Category Archives: Nutrition

Seven Shores Green Smoothie Challenge

Seven ShoresGreen Smoothie 5 Day Challenge – October 12th to 16th

We challenge you to join us and Seven Shores and drink one Green Smoothie each day for 5 Days – starting after Thanksgiving Weekend from Tuesday Oct.12th to Saturday Oct. 16th.   See how you feel after … we will have a follow up on facebook.

Benefits to the Seven Shores Green Smoothie Challenge:

  1. Creating a Habit of Drinking Green Smoothies
  2. To help begin building our Immune Systems for the winter
  3. To have Increased Energy all day long
  4. To use the kale, spinach, carrots and other greens, veggies and fruit from our local farms … the combinations taste great … you have to try it!!

How the Seven Shores Green Smoothie challenge works:

  • Each day Seven Shores Cafe will make a fresh green smoothie for you in a 946ml (32oz.) Mason Jar.
  • Cost is $35 for 5 Green Smoothies (pre-payment can be made in cafe)
  • Pick up Smoothie in the Cafe anytime between 7am and 7pm
  • Return your mason jar the next day and receive your next smoothie
  • A chart will be in the cafe – tracking your number of smoothies consumed
  • On Saturday 16th receive recipes of the 5 smoothies
  • If you have a juicer at home and would like to do it yourself – we can provide the produce, juice and recipes for you to pick-up on Tuesday – $25 fee.

Information Night (location – Cafe): Thursday October 7th from 7pm to 8pm:

To know more about Building up Your Immune System and the Benefits of Drinking Green Smoothies – Come and Listen to Kristijana Rakic, ND – You will also have a chance to sample a green smoothie and ask any questions about the challenge.

Seven Shores Cafe is about using local and organic produce and other products on their menu in support of the local farmer and keeping the food fresh and nutritious.  The challenge is during the time of National Organic Week – supported by Canadian Organic Growers – Waterloo Chapter  The greens and veggies used to make the smoothies will be coming from our local organic farms:  Pfennings, Fertile Ground and Transpire Organic Farm!

Any questions please email or call 519.342.0916

Alkalize Your Body and Lose Weight

Eating foods that are more alkalinizing will help your body function vibrantly and will help you lose weight, have more energy, help keep your bones strong, improve your digestion and much more. For a complete list of alkalinizing foods refer to the chart below.

pH is a measure of how acidic or alkaline something is. pH balance is a very important part of health. pH is measured from 1 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline). Our body works really hard to keep the pH of our blood at a slightly alkaline level (7.4). Our diet can have a significant impact on our blood pH. When we eat more acidic foods such as sugar, processed food, red meat our bodies have to work extra hard to restore the pH of the body. Consider this: A 350 ml serving of Coke, Pepsi or similar drink delivers a sugar fix equivalent to about 9 teaspoons of sugar straight into the blood stream. This instantly acidifies the bloodstream to the extreme point that without an immediate emergency response from the body, it would kill you in a mater of minutes…you’d have to drink 32 glasses of alkaline water to neutralize the blood pH…to prevent death by acidosis, the body reacts swiftly by drawing huge amounts of organic calcium from the bones and teeth and pouring it into the bloodstream to neutralize the excess acid and quickly restore alkaline balance. Calcium is the body’s most potent alkalizing agent”.

It’s no coincidence that acid foods that pack on the pounds and contribute to other help problems such as osteoporosis. Acidic foods accelerate aging, especially after our 40’s when the body isn’t as efficient at buffering the blood with calcium.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition concluded that alkalizing diets improve bone density and serum growth hormone concentrations; the acidosis resulting from acidic diets contributes to bone and muscle loss.

Our fat cells actually help to protect us again the excess acid in our body by trapping the acid in the fat cells. The more acidic the diet is the more your fat cells grow. Also, the body resists breaking down fat stores when the body is acidic, so to help mobilize and breakdown fat you need to alkalinize!

Clinical studies show that alkaline mineral water (such as spring water) is the best way to obtain alkaline minerals and acid waters like colas are the best way to quickly deplete them!

The most nourishing alkaline foods are nature’s super greens – spirulina, barley and wheat grass. Other super foods are Essetential Fatty Acids (omega 3) help maintain an alkaline body. For a more complete list of alkaline and acidic foods please see the chart below.

