Stuffing My Face: Quinoa

There’s not much I like better than coming home from a way-too-short run and eating like I just ran a 15-miler.  I’m making quite a habit of it lately.

National Running Day was yesterday, which I celebrated by talking the talk, so to speak (donning the gear) and then running errands with the boys all day until I ran out of time to run and had to start cooking dinner (two hours of my life that I’ll never get back, thank you very much.)  

I compensated by going out hard this morning…trying to rediscover my long-lost friend Speed.  I found the elusive little shit about a half-mile in, hiding out on the other side of the tiny slope I detest and like to call a hill.  We ran together for awhile, he and I, until I hit 2.5 miles by the house and decided I was hungry.  Yep, I called it at 2.5 and decided food was more important.

I feel like a loser.

BUT I was feeling the call of my new food discovery, and it could not be denied.

I talk about eating food a lot on this blog, but I don’t share the healthy recipes that other runners’ blogs do and go on about fresh produce and stuff.  This is because I am lazy.  I don’t like to cook, I’m terrible at it when I try, and I’m just not good about eating my veggies.  Cooking is like cleaning for me…each time I do it, I lose a little piece of my soul.

When I decided to run the marathon, I anticipated that the training demands would force me into eating better and cooking more.  That never happened.  I certainly managed my hydration much better and thought a lot about what I was eating (and when I could justify stuffing my face again), but I just relied on my food staples.

Bananas.  Almonds.  Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Carbs of any sort.  Meat.  Tostitos for salt.  Eggs out the wazoo.  Spinach.  Clementines.

These are not foods worth writing about.  Everyone knows they are good for runners, and I’m hardly going to publish a post on PB&Js, though I could long sing the praises of Bonne Maman cherry preserves.  But did you know that quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a nutritional powerhouse for runners?

Further, did you know (this is the exciting part) that Costco sells it in microwaveable pouches that cook in 90 seconds?


(The picture is a little blurry because I was eating with one hand and taking the pic with the other…too hungry to put down the fork and focus on the task at hand)

Take it from me…it’s good.  What else could pull me away from a tempo run, right?  Um, right.

Sacred to the Incas, quinoa was left behind by the Spanish explorers, who instead loaded their ships with corn and potatoes and who I feel are responsible for at least 5 of the 10 pounds I could stand to lose.

Quinoa has twice the protein of cereal grains, plus it’s a complete protein, which means it has the right amino acids for building muscle.  It has healthy fat and has carbs, though not too many.

Stolen from this article:

You name it, quinoa’s got it. It’s a complete protein that contains all eight essential amino acids, it also is rich in calcium, iron, fiber and potassium, and is an excellent source of folate, magnesium, vitamin B6, thiamin, niacin, potassium, and riboflavin. And all for 222 calories a cup.

Quinoa also is gluten-free, so it’s a good choice for people with celiac disease or those who are sensitive to gluten, wheat and other grass-based food products.

Did I mention that if you buy it in the cute little pouch you’ll be eating it in less than two minutes?  You can also buy it raw and cook it yourself, but you’ll be costing yourself at least 5-10 minutes, and who has the time for that?

It’s yummy enough to bring even the most dedicated runner inside the house!

Here are some recipe links that I’ll probably never get around to: