Surely you’ve discovered quinoa by now –you know to pronounce it keen-wa and that it’s a grain. You may even know that technically it’s not really a grain, but let’s not get caught up in nomenclature. It looks like a grain, it cooks like a grain (only faster), but it does have an advantage: more protein, amino acids, and other nutrients than most actual grains.
Quinoa garnered some headlines last month when an article in Britain’s paper The Guardian claimed that our appetite for it has driven up the price in its home countries of Peru and Bolivia. Junk food is now cheaper there, the author claimed. We’re shocked, shocked, to learn that junk food is cheaper than healthier food – that surely couldn’t happen here, could it?
This article called attention to a real problem (rich countries benefiting from the foodstuffs of poor countries) but the headline was, in my opinion, just a cheap shot at vegans. As Tom Philpott of Mother Jones points out, carnivores eat quinoa, too. And it can be grown in other places, including in the U.S. Check out his article here for the rest of the rebuttal. Let me just add that the production and export of foods from poor countries unfortunately affects a wide range of foods, including meat and seafood.