Gluten Free Diet | Quinoa | Allergy

Quinoa

by Allergy Guy

Quinoa

 

Quinoa is a nutritious grain-like food, and an excellent addition to the gluten-free diet.

Unlike a true grain, quinoa is not from the grass family. Quinoa is a chenopod, and is more closely related to beets, spinach and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa is most often eaten as a whole cooked seed, flakes, or quinoa flour used in gluten-free baking.

Quinoa greens are also eatable and nutritious, but are generally not commercially available.

Quinoa | Gluten Free Diet

Quinoa originated in the Andes, where it has been a staple for over 6,000 years. It grows well at altitudes up to 4,000 meters, and will grow at low altitudes as well.

Quinoa Allergies

Quinoa is generally well tolerated. A negative reaction to quinoa is the rare, so try quinoa with confidence!

There are exceptions. Read the comments below to see examples of problems people have had with quinoa.

Many if not most of these problems are probably caused by improper preparation of the quinoa. See cooking quinoa to learn the right way to make quinoa and avoid these problems. If you haven’t been preparing your quinoa correctly, then you may develop a sensitivity to it. Try cutting it out of your diet for a few weeks or months, then bring it back in, but be sure to wash it properly.

Keep in mind that people with a reaction to quinoa are likely to find this site and leave a comment, so if you have not tried quinoa before, do not let the tiny likelihood of a reaction put you off from trying it.

If you do have a reaction, then pay attention to it, and remove quinoa from your diet.

Amaranth is a good alternative if you can not tolerate quinoa.

Sandy points out that “…[quinoa] is high in phenylalanine (amino acid), and this is taken from a recent NYT article about sweeteners–turns out that amino acid is also in aspartame.  ‘. . . about 1 in 25,000 in the United States — have a genetic condition that prevents them from metabolizing one of the amino acids, phenylalanine, and those people are warned away from aspartame.’”

The above may explain the large number of people leaving comments on this article about how they cannot eat quinoa.

Liz has left a comment suggesting that liquid bentonite clay detox supplement ( about four tablespoons) and Zyrtec (one, the other or both) may help alleviate symptoms.  If you decide to try this, please leave a comment and share if this helped you or not.

Another interesting theory was posted by Katherine Kohl. Read her post about Quinoa Sickness and Mycotoxin.

NOTE: If you leave a comment explaining that you have a reaction to quinoa, please indicate if the quinoa is organic or not.  I’d really like to find out why so many people have a problem with it.  There are already 178 comments on this post so keep this in mind when reading comments in the context of this comment.

How to Cook Quinoa

Quinoa must be properly rinsed before cooking. This is very important. For complete details on why this is important, and how to cook quinoa, see cooking quinoa.

Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa is the only plant food with a complete complement of proteins, making the quality of protein similar to meat. Other plant sources of protein must be combined to get a full complement.

Nutrient Units 1.00 X 1 cup
——-
185g
Proximates
Water
g
132.48
Energy
kcal
222
Energy
kJ
931
Protein
g
8.14
Total lipid (fat)
g
3.55
Ash
g
1.41
Carbohydrate, by difference
g
39.41
Fibre, total dietary
g
5.2
Starch
g
32.62
Minerals
Calcium, Ca
mg
31
Iron, Fe
mg
2.76
Magnesium, Mg
mg
118
Phosphorus, P
mg
281
Potassium, K
mg
318
Sodium, Na
mg
13
Zinc, Zn
mg
2.02
Copper, Cu
mg
0.355
Manganese, Mn
mg
1.167
Selenium, Se
mcg
5.2
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
mg
0.0
Thiamin
mg
0.198
Riboflavin
mg
0.204
Niacin
mg
0.762
Vitamin B-6
mg
0.228
Folate, total
mcg
78
Folic acid
mcg
0
Folate, food
mcg
78
Folate, DFE
mcg_DFE
78
Vitamin B-12
mcg
0.00
Vitamin A, RAE
mcg_RAE
0
Retinol
mcg
0
Vitamin A, IU
IU
9
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
mg
1.17
Tocopherol, beta
mg
0.06
Tocopherol, gamma
mg
2.20
Tocopherol, delta
mg
0.20
Lipids
Cholesterol
mg
0
Amino acids
Tryptophan
g
0.096
Threonine
g
0.242
Isoleucine
g
0.290
Leucine
g
0.483
Lysine
g
0.442
Methionine
g
0.178
Cystine
g
0.117
Phenylalanine
g
0.342
Tyrosine
g
0.154
Valine
g
0.342
Arginine
g
0.629
Histidine
g
0.235
Alanine
g
0.339
Aspartic acid
g
0.653
Glutamic acid
g
1.073
Glycine
g
0.400
Proline
g
0.444
Serine
g
0.326

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kathy August 25, 2016 at 10:57

I have prepared Trader Joe’s Organic White Quinoa and have eaten it yesterday & this morning. I have a sensitivity to gluten (Aunt had Celiac’s), took it out of my diet 8 years ago and feel great. I did the gluten free diet for the whole family to see if it would help my son with ADHD (cleared up his chronic sinus congestion) and found that it helped me the most with eliminating achy joints. My achy joints are back and it was after eating organic quinoa which I had rinsed quite well before preparing. I cooked it up for a hot breakfast meal yesterday and felt achy last night. I felt more achy this morning and after having a second helping of this breakfast meal I thought I should google if others have had reactions to quinoa. I found this site and thought I should contribute my reactions. It also affected my digestive system. I went from slight constipation to loose BM’s this morning. My husband won’t eat quinoa because it gives him diarrhea.

