Wait, What’s So Great About Quinoa Anyway?
From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/eatingwell/quinoa-whats-so-great_b_837458.html
By Penelope Wall, Writer/Producer for Social & Interactive Media at EatingWell
March 21, 2011
My parents were back-to-the-land kind of folks, so I grew up eating all sorts of interesting whole grains. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I actually heard of quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”). And it wasn’t until the last several months that I’ve noticed a growing buzz around this quite petite, mild-flavored grain. Quinoa is everywhere. Some would say it is, in effect, one of the “hot” foods you should be eating this year. (See more trendy foods to watch for here.) But quinoa isn’t exactly new. It was, in fact, a staple in the ancient Incas’ diet. So why has this very old grain been given a new second life in 2011?
Why quinoa and why now?
From a purely visual standpoint, cooked quinoa is more interesting than other whole grains, especially the black and red varieties. It’s beautiful to look at and delicious to eat, with its mild and nutty flavor. Plus, most of us don’t get the recommended amount of whole grains each day (about three 1-ounce servings for women and three and a half to four 1-ounce servings for men). So if you’re trying to eat more whole grains, start with quinoa—it’s one of the quickest and easiest grains to cook up. It’s also gluten-free, so is a “safe” and totally delicious whole-grain option for people trying to avoid gluten in their diet.
Related Link: 23 Gluten-Free Grains & Starches You Should Try
I asked EatingWell deputy food editor Jessie Price for her take on the trend. She said, “As companies from Frito-Lay to McDonald’s scramble to get whole grains into their products and onto their menus, it’s clear that the whole-grain revolution is here. And as part of this revolution, quinoa has taken America by storm. This grain is packed with fiber and protein and, to top it off, it only takes 15 to 20 minutes to cook.”
So there you have it, folks. Quinoa really does have it all. So why not get totally with it and cook some up tonight?
Quinoa’s Global Success Creates Quandary at Home
From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/20/world/americas/20bolivia.html?_r=2&partner=rss&emc=rss
By SIMON ROMERO and SARA SHAHRIARI
Published: March 19, 2011
LA PAZ, Bolivia — When NASA scientists were searching decades ago for an ideal food for long-term human space missions, they came across an Andean plant called quinoa. With an exceptional balance of amino acids, quinoa, they declared, is virtually unrivaled in the plant or animal kingdom for its life-sustaining nutrients.
But while Bolivians have lived off it for centuries, quinoa remained little more than a curiosity outside the Andes for years, found in health food shops and studied by researchers — until recently.
Now demand for quinoa (pronounced KEE-no-ah) is soaring in rich countries, as American and European consumers discover the “lost crop” of the Incas. The surge has helped raise farmers’ incomes here in one of the hemisphere’s poorest countries. But there has been a notable trade-off: Fewer Bolivians can now afford it, hastening their embrace of cheaper, processed foods and raising fears of malnutrition in a country that has long struggled with it.
The shift offers a glimpse into the consequences of rising global food prices and changing eating habits in both prosperous and developing nations. While quinoa prices have almost tripled over the past five years, Bolivia’s consumption of the staple fell 34 percent over the same period, according to the country’s agricultural ministry.
The resulting quandary — local farmers earn more, but fewer Bolivians reap quinoa’s nutritional rewards — has nutritionists and public officials grasping for solutions.
“As it’s exported, quinoa is now very expensive,” said María Julia Cabrerizo, a nutritionist at the Hospital de Clínicas, a public hospital here. “It’s not a food of mass consumption, like noodles or rice.”
Quinoa, domesticated thousands of years ago on Bolivia’s arid high mountain plains and now often misrepresented as a grain, is actually a chenopod, related to species like beets and spinach. Its seeds have a light, nutty taste, and when cooked become almost translucent.
But Wait… There is more to the story…
I know, I know why should a bunch of starving indigenous people affect my having all of the latest miracle food that my money can buy. Fuck them they are semi-human at best and besides they don’t value life the way we enlightened new age privileged Mercedes driving Whole Foods shopping white folks do.
Vegetarian or omnivore there is much to be said for eating food that doesn’t require travel by ships or cargo planes.
As I said though there is more to the story.
Why would the indigenous people of Bolivia be so eager to sell off the food they need to live on? Is it because they desire to have those bucks to buy an i-Pad II?
In an easy to understand word, “No!”
Y’all know those groups with initial names like the IMF, G20 and WTO? The ones that red/black anti-globalization groups protest?
You see it is like this, those master of the universe organizations lend all sorts of money to dictators in under developed nations for projects built by American and other G20 nations corporations. In exchange these countries take on all this debt, for dubious projects. The dictator gets a huge pile of money for his own personal use, a quid pro quo for helping the G20 rip off the people.
Now a few years later when the dictator decides he has to impose “austerity measures” aka “starve and reduce the working people to slavery measures”, the people may well rise up and run the dictattor’s sorry ass out of the country, or better yet blow his fucking brains out.
But they still owe the money since the G20 isn’t likely to go after the dictator based on the principle of “only the little people have to pay for the sins of their leaders”.
In Bolivia that means Evo Morales has a gun held to his head by those initial groups that represent the interests of the rich imperialistic nations and corporations. He gets labeled as communist, the same way Hugo Chavez does. Which is to say he cares more about his people than he does about being a tool of the rich G20 Corporate/nations.
So enjoy the quinoa, don’t think about how buying it makes you complicit in the exploitation of the indigenous people of Bolivia and a supporter of Globalization which is contributing to all sorts of oppression and ecological devastation.
I know that now that I am aware of the whole story on quinoa I won’t buy any unless it has a “Fair Trade” label and even then I might avoid buying it.