5 Top Ways to Stay Alkaline:

  1. Drink, Drink then Drink some more!
    1. By far the most important and yet the easiest way to accelerate your alkaline diet weight loss results is to hydrate consistently. Avoid Coffee, tea, soda and other acidic drinks.
  2. Avoid Foods with preservatives, food colouring and additives.
    1. The body wasn’t designed to digest these chemical substances, so it must either: eliminate them, neutralize them or park them away where they can’t damage your body
  3. Avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague.
    1. If you have been trying to lose weight, chances are you have relied on artificial sweeteners to cut calories.
  4. Always have cut veggies and soaked nuts ready in your fridge
    1. Having more of the alkaline foods readily available makes it easier to make the healthier choice. Buy veggies that you enjoy eating!
  5. Choose more vegetarian sources of Protein
    1. Meats are more acid especially red meat. Choose less acid protein such as vegetarian protein – beans, nuts, seeds, fish

General Guidance:

Stick to salads, fresh vegetables and healthy nuts and oils. Try to consume plenty of raw foods and at least 2-3 litres of clean, pure water daily. Avoid or reduce of fatty meats, dairy, cheese, sweets, chocolates, alcohol and tobacco. Packaged foods are often full of hidden offenders and microwave meals are full of sugars and salts.

Alkaline VegetablesAsparagus
Lambs Lettuce
Red Cabbage
Green Beans
Grasses (wheat, straw, barley, dog, kamut etc.)
Brussels Sprouts

Alkaline Drinks‘Green Drinks’
Fresh vegetable juice
Pure water (distilled or ionised)
Lemon water (pure water + fresh lemon or lime).
Herbal Tea
Vegetable broth
Non-sweetened Soy Milk
Almond Milk

Acidic ProteinsPork

Acidic Seeds & Nuts

Cashew Nuts
Pistachio Nuts

Acid Dairy ProductsMilk
Ice Cream
Watermelon (is neutral)

Alkaline Seeds, Nuts & GrainsAlmonds
Buckwheat Groats
Cumin Seeds
Any sprouted seed

Others Acidic FoodsVinegar
White Pasta
White Bread
Wholemeal Bread
Soy Sauce
Condiments (Tomato Sauce, Mayonnaise etc.)
Artificial Sweeteners

Acidic DrinksFizzy Drinks
Fruit Juice
Dairy Smoothies
Traditional Tea

Others Alkalinizing FoodsSprouts (soy, alfalfa, mung bean, wheat, little radish , chickpea, broccoli etc)
Bragg Liquid Aminos (Soy Sauce Alternative)

Alkaline Fats & OilsFlax
Evening Primrose
Coconut Oil

Acidic Convenience FoodsSweets
Microwave Meals
Tinned Foods
Powdered Soups
Instant Meals
Fast Food

Acidic Fats & OilsSaturated Fats
Hydrogenated Oils
Margarine (worse than Butter)
Corn Oil
Vegetable Oil
Sunflower Oil

Get Excited About Asparagus!

Eating local and fresh is not only fantastic for the environment but it also makes for much tastier meals! There are numerous fresh and local fruits and vegetables harvested in our community – asparagus being one of our favourite! The fleshy green spears of asparagus are both succulent and tender and have been considered a delicacy since ancient times. Asparagus is also known for its healing properties and high nutrient content. Start experimenting with asparagus and make it a great addition to your meals!

Heart Health

Asparagus are especially high in folate. Folate is essential for a healthy cardiovascular system. Just one serving of asparagus supplies almost 66% of the daily recommended intake of folate.

A Natural Diuretic

Asparagus is a very good source of potassium (288 mg per cup) and quite low in sodium (19.8 mg per cup). Its mineral content, combined with an active amino acid in asparagus, asparagine, gives asparagus a diuretic effect. Historically, asparagus has been used to treat problems involving swelling, such as arthritis and rheumatism, and may also be useful for PMS-related water retention.

Food for Healthy Gut Flora

Asparagus contains a special kind of carbohydrate called inulin which is a health-promoting friendly bacteria in our large intestine. When our diet contains good amounts of friendly bacteria the digestive system works smoothly.

A Birth Defect Fighter

Eat lots of asparagus if you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or are in the early stages of pregnancy. A cup of asparagus supplies approximately 263 mcg of folate, a B-vitamin essential for proper nervous system development. Inadequate folate during pregnancy has been linked to several birth defects, including neural tube defects like spina bifida.

