that when I lived in the UK, the food source was well labelled on the package; I knew exactly where my veg came from, my fruits, etc. if they were grown and packaged outside the UK. Think about buying fruits and veg at local food sources, like local farms, farm stands, farmers markets, or other stores that sell locally sourced organic foods. Join a Community Sustained Agriculture (CSA) group, and support local farmers all while ensuring you are eating fresh, organic, unprocessed foods.  It is a piece of mind for me, knowing that my food does not have anything, like Melanine, added to it that could kill me, my family, or my pets.

Food for thought!

Yours in Good Health



Should I get my pollen on?

I have heard people suggest bee pollen to treat every single ailment! Seriously, you have a rash?  Bee pollen. Asthma?  Bee pollen. Digestive issues? Bee Pollen. Alcoholism? Yup, you guessed it! Bee pollen.  I was overhearing this conversation in public the other day, and I was just thinking, how can one supplement be able to cure everything and not everyone uses it? But, then I started to think maybe I had just overlooked it, which is completely possible; if I read about things, and I don’t somehow leave myself a reminder, it’s gone…or comes back at a random time, and I thought maybe this was one of those black holes of knowledge, so I decided to research it.

What is bee pollen?

Bee pollen is basically bunches of different pollens (considered the male sex cells of plants because it is needed to fertilize) that the worker bees go off to collect from various plants, trees, etc. and when it is brought back to the bee hive, it is mixed with various enzymes and bacteria present in the hive. It is basically packed into clumps in the hive.  The bees in the hive subside off of the bee pollen, as it has all the nutrients and vitamins they need to survive. Bee pollen is about 40% carbohydrate, 5% fat, and 5% protein, and filled with various amino acids, and nutrients (such as zinc, magnesium, etc) but the rest is all bee waste products (i.e. bee poop), fungus, bacteria, and insect parts. Yum! I know that makes you want to run out and grab some!

What can it help?

Bee pollen, as I stated before, purportedly is a fix all for all sorts of various maladies, such as:

– Colitis/ Digestive issues

– Arthritis (improves joint movements)

– Increases energy

– Decreases allergies (seasonal)

– Asthma

– Eczema

– Alcoholism

– Prevents bacterial infections

– Maintains wellness

– Weight loss

Does it actually work?

Despite some people being huge believers in Bee Pollen supplementation in your diet, and some say because of the carb/fat/protein ratio you can actually solely subside off of bee pollen alone, there are NO independent studies that show it actually heals or treats these issues.  Actually, there are numerous cases of people taking bee pollen supplements and having allergic reactions because they have a bee sensitivity OR a sensitivity to one of the plants pollens present in the bee pollen, and even going into anaphylaxis (a severe allergic reaction that leads to loss of airway, ability to exchange air, and can quickly lead to death without immediate treatment.) Also pregnant women and women that are breastfeeding should NOT take bee pollen due to risks of transference of the fungus/bacteria from the pollen to their babies.

If you take bee pollen, and it works for you, I am not going to tell you to do any differently, but I would urge people with many allergies or on medications from chronic conditions to talk to their HCP before starting to take bee pollen.  Also, there are some eco and ethical issues with bee pollen supplements, in that there is a world-wide decline of honey bees due to their sensitivity to various pesticides, and they do subside off of their pollen, so maybe us humans can find something else to use, and let the bee populations boost up before we go back dipping into their pollen pots?

Yours in Good Health


What is the difference between the Paleo and Atkins diets?

I was asked this just today and a lot of people have interest in it because it seems that people have a lot of knowledge regarding one of the diets and not the other and they don’t seem to understand the difference, of which there are some pretty significant differences. Many times the reasons that you choose one diet over another is due to either weight loss OR a choosing a healthier diet for the long-term. Fanatics of both diets claim that they can be chosen as long-term diets (and when I say diet, I am referring to the foods that you eat to live, not to specifically lose weight.) If you feel so inclined to go with either diet, and you have chronic health issues or take any medications chronically, then please speak with your HCP about your lifestyle change.

What is the Atkins diet?

