Kitchen Staples: Quinoa

June 29, 2011

Quinoa (say keen-wah) is an ancient South American seed prepared like rice.

Light and fluffy, it is one of the quickest, easiest, most versatile foods. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a complete protein and a good source of grounding energy, iron, and B vitamins...and it’s gluten free.

1. Rinse quinoa really well in a fine, mesh strainer (you must wash away any remaining bitter resin from harvest or you''ll taste it).
2. Bring 1:2 quinoa-to-water to a boil then simmer, covered, for about 15-20 min until the water is absorbed. The center of each grain will become kinds of translucent while the outside curlicue will remain opaque.
3. From here you can go savory or sweet—toss with veggies or sliced almonds, raisins, and rice milk.

Our go-to quick meal: dress the quinoa with raw olive oil and Braggs and top with chopped greens (kale, mint, parsley, green onions, etc.) and a little fresh garlic or red onion.

Kitchen Staples: Raw Organic Olive Oil

June 25, 2011

A good olive oil is CRUCIAL!

You want your fats to be healthy and healing ones. So it’s best to eat your olive oil RAW.

With a low tolerance to heat, olive oil goes rancid fast. Your body attacks the cooked oil like a toxin and builds plaque along your insides to protect you, which eventually hardens (have you seen all those big, hard, bellies out there? Plaque!).

On the other hand, the benefits of raw olive oil:

•Promotes better digestion.
•Nervous system support.
•Increases good cholesterol (HDL) while decreasing the bad (LDL)
•Lubricates joints.
•Associated with decreased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

So if you’re sautéing or making a sauce, for example, use a bit of water instead and add the oil after you turn off the flame.

What to look for:

•Organic: Make sure you’re not dosing yourself with pesticides. If they’re meant to destroy the nervous systems of insects, what do you think they do to your cells?

•Dark glass container:
This protects the oil from becoming oxidized and rancid. Soon, you’ll see oils in clear plastic at the store and it’ll just feel wrong.

•Cold-pressed: Essentially, this means “raw”—unheated. This ensures all the anti-oxidants and nutrients haven’t been cooked to death while pressing the olives.

Comes from the first pressing, meaning it is not refined further. You’ll notice a greenish color, sometimes cloudy, versus the uniform, super-refined oils.

Kitchen Staples: Nutritional Yeast

June 25, 2011

Nutritional Yeast doesn’t win the Sexiest Condiment Name award, but it's so good, you'll come to find it a must-have, especially if you’re transitioning to veganism.

A 1970s-ish superfood, health foodies have been using it all these decades for its cheesy, nutty flavor.

We use it where one might used to have used parmesan— sprinkling (okay, flooding) the savory flakes onto our salads, soups, Italian dishes, and vegan cheesy sauces.

Nutritional yeast is a complete protein (contains all the essential amino acids) and is high in B vitamins, including B12 (note: not everyone absorbs this B12, but it works for me. My B12 blood levels are fine, even after 8+ years of veganism without capsule supplementation).

Available in all health food stores, usually in the bulk section—buy a large jar at a time, you'll use it up fast!