For more information on asparagus and for delicious recipes visit the official Ontario website for asparagus.

What Kind of Calories Are Lurking In Your Morning Coffee?

Lets face it, many of us (including myself) enjoy a good cup of coffee. Some drink coffee for the taste, others to wake up or for some it is just a habit or break from the daily grind. It has become a social thing for us, we have coffee at meetings, functions and often meet friends and chat over a steaming hot cup of “joe”.

While there have been many studies that have reaped the benefits of a good organic free trade cup of coffee, what we are putting in this coffee is another story.

Lets look at the hidden calories in coffee that are contributing to our ever growing waste lines.

Hidden Calories

Coffee itself has virtually no calories, however very few of us will drink our coffee black.

The new guidelines are suggesting that we limit our added sugar intake to no more than 100 calories for women and 150 calories for men a day.

  • 1 tsp or packet of sugar = 20 calories
  • 1 pump of flavoured coffee syrup  = 20 calories (usually there are 3-4 pumps/drink)
  • Whip = 60-110 calories

Lets look at some of the sugar in your favourite drinks:

  • Grande Chai Tea Latte Starbuck – 8 tsp sugar, 128 calories of added sugar
  • Grande Green Tea Latte – 91/2 tsp sugar, 152 calories of added sugar
  • Grande Cinnamon Dolce Latte – 41/2 tsp sugar, 72 calories of added sugar
  • Hot Chocolate – 6 tsp sugar, 96 calories of added sugar
  • 14oz Iced Cap from Tim Hortons – 11 ½ tsp sugar, 184 calories of added sugar
  • 10oz Hot Chocolate from Tim Hortons – 9 ½ tsp sugar, 152 calories of added sugar

If you have these occasionally, no problem..we can all indulge. However, if you are having these on a daily basis you need to consider how much extra sugar you are pumping through your system!

Artificial Sweeteners, They’re Better, Right?

So what about the no sugar syrups or artificial sweeteners? We know that long term intake of these things is not natural or good for your health. They have been associated with many neurological conditions, as well as aggravating certain neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Multiple Sclerosis.

We suggest that you use real sugar in moderation.

If you are a “double double” person, consider this…

One Suggestion

If you drink a 10oz “double double” you are consuming 150 more calories than if you drink black coffee. If that is too extreme, switching to double milk and double sugar will reduce your calories by 40 per 10oz cup.

What if you stopped the sweet and just added a single milk? You would save 130 calories per 10oz cup.   You have to ask yourself…if you are drinking that double double, are you drinking it because you like the taste of coffee, or sugar?

Saving this 120 calories every day is significant, as it has been shown that as little as a 100calories more a day than your body requires will put on 10lbs per year.

Make a conscious choice of where your calories and added sugars are coming from!!

Vibrant Aging

Ah the age old question, how to I prevent those wrinkles.  North America spends billions of dollars annually trying to tap into this fountain of youth through surgeries, creams, lotions, and health products.

Let’s find out what is in your own local grocery store that can help you age vibrantly, naturally!


This is not going to come as a surprise to many of you…but what you eat on a consistent basis will effect how your skin ages.

Studies are showing that eating a diet that is higher in fish, vegetables, fruits, legumes while consuming lower intakes of butter, sugar and meat can positively effect skin wrinkling.

So…eat those veggies

(Purba Exp Dermatol 2008)


We know that sun damages the skin. It has been found that increased intake of lycopene has been shown to be able to have UV protecting properties. This means rich lycopene based diets for 12 weeks have been shown to reduce UV induced redness when patients are exposed to the sun. Does this mean eat tomatoes, and don’t wear sunscreen? No, it just helps to further reduce the UV damage.  Also lycopene has been shown to help reduce the depth and severity of furrows and wrinkles in humans.

(Riediger J Am Diet Assoc 2009)


No, this doesn’t mean you can go out and eat unlimited amounts of O’Henry Bars!

But…pure cocoa has been show to contain antioxidants that reduce skin aging. Consumption of 325mg of cocoa flavonols per day for 3 months reduced UV redness, improved skin hydration and decreased roughness and scaling of the skin.

How much is this?  If you get raw cacao powder about 2 tsp will contain roughly this amount. Check out our recipe on the website for healthy hot chocolate.