The theory behind the Atkins “nutritional approach” (as Dr. Atkins liked to refer to it) is that most people are overweight because they eat too many carbohydrates (and fat); when the body needs energy, it is able to make energy from carbohydrates quicker to use immediately, thus leaving the fat that can also be used as energy to be stored for later use by the body.  If the amount of carbohydrates were decreased, the fats and proteins would be utilized as the primary source of energy and burn off, thus not being stored, so you won’t gain weight…and essentially lose weight.  There is a little more to it, in that when your body switches to a state of fat burning instead of carbohydrate burning for energy, you go into something called ketosis.  Ketosis is basically when the body goes into starvation mode, because you have no immediate use energy from carbs, and you start to break down fat stores and protein for energy: the ketones from the fat stores turn into energy. When this happens and they break down further, into acetone, and the body gets rid of it through the kidneys (peeing it out) and through your lungs (breathing it out). Your breath can have a very distinctive fruity smell and your pee can smell differently as well.  Now, this is one way to lose weight, but it does put a lot of strain on your body to work differently (on a cellular level) to burn that fat. Also, eating more fat means that you have more circulating fat and cholesterol, which is not very heart healthy. If you have any sort of problems with your kidneys, this is NOT the diet for you. And honestly, I do not think that a diet without any form of carbohydrates and so high in fat is healthy long-term. Remember that old adage: if it seems to good to be true, it probably is?

What is the Paleo Diet?

The Paleo diet is different, in that it is a diet that is based on what Paleolithic humans ate. All in all, a “caveman” diet.  The diet focuses around eating fish, grass-fed animals, fruit, vegetables, fungi, roots, and nuts all the while excluding legumes, grains, dairy, sugars, processed oils, and salts. The idea behind it is that you are eating a clean diet without added processed foods, which I totally get, and I love the idea of it.  However, some zealots of the diet insist upon truly eating the “caveman” way, in that they can only eat local fruits, veg, etc. and if you live in a place like New England, that really limits you diet in the winter months if you can only eat what grows locally, and I fear that people would be missing vital nutrients necessary for their body to optimally function.  As this diet is becoming trendier, it is slightly easier to follow as some restaurants offer paleo friendly menus. But the modern-day equivalents are not the same as what they were, with the addition of GMOs; you are really limited in your diet. Just like any other diet trend, it can cause controversy, and this is a pretty low-calorie/fat diet that people in the paleolithic era most likely did live off of, but we have to remember that they died at an extremely young age, and were killed off by diseases/viruses that we are exposed to now daily, but our robust immune systems kill off.  I agree, that the likelihood of a chunky “caveman” was probably very low, but they lived a hunter/gatherer lifestyle like animals in the wild do.  Regardless of that, my biggest fear with the lack of dairy and legumes (all beans) is that women, especially, do not get enough calcium with this diet. On the other hand, if you like it, you are able to follow it, it works for you, I am not going to tell you not to try to eat healthier.

So, yes both diets are similar in that they cut out carbs in the form of breads, but with the Paleo diet you can eat root vegetables which, many times, are carbohydrates, and in a true Atkins you cannot (should not) eat carbs even in the form of fruits and vegetables.  I think that Atkins sounds like it would be a fun diet, eat tons of fatty foods and lose weight, but I eat so many fruits and vegetables, and when I am off my normal diet for a while, I crave straight up veggies (like I will eat a bowl of brussel sprouts or broccoli for dinner and not miss the protein a smidge!) And I like the theory of Paleo, in that we are taking our diet back to a very simple place, eating real food without anything refined or processed added, a truly clean diet, BUT I think that eating with the strictness of that diet is not sustainable and people will miss vitamins and nutrients that are necessary to live.  We live in a fast paced modern world, where the average Paleolithic era people wouldn’t be able to survive one week with their immune systems and caloric intake (not to mention their poor minds would be blown away with technology, but I digress).

