Evo Morales, President of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, is reputed to have almost superhuman energy -- his appointment book, which starts each day at 4 am and ends at 1 am is a testament to his unusual stamina.
Is it because his favorite food is quinoa (KEEN-wah) soup, made with the mysterious sacred grain of the Incas?
by UN Food and Agriculture Organization, used with permission
United Nations' International Year of Quinoa
Morales, a former quinoa grower, was appointed Special Ambassador for the International Year of Quinoa, now being observed by the United Nations during 2013. The official launching ceremony scheduled for Oct. 2012 was delayed by hurricane Sandy, but it finally took place at the UN on Feb. 20, 2013.
Evo Morales, President of Bolivia by Wiki South America
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), during his remarks at the ceremony, "Morales noted: 'Quinoa is an ancestral legacy that has been cultivated for more than 7,000 years and is presented as a worthy alternative amid the current food crisis. It can achieve good yields and is very resistant to frost,' Morales said, recalling his early days as a small-scale producer of quinoa in Orinoca, his birthplace. Among the properties credited to this cereal, Morales stressed the reduction of anemia and cholesterol, as well as its suitability for maintaining a balanced diet due to its high ratio of unsaturated fats."
Morales called western fast food, "a threat to humanity," blaming it for causing cancer and other diseases.
During the ceremony, FAO Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva said that the effort to put a spotlight on quinoa is part of an overall strategy to reclaim traditional or forgotten crops as a means to combat global hunger and promote healthy eating.
Quinoa Farmer by UN Food and Agriculture Organization, used with permission
The FAO notes that "The International Year of the Quinoa" (IYQ), "recognizes the Andean indigenous peoples, who have maintained, controlled, protected and preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations thanks to their traditional knowledge and practices of living well in harmony with mother earth and nature."
Bolivia is the world's largest producer of the ancient grain, followed by Peru, then the United States.
Quinoa Farmers in the Andes by UN Food and Agriculture Organization, used with permission
Classified as a whole grain, quinoa is actually a seed, native to the Andes. When cooked, it has a tasty, nutty flavor and a chewy texture. It was revered by the Incas as a sacred grain that had spiritual significance.
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