health and wellness

Creative Inspiration

The Last 5 Living People Who Were Born in the 1800s

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Centenarians may be rare, but supercentenarians are far rarer. Scientists say that this kind of lifespan all boils down to genetics. Meet the last five living people who were born in the 1800s. Do you know what this means? It means they’ve lived for over a century, seen countless wars, witnessed historical events + accumulated wisdom that could hold the key to human survival. They are the oldest living people on Earth. Year after year, they’ve watched the world change + adapt. They’ve got a perspective on the world that the rest of us can’t even imagine. And get this – each of them are women! Meet three Americans, one Italian + one Japanese. In order of age from oldest to youngest:

Misao Okawa
Misao Okawa, 116 years old. Born 1898
Gertrude Weaver, 116 years old. Born 1898
Gertrude Weaver, 116 years old. Born 1898
Emma Morano Martinuzzi, 115 years old.  Born 1899
Emma Morano Martinuzzi, 115 years old. Born 1899
Jeralean Talley, 115 years old. Born 1899
Jeralean Talley, 115 years old. Born 1899
Susannah Mushatt Jones
Susannah Mushatt Jones, 115. Born 1899

When interviewed, here were some of their secrets to longevity:

1. Keep God first

2. Don’t eat your food out of a can

3. Cherish family

4. 3 large meals a day, 8 hours of sleep at night

5. Ride your bike until you are 100

6. Drink port wine

7. Learn to relax

Creative Inspiration

The Top Wellness Trends of 2015


1. FOREST BATHING: Mindfulness Meets Nature

The Japanese concept of forest bathing (“shinrin-yoku’) has nothing to do with water. It revolves around a deceptively simple practice: quietly walking, with a mind intent on the sounds, scents, colours and “feel” of the forest. Poetic? Yes. But it’s the medical evidence that’s taking it global: Chemicals that trees emit (phytoncides) show a long-lasting impact on people’s immune system markers. Look for more “forest therapy” trails, more doctors prescribing time in forests, more forest bathing programming at spa retreats and more chic “wild forest/nature” resorts, with seemingly as many wilderness guides as in national parks.

Check out: Blackberry Farm’s (Tennessee, U.S.) new “Deep Healing Woods” program or the stunning Treehotel (Sweden) focused on “the significance of trees for human beings.”

2. CANNABIS: New Spa & Wellness Connections

A wave of medical/recreational marijuana legalization is sweeping the U.S. (globally, Uruguay will be the first nation to legalize recreational usage in 2015). The upshot: an explosive “cannabusiness” market, giving this ancient, medicinal plant an upscale makeover. It’s moving from “dorm room to boardroom,” and new spa/wellness cannabis connections are proliferating. Look for more marijuana dispensaries adopting the look/services of spas; more cannabis “wellness tourism” with luxury spa experiences; new cannabis-branded day spas; more spas using non-high-inducing pain-relieving topicals and beauty products – and hemp seed and milk as hot superfoods.

Check out: one of the many spa-like dispensaries, Harborside Health Center (Bay Area, U.S.) and Primal Wellness, the first “cannabis day spa” (Denver, U.S.) and yoganja classes at House of Yoga (Toronto).


The world has been strikingly unable to “see” what the wellness traditions of the Islamic world offer (stretching from the Middle East to Africa and Asia), with its advanced food-as-medicine, and nature-based beauty and healing practices, refined for 1,000 years. But we predict more people will seek nutritional, beauty and “spa” traditions central to Islamic cultures in years ahead. Middle Eastern and African spices, grains and fruits will be the buzzed-about “superfoods,” ingredients used for both food and beauty (from camel’s milk to baobob fruit) will trend and spas will offer more experiences like rasul/mud treatments and sand bathing.

Check out: Blackseed-infused, Senegalese skincare line, Tiossan, the “Baobob Feel Good” treatment at London’s K West Hotel & Spa or the planned Zulal Destination Spa (Doha, Qatar, 2017), the first retreat to immerse guests in the wellbeing traditions from across the Islamic world.

4. INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION: Blue Collar Wellness

Free massage breaks for garment workers at a factory in Sri Lanka. A smartphone app connected to a wellness program at headquarters reminds long-haul truck drivers of healthy menu options. These aren’t happening yet (and the first wave of workplace wellness programs has focused narrowly on white-collar, management employees). But as employers battle the chronic disease, obesity, pain and musculoskeletal, and mental disabilities that can hit “blue collar” workers the hardest expect to see more wellness programs designed for them in the future – and a greater openness to participation by these workers.

Check out: Volkswagen’s “industrial athlete” fitness program and the results of PPG’s “Creating a Culture of Health Initiative” offered at manufacturing sites worldwide.


In 2007, Spafinder named “spa real estate” a top trend…then the recession hit, and most “live-at-the-spa” developments crashed too. Now the wellness living market is roaring back but new developments take the concept of a healthy home much further. Delos Signature Homes (U.S.) “bakes in” dozens of wellness features: from air/water purification systems to circadian rhythm lighting. Entire towns/cities are master-planned around a 365-degree concept of wellness, and a new, global “Well Building Standard” aims to do for human health in the built environment what LEED did for sustainable building – and not just for homes, but offices, schools and hospitals. After centuries of real estate development myopically focused on “curb appeal,” now health is the new wealth.

Check out: Lake Nona, a vast wellness community in Orlando, Florida, offering every aspect of a “well-lived” life, or Avira Medini (Johor, Malaysia, 2015) where every generation lives “in the heart of wellness.”

6. MY FITNESS. MY TRIBE. MY LIFE: Super-Social Fitness

This trend takes a timeout from the manic “rowing is the new spinning” breed of trend-spotting to ponder a new socio-cultural reality: More people’s boutique fitness brand/studio has become their “life.” Social fitness defines who you know, what you wear, where you travel–even how you raise your kids. But it’s a global loneliness epidemic, fueled by a surge in urbanization, single-person households, longer work hours, and lives spent in front of screens that will continue to spur the new directions for the “my fitness is my family” uber-trend.

Check out: booze-less morning dance-fitness parties like Morning Gloryville (London) or Daybreaker (Los Angeles).

7. SPA ON ARRIVAL (& EN ROUTE): The New Travel Ritual

It used to be that with vacation and business travel, spa treatments were perceived as a luxurious add-on. Now the new travel ritual is treatments (and other fitness/wellness experiences) done right at arrival, or en route at airports, to fight jetlag or to kick-start productivity. We’ll see the spa/wellness explosion at airports continue to take off; more hotels/spa resorts serving up free massages at check-in; more online apps and concierges that make booking on-arrival massages/classes easy; and more spas open later, earlier, and even 24/7.

Check out: Cheval Blanc Randheli (Maldives) free “Jet Lag Recovery” massage that kicks off all guest stay and an example of the new, superfine, public airport spas–Sha Wellness Clinic (Spain), one of the world’s top wellness retreats, is opening spas this March at the Madrid airport.

8. HYPER-PERSONALIZED BEAUTY: Made-for-Me Will Matter More

We’re no longer just consumers, we’re collaborators. In 2015 look for a shift from “This colour looks good on me.” to “This colour was made for me,” from “Is this moisturizer the best for my skin?” to “This moisturizer is perfectly formulated for me.” In every corner of beauty care, new opportunities to customize our primping and self-care experience will arise. We’ll see more beauty brands using in-store computer technology to create personalized solutions, more online skin coaching and more spas will let clients create bespoke everything.

Check out: Skin Authority’s online “Skin Coach on Demand” program, Mink, a personal 3D makeup printer using cosmetic-grade inks or Sha Wellness Clinic (Spain) where DNA testing identifies the right nutrients for your skin.


“Listen to your gut…” usually means follow your best instincts, but it is one of the hottest trends for 2015. Look for an ongoing focus on the science of the gut and efforts to prove that by altering its make-up (aka “microbiome”) we can take our health and beauty to new levels, improve our immunity and resilience, reduce our chances for obesity and even create a happy and healthy mind. We’ll see more testing that proves the link between our gut and how we look and feel; there will be no stopping the proliferation of probiotics in what we drink, eat and put on our skin; and more spas (some of who have been on to this for decades) will offer ways to heal our leaking guts.

