Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quinoa Killer

A few years ago I discovered quinoa at a potluck party. The dish was made with tomatoes, basil, garlic and roasted eggplant. I loved it and began replicating it at home. It became one of my staple foods.

Here it is a few years later and my kids won't eat it and I don't bother making it for myself. Until today.

What I really craved was a bowl of hot polenta with nuts, raisins, butter and maple syrup (a'la Guerilla Cafe) But I didn't have any polenta and it was pouring rain so there was no way I was going out. I DID have rice, bulgur and quinoa. I decided on the quinoa and cooked it up according to package direction, using apple juice instead of water and, at the end, mixing in walnuts, raisins, blueberries and butter. The chewy texture of the quinoa didn't satisfy the need for smooth hot porridge, but it tasted delicious and I ate a bowl.

Fast forward 2 hours and you see me in fetal position on the sofa. Moaning because my stomach felt like it was twisting itself in knots in an attempt to exit out my navel. The pain was excruciating. I won't go into the details of the illness, but it wasn't pretty. And it lasted all afternoon.

At some point I felt well enough to get online and google my symptoms. Suspecting the quinoa, I added that to search. Sure enough, I landed on a blog post called "Just Say No To .... Quinoa." Although the writer had different motives for consuming quinoa than I, she had the exact same experience - calling it a "quinoa hangover" and blaming it on saponin - the natural oily residual on the grain that needs to be WASHED OFF because it is bitter tasting and used to make DETERGENT.

I didn't wash my quinoa. My stomach hurt bad enough that I will not chance eating the grain again. EVER. Washed or not. There is no guarantee I can wash it well enough - each and every tiny grain. I don't want to take the chance. It's sad, cause I liked quinoa and it's very good for you (saponin not included). But, I stress again, for me, it's not worth the risk. Ouch.

Can't wait to get my hands on some polenta.

82 comments:

  1. I had the same experience this week with a 13 bean soup I made. Apparently I should have soaked the beans overnight. Will never make it again!

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  2. My husband and I just got stomach cramps and diarrhea from a nice innocent-looking quinoa vegetable soup. Very Disappointed!

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  3. I bought it pre washed and I still had a reaction to it

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    1. I know - I got prewashed too and it still hurt. I've just stopped eating it which is sad cause I loved it and it's really healthy.

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  4. I have exactly the same problem, no matter how well I wash quinoa. I stopped eating it last year, but on a trip to Sedona last month, I unknowingly ate a quinoa wrap served to me at a restaurant. The pain began about 30 minutes after eating. It didn't stop until hours afterward, even after I threw up. I think it's more of a genetic problem than a chemical one. I've had my genome mapped at 23andme.com, and I have an elevated risk for Celiac disease. I wonder if my reaction to quinoa is linked to that risk. My partner, who is not at risk for Celiac and is Native American, has never experienced this reaction to quinoa.

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    1. I have that pain the the pit of my stomach from Quinoa just now and it's happened the past few times I've eaten it .. and my grandmother is Celiac .. wondering if there is a connection!?

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  5. I have tried quinoa about 6 times and every time I have had terrible stomach ache and end up in a fetal position like the person above. I have always rinsed it but decided to try it once more today, but after washing, rubbing, rinsing and rinsing again just in case I hadn't been rinsing it enough. The pain today was even worse, so I'll never eat it again. Is it the oxalates or a Celiac problem? I've no idea, but boy is it painful!
    Yanika

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    1. Yup - I just completely avoid it and if it shows up on my plate (as it did at a restaurant last week) I say I'm very allergic and have them take it away. The Pain is excruciating.

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    2. I had to go to the emergency room it was so bad. Finally discovered it was quinoa. Zantac 75 works pretty well to take away the pain if needed. I will still stay away from quinoa, though!

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  6. I have a strange experience with Quinoa.

    First time i tried Red Quinoa from Whole Foods market bulk section. Within a day, I had a severe eye infection which is the first time i ever experienced an eye infection. Never had an eye infection before trying Red Quinoa. I had this eye infection for at least a month, my eye doctor prescribed several antibiotic eye drops.

    Every one claimed it was a healthy food, so I tried organic white Quinoa from costco. Rinsed it very well, A day or two later, again had an eye infection. Redness and swelling in one of the eyes.

    Again several months later, at a friend's place, they had a wonderful quinoa (different brand). Within a day, both my eyes were infected.

    Each time, the infection lasted at least couple of weeks.
    Went away only after taking antibiotic eye drops for 4 times a day and several probiotic pills per day.

    But i didn't have any stomach issues.

    I am not going to touch this quinoa ever again.
    Good to find out others have some intolerance to this grain.

