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Quinoa Intolerance?
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8 posts in this topic

Friends had me over for a gluten free lunch today and trust me, it was gluten free. They consulted with me extensively in planning the meal. Later in the afternoon I developed intense gut pain like I had swallowed a burning fire brand. It has largely subsided now. One of the things they served at lunch was quinoa. While writhing in pain on my couch my mind drifted back to a couple of other times I ate qiunoa and also developed GI distress. At those times I think I assumed it was just coincidence and that I had picked up a bug or something but maybe I'm seeing a pattern here. I don't really like the taste of quinoa so I haven't eaten it very often. (It reminds me of wet grass seed).

Has anyone else had this problem? It's supposed to be one of those Celiac friendly super grains.

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I eat quinoa without any problems. It can be rather flat tasting if you don't add anything to it. If you are preparing the grain, I suggest using something other than just water for the liquid. Broth, wine, gluten-free soy sauce, vegetable juice or some other tasty fluid can replace some of the water with great results.

It is possible that you have a problem with quinoa that is independent of your celiac disease. Quinoa is not a source of gluten (unless contaminated), but is something that most North Americans do not eat so it may be causing a reaction.

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I have had severe symptoms from quinoa....actually worse than gluten for me! :huh:

I seem to have problems with most high oxalate foods....and the alternative grains cause worse reactions for me than wheat (but I'm gluten intolerant and not Celiac).

It may be in order to caution celiac patients that they may have undesirable reactions to any of these foods--reactions that are not related to celiac disease.

Allergic reactions may occur to almost any protein, including proteins found in rice, but there is a great deal of individual variation in allergic reactions.

Also, buckwheat, for example, has been claimed to contain a photosensitizing agent that will cause some people who have just eaten it to develop a skin rash when they are exposed to sunlight.

Quinoa and amaranth may have high oxalate contents-approaching those of spinach and these oxalate levels may cause problems for some people.

Such reactions should be looked for, but for most people, buckwheat, quinoa, or amaranth eaten in moderation apparently do not cause problems.

http://www.celiac.com/articles/185/1/Glute...ture/Page1.html

After eating Quinoa I had cramping, diarrhea and burning sensations around my mouth.

I can tell you this though....its no loss to me....I think quinoa is one of the grossest foods I've ever eaten. :P

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Rachel, Thanks. That was very helpful. My symptoms are similar to yours except I don't get the burning sensations around the mouth. Like you, the discomfort and distress I get from quinoi far exceeds any reactions I get with gluten. I don't think its the oxalates as I can eat other high oxalate foods such as spinach without a problem. It must be some protein in quinoi that my immune system doesn't like. Since like you, I do not find quinoi very palatable I will be glad to avoid it in the future. Have you tried amarinth? I find it to be delicious. It is a little pricey, though.

Steve

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Have you tried amarinth? I find it to be delicious. It is a little pricey, though.

Amaranth doesnt taste bad at all. Unfortunately, I cant tolerate it but its not a severe reaction like I've experienced with qunioa. There's a cereal called "amaranth snaps"....its pretty tasty. :)

The other thing about quinoa is that it contains a "soapy" like chemical (saponin) that has to be rinsed off. I think some people might be more sensitive to it.

Before cooking, the seeds must be rinsed to remove their bitter resin-like coating, which is called saponin. Quinoa is rinsed before it is packaged and sold, but it is best to rinse again at home before use to remove any of the powdery residue that may remain on the seeds.

The presence of saponin is obvious by the production of a soapy looking "suds" when the seeds are swished in water. Placing quinoa in a strainer and rinsing thoroughly with water easily washes the saponin from the seeds. In South America the saponin which is removed from the quinoa is used as detergent for washing clothes and as an antiseptic to promote healing of skin injuries.

The saponins in quinoa can be mildly toxic, as can be the oxalic acid in the leaves of all the chenopodium family. However, the risks associated with quinoa are minimal, provided it is properly prepared and leaves are not eaten to excess.
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Thanks, Rachel. The info about washing the seed may be the key to the whole issue as now that I've thought about it the processed quinoi products I've had (noodles, ect.) have not bothered me. Hum, I'm tempted to test it but also afraid.

Steve

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I have been having some of the same reactions to quinoa......tummy discomfort and diarreha, mainly.

However, buckwheat seems ok. Do you guys handle buckwheat ok too?

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I reacted to Quinoa, but not buckwheat. However, for now, I am grain free. And feeling soooo much better!

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