If you want my advice?  Yes, cut down on your carbs (in the form of breads) and be cognizant of how much sugar you are eating, eat organically and GMO-free as much as you can, keep it up with the fish and grass-fed meats (if you so choose), and get in some daily exercise.  The thing about having a healthy diet, is about making healthy life choices, and if you change your lifestyle and way of thinking about food as fuel, you are more likely to be healthier and stick to that diet and lifestyle change.  The thing about diet? It’s all up to you, you make the choices of what you want to eat; eat clean, drink lots of water, and feel your body become happy and healthy.  Kick diet trends to the curb, and just be healthy!

Yours in Good Health


Another natural alternative to sugar: Coconut Palm Sugar

Everyone is looking for ways to sweeten without using refined sugar, because of its high glycemic index and calories, and I know that some of you are big fans of artificial sweeteners like Nutrasweet™ or  Splenda™ but there are alternatives that are natural and not chemicals, and that actually taste sweet.  One of the newer (well, new to the US, it has been used in southeast asia for thousands of years as a sweetener) alternatives is Coconut Palm Sugar.  It is a little hard to find sometimes, but it is sweet, tasty, and it is actually good for you because it is filled with vitamins and minerals!

What is Coconut Palm Sugar?

First, to clarify, Coconut sugar and Palm sugar are two different things, but it is frequently referred to as coconut palm sugar.  Palm sugar is a sugar made from the sap of various palm trees such as the date palm, sago palm, or the sugar palm.  Coconut sugar is made from the sap of the buds of coconut palms (the trees that grow coconuts).  The sap is extracted, dried (using heat to remove the water content), and it if found in either liquid, crystal, or paste form and it can be used to add to various foods as a sweetener, so it truly is minimally processed.

How is it actually good for me?

Because the sweetness is from the natural sucrose found in the coconut palms, so it is a very low glycemic index food, which means that it is a safe alternative to sugar for diabetics, and it can be used the same way that you would use sugar in baking, coffee/tea, etc. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals like: potassium, iron, magnesium, and Vitamins B1, B2, B3, & B6.  It’s chock full of good stuff for you, sweet, and  it is a low glycemic index food! And it is considered a low glycemic index food, meaning that the sugars take time to get into your bloodstream, they are slowly absorbed, as opposed to refined sugar which increases your blood sugar levels rapidly; and then will quickly drop off.  With a slower absorbed sugar, you tend to feel satiated longer, and you don’t have highs and lows of blood sugars as rapidly (which is why lower glycemic index foods are better for diabetics). Plus, it has a really dynamic taste, similar to brown sugar, but it really is much more dynamic; I love it.  It does change the color of baking, for example, I made some cookies and used it; the flavor of the cookies were amazing, but they were more of a caramel color than cookies if you use regular refined sugar.  Purely an aesthetic difference, as the cookies were gobbled right up!!


The one thing to make sure of though is that the coconut palm sugar you are buying is actually coconut palm sugar and isn’t filled with refined sugar. Sweet Tree (by Big Tree Farms in Bali, Indonesia) is a brand of coconut palm sugar that is certified as organic coconut palm sugar, so you know that you are getting the real deal, and it is your best bet.  Just make sure that whatever brand you buy is certified! It is most often found in natural food stores, some asian specialty shops, and online (of course- but I always encourage people to support local stores!)

Give it a try, let me know what you think, and see fi you notice a difference.  I am a huge believer, I almost exclusively use it….when I can find it!

Yours in Good Health


Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia Seeds for Better Nutrition!

I have been asked a ton lately about Chia seeds, and I have seen people snacking on them.  When I first saw it, I thought “hmm, it looks like a little bird eating a snack” but I had no idea how nutritious that snack really was….and I didn’t know what it was either.  Finally, I looked really dumb, but I asked some guy what the deal was with the “bird food” and his response was, “You don’t know about Chia?” and snarked off (which I completely deserved!) And now I feel like a chia expert….not just for being able to grow chia heads, but understanding the nutritional basis of the seeds, and why this is such a hot nutritional trend!

What are Chia Seeds?

