A couple of years ago my doctor suggested I remove wheat and sugar from my diet. At the time I had experienced a heart problem and was thirty pounds overweight. Although tests showed no lasting damage, both of my parents had died from heart disease which should have been enough cause for concern about my diet and overall health. Additionally, I enjoyed binging on treats to appease my insatiable sweet tooth, reasoning that since I would consume desserts made from only the finest of ingredients, the treats that I consumed were healthy. During each subsequent appointment I would balk when my doctor raised the topic of changing my diet. I couldn’t imagine a life without my staple favorites like fresh bread, home-made pasta, pizza, pancakes and carrot cake. However, the memories of my parents’ deaths and my own “cardio event” lingered and since I wasn’t getting the results that I should have from my daily rigorous workouts at the gym, I decided that the topic was at least worth consideration.
My research confirmed what my doctor had been saying. In short, our bodies convert grains like wheat and rice into sugars, and like consuming sugar, causes spikes of insulin and higher triglycerides in our bloodstream. These metabolic reactions to sugar are catalysts contributing to the modern day health problems plaguing our society such as obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Interestingly, ten thousand years ago, prior to the advent of farming, human remains showed little to no existence of tooth decay. Tooth decay appears to be the result of the introduction of sugars to our diet in the form of grains. So, although my doctor’s advice seemed extreme, it was based on science and supported by human history. I was now armed with the knowledge that a change of diet was in order, but the solution for how to successfully alter my eating habits and maintain an enjoyable eating experience remained to be seen.
I began by experimenting with almond, buckwheat and organic quinoa flours, agave, stevia and coconut oil to re-create my most enjoyable dishes such as pasta, pancakes and carrot cake. These are now real crowd pleasers among friends and family, like the organic quinoa pasta recipe below.
Quinoa flour is a healthy cup-for-cup substitute for wheat flour when making pasta. This ancient grain packs a punch by delivering fiber, all nine amino acids, healthy fat, complete protein and carbohydrates…all without an insulin spike. In fact, this super food provides our bodies a complete source of protein and a nearly perfect supply of all nine amino acids. I think you’ll agree that pasta made with quinoa flour tastes incredibly delicious and you won’t find yourself crashing two hours after enjoying it.
Quinoa Flour Pasta
3 cups organic quinoa flour, such as Bob’s Red Mill or Ancient Harvest
1 to 2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
Place quinoa flour and salt in Cuisinart. In a small bowl, mix together eggs, water and olive oil. Slowly pour the egg mixture into a pulsing Cuisinart until the dough forms into a slightly crumbly ball. Remove and knead for a few minutes, seal in plastic wrap and let sit for 30 to 45 minutes.
Separate dough into smaller pieces, pat with quinoa flour and quickly roll through flat sheet pasta machine rollers. Flour both sides of each flat sheet and let sit for 15 minutes. Quickly roll flat sheets through pasta cutter into fettuccine and hang or lay flat to dry. Note: quinoa flour pasta is much more delicate than wheat flour pasta and rolling quickly helps prevent it from breaking apart. Place pasta into salted boiling water. Pasta is cooked when it rises to the top of the boiling water. Drain and garnish with favorite sauce and parmesan cheese. Serves three to four people.