NUTRITIONAL & FUN FACTS ABOUT Quinoa:
Quinoa originated in Bolivia and Peru, a crop Spaniards called 'wheat of the Incas' because it was the primary crop during the Incan empire. The plant itself is incredibly beautiful, growing tall with blossoming magenta flowers that produce the little seeds (so not actually a grain) we cook and eat called quinoa. As with most colorful things in nature, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, providing our bodies with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients like: quercitin, kaempferol and omega-3 fatty acids. Additionally, the human body requires 22 amino acids for survival. Our body naturally makes all but 9 of those amino-acids so we have to turn to our food to supply the rest. Animal proteins are our most common sources of a 'complete protein' containing all 9 amino acids, but there are also some plant based foods that provide this essentially nutritional profile as well and Quinoa is among them. We eat quinoa as a grain, so it may seem odd to think of it as a source of protein equal to steak - but it is! Vegans are pumped about this and quite frankly, so am I! The less we eat meat, the better for our environment, so learning to add vegetarian sourced proteins is a fantastic way to combat these challenges.
Did You Know? Fun facts about quinoa:
- Quinoa seeds can be found in various colors such as: red, yellow, black and white
- Quinoa only takes 12 minutes to cook, making it the SIMPLEST and fastest weeknight menu idea
- Just 1 cup of quinoa packs 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber
- There are about 120 varieties of quinoa that can be grown
- If you find the taste of quinoa too bitter, all you have to do is rinse the seeds before cooking to mellow the flavor
DIFFICULTIES FACING QUINOA:
Quinoa was a staple for people in Bolivia and Peru for as long as 5,000 years. Due to it’s incredibly balanced and nutrition packed dietary profile, quinoa is thought to be a potential option for combatting world hunger. Over the past 8-10 years, quinoa has turned into a booming crop, and when the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) declared 2013 the ‘International Year of Quinoa,’ the demand increased exponentially.
The interesting thing about Quinoa is that the plant is capable of growing in diverse soils but in order for the seed (the part we eat) to develop, it needs a very specific climate.
The problem, once again is that with high demand and a small area where quinoa truly naturally thrives (currently 95% of quinoa is still produced in Bolivia and Peru) the imbalance of supply and demand puts a great deal of pressure on farmers to increase yields at any cost. Growing conditions always benefit from crop rotation - if the same crop is forced to grow repeatedly in the same place without a break, the soil becomes stripped of value and that crop becomes less productive. When The United States as well as several other countries have tried to grow quinoa to supplement the rapidly increased consumer interest, they were initially overwhelmingly unsuccessful.
GIVE WHERE YOU TAKE GIVING:
The good news is that many countries are responding in an effort to meet the increasing global demand for quinoa by continuing to find alternative growing regions to supplement Bolivia and Peru’s output. Additionally, scientists believe that given the right conditions, quinoa could become a climate-resistant crop but quinoa production needs to be incorporated with other activities traditionally carried out in the Southern Altiplano area in Bolivia. It would also benefit greatly from Llama breeding as llamas are a critical part of fertilization for the quinoa crop.
We are donating a part of profits from all of our products to organizations dedicated to protecting all of our endangered food sources. For example, some of our donations will go to organizations on the ground in Bolivia developed to support the sustainability of quinoa through educational programs, teaching proper farming techniques and addressing basic needs of quinoa farms.