Trying to live a holistic life in an unholistic world

Posts Tagged ‘superfood

Keen, yah? For Quinoa?

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Keeeeeeeeen waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Say what?

I always thought it was pronounced, “Kwin-o-a”

Kind of like “Hermes” was Hermees instead of Emez. Or “Givenchy” was Givenchee instead of Shee-von-shee.


But I’m from ‘Straya mate. We have a collective word for all of you, youse. Whad d’youse wanna ‘av for lunch ‘ey? Vegemite sanga’s?”

Anyway, apparently it’s keen-wah. And it’s delicious. And it’s healthy as. And if you buy the Rainbow quinoa, or mix the yellow, red and black varieties you can get a bright and festive mix! But what makes this humble little grain the ‘Supergrain of the Andes’?

Well, my friends, scientifically speaking, Chenopodium quinoa is a seed, most closely related to the beets, spinach and tumbleweed family.

It’s a psuedocereal, looking all grain-like and stuff, wanna be hanging out with the couscous, burghul and polenta’s. Quinoa is like that ridiculously smart, beautiful, perfect student who everyone wants to be like. In Korea, where competition is fierce there is a slang term ‘umchinah’ 엄친아 (son) or umchinttal (daughter) which directly translates to “mother’s friend’s son” and refers to that holier-than-thou-person you’ve never met but already hate because your mum pratts on about them all the bloody time. They can do no wrong, even their crap is gold-plated. And unfortunately, you are always compared to them “Why can’t you be like my friend’s son? He studied at Seoul National University and did post-grad at Stamford. Now he’s a dentist and drives a BMW 7 series. What have you done?”

But ah, anyway, back to quinoa. Unlike it’s wheat companions, quinoa is gluten free. However it’s high mineral and protein levels is what really makes it the “Supergrain of the Andes.” Take a look at the comparison with couscous below or here:

Quinoa vs Couscous overall nutritional info

Quinoa vs Couscous Mineral Content comparison

Quinoa is the clear winner.

Let’s not mention that it is high in proteins and delivers all of the essential 9 amino acids with especially high levels of Lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. These amino acids are generally found in animal products, making quinoa essential for vegetarian/vegan diets to ensure adequate protein intake. For example, an egg has approximately 5-6 grams of protein, 100grams chicken breast has 20grams protein. A typical serving of quinoa is about 1 cup, which is roughly 200grams, so a serving of quinoa has 8grams of protein. Not too shabby if you add in some beans, nuts, seeds and tofu.

As you can see from the tables above, quinoa is also high in fibre, magnesium and iron when compared with other grains.

Quinoa is also versatile, being able to be eaten sweet with yogurt, nuts and berries for breakfast or dessert, flattened and baked into crackers, rolled and grilled into burger patties or pressed and sweetened into energy bars.

Anyway, on this lovely Saturday afternoon, I decided to make a festive salad for my lovely friends.

Quinoa whole*istic crunch salad


2 cups organic quinoa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp onion powder

1/2 cup roasted garlic cloves
1 1/2 cups roasted capsicums

2 cobs corn (I used Korean purple corn cobs)
1 tbsp coconut oil

1/2 cup chopped cashews
2 tbsp sesame seeds unhulled
2 tbsp black sesame seeds/chia seeds/poppy seeds
1/2 cup pepita seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds


1. Rinse quinoa. Add 3 cups of water and salt and bring to boil. Once it reaches boil, turn down heat to low, simmer for about 10-12 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and it fluffs up.
See beautiful video here if unsure how to cook quinoa.

2. Take quinoa off heat. Fold through onion powder. Stand and let cool.      
Rinsed, uncooked quinoa.
Cooked quinoa.

3. Take corn off cob. Rinse.
Purple Korean corn cobs. Chewy. Delicious.

4. Add corn and coconut oil to frypan and cook until corn begins to brown.
Amazing flavour. Amazing aroma. Reminds me of this Vietnamese street food, Bap Xao Tom Bo.

5. Add in chopped roast garlic, capsicum and corn and mix by hand.


Sure sign you’re turning Korean: You mix things by hand with a plastic glove – and use scissors in the kitchen.

6. To make crunch: toast all ingredients except sesame and poppy seeds. Add these quick cooking seeds last, they only need about 1 minute.
Sprinkle over salad and mix through when ready to eat.

I also served this salad with a tangy dressing, that was so versatile and loved by one of my guests that he added it to everything we ate! Flattered.

Tangy, *slutty dressing (*Easy as and goes with anything)
Can easily be made vegan, I only had plain yogurt on hand, and determined to work with what I had in my flat. Just substitute for almond yogurt/soy yogurt/silken tofu

Makes 2 cups


1 cup soaked, organic cashews
2x 85g tub yogurt*
*(whilst I usually buy plain yogurt with 5g natural sugar, I only had yoplait ‘plain’ yogurt which has a whopping 12g sugar, 7g added. I would suggest adding a tbsp maple syrup/honey if using good, plain yogurt)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 lemon – juiced
1/2 tsp salt


1. Add all ingredients into blender/food processor. Blend the crap outta it until smooth. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or until it thickens.

Blend, blend, blend. Will get much smoother than this.