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  7. Yep, stomach cramps, fetal position, etc.. this is the second time it's happened, unfortunate as I liked it and it's good for you (or not)..

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    1. Had stomach cramps, diarrhea ... Have had quinoa three times with same result but thought was not connected. 1st time - friend's house for dinner - blamed on other food; 2nd time little prepared bowl to heat up bought at Costco - with cooked frozen veggies that I eat with brown rice all the time- same reaction - blamed brand, prep; Today had quinoa salad for lunch from Whole Foods vegetarian food section, empty stomach before I ate it. Ugh- same reaction --no quinoa ever again !!!

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  8. Omg I had it happen tonight!! I think it's the second time I just never put 2 and 2 together!! It hurts so bad! Anyone have a "natural remedy to ease the pain" or is time the only savior?? I will be giving this bag away and NEVER eating it again

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    1. Ugh! So sorry. Only remedy I know is to let it pass. Hang in there. I'm still sad I can't eat it.

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  9. Thanks for sharing this. I've been having the same experience, and I just ate some for breakfast today because I didn't make the connection, and I now have a headache, stomach ache, and I'm hoping it doesn't go down the same road as the other night. The other night I chalked it up to bananas because those cause me to have stomachaches from time to time.

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    1. Shoot - Quinoa for breakfast.... I wonder if eating it with an empty stomach is better or worse digesting it. In any case, I really hope you don't get any sicker today!

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    2. I think it's worse. I just did it again (after washing the living shit out of pre-packaged, pre-washed stuff) and I still got reaction. fetal position tonight. yayyyy.

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    3. yup - I won't have it AT ALL anymore. I now consider it an allergy and say so when I'm out or going to someone's house. "Anything you can't eat?" "yes, I'm allergic to Quinoa. Thanks for asking."

      Hope you feel better really really soon.

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    4. Apparently each time you eat it, the worse the reaction becomes possibly leading to anaphylaxis. I am ceoliac and am currently recovering from eating quinoa for breakfast yesterday. Have had it many times however yesterday was the first time my body recognised it as a poison and went on the attack. Once allergic, you should never eat it again

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    5. Super helpful info Kerri - thanks!

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  10. Well,

    I didn't wash the Quinoa - the instructions told me to simply add 1 part quinoa with 2 parts water, boil, simmer, season and enjoy - that's exactly what I did. It did taste bitter at first but I ate it. Next thing I know I'm watching Downfall - and I feel sick. At first I thought it was Dr. Goebbels and his wife (they were pretty sickening), but then I realised my mouth was filmy. I thought maybe acid reflux so I took some calcium and then an antiacid. That's about when I started... doing what early pregnant women do in the morning.

    I re-read the package and the instructions to wash the quinoa were off to the left - under the barcode. That's not exactly the place I'd look for cooking instructions when most of the cooking instructions were right above the nutritional information. I'm going to write the packaging people about this.

    I don't have any other pain besides the post heaving pain. I've tossed 3 times, the third mostly dry. Everything else feels fine though - no stomach pains, etc.

    Still - tossing isn't fun - how long will it last?

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    1. ugh! so sorry! It shouldn't last more than 8 hours... maybe less since you're tossing it up. I had this problem even after washing quinoa so please be aware. I hope you feel better very very soon!

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  11. Yes I bought keniwa grain at Whole Foods in the bulk section and thought I'd try it since I've had trouble with quinoa before and don't eat it. I just had some for lunch mixed with brown rice. Yikes! Same reaction - my stomach is killing me! Turns out they are related. I give up on any peruvian grain no matter how healthy. Yuck!

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    1. I've never heard of Keniwa - but I won't try it! Thanks for the tip.

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  12. I too had had quinoa a few times, loved it, made it myself a few times and then came that one day (night). My temperature sky-rocketed, it came out of both ends, and it was the first and only time in my life, I seriously thought i was going to die. a few months later, i tried just a little bit and again got ill. my boss told me that if you saw how they process it, you would see how dirty it really is. maybe it is the detergent, bacteria or protein, but whatever, never again. :-(

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  13. I'd been eating quinoa for years, sometimes soaked sometimes pre-washed. I love the stuff. A few weeks ago I made a coconut quinoa curry. I was delicious! Well, about 30 mins later abdominal pain like you couldn't believe and it all came out the bottom end over the next few hours. Only after it was all out of me did I feel like I could sleep. What a nightmare! I had no idea what caused it. I thought it was the curry spices since it was the first time I had curry. So, a few days ago I made my favorite 1/2 quinoa 1/2 steel cut oats porridge for breakfast. Lo and behold a little bit after I ate it I was doubled over in the bathroom. Same symptoms except worse pain and I was shaking from the pain. I spent the next 4 hrs in the bathroom. Now I know it's the quinoa. I'm so sad. I LOVE the taste and texture. I thought I was weird for maybe being allergic to it, so I cam to the internet. I'm shocked to find so many people having the same reaction as myself. This really should be brought to light because I seriously thought I was going to die. I was so scared, my heart was fluttering, I was too sick to leave the bathroom. My husband was concerned. Never again will I buy quinoa, eat it or feed it to my family.

