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Pegleg84

Quinoa? Seriously? What's The Deal?

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So, I started becoming slightly suspicious of quinoa recently. It never quite sits right, like I can't seem to digest it properly. But it's supposed to be so good for you! Maybe it being so high-protein is a problem for me. Who knows?

I made a nice batch of it last night, cooked with spices and veggies and other goodness, and it left me with bloating, brain-fog, and a stabbing stomach. Worse than getting gluten CC'd! Today, leftovers for lunch. Same thing. I'm still getting through it, and now I'm still hungry. Ack!

So, cause concentrating on work in this state is not so easy, I did some hunting around on the forum to see if anyone else has problems with quinoa. This is the best documentation thus far:

It seems that some celiacs have trouble with quinoa, not because of CC (which can be an issue with some brands), and also not because of the saponin residue that needs to be washed off before eating. So, what is it about Quinoa that some of us can't handle?

But since I didn't want to revive and old thread, I've started a new one to see if others are having issues, if there's any new research as to what might cause it, and any suggestions of what could be done (aside from cutting it out) to lessen the reaction.

Aside form being Celiac, gluten-free for the past 3.5 years, I'm now also casein/soy intolerant and can't eat much salt. Corn still seems to be fine, thank god!

Any experiences, knowledge, or advice appreciated.

Now, what to do with the rest of my leftovers...

Peg

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Leftovers? You might use them to patch any holes in your plaster or drywall. :P

I say that because I can't stand the stuff. I know some folks really like it but I am definitely not one of them.

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Now, what to do with the rest of my leftovers...

Peg

Please don't send them to me! I have problems with quinoa, amaranth and millet, all supposedly high quality protein gluten substitute grains. Sometimes we just have to accept our differences. :blink:

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It is my understanding that the lectins found in quinoa are very similar to wheat lectin - thus can be difficult for people with celiac disease to process. I seem to have problems will all foods with high lectin content - lucky me ;)

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Bottom line on Quinoa is this... it is a grain.

This is something we all have to keep in mind despite all the frequent "sales pitch" advertising we see lately for it.

Everyone's tolerance level for others grains besides wheat will vary, but for me personally I am noticing that the longer I am Gluten-free, the less my body is able to digest and assimilate anything that is a grain. I have a feeling this will only get worse the longer I go.

So, despite it's reported "health benefits" there is no getting away from the fact that it is a grain and will cause issues for some of us.

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Bottom line on Quinoa is this... it is a grain.

No, it isn't. Grains are members of the Poaceae family. Quinoa belongs to a different family: Amaranthaceae.

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Lectin eh? Interesting...

Here's some good reading on lectin toxicity:

http://naturalhealthdossier.com/2009/07/lectins-a-little-known-trouble-maker/

http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

Anyone else know about lectin and its potential problems? I also have trouble with eggs? Could this be why?

Nightshades, so far, don't bother me as long as they're cooked properly. I LOVE eggplant, eat lots of peppers, and while the acidity of some tomatoes bothers me, otherwise it's fine. And I would die if I couldn't eat potatoes.

Legumes, however, do tend to be a bit hard on my system.

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Oh, and quinoa is actually a seed, from a plant related to things like beets.

But it grain-like in its protein content, etc.

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It is my understanding that the lectins found in quinoa are very similar to wheat lectin - thus can be difficult for people with celiac disease to process. I seem to have problems will all foods with high lectin content - lucky me ;)

Hi Lisa

Interesting about the lectins. What other foods do you have trouble with? and how do you react when you eat quinoa or other lectin-y foods?

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It could be CC. How do you buy your quinoa? Do you get it out of those bins by the pound? There could be CC with the bins and the scoops.

I tried some quinoa couscous a few months ago, and it caused all kinds of reactions. But I've also had quinoa pasta with no reaction. The couscous didn't have "gluten free" on the package, even though there were no obvious gluten ingredients, but the pasta did say gluten-free on the package. Maybe this is similar to the oat situation, where they may or may not be processed alongside wheat.

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Hi Peg-

When I was dx'd my digestive symptoms improved at first - but my other symptoms joint/muscle pain, major fatigue, brain fog, memory issues got much worse and eventually some digestive symptoms returned. For nearly two years I removed either groups of foods or singular foods and kept a fairly detailed food log. I could never pinpoint any food other than gluten causing the problem.

I kept researching what foods could cause problems especially with autoimmune symptoms. Eventually I decided to try a full elimination diet removing everything that was a likely intolerance at one time. During that research I came across lectin content potentially being the problem. I removed ALL grains, dairy, nightshades, legumes, nuts, seeds and eggs for a month then trialed each individual food within each group one at a time with a minimum of three days between trials. IF I had no reaction I still kept the food out of the diet until I was done challenging all of them - it took months. I had many, many surprise reactions. The only foods I did not have a reaction to were eggs, butter, cheese. Different foods within each group gave different reactions. Nightshades generally caused joint/muscle pain, but tomato also caused my mouth to go numb within 5 minutes. Legumes were all a surprise Soy gave me severe stomach trouble; peas were like sleeping pills I was asleep within half an hour; peanuts made me extremely angry followed shortly thereafter I was in tears for no reason. Seeds was the worst surprise - I had severe anaphylactic symptoms (had never had these symptoms in my life) to sunflower and sesame seeds. I never made it to trial quinoa because the seed reactions were so severe (just a note...I had additional allergy testing done because of all the different reactions to foods - I am allergic to NOTHING - but still have to carry an epi pen).