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2 Brandy December 8, 2015 at 21:28

i just ate quinoa at a banquet, I’ve had it before and suspected my body doesn’t like it. I don’t know how it was prepared, or if it was washed properly.
I know I am allergic to genetically modified wheat and corn. Perhaps the Quinoa I ate wasn’t organic and this is what is causing me the issue.
My symptoms are bad menstrual cramps, which is what happens if I eat rye or non-organic corn.
I think I should just stick to rice only and skip all other grains as it’s just not worth it anymore.

Reply

3 Rena June 2, 2015 at 17:22

I’ve had three reactions to Quinoa now, and will never eat it again. I love the stuff, but not how it now makes me feel: Many hours of horrible nausea and stomach cramping, gas, bloating, and then the next few days, joint pain and lethargy. I also have a diary allergy and high gluten sensitivity. I’ve been gluten-free for two years now, and the quinoa pain is similar to the gluten pain, but not nearly as horrific, or lasting as long. I’ve purchased only organic, packaged in a gluten-free facility, quinoa. Perhaps this last time it was not rinsed long enough? Or was it because it was red quinoa, and I usually eat the white? I wish I could still eat it, but suffering for days makes it unthinkable.

Reply

4 KC K May 22, 2015 at 01:53

I bought some Van’s Gluten Free Say Cheese! Crispy Whole Grain Baked Crackers, from Walmart that I had never had before and later that evening I started to have breakouts of itching all over. My ears, arms and back are very itchy. I knew the crackers were the only “new” item in my diet so I checked the ingredients and they stated they have Quinoa and Amaranth in them. I will have to give these up and search for other gluten-free crackers that don’t contain these ingredients as they are the only ones that I have never eaten before. I have Hashimoto thyroid problems and my immune system is very sensitive.

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5 Donel May 6, 2015 at 18:34

I am highly allergic to quinoa but it’s because I am allergic to spinach. but not knowing they were related, I ended up in the hospital when I tried it. I learned my lesson to be educated about every ingredient in the food I eat.

Reply

6 Jen April 19, 2015 at 11:42

A few years ago I purchased some organic red quinoa and rinsed lit like crazy before preparing it according to instruction. After eating it, I developed an intense stomach ache. At a dinner party I later tried some organic white quinoa prepared by a cook I trust. Again the same stomach pain within 15 minutes. Avoided quinoa long enough to forget about it, tried some last night prepared with kale, mint and tabbouleh seasonings. It was delicious and caused immediate cramps. So I will go back to avoidance, alas. I don’t have food allergies generally but for a short lived period where I would develop hives from powdered egg.

Reply

7 Danie April 8, 2015 at 00:23

I’ve tried quinoa porridge style, in a wrap on a salad and in many other dishes. I’ve had it prepared from 5 different restaurants organic and non organic. I have no other allergies. I’ve gone to the hospital with intense stomach pains twice after eating quinoa without knowing that it was the cause. It’s bbeen three years since I’ve cut it out and today I got a salad with quinoa unknowingly on the bottom. Hungry and not wanting to waste the salad I ate around the quinoa barely even eating a table spoon all together but alas here I am 3 hours later in crippling stomach pain, gas, diarreah, chills, I get goosebumps because the pain is so bad.

Reply

8 Christa May 8, 2015 at 21:06

I have had some issues with my stomach like you described. IT felt like my intestines were swollen and waves of intense pain kept coming and going. I almost went to the hospital twice. I really think it is quinoa that is making my stomach hurt like this. I just made some for supper and two hours later I am having stomach distress. It is going to be a long night! But I am glad I am figuring out what has been causing it. No more quinoa for this girl!!

Reply

9 Joan February 26, 2015 at 12:35

I started eating organic quinoa (not rinsed), and organic flaked quinoa hot cereal after going gluten free. ABout 6 months later I started getting terrible menstrual type cramps that would last for hours. I finally figured out it was the quinoa. I haven’t touched quinoa in over a month and still no cramps.

Reply

10 S.E December 7, 2014 at 03:18

I have unfortunately developed a rather severe allergy to Quinoa. It’s a shame because, I loved it so much. The allergy was rather severe. It occurred over quinoa flour. It felt liked my throat was swelling. I’ve been too scared to risk trying it again.

Reply

11 Juliet January 17, 2016 at 22:45

Hi there – I’ve also had a reaction to quinoa flour. Hives and intense stomach cramping and nausea. Oddly enough, I’ve never had any such reaction to plain old rinsed organic quinoa or quinoa flakes. I thought it may have been some sort of cross contamination with the brand of quinoa flour that I was baking with (I’m allergic to tree nuts and also have Celiac) but I then tried other brands and had the same reaction. I’m wondering if maybe it’s because I’m consuming much more quinoa when it’s in the form of flour? It’s very strange! I’m wondering if you have symptoms with just quinoa flour or all quinoa products?

Reply

12 Allergy Guy January 18, 2016 at 22:50

If you read the post about quinoa and mycotoxins, assuming this theory were correct, perhaps the quinoa flour is made from lower-quality quinoa grain. Another thought is that the flour oxidizes. Those are two theories that occur to me.

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