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    1. Yup - I enjoyed quinoa for years with no problem. Since the one incident I can't eat it at all without a major stomach ache (I tried ONCE). I miss it too. Really loved the texture and making it both savory and sweet. I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. I have to say - this is the most read and commented post in my blog so I'm really surprised there aren't more studies done on it. Let me know if you find a good grain substitute - I've tried millet, oats, and wheat bulger but nothing tastes quite the same.

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    2. I had the same reaction, Anonymous. Last time I thought it was the cheese I added to the bowl meal I prepared because I've been transitioning to a vegan diet and don't eat dairy often. It turns out I had the same reaction tonight after making stuffed squash with quinoa. I rinsed it but still had the horrible reaction- stomach cramping in cycles of about 30 minutes followed by very short periods of relief and then it starts up again. I didn't sleep at all the last time I had the episode and it was so painful I had to either get fetal or pace. I considered waking my husband to ask him to take me to the ER (thus coming from a girl who's had her share of GI issues before going vegan-ish). It was bad! I'm concerned this time because I'm a few weeks pregnant and I'm afraid the illness and stress from the pain could be bad for the baby.

      Does anyone know if the reaction can cause complications during pregnancy?

      So glad to find this blog and know im

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  14. Yes - I have experienced the same when I've forgotten to wash quinoa, I did it by mistake twice. Once out of laziness and once because I mistook it for some other grain in an unmarked bottle in my pantry. The only remedy that works for me is a tea make from Cumin seeds and Ajwain Seeds. Ajwain seeds are found at an Indian grocery store or Penzey's spices. Let the seeds boil in water for a few minutes until the liquid is quite dark and then drink it. Some ginger in the tea may help too. Honey will make the taste sweeter. Hope it helps!

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  15. Second time I tried Quinoa was last night and I had a big plate full and am still having problems hours later. I was told it was safe to eat if you were gluten intolerant, but apparently it's not. I also have chronic ulcers and had so much heartburn with the pain I had to go take some meds I've been off of almost 4 months.

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  16. I tried quinoa a few years ago after going gluten free. I had a large bowl of it for breakfast, and within thirty minutes of finishing it I felt a little dizzy and had a headache. Soon after that I was experiencing bad stomach cramps and had blood in my bm(sorry to be graphic, but I want to warn people). I'll never eat quinoa again.

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  17. I have had the grains cooked and was fine. Twice I used the flour and each time had a really severe dose of vomiting and runny stomach. Both times it took more than a day to recover

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  18. Years ago I tried quinoa and didn't like the taste. Recently had a sample at the local and it was delicious. For some reason, I didn't buy any that day. Later I bought some in bulk at a different local. Made a bunch,husband out of town.Froze some.Horrible pain all three servings.At least I have that figured out now, no more quinoa!

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  19. I had a very strange reaction to quinoa and I won't go near it now. A couple years ago I tried quinoa twice (when it just started gaining popularity, and there wasn't much negative information about it online). The first time, after I finished eating I had what I thought was a bad panic attack (I was really stressed at the time, so I attributed it to that). I felt like I was going to faint, felt really cold, suddenly very tired, and just all over out of control. It lasted about an hour. The second time I tried quinoa was one afternoon as a quick snack while I was preparing to host a party for a football bowl game at my house. A few hours later, while my friends were at my house, I noticed that my hands were GREEN. I showed a few people, who agreed with me that they looked weird. Within a couple more hours they turned even greener and I again started feeling faint and panicky. Ended up leaving my own party early to spend the evening of January 1st in the ER (nothing like meeting your deductible on the first day of the year!)/ The only conclusion the hospital could come up with was that I had an allergic reaction to the quinoa. It was the only thing different I had eaten that day. I have severe environmental allergies that can cross-react with foods, and apparently quinoa is one type of food I have to stay away from.

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  20. I have been having digestive problems for about 6 weeks and have not been able to figure out what went wrong with my "healthy" diet. Last night I ate quinoa for the first time in that six weeks and am experiencing severe cramping and bloating in my gut. It has been persisting for about 3 hours now with no relief. Now I recall that just before the onset of my digestive problems I had been eating quinoa for breakfast. No more quinoa for me! Thank you all for sharing your information .

