For the Love of Quinoa – Indigo Herbs Review

After a week of unhealthy dinners it has been an inspiration to receive three huge packs of quinoa from the kind souls at Indigo Herbs, who asked me to review a few of their products on my blog.

Indigo Herbs are a family-owned business based in the alternative town of Glastonbury in Somerset, selling an vast range of superfoods, herbs, wholefoods, and even gift sets and tea. They have a formidable knowledge of how to create healthy, nutritious, plant-based meals, and are all about empowering consumers to pursue a healthy lifestyle.

Quinoa has enjoyed a vogue in recent years amongst trendy metropolitan hippie types, and you can see why – the health benefits are well-documented and really quite extensive, as any foodie can tell you. Hailed as a superior alternative grain to couscous and bulgar wheat, it actually fulfills a different function in our diet similar to chard or spinach, and is technically a seed.

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This week I jazzed up my diet using the huge bags of quinoa varieties that Indigo Herbs kindly sent me to blog about.

Organica Red Quinoa Grains

Organic Puffed Quinoa

Organic Quinoa Flakes

Firstly, I used the red quinoa to create a lentil and quinoa feta salad. The product came in an air-tight resealable foil pouch that fits comfortably in my kitchen cupboards. I rinsed the quinoa and added to a saucepan of boiling water and left it to cook for 10-15 minutes until the seeds split. I combined it with cooked green lentils, added some chopped veg (red pepper, spring onion, cucumber) and some garlic and oregano to flavour, plus a generous crumbling of feta on top. I never now how to judge how much quinoa to use; it deceptively expands in water in the same way that pasta and rice does so I always end up making enough to feed a passing hungry squadron, but at least that’s lunch sorted for the next day. Helpfully, the packaging offers a serving suggestion of “use as much as you see it” – now that’s my kind of brand!

The puffed quinoa also came in the same attractive and practical packaging. If you’re not sure what puffed quinoa is or how it differs from the more recognizable varieties, basically it is created by a process of gently heating quinoa seeds until they pop, then allowing them to cool. The puffs can then be used in cereals, puddings, muesli or granola, so quite a versatile ingredient. I used the puffed quinoa to create these chocolate-covered, maple-syrupy protein snacks.

Finally, we come to the quinoa flakes, which are often used in baking as a gluten-free alternative, but also in cereals or granola or sprinkled on salads. I used them to make these pancakes and they provided a healthy addition of protein to this otherwise indulgent weekend breakfast treat. The batter held together really well and the quinoa provided a really tasty nutty flavour.

If you want to read a bit more about the history and health benefits of quinoa, have a read of Indigo Herbs’ page on the benefits of this amazing seed. 

I was really impressed with the quality and quantity of Indigo Herb’s quinoa range; the branding and packaging is thoughtful, with plenty of helpful nutritional information. Their products are organic and often vegan and/or gluten-free so this brand is an invaluable resource to those following a gluten-free or plant-based diet.

To summarise the extensive health credentials of quinoa:

  • Double the protein content of rice
  • Contains vitamins B and E
  • Source of calcium, magnesium, manganese, fibre
  • Contains all 9 essential amino acids
  • High level of anti-inflammatories
  • Source of omega 3 fatty acids (promotes heart health)
  • Slowly digested carbohydrate

 

 

 

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Cheeky Blogging Award

Sorry I haven’t written anything for an entire month – I’ve moved house and been without internet.

I’m pretty chuffed to have been nominated for the Leibster Award! And I’m doubly flattered that the nomination came from a blogger I have a lot of respect for. So thanks, My Veggie Life, for the chance to take part in this.

To my nominees: please display the award, thank the nominee, nominate 10 more bloggers with 10 more questions.

If you could give your younger self some advice what would it be?

Stop eating meat sooner. There’s no need to live with that daily guilt.

What/who inspires you?

‘Green Philosophers’; those published, those blogging, and those who just live an ethical lifestyle.

What is the best day of your life?

It might possible be the day I went to the Harry Potter Tour…. Yeah, it might be that. :/

What are you most passionate about?

Wildlife and books.

What is the number one thing you wish all people would understand?

That there isn’t a good enough excuse to keep eating meat.

What makes you happy?

Reading, walking in the countryside, listening to BBC 6Music.

What makes you sad?

Goodbyes.

What’s your favorite food?

I’m really more into pudding….

What is the best way to get your beliefs across to people who seem resistant?

Logic? Reason? Nah, it’s celebrity endorsement.

How do you hope to make the world a better place before you die?

Doing as little harm as I possibly can.

Here are my nominees, in no particular order. I think you’re all great writers, and I enjoy reading your blogs.

Secular Vegan

Animal Blawg

Hold the Eggplant 

Leanne Eats Plants

Absofckingcrueltyfree

Stacie M Stark

greenmindvegheart

Armory of the Revolution 

Why? Because Science

Live Kind. Eat Kind. 

Here are your questions.

How do you keep motivated to blog?

If you could be reincarnated as an animal, what would you choose and why?

Why do you blog?

