Are Newly “Discovered” Miracle Foods Just the Latest Form of Imperialistic Rape of Poor Nations?

Wait, What’s So Great About Quinoa Anyway?

From Huffington Post:

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:

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.

Continue reading at:

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.

11 Responses to “Are Newly “Discovered” Miracle Foods Just the Latest Form of Imperialistic Rape of Poor Nations?”

  1. Angela Says:

    If you need a detox try rice with vegetables and fish or a small amount of organic meat. (Traditional Chinese diet.)
    If you live in the west you are probably perfectly well adapted to eat wheat and potatoes most of the time.

  2. tinagrrl Says:

    As a diabetic, I tend to stay away from white rice — it tends to send my blood sugar soaring (carbs, you know) — so, we have been looking for substitutes.

    Mind you, I’ve loved risotto, risi e bisi, various and sundry pastas – fresh, dried, and homemade, and polenta since I was a very young child (polenta and milk with a little – very little – sugar was a substitute dinner when my folks had stuff that was a tad too strong – assertive – for a child’s palate).

    It was a part of our “native cuisine”. Lots of fish, lots of fresh greens (rocket, arugula, radicchio, escarole, etc., etc., etc.), and some sort of starch. There was nothing exotic about it — we grew it in our tiny vegetable garden, cut it fresh almost every day – and ate it. As a kid I thought iceberg lettuce was EXOTIC.

    For some reason, white rice seems to make my blood sugar jump more than pasta does — perhaps it’s because when we do have rice it’s done in a way I really like (like risotto), so I eat too much (how is that possible?).

    So, we went looking for an alternative. I tend to be suspicious of “magic foods” — they are usually a major part of some “foreign” persons diet. I’ve heard they get old too.

    Anyway, Quinoa cooks up fast, tastes good, and provides good nutrition — now we know “the other side of the story” (as that right-wing-“pundit” said for years — until he died).

    Just have to find another alternative.

  3. Angela Says:

    Maybe it’s because white rice is such a pure form of carbohyradtes? There are lots of other varieties of rice but I think a lot of them were casualties of large scale farming.
    The fresh veg and fish you had as child sounds nice. I think in this part of the world people ate a lot of fish, especially oily fish like makerel and herring which was caught in vast quantities in the North Sea. It is still the cheapest fish and very healthy because of the oils it contains.
    Veg was more limited.
    There’s even a folk song about it “We’re the boys who were brought up on tatties and herring.”

  4. Andrea B. Says:

    I have tried it.

    It is nice.

    Here is a suggestion I have successfully tried. Will be enough for a couple of friends.

    Mix 1/4 kilo hazelnuts, 100g Quinoa, a couple of chestnuts, an onion, an apple, 4 teaspoons sage, 400 gram breadcrums. Put it all in the grinder, until finely ground. Then add 3 or 4 well beaten eggs, to act as a binder.

    Then stuff a rabbit, hare, chicken, turkey, pheasant or duck. A roll of pork with the center cored with the fat still on top, is really good for this. The larger the animal, the better.

    I would suggest marinating beef, pork, rabbit, hare, chicken, turkey, pheasant or duck in wine, mead, cider, vodka or even add a bit of poteen (moonshine) to the marination liquid overnight before doing this. I recommend a 50/50 mix of mead (Viking Möjd, Celtic Mead, wine made from honey) and poteen (moonshine) with a half kilo of natural honey dissolved in it, for this.

    Put it in a casserole dish. Put excess stuffing mix around the outside of the meat in the casserole dish. Put a lid on the casserole dish and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes at 180C. Then take it out.

    Add half boiled potato’s, that are covered in excess grease from the casserole dish on top of the meat and exces stuffing, completely covering if possible.

    Leave lid of.

    Put back in oven while removing every 15 minutes to turn the potatos at 160C to 180C. The slower it is cooked from this point, the better. I cooked the last one at 120C for a few hours and it was really tasty.

    Cook for at least ten to 15 minutes after liquids from meat are completely clear.

    Take out and serve meat, stuffing mix and roast potato’s. Just add fried parsnips, vegatables, sliced apple, sliced pear and glass of wine or beer. Eat.

  5. Andrea B. Says:

    @ Angela,

    I have used mackeral a few times when cooking. I have ground it up into my stuffing mixes, that I have slow cooked. It really adds to the flavour. Also the taste is a lot better and it is a lot healthier.

    The recipe I have above I cooked at a multiple of about 5 with 5 tins of mackeral and some herring in it, in my slow cooker. A rice cooker or soup kettle can do the same thing, cooking it overnight. I thought it would taste terrible, but the fish taste was not there at all and it actually tasted better.

  6. Andrea B. Says:

    PS: I forgot to say.

    I know people who immigrated to Ireland and Sweden who grow Quinoa here. They don’t need to import it. Tastes better fresh anyway.

  7. Angela Says:

    Wow, I think your recipie would be enough for a feast, maybe you are the next Jamie Oliver:)
    Pasta tonight I think though.

  8. tinagrrl Says:

    Huge schools of mackerel would migrate up the east coast of North America every spring. The “run” took place over a very limited time.

    We would go out and catch them – this on a “head” or “party” boat.

    They spoiled VERY quickly. If handled well, they were ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS fresh — esp. grilled over charcoal.

    Fresh grilled Mackerel and a salad made for a wonderful meal.

    I’ve loved fishing almost all my life. The difference between fresh (6 hours – or so – out of the water) and that bought from almost any market is amazing.

    Of course, the sea is very nearly dead when compared to 50, 60 years ago. Anyone who rejects the ideas of climate change and environmental degradation must be TOTALLY INSANE – or, absolutely divorced from any and all aspects of “nature”.

    We have trashed this planet far worse than any “rock star” ever trashed a hotel room.

    We have burned down the hotel — and the rest of the city.

    This was not done by “wild eyed liberals”, “dirty hippies”, or “crazed rock ‘n rollers” — it was done by those sober, clear eyed, guys in suits — the ones we were taught to listen to, to respect.

    I’m beginning to think their “answer” to the “crisis” is to SEVERELY cut world population — one way, or another.

    Good luck to all you 40 and 50 year old folks out there. I’m just hoping they don’t “pull the plug” on grandma (me) anytime soon.

    By the way — the “tea party” is NOT the “answer”. They’re a part of the problem.

  9. Angela Says:

    I think they would like to cut the wworld population… if it benefits them. I don’t think these guys think beyond their own privelige. I wonder if they have a perception that they can always buy their way out of whatever trouble is coming, this might explain the accumulation of wealth at the top. Or that since everything is so messed up there’s no point in doing anything to make the situation better.
    And there’s things like the AIDS crisis, blamed on gay people who tend to have fewer children anyway. But it’s a convenient argument for holiness based on fear leading to the continued control and conservatism surrounding women’s bodies. Something that I think prevents communities self-organising themselves in beneficial ways.

    • Suzan Says:

      I would like to radically cut the population. To not cut the population is to support killing the planet. There is another hockey stick graph that parallels Al Gore’s Carbon emissions, global warming one and that is population. When I was born in the late 1940s there were about 2 billion humans on the planet now there are 7.
      I would rather see a radical population decline than the extinction of almost any species of animals.
      It is going to come soon because we are out of water and past peak oil.

  10. Andrea B. Says:

    @ Angela,

    Usually I eat on my own.

    When I get together with friends there are usually several of us at least. Quite often some bring there kids as well.

    So if cooking I usually work out a recipe for ten or more. My soup kettle is ten liters which might give you an idea:)

    Last sci-fi night in my very small apartment, there was 17 of us, all well fed:)

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