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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:31 PM

Sigh. You might want to think twice about quinoa ...

I love the stuff, but of course, there are always repercussions:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jan/16/vegans-stomach-unpalatable-truth-quinoa
Can vegans stomach the unpalatable truth about quinoa?

Not long ago, quinoa was just an obscure Peruvian grain you could only buy in wholefood shops. We struggled to pronounce it (it's keen-wa, not qui-no-a), yet it was feted by food lovers as a novel addition to the familiar ranks of couscous and rice. Dieticians clucked over quinoa approvingly because it ticked the low-fat box and fitted in with government healthy eating advice to "base your meals on starchy foods".

Adventurous eaters liked its slightly bitter taste and the little white curls that formed around the grains. Vegans embraced quinoa as a credibly nutritious substitute for meat. Unusual among grains, quinoa has a high protein content (between 14%-18%), and it contains all those pesky, yet essential, amino acids needed for good health that can prove so elusive to vegetarians who prefer not to pop food supplements.

Sales took off. Quinoa was, in marketing speak, the "miracle grain of the Andes", a healthy, right-on, ethical addition to the meat avoider's larder (no dead animals, just a crop that doesn't feel pain). Consequently, the price shot up it has tripled since 2006 with more rarified black, red and "royal" types commanding particularly handsome premiums.

But there is an unpalatable truth to face for those of us with a bag of quinoa in the larder. The appetite of countries such as ours for this grain has pushed up prices to such an extent that poorer people in Peru and Bolivia, for whom it was once a nourishing staple food, can no longer afford to eat it. Imported junk food is cheaper. In Lima, quinoa now costs more than chicken. Outside the cities, and fuelled by overseas demand, the pressure is on to turn land that once produced a portfolio of diverse crops into quinoa monoculture.

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Arrow 31 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sigh. You might want to think twice about quinoa ... (Original post)
Flaxbee Jan 2013 OP
libdem4life Jan 2013 #1
Curmudgeoness Oct 2013 #26
Walk away Jan 2013 #2
silverweb Jan 2013 #5
Flaxbee Jan 2013 #6
mzmolly Jan 2013 #3
tavalon Jan 2013 #9
mzmolly Jan 2013 #14
obamanut2012 Jan 2013 #10
mzmolly Jan 2013 #13
silverweb Jan 2013 #4
BlancheSplanchnik Jan 2013 #12
freshwest Jan 2013 #15
Walk away Jan 2013 #16
rhett o rick Jan 2013 #18
Curmudgeoness Oct 2013 #27
customerserviceguy Jan 2013 #7
Chan790 Jan 2013 #11
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #17
Tombiag Jan 2013 #8
leftyladyfrommo Jan 2013 #20
Matariki Jan 2013 #19
Exultant Democracy Feb 2013 #23
Scootaloo Oct 2013 #29
Exultant Democracy Oct 2013 #30
Scootaloo Oct 2013 #31
antigop19667 Jan 2013 #21
otherone Feb 2013 #24
SquirrelHill4444 Feb 2013 #22
Name removed Oct 2013 #25
kestrel91316 Oct 2013 #28

Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:35 PM

1. Thanks for the info. Now I don't have to feel so bad about avoiding it because I didn't like it.

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Response to libdem4life (Reply #1)

Sun Oct 20, 2013, 08:02 PM

26. You and me both. I didn't like it

and now I have a good excuse for not eating it. Not that anything to eat seems to be safe from adverse consequences.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:37 PM

2. Damn! My favorite lunch is Chick Peas, Quinoa, fresh herbs & garlic, lemon and scallions....

add chopped cucumbers, red peppers or cherry tomatoes and it's a fantastic power lunch! It's not going to be the same with Bulgar. Seriously.

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Response to Walk away (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:02 PM

5. Buy Fair Trade quinoa.

See my post #4 below.

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Response to Walk away (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:24 PM

6. that sounds delicious! I'll have to buy some of the fair-trade stuff mentioned below

and try it.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:46 PM

3. Somehow, I manage with rice and pasta.

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Response to mzmolly (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:29 PM

9. People like me, who have Celiac,

have also fueled the quinoa explosion. Wheat and Barley, among others are off my menu.

