Quinoa: What’s a person to do?

First off, I enjoy quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) because of its versatility. It’s gluten free. Its protein is complete. It’s quick cooking (about 15 minutes compared to 40 for brown rice). One of my go-t0 meals is steamed veggies on a bed of quinoa.

Then last week I read this piece from Alter.net that Michael Pollan had posted on Twitter. Pollan is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food. Pollan’s books turned me into somewhat of a foodie and made me more aware of where our food comes from — corn. And while Pollan still eats meat, I respect his opinions, even if I don’t always agree with them. The Alter.net article says that because we Westerners have started eating quinoa, we’re pricing it so that hungry Peruvians and Bolivians, for whom quinoa is a dietary staple, can no longer afford to buy quinoa. And instead, they’re eating more chicken (not good).

This week, I read this piece from Grist magazine’s blog. It’s in defense of eating quinoa by Westerners because the Peruvian and Bolivian farmers are now making more money.  And if the farmers are making more money, their local economy improves. And the blog points out that there are farmers here in the U.S. who are learning to grow quinoa in our country.

So what’s a quinoa-loving U.S. citizen to do? I have always tried to make ethical consumer choices. I don’t want my decisions to negatively affect the world (although I know they do in far too many ways). For the time being I’m going to eat the quinoa we have on the shelf. When the time comes to buy more, I’ll think long and hard before buying.

Any suggestions?



About bluelawscribe

I am a runner who doesn't eat meat. We went from September 2012 to March 2015 without owning a car. I haven't purposely eaten meat since 1998 and haven't eaten any dairy since January 2012.
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4 Responses to Quinoa: What’s a person to do?

  1. tischcaylor says:

    As usual, just about the time I start getting interested in something, it’s no longer cutting edge but on the verge of becoming “uncool.”:) Seems to me that in the long run this is a good thing for the farmers, but in the short term it’s unsettling the old dynamic. I wonder if they’re really eating more chicken, though. More of something else, for sure, but probably something cheaper than chicken. (Rodents, unfortunately, come to mind…)

  2. tischcaylor says:

    BTW, don’t tell anyone I made that comment while at work. Saw your bike in the downstairs hall this morning … better be careful going home, those roads were slippery coming in this morning!

  3. ibikeubike says:

    Ug. My comment deleted when I signed in. Anyways. I don’t eat it because of impact to indigenous tribes…and limit bananas, coffee, chocolate and sugar to fair trade. Culture of capitalism maybe inescapable but that does not mean we can pretend not to have a choice.

  4. Pingback: Tuesday evening run | Car-free, meat-free runner

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