What’s your favourite blogging snack?

What do you want to be when you grow up? ;)

Where’s the most interesting place you’ve travelled to and why did you enjoy it?

What’s your favourite book?

How would you describe yourself?

What do you identify as politically?

Would we get on well in real life? 

Have fun!

Sandra The Orangutan And Her Human Rights

Buenos Aires Zoo has yet another high-profile resident, in addition to Arturo the depressed polar bear.

The Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights (AFADA) will soon make their case in court on behalf on Sandra the shy Sumatran orangutan, and they will use the habeas corpus law to argue that the great ape has been illegally detained and deprived of her dignity and liberty.

Sandra was born in captivity in Germany and transferred to the zoo in Argentina, where she has been living for the past two decades. Her enclosure is currently being renovated on the advice of vets who recommend more environmental enrichment. Activists argue that her shyness is a sign of depression, this others have argued that shy behaviour is typical of orangutans.

A court ruling in December granted Sandra the possibility of limited human rights as a “non-human person” because she has cognitive abilities. An Argentinian judge is set to rule this week whether or not Sandra’s human rights are infringed by her captivity in the zoo, and the judge will also consider whether her restricted freedom is a form of maltreatment.

If the judge rules in favour of Sandra’s release, she could be transferred to an animal sanctuary, which would offer her more freedom, though it is unlikely she will be released into the wild, having never set foot in the Sumatran jungle before.

Sandra will not be appearing in court, obviously, but I will keep you updated of developments. These are exciting times in the animal rights movement – Sandra’s possible release could pave the way for other primates to be granted legal personhood. I recently blogged about Hercules and Leo, two chimpanzees fighting for their human rights.

You can read more about the Nonhuman Rights Project here.

Last Ditch Attempt to Save Endangered Rhinos

A new conservationist project is underway in South Africa to airlift rhinos to safety.

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The project is being managed by Rhinos Without Borders, a new organisation with approximately $280,000 or crowdfunded money, which aims to remove rhinos from overcrowded areas in South Africa to an undisclosed location in Botswana.

Rhinos have been hounded to near extinction by poachers, and numbers have dropped dramatically from 16,000 in the 1970s to around just 4,000 today. White rhinos came dangerously close to extinction until a similar project rescued them and gave them a new home; now white rhinos number around 20,000 and they are a constant reminder both of the ever-increasing threat of poachers, and also of the success of relocation.

Poachers are drawn to rhino populations, despite the illegality of poaching, because of the growing demand in Asian countries for rhino horn. China and Vietnam are the main consumers of traditional medicine, which often uses rhino horns to treat a variety of ailments, despite the total lack of scientific evidence to support the efficacy of rhino horn.

In fact, because rhino horns are essentially made of hair, their medicinal properties are as effective as chewing your own fingernails.

Unfortunately, some communities in South Africa support poaching because it is a lucrative trade, so there is little governmental protection for rhinos. In Botswana, however, there is zero tolerance of poaching, and anyone found breaking this law can legally be shot and killed.

Drastic situations call for drastic measures and, with over 1000 rhinos killed by poachers in the last year in South Africa, rhino populations are reaching crisis point. Rhinos Without Borders intend to airlift 25 rhinos to safety this year, and relocate a further 65 in 2016. Conservationists hope that the new populations of rhinos in Botswana will establish large communities and save the species from extinction.

10 Years After The Hunting Ban And We’re Still Debating It

Amongst the varied issues to be raised at the upcoming general election will be animal welfare; in particular, the 10-year old ban on hunting with dogs and the present day badger cull.

The Hunting Act was brought in by the last Labour government to protect foxes from the barbaric tradition that sees them chased for miles by a pack of dogs, until they are viciously ripped apart by the hounds. These days the methods employed by landowners to deter foxes from their fields are much more tame, though the activist group The Hunt Saboteurs would argue that many illegal fox hunts still take place.

In 2015, the British public are to ponder this Act once again, as the Tories threaten to offer a free vote to reform or entirely remove the Hunting Act, whilst Labour promise to retain it. Labour also promises broader attention to animal welfare, in their opposition to the failed Badger Cull, which has seen the inhumane slaughter of badgers supposedly infected with TB.

Labour have pledged to:

  • review the rules on breeding and selling dogs and cats
  • ban wild animals in circuses
  • end the badger cull, which has been taking place in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset for the last two years in an effort to stop the spread of bovine TB
  • defend the Hunting Act
  • reduce animal cruelty on shooting estates
  • lead the fight against global animal cruelty

Animal welfare is often a neglected issue in British politics, despite strong feeling from the public. The Green Party are clearly the most committed to exploring and resolving these issues, as they aim to:

To eliminate the wholesale exploitation of other species, foster understanding of our inter-relationship in the web of life and protect and promote natural habitat.

A free vote could be disastrous for foxes, as many MPs seek an opportunity to return to traditional hunting methods which some believe to be more effective. However, nearly 11 years ago we decided to no longer be a nation defined by blood sports, and it’s hard to see why we would go back on that now.

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