When I initially went on my own journey through the Lean Body Program, I eliminated all grains from my diet for 8 weeks, so that I could pinpoint which foods were causing me issues. (I talk about this a little more in the Lean Body Manual for all those participating in the Lean Body Challenge.) I did find that my body performs, sleeps, and feels better when I reduce my grain consumption to a bare minimum.
However, for most people who are used to eating breads, cereals, and a whole host of other grainy products, it can be quite the transition to completely eliminate grains entirely from the diet. As part of my coaching process, I like to include quinoa in the meal plans as a way to still have a comparable option.
So, when one of my nutrition coaching clients, Julie C. gave me a batch of her Power Quinoa, I had to share it with you and include it in your meal plans. This recipe is a great breakfast idea, and if you make enough, a great snack option as well.
Now, if you are in the Lean Body Challenge, I recommend to limit your grain servings to 1 per day. And for the first week of the Challenge, for Phase 1, remove the cranberries. These can be added in during Phase 2.
Ingredients for Power Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
(strive to use all organic ingredients)
- 1/2 Cup Organic quinoa (the white kind, there is also a red kind, which I’m sure will taste good too, but I have not actually experimented with it.)
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1 tbs. coconut oil
- 2-3 tbs. crushed raw walnuts
- 1-2 tbs. dried cranberries (omit for Phase 1, OK to use for Phase 2)
- 1/2 tsp. pure organic vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
- Cook the quinoa in the coconut milk, coconut oil, and sea salt in a medium saucepan on low for about 25-30 minutes until it is fluffy. Cooking tip: You can keep the lid partially on. Just be careful because the coconut milk can get really hot and overflow if you don’t give it some air.
- Add the vanilla extract towards the end of cooking.
- Serve with crushed walnuts, cranberries (in Phase 2 only) and a drizzle of coconut oil on top.
Interesting tid bits about quinoa:
After further researching, I learned that quinoa is actually not considered a grain. It is actually consdired a goosefoot, which is a species of perinneal flowers. The quinoa that we are actually cooking with are the seeds of the plant. Despite what we may think of quinoa in regards to being a grain, it is actually more closely related to spinach and tumbeweeds.
Quinoa, unlike wheat and other grains, is considered to be a complete protein, providing us with a full range of essential amino acids. However, I do not feel that quinoa is a permanent substitution to protein found in organic, grass-fed and pasture raised meats. But, it is a gluten-free option that can help you transition to a diet of fewer grain products. I’ve also found that quinoa is a little easier to digest, not only for me but for my clients, which is why I include it in meal plans.