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Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia and Kale

Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia and Kale

Does that sound like a foreign language to you? Before I knew what they were, they could just as well have been words that meant “How Now Brown Cow!” Now days, trying to eat healthy requires a whole new learning curve. I feel like I’ve gone right back to grade school and need to learn a whole new language.

I’m not that old and everything I was taught about healthy eating has been turned on its head. The food pyramid is totally upside down! Eggs were “bad” for you because they caused high cholesterol, now they are good for you! Butter was an absolute no, no and now it’s the Bees Knees (in moderation of course). Not forgetting bread and cereals that were devoured for breakfast and lunch. Now bread is considered evil and cereal and sugar, well you just shouldn’t go there!

The latest I’ve read is that fermented vegetables like Sauer Kraut are really good for you. That’s beside all the other “super foods” that have suddenly appeared on the menu. Foods like quinoa, amaranth, chai seeds and kale. Did you know:

  • Quinoa and Amaranth are ancient grains that were staple foods of the South American Aztecs.
  • Chia seeds were also an Aztec staple food.
  • Kale is a leafy green relative of the humble cabbage that hails from the middle-ages. It was one the most commonly eaten green vegetables in Europe.

Forgive my ignorance but when I first heard of these foods I had no idea how to pronounce them, let alone what they looked like, how to cook them or what they tasted like. Only recently have I started to eat them and learn how to prepare them. In pursuit of good health and longevity, I am keen to keep an open mind and learn as much as I can this year about healthy eating. That brings me to the science of it all.

How much can we really trust the science? After all, wasn’t it science that gave us the food pyramid? (Mmmm…. perhaps it was actually economics). I don’t really know and it leaves me feeling rather confused. What was once touted as good for us by science is often denounced later as bad for us. Take Radium for example, when it was first discovered it was considered to be the elixir of health and was included in daily diets through items like chocolate, water and toothpaste. Turns out it was highly toxic and carcinogenic. Now I’m not trying to make a political statement or play devil’s advocate. All I’m asking is what do we believe and what can we trust?

Perhaps we should let history be our guide rather than relying on science. I look at old photos of my Grandmother and Great Grandmother and none of them are obese. They look well and it makes me wonder what they ate. I remember my Grandmother saying one of her favourite things was lard on a slice of bread. Can you imagine? I almost want to gag at the thought of eating fat on bread. I mean really, it just sounds so unhealthy, but apparently in moderation lard isn’t bad for you .

Now we have foods like quinoa, amaranth, chia and kale that have been around for 4000 years making a come back on our plates. The trend is leaning more and more towards growing our own vegetables, eating organic produce and eating food the way nature creates it. We appear to be heading back towards eating like the Aztecs and our grandparents. Perhaps science and history are working together to pave the way for us. I think it’s back to basics and a good dose of common sense for me.

  • What about you?
  • What did your Grandparents eat?

Do you have any recipe suggestions for these super foods?