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  21. I am so surprised to read all these comments about reactions to this "superfood" =( seems it is a lot more common than expected too.

    I was wondering if anyone can suggest any remedies (home or pharmaceutical) to ease the painful stomach cramps? My partner was vomiting/dry heaving every 15-20 minutes for several hrs after consuming a big bowl of quinoa and veges.It has been 24 hours after the vomiting episodes have ceased but he is still having intense stomach cramps. Any suggestions would be helpful and much appreciated!

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    1. Your best bet would be to either
      A) Take a lacative
      b) Take something to make you throw up
      c) Take something to flush your system, there are several products like this that can be bought over the counter, there are a few teas and plants that do this depending on where you live.

      Why because the faster it gets out your system the quicker you feel better.

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  22. I have had all the same problems as mentioned by most people here. I also have the same problem with Spinach!
    Both contain OXALIC ACID, quinoa less so
    I've narrowed it down to this although not totally certain.
    Love both so may try digestive enzymes... But Leary of the risk!!!
    Send me good wishes:-)

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  23. I have had stomachaches from eating quinoa - I always had a feeling it was the saponins but even though I always washed it I still get the stomach pain. This last time I tried it and had the same issue, but I also happened to have some kombucha tea on hand, and this helped me immediately. I really appreciate everyone sharing their experience; it has helped me accept that perhaps I just can't eat quinoa. At least we live in a time with many choices available. Good health, all!

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  24. Fucking Quinoa. I ate it and it said it was supposedly pre-washed but that ir recommends that you wash it anyways so I did. Then I let it sit in water for about 30 minutes and drained it. Then I added extra water when cooking so in the event that I didn't wash it well enough any excess toxins or pesticidies (this was before I even knew it could be mildly toxic) would come off because having 2 farmer parents I know you should soak all these types of food for that amount of time to get the chemicals off in warm water.

    I ate a small amount like a teaspoon size and started to feel dizzy but I never thoughit was the quinoa, just attributed to a bad day. Next morning, wake up feel fine, say now it is time to try some quinoa and guess what try about a teaspoon amount while I getting ready to heat it up and instantly with in 5 minutes feel dizzy, an hour later feel nauseated, and like I am not even in my own body, a little bit of an inchy throat about an hour later and my breathing starts to feellike I amminutes away from a panic attack. Strangely no stomach pain, but the previous day of eating quinoa lots of chest pain and pain in the lower left abdomen. I will never eat Quinoa again, this is pure evil.

    I have a Peruvian friend and I've never seen him eat Quinoa when he brings lunch (if it was so good I am sure I would see him eat it over several years) this is probably some trick that Peruvians are pulling on us and laughing at us dumb Westerners paying $9 a pound for shit that is making us vomit, have allergic reactions, unable to breath and feeling like passing out.

    Either that or the only logical explanation is that Quinoa is like milk where if your ancestorsnever ate it then you will have high propensity to have an adverse reaction.

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  25. Ive been trying to work out if I am Amine Intolerant and have been eating Quinoa for the last
    month as a replacement for Rice.Rice is high in Histadine which is a trigger release for Histamine.
    My headaches, foggy brain, tiredness have been getting worse and as I am keeping a detailed food diary I can look back and see just how much Quinoa I am eating.... lots!
    I tested myself ( food challenge) for the third time this morning and sure enough within 2 hrs the pressure in my head started and I have had the usual intense headache now for 12 hrs.
    I expect it to be gone by the morning.
    Out goes Quinoa.

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  26. I have a steel kettle stomach, no intolerance at all, except apparently to quinoa. I am sitting here suffering because I thought I would give quinoa another try after being told to wash it very well. I washed and rinsed thoroughly but had an even worse reaction this time. No more quinoa and I will be warning everyone I know!

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  27. I have been eating quinoa for a couple years now with no problems. However, this past week, my wife bought a bag of "Organic Red Quinoa" at Trader Joe's. She pre-washed and cooked it. Upon eating it, I noticed that it had a very bitter taste which was not the case when I previously ate quinoa. Later, I got gas and cramps. Hours later, my stools showed the quinoa seed coat.

    I am a trained agronomist and I know that quinoa has a bitter seed coat, called Saponin, that needs to be removed post harvest. The removal process involves soaking the seeds and then drying which then helps the saponin seed coat to peel off when further processed. I just soaked the red quinoa from Trader Joe's and looked at some seeds. It looks to me like the Saponin layer was not removed, so some broker ripped off Trader Joe's. I wonder if that is what is making us sick.