Check out: FX Mayr Health Center (Austria) and Canyon Ranch’s “Gut Feelings: Gastrointestinal Health and Immune Function” (U.S.)

10. BEYOND THE STARS: Luxury Redefined

Extraordinary affluence, an appetite for the different and new, a zeal for documenting #epic experiences and the search for solitude and silence are fueling a new trend: the quest for “Beyond the Stars” experiences– where air light and breathing room are the new luxury, and authentic and novel destinations are the Holy Grail of travel. With this shift, the luxury travel industry will be challenged to top itself with even more spectacular offerings and dazzle us with spectacular offerings and experiences.

Check out: The Fregate Island Resort (Seychelles), The Brando (French Polynesia), Amenoi Resort (Vietnam) the recently re-born Golden Door (U.S.)–and for extraordinary opulence, Antara Palace Wellness Destination Spa (Cyprus)

Creative Inspiration

What’s Better For Creativity: Alcohol vs. Coffee

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I read somewhere that creativity is our ability to think of something original from connections made between pre-existing ideas in our brain. These connections are controlled by chemicals called neurotransmitters.

One of these neurotransmitters is adenosine, which alerts your brain when you’re running out of energy. When this happens, it reacts by slowing down the connections made between neurons.

Adenosine is kind of like your brain’s battery status monitor. Once your energy levels get low, adenosine starts to slow your brain functioning down. This is why after a few hours of intense work you begin to feel tired.

The only way to recharge it is to take a break. Unless of course you’ve got a secret weapon handy…..

Your brain on coffee

Every coffee drinker is familiar with the euphoric feelings after drinking a fresh cup of java. I know after I’ve had a coffee, I feel more focused. When you’re focused, you create effortlessly + your inspiration is on hyper-drive.

This happens because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, preventing adenosine from slowing down your brain functioning. Coffee tricks your brain into thinking you have lots of energy, and this all happens within just 5 minutes of drinking it!

When adenosine receptors are blocked, chemicals that increase the performance of your neural activity like glucose, dopamine + glutamate, are allowed to work overtime. So while you may feel that coffee is giving you more energy, it’s simply telling your body that your energy reserves are good to go even when they’re long gone.

The peak effect of caffeine on your body happens between 15 minutes and 2 hours after you consume it. When caffeine from your coffee enters your bloodstream, you become more alert from an increase in the production of the hormones adrenaline + cortisol.

Problem? What Problem?

The problem is, if this over-stimulation of adrenaline + cortisol occurs too regularly, your adrenal glands (which absorb adrenaline to help make you feel energized) gradually begin to require more adrenaline to give you the same ‘pick-me-up’ feeling as before.

When researchers at Johns Hopkins University looked at low to moderate coffee drinkers (as little as one mug per day), they found that even this little amount of coffee can cause your body to develop a tolerance to caffeine + require more of it to get the same stimulation. Because of this, the good feelings associated with coffee are short-lived. Pretty soon you need another hit to feel good again.

Why there are lots of famous drunk artists, but no famous drunk accountants

While caffeine pulls a number on your brain to make you feel like you have more energy, alcohol has it’s own way of influencing your creativity.

After you’ve had a couple of drinks, drinking makes you less focused because it decreases your working memory. You begin to care less about what’s happening around you. But as researchers at the University of Chicago discovered, this can be a good thing for creativity’s sake.

The research showed that a blood alcohol level of 0.07 (about 2 drinks) makes people better at creative problem-solving tasks but not necessarily working memory tasks where they have to pay attention to things happening in their surroundings (like driving a car). By reducing your ability to pay attention to the world around you, alcohol frees up your brain to think more creatively.

It looks like author Ernest Hemingway was on to something when he said:

When you work hard all day with your head and know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky?

Alcohol produces better ideas

In an interesting study on the topic of alcohol + its effects on creativity, author Dave Birss brought together a group of 18 advertising creative directors + split them into two teams based on their amount of career experience. One team was allowed to drink as much alcohol as they wanted while the other team had to stay sober.

The groups were given a brief + had to come up with as many ideas as they could in three hours. These ideas were then graded by a collection of top creative directors. The result? The team of drinkers not only produced the most ideas but also came up with four of the top five best ideas.

