Aztec Power Food

Today I am excited to introduce you to two amazing pseudocereals, amaranth and quinoa (keen-wah).

These delicious foods are not true grains, but are seeds. They are prepared and eaten like grains, however and make excellent grain substitutes for people with gluten intolerance. In contrast to grains, these seeds have a complete protein, making them a good choice for vegetarians. Both amaranth and quinoa are high in fiber and contain many important nutrients.

"The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred, referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or mother of all grains, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using 'golden implements'. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous."

"A common cooking method is to treat quinoa much like rice, bringing two cups of water to a boil with one cup of grain, covering at a low simmer and cooking for 14–18 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. The cooked germ looks like a tiny curl and should have a slight bite to it (like al dentepasta). As an alternative, one can use a rice cooker to prepare quinoa, treating it just like white rice (for both cooking cycle and water amounts)."

Wikipedia on Amaranth

"It was one of the staple foodstuffs of the Incas, and it is known as kiwicha in the Andes today. It was also used by the ancient Aztecs, who called it huautli, and other Native America peoples in Mexico to prepare ritual drinks and foods. To this day, amaranth grains are toasted much like popcorn and mixed with honey,molasses or chocolate to make a treat called alegría (happiness in Spanish)."

"Amaranth was used in several Aztec ceremonies, where images of their gods (notably Huitzilopochtli) were made with amaranth mixed with honey. The images were cut to be eaten by the people."

Eating Amaranth and Quinoa

My mom had some of this delicious instant cereal in her cupboard and I have fallen in love with it! It is made of puffed amaranth, rolled oats, fruit, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds. I use it as the perfect topping for my berries and yogurt! You can purchase this yummy cereal at Vital Life Products or in select Utah stores.

For some recipes using Quinoa, visit Quinoa.net.

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