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    1. Maybe - but this was posted in 2010 ... I think there is something else.

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  28. my twin and I have never eaten quinoa - im pregannt, she is breastfeeding and I thought it a good idea to eat some for the health benefits it has. I washed it super thoroughly (about ten times than someone else would i imagine) and about6 hours later my twin came up in a red rash all over her body, beginning on face, and then this morning swelled up like a huge tomatoe in her face and neck. I woke up this morning, huge red patch on my face, burning ears, and red rash on my body too. The antihistimine they gave my sis hasnt worked so im def not taking mine. Doc thinks she needs a steriod. we will never eat it again. ashame, because we loved it!

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  29. fire ball in my mid stomach region. the most pain i have ever felt ever! severe pains comes on every 15 to 30 mins last like 5 to 10 mins.. omg thank god for this site.. it is helping me cope.. i never had a problem with quinoa but this is the 4th episode of this kind of stomach pain since may.. im not sure if it is directly related to quinoa but i know for sure the 3 out of the 4 times i had this i ate quinoa. NO MORE QUINOA!!!

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    1. SO sorry! Try to rest. I don't know why there aren't mainstream news stories on this.

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  30. I had bought some quinoa from Costco a couple of months ago and didn't have any problem with it & didn't even have to wash it...when I went to restock on quinoa a couple of weeks ago I noticed they had a different brand so I bought it thinking it should all be the same...I was mistaken! The cooking instructions and labeling for washing are separate like another person had posted about, and I have had severe stomach aches & bathroom issues after eating this new brand ( although my husband hasn't ?) I read that once you have a reaction you should give it up.
    I really loved the quinoa option too, but now I don't trust eating it :-(

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  31. I am unfortunately another victim of quinoa right now. I forgot that last year after going to Protein Bar, a chain in Chicago whose menu is based off of quinoa, I felt like how I am now-SEVERE stomach pains accompanied with chills all over my body, nausea, and diarrhea. This is the worst, and I'm upset with myself for eating it! I used to be able to eat so much of it years ago, I have no idea why this happens now.

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  32. I love reading these comments! (Misery loves company.) I used to eat quinoa about 3-4 times a year. I never knew it needed soaking, so never did...and I never got sick. Well, not until camping this summer. I bought an organic quinoa/rice pre-cooked & pre-seasoned Costco multi-pack that I thought would be easy but healthy for my GFCF hypersensitive autistic son while out camping.

    1st time: All 3 of us ate the pre-cooked pre-seasoned quinoa at dinner, but I had a lot less than my husband and adult son. No symptoms at all until I woke at 1am feeling severe stomach distress. My husband slept blissfully while I spent the next 4 hours puking and pooping my guts out in the campground toilet---not a place you want to be doing that(!) especially when you are too weak to stand. I was certain that I was reacting to bad hamburger.

    2nd time: Barely recovered yet from the first reaction, 3 days later we all ate the same organic quinoa/rice precooked Costco product (that couldn't have been washed anyway). I woke up at 12:30am in the same state, but worse. Horrific pain. Again I fled to the campground bathroom...in the pitch dark and pounding rain. Unfortunately, the toilets in this park's restroom automatically flushed each time you move---a flush that mimics a mini Niagara Falls (with accompanying splash) with each volcanic vomit deposit, of which there were many, many over the next 3 hours. How could there possibly be so much vomit?! Now I think I'm reacting to one of the ingredients in the pre-cooked processed mixture, since it couldn't possibly be the rice...or quinoa.

    3rd time: Since neither my steel-gut husband nor my hypersensitive adult son were sickened at all, I figure I just have an allergy (and they don't) to one of the spices or oils in the packet, so a few weeks later I use up the last packet in a soup (of many other ingredients) for them. I absent-mindedly took a tiny sip to taste-test, amounting to maybe 1/8 teaspoon of quinoa. I got very nauseous later.

    4th time: A few weeks after that my daughter made a quinoa salad recipe---the exact same recipe from the same bag of organic Costco quinoa grain that she made, and I ate, 4 months before all this happened. She didn't wash the quinoa either time. This was not the precooked stuff I'd puked up. When my daughter had made the salad 4 months before, I had no reaction whatsoever to that exact product, that exact recipe, so I ate it with confidence at a family gathering. Yes, you guessed it, at another campground. I woke up again just about 7 hours after consumption, only now I'm going more prepared and I take a camp chair, a flashlight, and an umbrella before I make the hike to the campground restroom and repeat the whole miserable process again (fortunately without the splashing automatic Niagara Falls toilets).