2. Eat.

Too easy right? Told you it was a slutty dressing.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 29, 2012 at 19:03

Nice to meet ‘chia

with 3 comments


So, have ya chia’d chia seeds?

I’ve been aware of all these superfoods for quite awhile now, chia seeds, maca root, bee pollen, flaxseeds, goji berries yada yada yada and of the supposed health benefits of these foods, but for never really jumped on that bandwagon probably due to my preference at the time for a bottle of booze to a bottle over an ancient incan/mayan/super powered magical plant root.

But since discovering iherb which stocks all the products unavailable here in South Korea and its astoundingly cheap shipping costs to South Korea (free on orders exceeding $80) and wanting to get into a somewhat regular sleep pattern after removing coffee from my diet, my interest in a holistic lifestyle resurfaced once more.

I am one of those unfortunate people that has a high sensitivity to caffeine, which surprises even myself as my tolerance to other forms of stimulants is rather, unfortunately, expensively high. So, due to the nocturnal timetable of my work which allows me the luxury of being able to stay up to 5am and still get 7 hours of sleep (being able to set an alarm for 12pm is definitely the perk to my job) I found myself getting into some rather unsociable and unproductive sleeping patterns.

I love staying up late. I love being a night owl. However, I feel my body clock is not meant to function on these nocturnal hours and my circadian rhythms and all that were getting out of whack, as even though I was theoretically getting enough hours sleep, my metabolism, thought processes and general feelings of wellness were feeling fuzzy and out of sync. My dependence on caffeine to jolt me awake, even though well rested, was becoming problematic, leaving me in that unrelelnting pattern of ingesting litres of caffeine to keep you awake only to find yourself unable to sleep when the time comes.

So, coffee, my tall (long black), dark and handsome friend, it was time to bid you adieu.

But, like anything in life, it was able to be replaced.

Enter, the superfoods.

Hello friends.
L-R Navitas Nautrals Organic Maca Powder, Navitas Natural Organic raw cacao powder, Nutiva organic White Chia Seeds, Kims Club Fermented probiotic, Frontier organic whole flax seed

After a particularly harrowing experience with Spirulina, (nobody told me that it was best taken with pineapple juice – instead I tried to ingest the powder straight with water) which was quite an effective energy booster yet induced horrendous gagging, I was kind of skeptical to try anything else.

However, what can I say, I’m not sure if it’s one particular supplement, or a combination of them all, but since incorporating this breakfast power smoothie into my diet, I’ve been bouncing out the door, doing some mad lip synching and popping and locking to some old school hip hop playlists as I stalk through the Seoul streets all wired and alive. I find myself powering on through the afternoon/evening shifts with no lunch required, just a mid evening snack at around 5 or 6 of one of my raw balls, some fruit or nuts. (Mind you, I still wake up at the luxurious time of around 10am, having the smoothie around 10:30-11am)

So what exactly are their superpowers? In a nutshell:

Chia Seeds:
High in fibre:
30 grams contains roughly 12grams of fibre, nearly half of your RDI (recommedned daily intake) of fibre.
High in Omega 3’s and 6’s. Gram per gram chia seeds contain more omega 3’s than salmon.
High in calcium. 30 grams of chia seeds contains 20% of your RDI of calcium, 3x more than skim milk.

Maca Powder:
Energy Booster: Believed to reduce effects of anxiety and a general energy booster.
PMS / Male Reproduction: Is also very effective in reducing symptoms of PMS in women and heightening reproductive functions within males.

Raw Cacao Powder:
High in many vitamins and minerals such as:
Magnesium, and other essential minerals including calcium, sulfur, zinc, iron, copper, potassium, and manganese
Polyphenols called flavonoids, with antioxidant properties
Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B9, E
Essential heart-healthy fat: oleic acid which is a monounsaturated fat and can help reduce cholestrol
Also gives the body a boost of energy; the “bliss” chemicals found in cacao help to increase circulation and availability of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in brain, improving mood and combating depression.

Good source of fibre
Omega 3’s: Flaxseeds contain concentrated amounts of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), an omega-3 fat.
Help lower cholestrol
Good source of magnesium
High level of lignans which may protect against estrogen dependent cancers, like breast cancer.

Breakfast power smoothie

1 small, very ripe, frozen organic banana
1/2 cup frozen organic blueberries (or berries of choice)
1 small probiotic fermented drink (find one low in sugar and cals)
1/2 cup homemade almond milk (or milk of choice) recipe to follow soon
10 dry roasted almonds (home roasted)

2 tbsp organic chia seeds
1 tbsp organic raw cacao powder
2 tsp organic maca powder
1 tbsp organic flax seeds

Place all ingredients in any order into blender, food processor or moulinex.

frozen banana’s and blueberries…..

…..plus all the superfoods

Whiz/pulse on highest speed.

I find by the time I have put all the ingredients back in their cupboard/fridge/freezer home the smoothie is done. Which, however is not saying much, as I could stand in the same position of my small kitchen and perform some serious Stretch Armstrong manouveres and get everything back in its place.

For the sake of this blog and some pretty pictures I placed it in a cup and garnished. I usually eat it straight from the blender with a spoon (yes it’s that thick and luxurious thanks to the frozen banana’s)  as I am the dishwasher and hate washing up anything more than I have to.

Written by ayearinpatissiere

September 19, 2012 at 16:51