health for your
for the new year
Great new foods to try in your diet
By Laura Langston
EXPERTS SAY that regular
consumption of whole
grains may lower the risk
of heart disease, diabetes,
obesity and cancer, and
help to regulate blood
pressure and keep gums
and teeth healthy.
YOU MAY HAVE seen several new and unfamiliar food items at your local Costco warehouse.
Here are some tips on incorporating a few of them
into your diet.
Agave nectar was prized by the Aztecs as a gift
from the gods. A natural sweetener and a healthier
alternative to sugar and honey, the nectar (
sometimes called syrup) has a consistency between
honey and maple syrup.
With a significantly lower glycemic index than
refined sugars, agave provides sweetness but not
the blood sugar spike of other sweeteners. This
makes it a wise choice (when used in moderation)
Wheat Foods Council
Light nectar has a mild, neutral flavor; amber
agave has a slight caramel taste; darker agave has
more distinctive caramel notes.
U.S. National Library
of Medicine National
Institutes of Health
Recipe: Use agave nectar in hot and cold beverages (start with 1 teaspoon to 1 cup liquid), as
well as baked goods.
The Nordic Centre
For baking, substitute ¾ cup of nectar for 1 cup
of sugar, and reduce other liquids in the recipe by a
third. Lower oven temperatures by about 25 F and
bake 10 minutes longer.
Agave nectar can be stored at room temperature
Called the mother grain by ancient Incas, quinoa
is actually a seed related to spinach. A complete protein with all essential amino acids, quinoa is high in
fiber, magnesium, potassium and iron; low in saturated fat and cholesterol; and gluten-free.
Quinoa has a fluffy texture and a mild taste, and
can be used on its own like rice, couscous or barley,
or in salads, pilafs, casseroles and soups.
In its natural state, quinoa has a coating of bit-ter-tasting saponins. While most quinoa sold commercially has been stripped of this coating, it’s still
a good idea to soak it for 15 minutes and rinse
Recipe: Prepare quinoa as you would rice. Boil
2 cups of water, or chicken or vegetable stock (
quinoa benefits from some seasoning while cooking)
and add 1 cup of quinoa. Simmer for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the germ separates from the seed (it’ll
still have a slight bite). Hot quinoa is also good for
breakfast with cinnamon, nuts, fruit and honey.
Unlike rolled oats, which are flattened, steel-cut
oats (also called coarse-cut or Irish oats) look like
small kernels of golden rice. They are rich in fiber;
are a good source of vitamins B1, B2 and E; and contain gamma-linoleic acid (GLA), an essential fatty
The Costco Connection
Check your local warehouse for a variety of healthful foods, including acai juice, agave nectar, flax,
quinoa, spelt and steel-cut oats. The new Kirkland
Signature™ Ancient Grains cereal contains several
of the grains mentioned here. You’ll also find over-the-counter fiber supplements and juices.