Chia seeds are these little edible seeds that comes from the Salvia hispanica plant, which is a relative of mint.  It was used as a staple of the Aztec and Mayan diets into the 16th Century, as it is easily grown in Mexico, and along with being pretty tasty, and easy to add to a multitude of foods, it is fully of fiber and fills you up quickly; the Aztecs used to eat some Chia and be filled up for 24 hours (that wouldn’t work for me, but it may just be mind over matter!).  So, in short, Chia seeds are full of fiber, vitamins, Omega-3’s that can be added into your diet in a bunch of different ways.  They are very low-calorie and they can be ingested wither whole or ground; either way your body can easily break them down and absorb the nutrients.

Why are they so good for me?

As stated before, they are chock full of fiber, which we know is food to keep you filled up longer, aids in digestion, and can help to decrease your risk of certain cancers (like colon). Approximately 25 grams of Chia has about 7 grams of fiber (that equivalent to a half cup of straight oat bran).  They are full of Omega-3 Fatty Acids, which can help to prevent cardiovascular disease and help to regulate cholesterol by increasing your LDL (good cholesterol), help with decreasing inflammation, and help to regulate moods and prevent depression. As well as bring full of calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, manganese, copper, and iron, they also are full of antioxidants, which help in preventing cancer.  These seeds are pretty power packed!

How do I eat them?

The great thing about Chia seeds is that they do not have to be ground to eat them, so you can add them whichever way you want to baked goods to add a nutty flavor packed with vitamins and fiber. In Mexico, it is common to add water to Chia seed with a little lemon or lime juice; as the seeds sit in water, they create a gel which thickens, and is how the seeds break down in the digestive system, but adds some thickness to beverages, and I imagine it would be like bubble tea.  Also, that gel can be used in cooking/baking so that you can halve your butter or oil, and make most of your favorite meals with half the fat and calories!  The gel is formed once the seeds are sitting in water for about 30 minutes- this idea both creeps me out and excites me; I’ve used it in baking, and my cookies still turned out delicious, just healthier! It can be sprinkled in yogurt, on top of ice cream, added to salads for some crunch.  Really there are no limits to how you can add chia to your diet.

The coolest thing is that when chia is added to the diets of farm animals, their proteins are changed: chickens with a diet with chia added to it, have higher amounts of Omega 3’s in their meat, and cows that have chia added to their diet, produce milk with more naturally occurring Omega 3’s. And another really awesome thing about Chia, is that there really are no natural predators (other than humans looking for a tasty treat) so they truly are organic, in that no pesticides need to be used in the cultivation.  Really?  I see no downside to Chia…unless of course you are allergic.

So, give it a try, tell me what you think…and use the chia gel in the kitchen when cooking, your body will thank you and me!

Yours in Good Health


The Superpowered Veg: Kale

Some people love it, some people hate it, but there is no denying the fact that kale is the Wonder Woman (she’s a woman and she’s awesome, so yeah it works!) of veggies! I will be completely honest here: I used to absolutely despise kale.  I remember the first time I ate it because I thought it was SO vile; my brother and I bought it when I lived in New Orleans, and he was loving it, so I was super stoked to try it, and it was NOT a match.  I barely swallowed it down without gagging.  My issue is that I am a tactile eater, so if things feel weird in my mouth, I don’t like them, and the texture is much more intense than one would expect (as a kale virgin) and the flavor is über bitter.  But, with some help of my 3-year-old nephew this summer, I learned to love it…I just needed something other than raw kale and lemon juice to make it work.  He introduced me to the world of oven roasted kale (AKA Kale chips):  I think we devoured more kale than I ever thought would fit in our two bodies!

Why is Kale so awesome?             

– One cup of kale has only 36 calories and 5 grams of fiber 1020% of the daily requirement  of Vitamin K, 40% magnesium, 200% Vitamin C, 180% Vitamin A, and 15% of calcium and vitamin B6.  That is truly a powerhouse veggie- all that in ONE CUP?!?!

– It is full of antioxidants which help to prevent free radicals and are thought to prevent cancer. Vitamin A, C, and K are all antioxidants, along with carotenoids and flavonoids.

