In light of trying to improve my eating habits, I've been considering starting a new blog (yet another!) or a occasional feature on my LJ where I review, more or less, the new and interesting foods I've been trying along the way. Been dragging my heels on it, though, for no particular reason other than I've just had a lot of stuff on my plate recently. While I'm still trying to figure out what I want to do with this account, however, I might as well do something with it here.

So I've heard some good things about quinoa, another one of those "miracle foods" that's high in protein but low in fat, a gluten and wheat-free alternative to other grains with a texture similar to couscous. According to my learnings on the interwebs...

A recently rediscovered ancient "grain" native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis.

I'm not sure I buy that shit about it being "the gold of the Incas," but who knows. The rest of it sounds promising. I get dreadful migraines maybe once a year or so, and I have a hereditary predisposition towards diabetes, so I'm willing to try a number of things to hold those particular demons at bay. Quinoa is a versatile food and can be eaten as both breakfast and dinner. I got a box for cheap yesterday at Trader Joe's, currently one of my favorite places on Earth and decided to give it a try as a breakfast food first.

I prepared it like I'd prepare Cream of Wheat, bringing a cup of it with two cups of water to a boil then simmering it for ten minutes or so. Also like Cream of Wheat, it doesn't look particularly appetizing when it's done, but rather more like porridge. I may try using a little less water next time, for a thicker consistency, or making it in the rice cooker. In trying to keep it as "healthy" as possible, I mixed it with agave syrup, Very Vanilla Silk and a mixture of dried cranberries, pomegranate seeds and currants. It seemed to absorb the syrup and Silk without really flavoring it, and the end result was not as sweet as I hoped. Quinoa has a distinctly nutty flavor, which really brought out the tartness of the cranberries and pomegranate, so that was nice. I'm not sure I'll try it again as a breakfast food, but mixed with veggies and onions it'll probably be quite tasty.

Note to Self: must make these reviews more interesting and irreverent. I've always said it's harder to review stuff you like or are indifferent to than something you dislike.