(Neukam Eur J Nutr 2007)

Fish Oils

You have heard over and over to take your omegas, here is another reason why. Studies are showing that the EPA found in fish can provide internal protection against UV damage and improve skin elasticity. Make sure you take a fish oil supplement that has been tested for heavy metals and take the equivalent of 1000mg of combined EPA/DHA per day.

(Riediger J Am Diet Assoc 2009)

Proper Hydration

We know that drinking your water, and being well hydrated will lead to healthy skin with that glowing appearance. It has been shown that things like fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir), green tea and borage oil can improve hydration from the inside out.

So skip that second cup of coffee and donut and have some plain yogurt and green tea!

(Puch Exp Dermatol 2008)

Sodium In Fast Foods

When we think of sodium and fast foods, many of us think of the burger joints like McDonalds and Burger King. Most people know that these foods are high in sodium, and that an increased intake of sodium over time can contribute to disease conditions like high blood pressure, osteoporosis, water retention and even increases your chances of stomach cancer.

How Much Salt Is Too Much?

New guidelines are suggesting that we consume no more thatn 1500mg per day, it is estimated that the average Canadian is consuming double this amount.

Just to put this number into perspective 1 tsp of salt contains 2400mg of sodium. However most of the salt we are eating is not coming from the table salt we are using to salt our foods or adding to our cooking. While we still want to limit this, most of the salt is lurking in the processed, packaged and fast foods we are eating.

We know that things like frozen dinners and canned soups are high in sodium, but take a look the next time at processed meats, or canned tomato sauce or even certain breads. It can all add up.

Lurking Sodium

Lets take a look at some of the sodium that is lurking in the fast foods that you are eating…

  • Tim Hortons 12 grain bagel – 590mg
  • Tim Hortons Chicken Snack Wrapper – 610mg
  • Starbucks Italian pesto, cheese and tomato sandwich – 900mg
  • Tim Hortons Soups (individual) – average 900mg
  • Kelseys veggie burger – 950mg
  • Kelseys broccoli and cheddar soup  – 1020mg
  • Manchu wok green bean chicken with mixed veggies – 1070mg
  • Tim Hortons Chicken Club Sandwich – 1070mg
  • Mr greek, greek salad with dressing – 1160mg
  • Boston pizza veggie pizza (individual) – 1160mg
  • Swiss chalet chicken soup – 1380mg
  • Starbucks egg and spinach and feta wrap  – 1140mg
  • Swiss chalet grilled chicken caeser salad with dressing – 1730mg
  • Montanas roasted salmon with rice and veggies – 1780mg
  • Swiss chalet ¼ chicken dinner with dipping sauce and rice – 2020mg
  • Swiss chalet chicken stirfry with rice – 2290mg
  • Montanas turkey club sandwich – 2320mg
  • Kelseys nachos and cheese – 3530mg

As you can see, some of these choices are actually the best ones on the menu but they still have increased sodium. It is not really their fault, they have to get their produce in bulk and when they do that it has to be preserved so it wont spoil and salt is an easy way to prevent the spoilage. Also – we demand that foods tastes good, and our plates like salt. The more we eat, the more we want.

In Conclusion

While all of these foods are great and fine occasionally, if you are eating lunch out everyday it is important to re-evaluate these choices and start making this stuff at home. It use to be that eating out was a luxury or social, so it really didn’t matter if a couple times  a month you were over your sodium intake. Now it seems that people are eating out 1-2x/day which as you can see can really add up and increase your risk factors for disease!


At one point we thought our genes were static, meaning that if your mom had arthritis…you were very likely to get it to. While this is still true, we now know that what we eat, how we think and move can actually influence our genes.

The good news…we can talk to our genes and influence which of these disease factors will be expressed.

One of the biggest ways that our lifestyle can influence this is through telomers. Telomers are basically protective caps on the end of our chromosomes and the longer our telomers the longer we live. Studies are now showing that 12 weeks on a healthy whole food lifestyle program (including reducing stress, improving sleep and exercise) can positively influence the length of the telomers.

New research is also showing that the omega 3 fats found in fish can also keep your telomers from shortening. Yet another reason to eat wild sources of fish and take your omega 3 supplement (that has been tested for heavy metals of course).

Start Your Own Food Revolution

So, if you haven’t been watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution it is a must see. Tune in Friday’s at 9pm on ABC.

For those of you who haven’t heard of this program, Jamie Oliver is better know as the “Naked Chef”. He has created a revolution in the school programs at home in England, and has now brought the project to one of the unhealthiest cities in America.

