Quinoa | Tired | Gluten Free Diet | Allergy

Quinoa is Making Me Tired?

by Doug

Quinoa does not seem to agree with me all that well.  This is a disappointment, as it seems like an ideal food for a gluten free diet.

I’ve been eating wheat-free for a couple of decades, and gluten-free for probably the last 3 or four years.  Quinoa has been a staple food for longer than I can remember, well over 15 years.

But it doesn’t look like it agrees with me all that well.

I can’t say you shouldn’t try it – or continue to use it.  If you’re OK with it, as I have been for years, then keep eating it.

Perhaps it should not be a staple though.  Then again it has been a staple in parts of South America for centuries.  So this is a bit of a mystery.

Is it genetic?  Or maybe I’ve been eating South-American quinoa until recently when it has been grown in the United States, complete with whatever toxins American farmers like to dump on their quinoa fields.

In case you’re wondering, here’s what quinoa seems to do to me: it makes me become tired in the mid-afternoon (I have it for breakfast), and my insides aren’t quite right (although not exactly bad, nothing like when I eat wheat or gluten).

I’d say I can eat some occasionally.  Quinoa flakes make a very convenient breakfast when travelling, and I might just stick with that.

Having quinoa every day though, that doesn’t seem like such a good thing.

Over the past few months, I’ve been above-average productive.  Besides completely eliminating gluten from my diet and hardly ever eating out, I think Immunocal is playing a big part in my increased energy and productivity.

So it was an unpleasant surprise to feel that I was slipping backwards, having  occasional weeks with rather poor productivity.

Last week was a good example.  There were other factors at play.  I asked a woman out on a date, but on the day of, she made some lame excuse about not being able to come, and didn’t respond to my email when I suggested alternative dates.  That was a bit of a drag.  And the weather kind of sucked.

But these sorts of downers don’t completely explain my low energy last week.

I cut out quinoa towards the end of the week, and felt much better on the weekend, and better still this week.  Not perfect, but a lot better.

I’d say this is still a bit of an experiment in progress, but for now, quinoa is more or less black-listed (or at least, it’s on the dark-gray list).

I plan to more or less keep quinoa out of my diet for a few months, and then have it maybe once or twice a week, but not every day.  And as I say, I’ll probably have quinoa flakes for breakfast when I go camping or when I travel to conferences.

What’s your experience with quinoa?

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Caspert79 August 9, 2018 at 10:55

Same thing here, quinoa and amaranth kill me. I think rinsing is definitely not enough. Weston Price recommends fermenting, so not really practical.


2 Kia April 4, 2017 at 09:43

Good morning,

I know this message is way old, but I found it because I was doing alittle research this morning. I had quinoa for dinner in a savory meal last night, and as a cereal this morning. I am friggin’ exhausted!!! I’m sleepy, my eyes feel dry, and I have brain fog.
Maybe I’ll stay away from it or at least try the rinsing.

Thanks for posting.


3 kay September 22, 2013 at 17:13

I have eaten quinoa for the first time today and I fell asleep while watching something without even noticing-this doesn’t usually happen- and I had no reason to be tired. I also slept for about 3-4 hours in the middle of the day. I am sure there’s a link between quinoa and sleep… Plus i still feel kind of tired now.


4 Allergy Guy September 23, 2013 at 08:15

Getting tired is a typical allergy symptom. Then again, this is normal if you are fighting something like a cold or the flu. You may have no symptoms, get lots of sleep, and successfully fight off the bug. So I wouldn’t jump to conclusions right away. Quinoa is supper-healthy for most people, despite the number of reactions reported here.


5 Ben April 27, 2013 at 21:53

I have eaten it three times. Each time, I slept for hours in the middle of the day…


6 Cass October 28, 2012 at 14:14

I feel unusually sleepy after having quinoa regardless what time during the day. It could make me feel sleepy after breakfast, lunch or dinner. Glad to know that I was not the only one.


7 nancy July 7, 2011 at 14:25

Quinoa is very high in magnesium, and many people feel calm, relaxed and even tired after taking magnesium.


8 Allergy Guy May 5, 2010 at 18:38

One potential problem with quinoa isn’t the quinoa itself, but the possibility that is was cross-contaminated with wheat or other gluten-containing products at the packaging factory.

It is possible that quinoa that is specifically labeled “handled in gluten-free facilities” or similar will not cause such problems.


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