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Response to tavalon (Reply #9)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:16 PM

14. I've heard it's really

tasty. But I haven't gotten around to trying it yet. Not sure I will, now.

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Response to mzmolly (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:53 PM

10. too many carbs for me

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Response to obamanut2012 (Reply #10)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:15 PM

13. LOL.

Good point!

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 05:59 PM

4. There are solutions.

The main problem here is the usual culprit: profit-driven agri-business that has no regard for the land or people it exploits.

It shouldn't be all that difficult for the governments of Bolivia and Peru to help people develop agricultural co-ops so they can make a decent living growing traditional crops in a sustainable way.

They could borrow a page from organic/fair trade coffee and chocolate growers, and put pressure on big agri-business to not decimate local lands or populations.

There are already some doing this; they just need more attention and cooperation.

Pick a link from this list: http://tinyurl.com/bxlc57r

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Response to silverweb (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 05:14 AM

12. thanks for the links!

Fair Trade is the best.

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Response to BlancheSplanchnik (Reply #12)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:18 PM

15. +1

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Response to silverweb (Reply #4)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 01:20 PM

16. Well thanks! That was easy!

Nothing like having a problem and then solving it immediately!

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Response to silverweb (Reply #4)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 10:59 AM

18. Thanks. nm

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Response to silverweb (Reply #4)

Sun Oct 20, 2013, 08:06 PM

27. But that doesn't solve the problem

of prices that are now so high that the people who depend on quinoa in their diet are unable to afford it.

But it is a good way to buy it and keep the profits out of the hands of agri-business.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:47 PM

7. Anything wrong

with just trying to grow more of it?

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Response to customerserviceguy (Reply #7)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 03:10 AM

11. It's "finicky" about where it will grow.

When they say "miracle food of the Andes" they're not kidding...it likes high-elevation and a narrow temperature and precipitation band...there's not a lot of land it could grow on, where it will grow it's already pushing out crop diversity. Growing more of it would likely mean geo-engineering artificial conditions.

In all likelihood, demand will die down over the next half-decade and we'll find a responsible and stable price-point. Increasing demand for fair-trade crop from diverse fields will insure the well-being of farmers.

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Response to Chan790 (Reply #11)

Sat Jan 19, 2013, 09:08 AM

17. Buy the Colorado grown stuff....

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 08:21 PM

8. Uh Oh, I guess vegans like me will just have to go without protein :(

I guess the several years that I have gone without meat, quinoa, or supplements must be a lie, because the scientisticians in this article say so

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Response to Tombiag (Reply #8)

Thu Jan 24, 2013, 10:34 AM

20. There is more protein in plants anyway.

Eat lots of green veggies. They have more protein and the package they come in lots better for you.

I'm learning to live on veggies and fruits and oatmeal.

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Response to Matariki (Reply #19)

Sun Feb 10, 2013, 05:01 PM

23. Great points. Of course they missed the simplest truth nothing drives up grain prices like meat.

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Response to Exultant Democracy (Reply #23)

Sun Oct 20, 2013, 09:41 PM

29. I don't think quinoa is used as livestock feed

I could be wrong, of course, but llamas - the most common livestock animal in the region - do great just off of grass, and aren't raised in the massive enclosures that prevent grazing, like the American beef industry does.

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Response to Scootaloo (Reply #29)

Fri Oct 25, 2013, 11:47 PM

30. We live in a global market, if we didn't feed too many cows and pigs we could afford to feed more

people.

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Response to Exultant Democracy (Reply #30)

Fri Oct 25, 2013, 11:49 PM

31. True

Though at the moment, we certainly have more than enough food for the world population - it's access that's the problem, not production.

As a global body, humanity probably wastes more food than it consumes.

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)

Fri Jan 25, 2013, 04:27 AM

21. kick for later

 

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Response to antigop19667 (Reply #21)

Sun Feb 17, 2013, 04:25 PM

24. welcome to du

:

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Response to Flaxbee (Original post)


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Response to Name removed (Reply #25)

Sun Oct 20, 2013, 09:35 PM

28. If you consume legumes (and not necessarily at the same meal)

in addition to grains, nuts/seeds, and a wide variety of veggies, you will get plenty of all the amino acids you need.

Quinoa and amaranth are nice, but optional.

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