If you hang around in the World of Real Food for very long, you’ll realize that grains in any size, shape or form are quite controversial.
In fact, the plethora of contradicting “rules” could easily drive a girl crazy: Some Paleos avoid all grains. Some include white rice in their diet, but not brown. Real Food advocates like Sally Fallon and Nina Planck are fine with grains–including brown rice and even wheat–prepared in a traditional manner (soaked, fermented and/or slow cooked). Oats are out for Paleos (I think), and the non-Paleo GF crowd must avoid them due to cross contamination and toleration problems. The Grain-Free gang–as you might guess–avoids all grains, altogether.
Like I said, it’s enough to drive a person crazy!
Here at the Yankee Homestead, we’ve taken a middle-of-the-road approach to grains. We do eat organic brown rice cooked in homemade broth. We also eat oatmeal, starting with certified GF oats that are soaked & fermented (then rinsed). [Note: we used to eat this oatmeal, but I’ve tweaked the process a bit and will be sharing our new and improved recipe soon.] And we eat rice noodles on occasion, as well as rice flour in certain baking recipes. (Such as pancakes and gingerbread cookies.) We’re also OK with the moderate use of millet flour, sorghum flour and a few others that I can’t think of at the moment. 🙂
While I’m OK with eating and serving brown rice, I’ve been trying to reduce our dependence on this grain. Not because I think it’s bad for us, but because it’s a starch and I’d like to see us consuming less starch and more nourishing foods like protein and vegetables. [Although I do think that cooking the rice in homemade broth gives it a HUGE boost in nutrition.]
I’ve also been looking for ways to reduce our meat consumption. Don’t get me wrong–we love meat around here and consider it to be a fantastic source of nutrition. Trouble is, we eat a lot of it. And the good kind--the “from the farm” kind–tends to be expensive. Really expensive! And did I mention we’re raising boys here at the Yankee Homestead?
Enter the lowly seed known as Quinoa. Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, and I confess that I tend to think of it as such. But it is actually a seed. And it’s gluten-free. And according to my research, quinoa packs quite a protein punch. All of this combined makes quinoa equally appealing to the GF crowd, Paleos, Grain-Free folks and more.
So, in my efforts to reduce our consumption of both rice and (expensive) meat, I’ve been attempting to incorporate more quinoa into our diet. So far, so good. By no means have I perfected this endeavor, nor have I attained the full capacity of all that quinoa has to offer. But we’re making progress! And progress is good.
For starters, check out this awesome recipe for Quinoa Crockpot Chili (which also includes meat and legumes).
If you’d like to add more quinoa to your diet, stick around over the days ahead as I share a few new recipes and tips…
(And if you’ve got any awesome quinoa recipes, send ’em my way! I’m still looking for more ways to use this super-seed at the Yankee Homestead. You can provide recipe links below, or send them to me via my contact form.)
Update: Check out this recipe for Coconut Chicken Salad with Quinoa.