Before the elimination of lectins experiment I was eating quinoa nearly daily - some days it made me bloat slightly - but not as severe as gluten.

I now understand why I was so sick and tired after removing gluten. I was intolerant of nearly every food I trialed. It would be impossible to ever figure it out one item at a time for me. When I ate only meat, fish, vegies (less nightshades) and fruit I gained health very quickly and continued to improve each day - I was healthier for 8 months than ever before in my life. I did have a severe flare of symptoms within two months of adding the few foods back that seemed find during the trial, so I am back to meat, vegies and fruit and will remain there until I am sure I have completely healed my stubborn gut.

Do I suggest taking this an extreme a measure? No. I do believe that if a person is having problems with a particular food that they can identify that it should be removed for at least six months and then trial it again. But for those that can't seem to figure out what foods are bothering them - removing all common intolerances at once for a short time may help. I still believe that I'll get many of the foods I lost back once my intestines heal.

Very, very long way of saying if eggs bother you, yes it could be lectins ;)

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(whoops! Just realised i meant to post this in the Other Food Intolerances forum...)

Thanks Lisa!

Yeah, I'm not about to throw myself into that ordeal, but I'm glad you figured it out.

this would, however, explain why I can't handle eggs. Maybe it's just the high-protein stuff that's getting to me.

In any case, I might try to see an allergist/immunologist/nutritionist in the near future so we can figure out what's really going on.

Thanks again!

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Like GottaSki, I am clearly a lectin intolerant. For me, it's nightshades, legumes, citrus (lemon, lime), corn, soy. I do fine with dairy and eggs. I intend to soon trial some members of those families that I have eliminated totally, i.e, those which I do not recall reactions from before, like lentils, eggplant, to see what happens. If that goes well I might trial some of the things I have reacted to before, but in the case of potatoes I will not eat the skin. In tomatoes I will skip the skin and the seeds. I will try oranges (when I am brave enough :rolleyes: )

I cannot remember now if I was nightshade free when I had my last arthritis flare, but touching wood here, I have been off Humira for three months because of infection and I have not yet had recurrence of that crippling pain (Humira suppresses your immune system so cannot be used when fighting infections).

Just a note about lectins (I did not reread the links so the info might be in there), but lectins are the plants' mechanism for self-protection, so the lectins are normally located where the plant will be attacked. Therefore the lectins are most often in the skin or outer coatings of the edible parts of plants. For example, I can eat refined cornstarch or handle (if I must) HFCS without any problem, but corn chips, tortillas, polenta will kill me because they contain the skin of the corn kernel where it makes sense for lectins to be.

I have found a product on the market, Lectin Lock, which contains the specific sugars that the lectins bind to in the body, and I have had success with this product such as in a restaurant where you get the nasty surprise that they have added one of the lectins (such as tomato) that I do not tolerate to a dish and I don't want to make a fuss. I take a couple of caplets before eating and set loose the sugars in my stomach to provide a sponge for the lectins to attach to before they go roaming in the body. And no, I do not have an interest in the company :rolleyes:;)

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Quinoa is not technically a grain.

It is not a member of the grass family.

As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

That said, we all may have foods that give us grief.

But the majority of celiacs can digest and enjoy quinoa.

Lectins are another situation.

Foods with high concentrations of lectins, such as beans, cereal grains, seeds, nuts, and potatoes, may be harmful if consumed in excess in uncooked or improperly cooked form. Adverse effects may include nutritional deficiencies, and immune (allergic) reactions.

Not sure how this equates to eggs?

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I have found a product on the market, Lectin Lock, which contains the specific sugars that the lectins bind to in the body, and I have had success with this product such as in a restaurant where you get the nasty surprise that they have added one of the lectins (such as tomato) that I do not tolerate to a dish and I don't want to make a fuss. I take a couple of caplets before eating and set loose the sugars in my stomach to provide a sponge for the lectins to attach to before they go roaming in the body. And no, I do not have an interest in the company :rolleyes:;)

Lectin Lock - very interesting - I'll be adding this to the bag o' tricks - certainly couldn't hurt when I start trialing again. Thanks for sharing :)

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Yeah, the egg thing doesn't make much sense to me either, but it's listed along with the lectin problem foods, so there must be something about them that's related. That's the best explanation for why I have trouble with them.

I still (fingers crossed) seem to be ok with nightshades. I am starting to take digestive enzymes and keep up with my probiotics and all that, in hopes that it'll help. I'll keep that Lectin Lock in mind, though, if things get hairy.

Aww... a friend of mind is involved in a Quinoa challenge at her work. Too many good looking food. That I can't eat. Figures.

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I get identical digestive symptoms from quinoa, teff, chia, and sorghum to the ones caused by wheat.  Only rice and buckwheat are safe.  I bet I'm not the only one.

The only easily-available safe gluten-free bread I could buy previously was Trader Joe's--it had the texture of cardboard, and crumbled apart, but was not bad as buttered toast each morning--but now even that pleasure has been taken away:

TJ's has added teff, chia, or sorghum to every one of their four gluten-free breads. 

:'(

(Other commonly-available gluten-free breads contain corn maltodextrin.  I'm corn allergic.  Others  may also wish to avoid maltodextrin.  It may increase gut permeability and food sensitivities.)

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