While alcohol may not be the drink of choice when you need to be alert or focused on what’s going on around you, it seems that a couple of drinks can be helpful when you need to come up with new ideas.

Beer for the idea

The best time to have a beer (or two) would be when you’re searching for an initial idea. Because alcohol helps decrease your working memory (making you feel relaxed + less worried about what’s going on around you), you’ll have more brain power dedicated to making deeper connections.

Neuroscientists have studied the “eureka moment”. They’ve found that in order to produce moments of insight, you need to feel relaxed so front brain thinking (obvious connections) can move to the back of the brain (where unique, lateral connections are made) + activate the anterior superior temporal gyrus. This is a small spot above your right ear responsible for moments of insight.

Researchers found that about 5 seconds before you have a ‘eureka moment’, there’s a large increase in alpha waves that activate the anterior superior temporal gyrus. These alpha waves are associated with relaxation which explains why you often get ideas while you’re going for a walk, in the shower, or on the toilet.

Alcohol is a substance that relaxes you so it produces a similar effect on alpha waves and helping us reach creative insights.

Coffee, meanwhile, doesn’t necessarily help you access more creative parts of your brain like a couple pints of beer.

Coffee for the execution

If you’ve already got an idea or an outline of where you want to go with your project, a cup of coffee would do wonders compared to having a beer to execute on your idea.

The general consensus across caffeine studies is that it can increase quality + performance if the task you’re doing seems easy to you + doesn’t require too much abstract thinking.

In other words, after you have an initial idea or a plan laid out, a cup of coffee can help you execute and follow through on your concept faster without compromising quality.

Quick tip: If you drink coffee, do so before noon so it doesn’t effect your sleep. On average, it will take between 5-10 hours for the caffeine from a cup of coffee to be removed from your system. Messing up your sleep cycle can have a negative impact on your creative output for days to come.

Always in moderation

If you decide to drink coffee or beer while you’re working, you should stick to no more than 2 cups of coffee or a couple of beers per sitting. And you should only try to do this once or twice per week. Coffee + beer shouldn’t be thought of as magic bullets for creativity. They are ways to create chemical changes that occur naturally in your brain with a healthy lifestyle. Quality sleep patterns and allowing yourself to take breaks by splitting your day into sprints will do the same trick.

But if you do have to choose between coffee or beer, think about what type of task you are about to do + make sure you don’t over-drink!

Too much of either and you’ll lose the benefits of both.

❤ Digital

Working with Chakras

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Although originating as a Buddhist belief, I’m Christian and still find energy work with the Chakras useful. With a few stretches, you focus on each of these centers and what they represent. It works for anyone. You always finish feeling energized. Take a few minutes as you concentrate on each energy center and do a yoga pose while you think on what they teach and how it applies to your life.


This chakra is based on being physically aware and feeling comfortable in many situations. If opened, you should feel well-balanced and sensible, stable and secure. You don’t distrust people around you for no reason.You feel present in what is happening right now, and very connected to your physical body. Think about:

– Accepting all that has been

– Forgiving yourself and others for mistakes and releasing bad energy

– Holding onto wisdom you’ve learnt

– Remembering where you come from

– Anchoring yourself in all that you are: your history, your culture, your religion, your nationality, your family, your education.

Find Your Truth Base Chakra

Yoga poses to open Root Chakra


This chakra deals with feeling and sexuality. If open, feelings are released with liberty and are expressed without you being over-emotional. You are open to affinity and can be passionate as well as outgoing. You also have no problems based on sexuality. You are free without comprimising your integrity or health. Think about being open to receive the romantic energy of a partner in your life; the idea of power in collaboration and strength in unity. You feel comfortable in exploring and expressing your sexuality with someone. Work on believing there is a committed, good, loyal person who will compliment you and love you unconditionally.