    Moral of this story: I've proven myself to be far less intelligent than I had previously thought, but I've learned my lesson finally---No More Quinoa!!!!

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  33. After eating the white quinoa about once a week for a while with no problem, I saw the red on sale, and bought a bag. This time I got severe diarrhea, but I wasn't sure if the quinoa was the problem because I have irritable bowel syndrome. Then I put small amount (soaked and cooked) in whole wheat bread I was making, and I got the same effect. Fortunately, I haven't had the pain, headaches, vomiting, or other symptoms that others have had, I guess I am one of the lucky ones. Has anyone had different reactions to different kinds? I am hoping the white is different from the red, and that I will still be able to eat it if that is what made the difference.

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  34. Like many on this thread, I ate quinoa many times without issue in the past, then I got the terrible stomach cramps and fever that others described twice in a row. I thought I'd give it one more shot this morning with quinoa that was thoroughly rinsed first but it didn't make a difference. Searching for help I landed on this page. When I read the post about the kombucha tea helping, I took two probiotic pills and in an hour or so I was feeling normal again! Much faster than the previous hours-long turnaround. I hope this helps others who land on this page under similar circumstances.

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    1. Thank you for this very important comment! I'll be updating this post in the next couple of days and will put your comment on the top. Thanks!

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  35. The instructions on every kind of quinoa i've ever bought explicitly say to rinse first. Not that hard to read

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    1. Kind of an obnoxious comment, don't you think? It's safe when you don't put your name on it I guess. I soaked my quinoa for 24 hours and then I rinsed it just as I always do. I've had probably 20 quinoa meals in the last 6 months. Thought it was a wonderful find and now I plan to NEVER eat it again. I bought a different brand this last time and I'm on my 3rd day of intense pain (though mildly better than yesterday). Don't assume everyone did something wrong. Geesh.

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  36. Wow I've never known about this rinsing issue. I buy my quinoa at the Bulk Barn and there aren't instructions on washing them. I have quinoa at least once every week or two. I have never had the stomach pains that everyone here has mentioned. Im wondering if it's just a sensitivity to the grain rather than an issue with washing it. None of my friends wash theirs either, you boil the grain so i'm sure that would kill any stomach pain causing organisms

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    1. yup - I think it's an individual sensitivity that grows over time.

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  37. I've only had quinoa twice in my life, but both times it's given me terrible diarrhea within about twelve hours. I don't have the stomach pains or the vomiting, though, so I guess that's something.

    The first time, I didn't wash it because the package didn't specify that it needed to be rinsed and I didn't know any better. I googled the digestive issues and every response told me I just needed to rinse it. So when I decided to try quinoa again, I made sure to rinse it -- even though the package was prewashed and the instructions didn't say anything about rinsing -- and I had the same problems. My boyfriend ate the same quinoa both times and didn't have any reaction. It has to be some sort of personal intolerance.

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    1. Sort of like an allergy. Though I'm not allergic to anything else.

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  38. Yet another quinoa victim here. I have a friend who is sensitive, but I thought it couldn't happen to me. HA! My favorite dish at my favorite restaurant is served on a bed of quinoa. The last few times I had it, I had some stomach discomfort after but nothing horrible, so I ignored it. Silly me! Last night I had it again. By the time I got home, I was, as everyone else describes, doubled over with stomach cramps. They continued throughout the night. At this point they've spaced themselves out some, but I had to call in to work because they're so disabling when they happen. (Also because it's a loooooong walk to the bathroom there and I'm not sure I could make it in time.) I came online to see if it was the quinoa (hoping against hope) and found your page. This has been fascinating because it's like seeing all stages of quinoa sensitivity - and seeing the people who had a stronger reaction than I did makes me sure I never want to get to that point.

    I have eaten at this restaurant with plenty of friends, none of whom have problems with the quinoa. It didn't taste bitter. I'm assuming that part of it may be the issue of rinsing, but part of it may just be that some people are far more sensitive to it than others. I am really, REALLY sad to find that I am one of the super-sensitive ones! I'll now have to wave a tearful goodbye to my favorite meal.

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    1. Sorry. I still miss quinoa SO MUCH. It seems to be an intolerance that is built up over time. So weird that there isn't more information about this online. It's the most read post on my blog. Hope you feel better soon!

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  39. I have gas after eating it also but I am going to try sprouting it first. Apparently it changes the structure and actually increases the nutritional value. Will let you know.

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  40. I get gas also but I will try sprouting the seeds first then lightly steaming.Will let you know how it turns out.

