Quinoa, the U.N.’s Superfood

| February 13, 2013

Quinoa (pronounced “keen wah”) has its roots in the Andes region that is currently divided up between the countries of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Ecuador and Peru. Quinoa and maize were the two mainstay foods for the Inca Empire that started around 1200 AD.

Quinoa’s unique ability to survive in a wide variety of growing conditions along with its nutrient richness helped it gain popularity among the Incas for hundreds and hundreds of years. More recently, it has gained popularity as a “Superfood” in the United States, India, Asia, Africa and part of Europe.

2013 – The International Year of the Quinoa

Designation of the year 2013 as "The International Year of the Quinoa" by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is also bringing greater attention to this Superfood worldwide and will have its official launch on Wednesday, February 20th.

In the last 2 decades, the production of quinoa has increased five-fold and has helped once poverty stricken Bolivian quinoa farmers begin to prosper.

In 2005, Ingrid Hirstin Lazcano, wife of a Bolivian diplomat became inspired by the health and nutritional benefits quinoa could provide.  Combining this inspiration with her passion for food and love of the culinary arts, Ingrid located the finest quinoa available, known as “Royal Quinoa” from the Bolivian Andes. Royal Quinoa is prized for it’s high protein and amino acid content. 

Through this discovery, Andean Dream was born as a company that creates healthy, nutritious gluten free, allergy friendly quinoa products and provides job opportunities for financially challenged Bolivians.  In fact Andean Dream’s products are made from the Royal Quinoa grown by almost 300 indigenous Bolivian farming families whose lives have improved dramatically since the inception of the company.

The first Andean Dream product became a reality when in 2006 their cookies were introduced in Whole Foods Markets, and then, in 2008, launched a line of quinoa pastas. In January 2012 they introduced the first-ever line of quinoa soup mixes.

Andean Dream’s products have been showcased by celebrity chefs and lauded by Dr. Mehmet Oz and now will be served at the launch of the UN’s International Year of the Quinoa to over 200 UN delegates including Bolivia's President Evo Morales.

Kudos to Ingrid Hirstin Lazcano for her inspiration of improving nutrition, health and economic stability and making it an Andean Dream come true.

 

Charlotte Goldblatt

cgoldblatt@dailyfoodandwine.com

RAISE YOUR SPIRITS AND GET THE DISH!

 

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