Working with Sacral Chakra in Finding your Truth

Yoga poses to open Sacral Chakra


This chakra encircles confidence, especially when in a group. When open, you should feel in control and have a good feeling of dignity in yourself. This is because you recognize your self-worth and take pride in all the achievements, victories and triumphs you’ve enjoyed in life. Spend time on this chakra honouring yourself and what you’ve built – that which you have created and manifested. It’s important to thank yourself for what you have worked hard to achieve. Think on the opportunities you have taken hold of. It’s about the success of inspired action, progess, reputation and good intentions towards others. Part of your self-worth is standing your ground on your values and moral principles. Through this power chakra, you feel confident in life and embrace the endless possibilities of the future.

Working with Solar Plexus Chakra in Finding Your Truth

Yoga poses to open Solar Plexus Chakra


This chakra is all about love, caring, and endearment. When open, you seem to be compassionate and friendly, always working in amicable relationships. This chakra is about emotional empowerment, including that which you give yourself and that which you give others. It is nurturing and kind; seeing only the beauty in others. It’s acknowledging all the good people you’ve met along the way. It’s focusing on the abundance of people in the world who are happy in themselves; balanced, supportive and sweet. It’s asking God to send you more of them. It’s agreeing to honour others if they honour you; practicing mutual give and take. It’s caring for the planet and loving your environment unconditionally. The heart chakra sits right in between the three lower chakras and the three upper chakras. The three lower chakras have everything to do with your physical body, while your upper chakras are more about your spirit. It’s a deeply balancing chakra.

Working with Heart Chakra in Finding Your Truth

Yoga poses to open Heart Chakra


This chakra is based on self-expression and communication. When the chakra is open, expressing yourself is easy. Art seems to be a great way to do this. You express your truth with comfort. You also receive others’ truth well and can assimilate information with clarity and deep understanding. It’s listening and communicating clearly, maturely and equally. It’s knowing what you want out of life and not being afraid to ask for it. It’s focusing on offering creative, helpful advice. It’s receiving the thoughts and opinions of others with humility. It’s taking responsibility for your needs and what you need to say. When it’s open, any blockages in your speech and communication dissipate and the peace of God flows through you. It’s about the nourishment of authentic communication so you can live a happy, enriched life communicating and receiving ideas freely. It’s about the potency of prayer and talking – to yourself, to others and to God.

Working with Throat Chakra in Finding Your Truth



Like it’s name, this chakra deals with insight. When open, you have excellent clairvoyance and tend to dream a lot. You are sensitive to your “gut” feelings of intuition and follow its promptings where you can. You know your intuition has your best interests at heart. As a result of work on this chakra, you have a “knowing” of what to do or how to act in any situation. You bring out the best in any person you’re with. You adapt to situations as your intuition tells you to. You sense emotions when you’re with people and change your energy to suit the mood so you leave them feeling good about themselves. You know you can give your peace and love freely because it will flow back to you from God’s limitless fountain. As a result, you enjoy fruitful interactions and productive outcomes. It’s about versatility through higher wisdom. It’s about flexibility in thought and connecting with people in a way that generates the best result. In helping others, you enjoy the mastery that deep spiritual intelligence brings. By the same token, this chakra is about sensing danger and “seeing” ill-intentioned people so you can avoid disaster. It’s your compass to navigate through the world; sticking around the good and steering clear of the bad.

Working with 3rd Eye Chakra in Finding Your Truth



This is the seventh and most spiritual chakra. It encompasses a person’s wisdom and being one with the universe. When this chakra is open, prejudice disappears from your “To Do” list, and you seem to become more aware of the world and it’s connection to yourself. You access a higher wisdom; a connection to the Divine. You acknowledge your potential; all that you could be. You welcome God’s plan for your life, knowing it is good. You acknowledge that all manifestations are a result of what you think and believe. It’s about being open and asking for Divine guidance. Subsequently, it’s about receiving messages from God through people and nature. It’s owning that we’re all dreamers with the power of intention within us; creating our own reality via our thought life. We are equal parts of the same whole that is humanity. This chakra is about integration; of us with ourselves and of us with the universe God created. It is connection to lower, middle and higher self. It’s perspective on life and the ability to see the bigger picture. It’s transcendence, spiritual awakening, growth and ascension.