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  41. I just have to say that unwashed, the experience was the worst of my life. I thought I had sun poisoning as I had gone on a hike that day and had quinoa that night. Then I found out I was supposed to have washed the quinoa. Okay. Fast forward to last night. I had bought some fresh, pre-packaged and flavored quinoa thinking I didn't have to worry about the washing issue (since it came with spices and all that, can't wash that away). My sister's serving went straight through her. I don't have a reaction for about 8-12 hours, washed or unwashed. At that point, my poor abdomen is on fire and I can tell my intestines gave all that they could into passing that out of me.
    Wish I could love it, but this is awful.

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  42. We purchase our quinoa for Costco 4lbs for $12, cheapest I have seen it. It's organic and made by CF Foods. Here what I noticed. In the rice cooker, quinoa gives me stomach pain. However, 30 min in PRESSURE COOKER equals very little to no pain. Also, I heard that roasting after rinsing helps to remove the saponin. Perhaps, the Incas secret was washing, roasting, and slow cooking for several hours

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  43. I was having stomach aches too and I am glad to come across your blog. I do have a suggestion that might help. I noticed that the stomach aches are much less, almost not even there, if I cook the quinoa in a pressure cooker. Also, when I make quinoa flour for baked goods, I toast it on 250 for 30 min. The resulting flour has almost a peanut butter smell, which is pleasing if you like peanut butter. But the stomach ache becomes almost non-existent. I wonder how washing, roasting, and then pressure cooking it might work? That might be the lucky triple combo! Please let me know if you try it and it works

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  44. I am spending the 2nd day home from work out of 3 days having never missed a day at work to illness - all because of quinoa flake hot cereal. I had eaten quinoa once a week or so this winter and the cereal once or twice a week. I have hot pain in my stomach, the runs, and feel nausea but am unable to throw up - on monday I thought I had the flu and it lasted most of the day - today after the reaction to the cereal was almost instant I got on line and found that this is not uncommon. Why anyone would try and eat quinoa again after having this reaction is unbelievable to me. never again

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  45. Thanks so much for this post. I ate quinoa for the first time last night and didn't rinse it because I read that packaged quinoa is pre-washed. The stomach cramps weren't as bad as the ones you described, but they were serious enough to make me stop working. Next time I eat quinoa... scrub, rinse, repeat!

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  46. Decided to make quinoa for dinner tonight. Risky move since I've gotten the terrible tummies from the grain before. I thought as long as I was extra careful and rinsed the quinoa especially well I'd be ok. I've been laying in bed with horrible stomach pain for the last 3 hours praying for death. Ne'r again.

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  47. I am likewise sensitive to quinoa. Tonight I ate a blend of cooked steel cut oats for dinner, and I had THE EXACT SAME REACTION. Never before have I felt the same sensation as I have experienced after eating quinoa, so heed my warning! I've yet to figure out exactly what I'm allergic to in the blend, but the ingredients includes large flake and steel cut oats, oat bran, wheat bran, and flaxseed. My guess is that the pain was caused by the flaxseed, but the jury is still out. Has anyone had a similar experience?

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  48. I don't know what's wrong you people. Aparently i'm the odd one here, but listen:

    1. You rinse your quinoa
    2. You soak your quinoa (about 12 hs)
    3. You clean your quinoa (remove little stones and stuff)
    4. You can either boil or sprout your quinoa

    I eat quiona once a week because I'm addicted, never experience anything but pleasure. It's sightly sweet, very neutral flavor, I love to eat it right by itself, spoon after spoon...

    Either way, I've noticed you people buy pre-washed, pre-cooked, and 'branded' quinoa. Maybe you should try simply buying organic quinoa. You never know what stuff those companies put in your quinoa in order to cook it wash it, and clean it. Do yourself a favor and do those things yourself, and enjoy. My two cents.

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  49. I am considering quinoa and read all above posts. It may be these are allergic reactions to undigested protein. Cf. http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PNAAS566.pdf which is a translation of a 1981 study "Digestibility and Protein Quality of Quinua:...". Note that in the intro a prior study is cited in which 100% of the embryo (60+ % of the seed) was recovered in the stools when consumed as boiled whole seed. The second trial used 60 min. boiling - as seems to occur in native diets as soups and stews - but nevertheless found entire seeds less digestible than flour.
    These tests weer on children, but perhaps should be replicated in adults.

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  50. i wonder if part of the issue could be fiber (could be a combination or reasons). I've had quinoa before and I was fine (once didn't wash it and was fine). today I had it, washed it and am now feeling cramping and gas. I saw some stuff and have been drinking water (because I may not have been hydrated enough) and from the advice here just started to drink to. I am trying to walk around to get the digestion going rather than laying there. it has helped but still have pain.