As you can imagine, he gets a lot of resistance and has great struggles trying to get these kids to eat “real food”.    The kids are currently on a school lunch program and are being fed pizza and strawberry milk for breakfast and then pizza or chicken nuggets again at lunch.  Of course all of these meals are processed containing a whole list of additives not to mention vast amounts of sugar and salt.

Jamie’s mission is to get “real food” back into the school cafeterias which includes meals like pasta, with a meat sauce that is full of vegetables and real chicken or sloppy joes made of unprocessed beef and vegetables and even mac and cheese…but the homemade kind not from a box. He even admits that the meals are sometimes not the “best” choices but they are better than the stuff they are currently eating.

There have been 3-4 clips in this series so far that I have found fascinating and wanted to share them with you

Is That Chicken?

In one of the first episodes, Jamie does an experiment where he takes a chicken and explains to a group of 6-7 kids where processed chicken nuggets come from. He takes a whole chicken and cuts off the legs and breasts, explains these are the good parts and sets them aside. What is left is the carcass, bones, fat, cartilage..and he takes all of this and cuts it up and places it in a food processor. At this point the kids are screaming and totally grossed out. Jamie explains that these are the ingredients they are eating when they consume chicken nuggets. Then he takes the “mash” and combines this with flour, fillers, and spices to make it taste good, forms them into patties and fries them with a coating.

The kids are watching this whole process, and at the end he asks for a show of hands as to who would eat this.

Even though 3 minutes before they were disgusted by the “mash”, every child put up their hand that they would still eat the chicken nugget. Gross!

The point being, we really have to focus on educating our kids about what is actually in our food as when this food comes in pretty packages they are disconnected from what they are actually eating. This goes for adults too.

What is a Vegetable?

Along this same line, Jamie went into the classroom and was trying to get kids to identify vegetables.  While the kids had no problem recognizing things like French fries and pizza – not one single child was able to identify a carrot, potato, eggplant, broccoli etc.

Come Over To The Common Sense Corner

Jamie has his meals going up against the regular school lunch program. On this particular day, he made a pasta that included 7 different kids of vegetables, and that was going up against a burger and fries with the “option” of a side salad.

The supervisor pulled Jamie aside and said that according to standards there wasn’t enough vegetable in his meal. The policy required that you need 1 ½ cups, and even though there were 7 different kinds of vegetables in the pasta there wasn’t 1 ½ cups. When he questioned where the vegetables were in the regular school program dish the answer was the French fries and the option the kids had for the side salad (even though not one child was in the salad line).

This is where we have to use our common sense, and agree that sometimes policy just doesn’t make sense. I bring this up as this happens a lot! We know in our heart of hearts what we should and shouldn’t be eating but we tend to rationalize. My favourite example of this is the whole grain fruit loops…we know this really isn’t great for us, yet we rationalize that at least it is whole grain, or reduced in sugar.

When presented with situations like this…no matter what the policy or label may claim we challenge you to put on your common sense hat!

Is That Milk?

The last one was probably the most mind blowing for me. The last episode had Jamie trying to feed the children plain milk instead of giving them the option to choose the strawberry or chocolate version.  Typically these flavoured milks have more sugar than a can of pop…and we know all of the problems that over 10tsp of sugar in one drink can have on a body, let alone a little body!  The rationalization for the flavoured milk still being offered was that it is better for a child to drink the sugar to make sure they get their calcium.

My jaw dropped to the floor!

We now know that sugar is one of the major driving forces of things like cardiovascular disease, inflammation, diabetes and now new research is pointing at Alzheimer’s as being the type 3 diabetes.  In addition, we know that calcium is leached in an acidic environment…and one of the number one acidic foods is sugar.

Again…here is where we need to advocate for and educate our children.

One of the teachers in this episode encouraged the children to choose the regular plain milk and explained why, and everyone in that class made the right choice in the cafeteria line.  It is up to us become educated ourselves, and then educate our children and given the choice they usually do make the right decision!

Your Own Food Revolution

To embark on your own Food Revolution…come to our Transformation Weekend on June 5/6, 2010.

2FOR1 special is on until May 7th!

For More Details click here now:

Until Next Time…tune into Jamie’s Food Revolution.

