A staple of the Incan warrior’s diet, quinoa (pronounced kin-wa) is a solid addition to any fighter’s nutrition regimen. While often mistakenly referred to as a grain, quinoa is actually a seed that’s related to leafy greens. Once known as “the gold of the Incas,” quinoa offered these warriors a powerful fuel that sustained them through battle. What differentiates quinoa from other healthy plants is that it offers complete protein, which is a full-spectrum amino acid profile. Balancing your diet with quality sources of both animal and vegetarian sources of protein helps the body to maintain an ideal pH for healthy living and athletic recovery.
In addition to protein, quinoa seeds are packed with fiber, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus. These nutrients aid in tissue growth and repair, and they help support the cardiovascular system.
Cooked seeds have a light, fluffy texture and a flavorful, nutty taste. Quinoa is a smart substitute for nutrient-poor side dishes, such as white rice and mashed potatoes.
Rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa seeds under cold water in a fine mesh strainer. Combine the rinsed seeds with 2 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all the water is absorbed, which takes about 15 minutes.
1 cup dry quinoa
½ tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tbs. lemon juice
1 tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup chopped scallions
Prepare the quinoa as described and then combine with the scallions. Mix together the lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, and toss with the quinoa and scallions. Season with a dash of salt and black pepper. Makes 4 servings: 195 calories per serving.
¾ cup cooked quinoa
1 palm-sized apple (preferably Fuji)
1 small box of raisins
1 tbs. light granulated brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Dice the apple into small chunks and mix all of the ingredients together. Serve warm for breakfast or dessert. Makes 1 serving: 305 calories