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  51. also, flax seed is high in fiber and I had spinach earlier which is high in fiber

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  52. I am keeled over at work in pain. I am so glad I looked up if eating quinoa can lead to stomach issues. I made it two nights ago and was up all night with stomach pain, I thought about going to the ER because I just had a baby and thought maybe something was seriously wrong with my internal organs. I ate the left overs from that meal for lunch today and holy crap, the pain is terrible. Luckily I can close and lock my office door and people assume I am breast pumping so I can lay down on the floor. I am so bummed, I am a vegetarian and quinoa is such a healthy grain, and I have never had that reaction before. But never again, this is truly miserable.

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  53. I love quinoa or at least I used to. this last time I bought some mixed quinoa (red, white, etc) from trader joes. I washed it and cooked it a couple of days ago with no problem, but tonight washed and cooked the rest and when I ate it I had severe pain in my esophagus and upper stomach within 3-4 minutes that hurt like the dickens, almost unbearably so. I kept spitting up mucus and felt like I had severe gerd and wanted to throw up but I couldn't. I tried to sip water but the pain kept coming in waves. finally it has subsided after about an hour of horrific pain right in the middle of my back. the only way I dealt with the waves of pain was panting and belching and spitting. I think I have been sensitized in some way and will have to abstain from now on.

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  54. I had my first quinoa last night. I am gluten intolerant and had meant to try it sooner. My package did not say to rinse ahead and so I didn't; today I have had horrible abdominal cramping; I want to go to ER but I don't want to if that makes sense. My bladder is even hurting from the pressure. Is that unusual? I will never eat this again. I never even thought of a connection until late today and then I found these comments. I have not had diarrhea at all though.

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  55. My husband is currently in the bathroom throwing up. The last time he was throwing up this severely, he also had quinoa with dinner. Apparently, I don't have a reaction, but after seeing what it does to my husband, we will NEVER eat quinoa again. After reading this post, apparently, this is a common problem among people. There was NO label instructing us to clean the quinoa before cooking. The companies that sell quinoa should really start putting a label on their packaging. This is absurd.

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  56. I had some for breakfast about a year ago at work. I was the only one there at 6 am because the boss was out of town. I thought maybe something in it had gone bad because for four hours I had to lie on the ground shaking, looking under the display fridge to see customers' feet so I could drag myself over to serve them. Huddling over the sink in intervals shaking... it was THE WORST, and I am severely allergic to nuts and it is incomparable, at least with the nut allergy I can get some help from the hospital and pass out.. not here. Well today I made some (thinking fresh stuff couldn't hurt me) and boom! Im shaking, bloated, feeling like its coming up, coming out. By the way, quinoa is really not a sustainable food product. Lots of forest is cut down to harvest it in places where forests should be left well alone. Why do we eat this stuff again?

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  57. I´ve eaten quinoa several times now and although I really liked the taste of it, I always experienced gas a few hours after consumption, not unlike I do when eating peanuts or soy.
    Since all those foods are said to be rich in certain proteins, I start wondering whether the reaction has sth to do with that, rather than the fiber. Or maybe it´s a combination of both plus some remaining saponins (I did rinse mine thoroughly though!).
    Whatever the reason, after reading all the comments in this blog, it appears to me that the stuff is not such an easy digestible health promoting food as has been claimed so far.

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  58. This is very insightful. I ended up in ER a couple weeks ago with unbelievable stomach pain. I thought it might be appendicitis but the pain was very high - like a band from side to side under my diaphragm. I was actually short of breath because my abdomen was so distended. ER found nothing wrong but I also began to feel better.In hindsight I think this might be because I threw up before I went to the ER. It happened again a week ago but I didn't throw up. I had a bit less pain to start with but I ended up on the bathroom floor shaking in a cold sweat wondering if I was going into shock. unfortunately nothing would come out. No vomit. It took until morning to pass and I felt awful for days. There was nothing in common except the quinoa. Tonight more... And quinoa for dinner. My stomach is tight like a drum. My doctor ran many tests and I'm fine. No appendicitis not gallstones,etc. This is so weird. I've taken 2 advil so I'll see if that helps. Thanks for the posts.

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  59. Yep, here I am, just another sap suffering hours of maddening cramps, distended stomach and diarrhea after innocently consuming my own home cooked Trader Joe's white quinoa. I have eaten it a couple times prior with no negative reactions until now just like many a horrific story above. Thus, let it be known that I hereby resign from consuming said source of apparent perfect protein and shall henceforth embark upon another path and provide sound warning to all those that I love and adore! The late Robin Williams once said "Right is what's left after doing everything else wrong."

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