– The high levels of fiber, can help to decrease circulating cholesterol by binding to the free fats/cholesterols and helping to excrete them from the body before they can be absorbed in the blood and create plaques in the arteries.  Decreasing cholesterol, decreases you risk of heart disease!  (If you steam kale, it is more effective in lowering your cholesterol levels by stimulating a higher bile production by the digestive tract to decrease the circulating cholesterol)

– It is a green leafy veggie that thrives in cooler weather, so we can enjoy all winter long! And there are very few things to look forward to, as far as healthy eating goes during cold, winter months!

– It is a low carbohydrate food, so perfect for those of you looking to eat a lower carb diet.

– There is some research to specifically link the antioxidants present in kale to decrease you cancer risk for 5 different types of cancer: breast, ovarian, colon, bladder, and prostate.

How to prepare kale:

Add it in to any recipe instead of lettuce or half lettuce/half kale to ease it into your diet.  You can chop it up and add it to stir-fry, stews, soups, and really any other food that you want.  If you want to make a full on kale salad, most people just rinse and chop raw kale and add lemon juice to cut the bitterness.  That kale salad set me off on the wrong foot with this Wonder Woman veg…but kale chips couldn’t be easier (especially if someone makes them for you!): Cut kale into bite sized pieces, drizzle with some Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), a pinch of sea salt, and roast at 350 degrees in the oven for 10-15 minutes.  Yumbos!

Is there any downside to this magnificent veg?

I urge caution to anyone who is taking the blood thinner Coumadin (AKA Warfarin). You are totally able to eat kale and other green leafy veggies (cruciferous veg) which tend to have higher vitamin K levels, but be careful if you are all of a sudden increasing your intake because Vitamin K is actually the antidote for Coumadin, it increases your clotting factors and helps your blood clot, offsetting the medication which is a blood thinner.  So don’t stay away from these healthy, yummy foods, just be careful, and make sure to communicate with your Health Care Practitioner (HCP) if you eat a diet high in Vitamin K, you make require higher doses of the blood thinning medication, or they might choose an alternate treatment based on your eating habits!

Give kale a try, and your body will thank you! If the first way you try it doesn’t work, remember that you can add it in to almost anything, and there are tons of different ways to prepare….kale is certainly no one trick pony! And remember, if you are on any blood thinning medications, especially Coumadin, talk to your HCP before adding high amounts of Vitamin K into your diet.

Yours in Good Health


Quinoa…an amazing gluten-free alternative to rice!

I have a ton of friends who are allergic to gluten, and had heard from one of them about Quinoa a couple of years ago, but it was super hard to find where I lived in Boston…now I can find it in every supermarket I go to, and it is a staple of my diet.  I must say, I make amazing black bean and rice, which I always made with brown rice, but now I always put atop a bed of quinoa.  I was under the impression that everyone knew about this amazing south american treat, but out to dinner with friends the other night, I asked them about it and they had never heard of it, so I wanted to give so nutritional facts about this gluten-free alternative to rice (which also happens to be in the spinach family, randomly enough).

Its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetariansvegans and athletes (actually, probably everyone due to the other contents listed below!!). Unlike wheat or rice, which are low in lysine, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source, and super good for you!  It also is a great source of dietary fiber and phosphorous, and is high in magnesium and iron.  And, as I said before, it is gluten-free and considered very easily digested by the human body.

(cooked red quinoa…see the little curly tails?  That means it’s cooked!!)

Quinoa is light and fluffy after being cooked, and has a mild nutty flavor (don’t worry those of you who are allergic to nuts as I am, it is not even closely related to the nut family) and can be used as an alternative for rice or couscous, and also can be made into a flour to be used for gluten-free baking.  A suggested mix is three parts quinoa flour, three parts sorghum flour, two parts potato starch, and one part tapioca starch, for  gluten-free baking mix!!

I really urge you guys to try it, it is a great alternative to other carbs for dinner (i.e. rice, potatoes, couscous) because it also has a great mix of protein and vitamins/minerals, and you can always spruce it up with some spices and steamed veggies (one of my favorite side dishes), and it is so yummy on its own, you don’t need to laden it with butter to taste good.  One more quick step to a healthier meal!!  So, give it a try, and tell me what you think!

Yours in Good Health