Stay Vibrant

Robin and Kristijana

My New Favourite Book for Healthy Living

You never know what kind of treasures are waiting for you around the corner.  As I was shopping in Shoppers Drug Mart for my all natural toothpaste last week I also stumbled upon a great new recipe book on their discounted book rack.

The book is called 100-Calorie Snack Cookbook by Sally Sampson.  It’s filled with hundreds of recipes, accompanied with colourful pictures and serving ideas and has a breakdown of the calories in fats, carbohydrates, protein, sodium and dietary fibre.  The book is further organized into different chapters form soups, to protein snacks, to tasty healthy deserts.

It is a well establish fact that small frequent meals throughout the day and incorporating snacks into your diet between meals is the key to stabilizing blood sugar, reducing stress, enhancing energy and losing weight!

For those that want to start eating healthier or for those that are looking for new and exciting snack options this is the perfect book for you!

Say good-bye 100 Calorie Thinsations and all other processed low calorie, nutrient void foods and say hello to a library of tasty, healthy, low glycemic snack options.  It’s one thing to reduce calories lose weight, but if you are doing it by filling your diet with low calorie highly processed foods stripped of nutrients and pumped with artificial this and chemical you may lose weight but do you gain health – NO.

If losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is important to you check out this book.  Here a few of my favourite recipes from the book so far – Enjoy!

Ps. you can pick yourself up at a copy at Amazon by clicking this link: 100-Calorie Snack Cookbook

Peanut Butter- Banana-Apple Bites (1 serving)

  • 2 thin slices of apples
  • 2 teaspoons peanut butter (can substitute with almond or other nut butters)
  • ¼ banana, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 14 blueberries (optional)

Place the apple slices on a flat surface and spread the peanut butter.  Top with the banana.  Sprinkle with honey, cinnamon, and if desired add blueberries.

Beet Chips (4 servings)

  • 8 beets, boiled or roasted until soft, peel and slice as think as possible
  • 1 teaspoon salt (if you’re reducing salt in your diet, use less salt or try low sodium alternatives such as Herbamare spice by A.vogel)
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 F.  Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Place beets, salt and oil in a large bowl and toss until beets are well coated.  Pour the beets in a single layer onto the baking sheets, transfer to the oven, and bake until they are beginning to brown on the edges and are just crisp, about 40 minutes.  Set aside to cool and then transfer to a jar or for up to 3 days. If they become moist, simply pop them in a 300 F oven for about 5 minutes.

Vegetable Cottage Cheese (1 serving)

  • ½ cup nonfat cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped English cucumber
  • 1 tbsp chopped tomato
  • 1 tbsp chopped carrot
  • 1 tbsp chopped chive
  • ½ tbsp chopped red ions
  • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place everything in a mixing bowl and gently combine.  Cover and refrigerate for at least ½ hours and up to 4 hours.

Berry Fro-Yo (4 servings)

  • 2 ½ cups strawberries, sliced and frozen
  • 2 cups blueberries, frozen
  • ½ cup plus 2 tbsp frozen plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Place frozen berries in the food processor.  Process until smooth.  Gradually add the yogurt and lemon juice and process until completely incorporated.  Serve immediately or cover and freeze in individual portions for up to 2 weeks.  If you freeze the portions, let them sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before eating.

My Love Affair with Quinoa

I LOVE Quinoa!

I was first introduced to it at a dinner party by one of my classmates from my naturopathic medical training.  It was the fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture of the quinoa that won me over immediately!  Soon after my first introduction to this fabulous “grain” I began incorporating it into my own cooking and was thrilled to learn about all the nutrients and numerous health benefits I was gaining from eating this delicious food.

Most commonly considered a “grain,” quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.  Quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) food.  It also supplies complete protein, meaning it includes all nine essential amino acids which makes it an especially good choice for vegetarians or vegans to ensure adequate protein intake.

Quinoa is especially rich 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, atherosclerosis, antioxidant, menopausal, asthma, cancer and much more.   In addition, quinoa is gluten free; thus, it is one of the least allergenic “grains.”

