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Quinoa: Super Survival Food

If you have emergency rations stashed away, there is one item you should include that is easy to prepare and particularly healthful. It’s the ancient Inca “super food of the gods,” the seed (not a grain) known as quinoa.

Long Lived Seed

Quinoa has been around for more than 5,000 years and is still going strong. Most quinoa is organically grown in the Southern Hemisphere (Bolivia) with the use of traditional farming methods on high-altitude farms without chemicals. It hasn’t been tinkered with to date by genetic engineering (GM), and Southern Hemisphere farmers are fighting hard to maintain their ancient cultivation practices.

Not only is quinoa a complete vegetable protein source, containing all the essential amino acids, it includes a wealth of many of the nutrients the human body needs for optimal health.

A 1-cup serving of uncooked quinoa contains 24 grams of protein, close to 48 percent of the recommended daily value (DV), which means quinoa does not need to be combined with other foods to make a complete protein equivalent to meat, fish, eggs or dairy. It is only 16 percent fat.  However, the omega 6 fatty acid content is low and not in the proper ratio to omega 3 fatty acids. So you should also consume foods like fish that are rich in omega-3s.

Quinoa contains virtually no sugars and boasts 36 percent of the DV for carbohydrates (mostly as starch) and a whopping 48 percent DV for dietary fiber. Plus, it tastes deliciously nutty. Even though it is lacking in vitamins C and D, it is a vegetarian powerhouse of other vitamins and minerals. It’s gluten-free. And, best of all, it cooks in 15 minutes.

Nutrient Hero

However, here’s what may be the most important aspect of quinoa: In the event of a disaster with no gas or electricity available for cooking, quinoa can be soaked in water until mushy enough to eat and still provide a belly full of nutritious food.

Furthermore, quinoa can be sprouted for eating as a fresh vegetable; so stock a survival kit with a seed-growing jar and enough water to subsist on. Helpfully, quinoa doesn’t require much storage space and will last for several years in hermetically sealed pouches.

Quinoa can be prepared in a pot with a lid over a camping stove or even over an open-air fire pit since it doesn’t take long to cook. Just remember to have a supply of old-fashioned wooden matches — some independent hardware stores still sell them — to use for fire. While you are at it, get field savvy about edible wild plants that you can chop up and place in the cook pot to make survival stew. Remember, it’s survival food, not a gourmet restaurant meal. However, it will keep you alive and thriving nutritiously.

One caution when preparing quinoa for any purpose: It needs to be rinsed thoroughly to remove the saponin coating on each seed. If not rinsed off, the saponin may convey a bitter taste that overwhelms its delicious, almost sweet, nut-like taste.

The Next Level

To take survival food to a higher level, combine quinoa with survival rations of canned beans (like chickpeas or kidney beans), walnuts, and fresh sprouts grown from alfalfa, arugula, broccoli, clover, radish or other non-GM heirloom sprouting seeds.

You can find suitable seeds at (an excellent resource).

If you haven’t yet made food preparations for an emergency, I think you better get started. It’s better to be prepared and not have to use your rations than to need them and have to go hungry.

Catherine Frompovich

Catherine Frompovich

matriculated in holistic modalities and natural nutrition, earning advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences and a Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice. She spent numerous years in practice as a consulting natural nutritionist and over 35 years in consumer health research and writing, which she continues in retirement. For years she worked as a healthcare rights advocate to ensure that the "powers to be" would not have their way in destroying complementary / holistic healthcare and its modalities as "quackery." For five years she edited The Healthcare Rights Advocate, a 32 page quarterly newsletter centered on the politics of healthcare in the 1980s. In the late 1980s and 1990s she represented holistic healthcare interests on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC. As a freelance journalist, Catherine wrote and produced two TV shows. One, "Turn Off The Violence," was nominated for the 1996 Telly Award. Her work has been published in The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine and other holistic healthcare journals, airline travel magazines, community newspapers, national magazines, and online Internet forums. She is the author of several books on natural nutrition and holistic healthcare. Her last book, Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What's Probably Making Us Sick, is available here. She has new book scheduled for publication in 2012 that will be titled, A Cancer Answer: Holistic Breast Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments.