Quinoa – A Complete, Plant-Based Protein


Quinoa is a perfect example of how the Kaufmann Diet is ever evolving. Quinoa, at first glance, appears to be a grain, meaning at one time, it was likely we would have not recommended Quinoa on the Kaufmann Diet. It is similar to rice or millet or oats in texture and preparation. However, it is in fact a seed, not a grain. It is in a similar botanical family as chard, and for this reason, it is a pseudo grain. Since it is a seed and not a grain, in recent years, quinoa has been added to the Kaufmann Diet.

Quinoa is indigenous to the Andean region of South America. The Native Americans of the region have enjoyed quinoa for centuries. In recent years, however, it has become more popularized in America; you can now find quinoa in many restaurants and grocery stores. This is partially, due to the fact that quinoa makes an excellent and delicious substitute for rice and other grains, it also comes with a legion of health benefits.

Quinoa is considered a “complete protein”.

To understand what this means, one needs a clearer understanding of how protein works in the body. Proteins are made up of amino acids. There are 20 amino acids. Our bodies can synthesize 11 of them, so they are not necessary to obtain from our diet; the other 9 must be gleaned from our diet. Now, if you are eating meat, dairy or eggs, you are likely getting all the amino acids you need. However, there are fewer plant-based sources of these 9 amino acids. Quinoa is one of them! This means that for those on the Kaufmann Diet who would choose to abstain from meat, quinoa is an excellent addition to your diet.

Quinoa is also high in fiber, magnesium, manganese and iron. While some contend that the elimination of grains makes the Kaufmann Diet a low-fiber diet, quinoa is a perfect example of how one can get their recommended amount of fiber while still eating a grain-free, low carbohydrate, high protein diet.

On the Kaufmann Diet, quinoa makes an excellent substitute for rice. Quinoa can be cooked in bulk and stored in the refrigerator and makes a for a quick, tasty, and filling addition to any meal. Quinoa’s versatility is evidenced in the many recipes now available that call for it. We have many here on our site. Check out our Recipe section or our cookbooks for excellent ideas on how to incorporate quinoa into your diet.

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