Nutrient Breakdown

Quinoa: uncooked 0.25 cup, 158.95 calories




Daily Value

Foods Rating


0.96 mg


very good


89.25 mg




3.93 mg




0.06 g




0.35 mg




174.25 mg



Macro Nutrient Comparison to Other Grains (as a percentage)

Nutritional Value (%)

Protein Fat Carbohydrate Fibre
Wheat 8.9 2.2 66.8 2.1
Barley 10.0 1.5 66.4 4.5
Oats 10.3 4.7 62.1 9.3
Rye 12.4 1.3. 71.7 2.3
Brown rice 9.7 2.4 73.2 1.1
QUINOA **13.1 5.3 55.7 4.9

Tips for Preparing Quinoa

  1. It is always a good idea to thoroughly wash the seeds.
  2. To wash quinoa, place it in stainless steel strainer, run cold water over the quinoa and gently rub the seeds together with your hands.
  3. To cook the quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare.
  4. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.
  5. If you desire the quinoa to have a nuttier flavor, you can dry roast it before cooking; to dry roast, place it in a skillet over medium-low heat and stir constantly for five minutes.

A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  1. Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste and enjoy this south-of-the-border inspired salad.
  2. Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge.
  3. For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa.
  4. Sprouted quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts.
  5. Add quinoa to your favorite vegetable soups.
  6. Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes.
  7. Quinoa is great to use in tabouli, serving as a delicious (and wheat-free) substitute for the bulgar wheat.

Tasty Quinoa Recipes

Meatless Quinoa Burgers

2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 onion chopped
1 carrot grated
1 clove garlic minced
1 Tablespoon onion soup mix or preferred seasonings
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1 finely chopped celery stick
1 egg (beaten) – This makes a firmer burger
  1. Mix above ingredients, add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Form burger with wet hands (patties are about 4 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick).
  3. Lightly oil frying pan.
  4. Cook about 5 minutes each side until golden brown.


  • 1/2 cup cooked and finely chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, finely chopped

Quinoa Pilaf

1 cup Quinoa
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup minced onion
1/4 cup finely diced celery
1 tsp minced garlic
1 lb fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 1/2 cups water or low-salt chicken broth
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
3 tbsp minced parsley
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
  1. In a medium skillet, heat olive oil.
  2. Add onions, celery, garlic and mushrooms.
  3. Sauté for three or four minutes until slightly browned.
  4. Add Quinoa and stir for a minute or two to coat with oil.
  5. Add water or broth, cover and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.
  8. Serve immediately.

Make 4 – 6 servings

Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 large Bell Peppers
1 cup Quinoa
5 cups Vegetable Broth
6-8 Sun dried Roma Tomatoes
1 medium onion
1 cup Buckwheat Groats
3-4 Garlic cloves
Rosemary, Basil, Oregano to taste
1 cup Tomato Puree
1 egg white or egg substitute
  1. Rinse Quinoa well and set aside to drain.
  2. Chop onion, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes and set aside.
  3. Cut tops off of bell peppers, rinse the bodies clear of seeds. Trim the seedpod off the tops and save the tops.
  4. Heat 2 cups of broth to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Once broth has reached a boil dump in the Quinoa and sun dried tomatoes. Cover and bring flame down to simmer for 12 minutes.
  5. Add 1 cup of buckwheat groats to 1 egg white (or egg substitute) and mix until groats are coated.
  6. Turn mixture into a dry frying pan and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes stirring well to keep groats separated. After 2-3 minutes add a cup and a half of broth, onion, garlic and other spices.
  7. Cover and bring flame down to a simmer for 0-12 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  8. Take Quinoa from stove and drain, saving vegetable stock (you’ll need it in a minute).
  9. Place Quinoa in a bowl and add the buckwheat groats once they have finished.
  10. Add 1 cup of tomato puree your favorite tomato sauce and mix well.
  11. Once mixed, spoon liberally into bell peppers and put pepper tops back on.
  12. Take left over broth and put into large pot with steamer tray.
  13. Add broth or water until water just touches bottom of steamer rack and place Peppers into pot.
  14. Secure lid and place on stove.
  15. Bring to a boil then let simmer for 20-30 minutes, until peppers are very soft.
  16. Serve.

Nutty Green Quinoa

1 cup Quinoa
2 cups water
¼ to ½ tsp salt
½ cup almonds
1 bunch parsley
1 clove garlic
1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice
1 ½ Tbsp olive oil
½ cucumber
Pepper to taste
  1. Bring water to a boil, add quinoa and salt; stir and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and let sit for another 10 minutes; then remove cover and allow to cool.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, blend almonds, parsley, garlic, and oil in a food processor.
  4. When quinoa is cool, stir with nut mixture and add pepper to taste.
  5. Garnish with cucumber if desired.