Recently I caused quite a stir on Facebook when I posted that Quinoa was not good for your body or the planet. What? How can you say that the gluten free golden child of grains isn’t good for me? Quinoa is gluten free, so isn’t that GOOD?
Not so fast. Yes, Quinoa is Gluten Free but so are Kellogg’s Rice Chex cereal-that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice. Let me explain.
All species are born with defense mechanisms, including plants. Quinoa is actually closer to a seed than a grain. Part of a plant’s defensive mechanism is the outer coating of the seed itself. In the case of Quinoa, that protective coat contains Saponins.
Saponins are soapy like molecules that literally “punch holes” in the gastric mucosal lining. Then you get “leaky gut” (contents of the gut leak into the blood stream) and this causes an autoimmune response and systemic inflammation. Systemic inflammation manifests in numerous ways: headaches, skin rashes, achy joints, stomach pain, weight gain, fatigue ,etc.
And these saponins are so irritating and inflammatory, that scientist use them in vaccine research.
“Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture.” Robb Wolf author of The Paleo Solution
Additional research can be found here:
As most of you know, I advocate Grain Free diet-not just gluten free. If you are eating Quinoa, I encourage you to think twice. Not only is it affecting your gut health, but also the high demand has negatively affected the countries that farm it and export it. Now the people of Peru and Bolivia can’t even afford to buy this indigenous food because demand has driven up the price. They can buy junk food cheaper than a food that is native to their culture. See this article.
If you are struggling with how to eat without grains, contact me for a one on one consult. There are so many truly healthy alternatives, you won’t miss them and your body will thank you and reward you! Most see a dramatic decrease in joint pain, skin conditions clear, sleep is more restful and of course, the excess pounds of “false fat” aka Inflammation begin to melt away.