Quinoa, Chickpeas, and Chronic Illness

Quinoa and chickpea salad has become a staple in my diet since I have been living on my own. I will often have a bowl of quinoa and chickpeas mixed up and ready to go onto any salad at any time. They give a great boost of energy, while their complex carbohydrates and proteins help to keep you full for longer. This recipe is great as a base to bell peppers and green beans or on top of leafy greens with salmon and a tomato salsa. You can even switch out the chickpeas for another bean/lentil if they’re not your flavour.

Adding this salad to my diet helped to detox my system by providing me with nutrients to help revitalize my mood. Its energy and nutrients helps to prevent and clear up mental fogginess. I don’t want to claim that food can cure or contribute to your mental or physical health issues, but that’s what food is capable of assisting in, to a huge extent.

Diet affects your epigenetics; in other words, you are not only physically what you eat, but you also react to and experience your environment differently depending on the nutrients that you have been consuming (or not consuming). If you don’t believe this, just think about how unpleasant you feel when you’re experiencing “hanger” (rage when you have been hungry for too long and just need to be f***ing fed). And how quickly you become pleasant once you feel full. Or even how much better you feel after having a balanced meal compared to a nutrient lacking pizza, breadsticks and cinnamon sticks meal.

Now, I am a firm believer that indulgence is important to living a fulfilled life (I am quite young). But I am also a believer in moderation, due to chronic physical and mental illnesses (I can relate to the older crowd). The mantra that I have taken from these beliefs is, “Everything in moderation, including moderation” from Oscar Wilde. This is what you can take from it; go ahead and treat yourself to that pizza, eat the damn giant cookie, buy an Icee because they’re SO damn good. Treat yo’self. Basically LIVE A LITTLE. But only kind of. Because if you’re having that pizza, or giant cookie, or Icee, or alcohol, or cigarettes, etc etc etc. every day, then you’re not treating yourself anymore; it has become your lifestyle. You probably feel like crap all the time because you’re eating like crap all the time, and not providing yourself with the variety and nutrition your body craves.

You deplete your resources to get rid of all the aforementioned crap in your body, so you become sluggish and achy. Running like a car on empty. Then you don’t have the energy to workout, and as the stress on your body builds up it becomes difficult to sleep. Losing grip on any of Sleep, Diet or Exercise causes the others to easily go out of whack. It’s a downward spiral of no-tivation.

And it can be really hard to get out of.

Chronic physical and mental illness are downward spirals. Our bodies become quite comfortable in their low environments, whether or not it makes You feel good. So breaking a habit can be extremely difficult; even more difficult the longer that you have been creating that environment for yourself.

BUT IT IS NOT IMPOSSIBLE.

It’s all about changing one thing at a time. Turning your life in the right direction, but in moderate steps. For example, if your eating schedule is out of whack, try eating breakfast at the same time every day. Even if it is a crap breakfast to begin with. Once you’ve cemented the habit of eating breakfast every day, changing what it is that you have for breakfast won’t be as difficult. In other words, hopping to the 6th step is a lot easier from the 5th step than it is from the 1st.
Remember: Fulfill one change in the right direction at a time, and you will eventually build momentum in your upward spiral.

 

SO, this is my recipe for the quinoa chickpea mix that you can use and alternate in whichever way fits your #goals lifestyle the most.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water & 1 cup quinoa (follow the water, quinoa and preparation instructions on your package of quinoa to get the best product)
  • chicken bouillon concentrate or chicken broth powder (optional; I like adding flavour to the quinoa water, it especially helps with cheaper quinoa brands)
  • 1 can chickpeas

That’s all the ingredients for the base. I recommend that you only stir the quinoa after putting it in the boiling broth, and after it is done cooking. Stirring it can leave it burnt or mushy, so it’s best just to let it do its thing. I like to add the chickpeas to the quinoa after it’s been cooked, but while it’s still warm. I think this gives the beans a more pleasant texture. Once it’s done, you can keep it sealed in the fridge for about a week, but it’s usually gone by that time with me around.

Stacey’s Quinoa Chickpea Salad

img_1868-2

  • spinach
  • quinoa chickpea mix
  • red peppers or tomatoes (whichever red thing I have in the fridge)
  • crumbled feta (vegans might like capers, or something else to add a bit of saltiness; Allan says tears are a good vegan substitute to salty cheese lol)
  • toasted sesame vinaigrette (I have the PC one pictured, but Renee’s is also awesome)

This chickpea and quinoa salad was my first step towards being well, and continues to be so on the occasions that I fall back down the stairs on my Sleep, Diet or Exercise regimes. I have made it my own, so the flavour invites me back to health and wellness instead of adding to my no-tivation.

I can post other versions of the recipe in the future if you’d like to see other ways that the base salad can be used. I recommend trying this version, but also to go nuts and make it your own so you will actually want to keep including it in your diet.

Have fun! 🙂

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