Working with Crown Chakra in Finding Your Truth

Yoga pose for Opening the Crown Chakra

Other yoga poses to try:

Cover Photo: Death To The Stock Photo

❤ Digital

32 Ways To Eat Quinoa

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Quinoa Meals

These are some great ways to use Quinoa. I sourced this from Pinterest and re-blogged it from BuzzFeed Food. I Love it! See my Healthy Eating board on Pinterest here.

1. Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Bars

Quinoa, Fruit, and Nut Bars

Carry these around with you for snacking and feel virtuous all day. Recipe here.

2. Nutty Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

Nutty Cinnamon Breakfast Quinoa

Recipe here.

3. Almond Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

Almond Cranberry Quinoa Cookies

Three words: COOKIES FOR BREAKFAST. Recipe here.

4. Hot Oat and Quinoa Cereal

Hot Oat and Quinoa Cereal

You can start this cereal the night before and have it ready to go in just a couple minutes in the morning. Recipe here.

5. Coconut, Almond, and Quinoa Breakfast Cakes

Coconut, Almond, and Quinoa Breakfast Cakes

Vegan and not about to apologize for it. Recipe here.

6. Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

Recipe here.

7. Quinoa Granola

Quinoa Granola

Recipe here.

8. Quinoa Pudding

Quinoa Pudding

Very like rice or tapioca pudding but with the MAGIC POWER of quinoa. Recipe here.

9. Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs

Sweet Potato and Quinoa Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs

All the protein a lady or gent could ever ask for. Recipe here.

10. Green Quinoa

Green Quinoa

Fresh herb paste turns the quinoa this pretty color; finish it with chopped nuts, arugula, and pepper flakes. Recipe here.

11. Quinoa, Fennel, and Pomegranate Salad

Quinoa, Fennel, and Pomegranate Salad

Observe the trademark Ottolenghi blend of colors of and textures. Recipe here.

12. Plum and Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Plum and Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate Dressing

Pears would be a very nice sub for plums in non-summer seasons. Recipe here.

13. Quinoa Tabbouleh

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Because bulgur is so 2007. Recipe here.

14. Sweet Potato, Craisin, and Pecan Quinoa Salad

Sweet Potato, Craisin, and Pecan Quinoa Salad

Recipe here.

15. Pomegranate, Orange, and Quinoa Salad

Pomegranate, Orange, and Quinoa Salad

Pom and quinoa are a match made in tiny crunchy spherical food heaven. Recipehere.

16. Garlic and Thyme Quinoa Patties

Garlic and Thyme Quinoa Patties

Recipe here.

17. Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant-Tomato Ragu

Quinoa Cakes with Eggplant-Tomato Ragu

Makes a nice vegetarian dinner-party main course. Recipe here.

18. Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Bites

Recipe here.

19. Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Crispy Quinoa Sliders

Chickpeas, cheese, and breadcrumbs hold these cuties together. Recipe here.

20. Taterless Tots

Taterless Tots

This is either sacrilege or genius. Both? Recipe here.

21. Broccoli, Cheddar, Jalapeño, and Quinoa Fritters

Broccoli, Cheddar, Jalapeño, and Quinoa Fritters

Recipe here.

22. Cheese and Scallion Quinoa Cakes

Cheese and Scallion Quinoa Cakes

Little cubes of mozzarella melt into magical gooey cheese zones. Recipe here.

23. Veggie Fried Quinoa

Veggie Fried Quinoa

Recipe here.

24. Quinoa-Crusted Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Quinoa-Crusted Chicken with Peanut Sauce

Served here with soba noodles. Recipe here.

25. Quinoa Chili

Quinoa Chili

Recipe here.

26. Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

Turkey Quinoa Meatloaf

Recipe here.

27. Homemade Quinoa Pasta

Homemade Quinoa Pasta

Next level. Recipe here.

28. Quinoa Kale Jambalaya

Quinoa Kale Jambalaya

Recipe here.

29. Quinoa Sushi

Quinoa Sushi

Watch your back, rice. Recipe here.

30. Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

Chicken Stew with Butternut Squash and Quinoa

Big Q is a great way to add oomph to soups and stews. Recipe here.

31. Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas

Broccoli Quinoa Quesadillas

Recipe here.

32. Spaghetti with Quinoa Meatballs

Spaghetti with Quinoa Meatballs

Neat vegetarian swap idea. Recipe here.