Is Quinoa Paleo?


Screen-Shot-2012-07-14-at-2.39.18-PM-300x225.pngHere’s the deal with quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”), since so many people seem to think it’s totally different than a grain. If it looks like a grain and acts like a grain (not to mention tastes like a grain), it’s a grain. And quinoa contains some anti-nutrients that other grains contain, such as phytic acid, lectins, and saponins.

Read those links for more info on all of those anti-nutrients, but basically phytic acid binds to minerals in your gut and carries them out unabsorbed, and lectins and saponins contribute to gut permeability, or leaky gut. And like other grains, even if quinoa is properly prepared, meaning it’s soaked and cooked for an adequate amount of time, some of those substances will still remain.

Now for some people quinoa is fine, just like some people with guts of steel really can deal with rice or other grains. But for others with more compromised guts and therefore sensitive immune systems, quinoa may not be ok. They may have digestive symptoms or skin irritation or asthma or fatigue after eating it, just like they would with other grains.

Also, quinoa isn’t exactly God’s gift to high protein foods, as some people would like to think. Some even eat a cup of quinoa as their “protein” portion on their plate, and that’s just erroneous. A cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein. A cup of white rice contains just under 5 grams. Three ounces of lean beef contains about 25 grams of protein…

I don’t think quinoa is inherently bad. I just think that after a lifetime of eating improperly prepared, highly glutenous refined grains, pasteurized dairy, toxic seed oils and tons of sugar, a lot of people have compromised guts and immune systems and they can’t handle these foods like native people who’ve never eaten those kinds of Westernized foods. That’s all.