Quinoa can suck it.

9 Jul

UPDATE: Many people seem to get sick from quinoa. Yet finding out why is proving to be difficult. I’ve heard that it could be the super-high fiber content (which sounds like crap to me). I’ve also read that it could be certain proteins and amino acids that people develop an intolerance to. Either way, you’re not crazy if you found this by googling “quinoa makes me sick.” You’re also not alone.



A few years ago, I jumped on the keen-wah wagon of super grain delight.

It’s full of protein. It has tons of human-friendly amino acids. It’s got fiber. It’s like the god of the grain world.

And it’s not pronounced as it’s spelled.

But I ignored that last bit and poured quinoa into my rice cooker with all sorts of combinations. Then I poured it into my gullet with glee.

It was good. And the feeling that I was doing something healthy was also appealing (considering my weakness for late night brownies).

But one day, one horridly vomitty day, I got sick after eating quinoa. And not just sick. My soul was flying out of my throat in the parking garage of a very affluent Dallas area. At eight in the evening. On a Saturday night. (“Wow, she’s had a lot to drink,” drifted to my ears from various Uptown blondes.)

“Must have been the celery in the quinoa,” I thought. “It must have been contaminated.”

A month later, I had a violent worship session with the almighty porcelain bathroom deity. After another quinoa-enhanced meal.

“It’s a mental thing,” my then-fiance told me.

It took me an entire year to try it again. It took an entire two hours after that before I was bee-lining it to the restroom.

Sitting at my desk, unable to go home for fear of ruining the upholstery in my beloved car, and trying not to cry because of the burning in my stomach, I finally admitted to myself …

… perhaps it’s the quinoa.

Like any good writer, I decided to do some research. And I discovered that a small percentage of people have this same problem. They develop some crazy quinoa-makes-me-puke reaction.

Because quinoa is TOO HEALTHY. It’s so full of good stuff that my body rejects it.

You know what my body has never rejected? Pie. Which is full of healthy things like fruit and eggs.

Guess what I’ll be eating tonight as a side dish.


14 Responses to “Quinoa can suck it.”

  1. hedish July 9, 2010 at 9:44 PM #

    this is sad because i’m a huge fan of quinoa. but pie? pie always wins.

    p.s. love the new yummy and awesome blog!
    p.p.s. i request a blog on the awesomness of mustard.

  2. Verdilak July 10, 2010 at 5:28 PM #

    I have to admit that quinoa has never made me sick, but I still don’t care for it. I’ve been vegan/vegetarian for almost ten years now, and I have given it plenty of chances, but I just can’t stand it. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I think of “mightier than thou” militant vegans when I think of quinoa. I actually call it “hippie rice”. Anyway, you are right. Quinoa can suck it!

  3. Sarie March 31, 2014 at 3:58 PM #

    OMG! I’m not alone! I wrote a whole blog post about this too! I thought I was the only one. I WILL NEVER EVER EVER eat it again! I am gluten-free now, and noticed they put quinoa flour in a lot of gluten-free things. Like, I’m already on edge about the wheat and now I have to look out for this turd-hole as well? SO RUDE!!!


    • pako September 7, 2014 at 9:49 AM #

      try sprouting quinoa first, i have the same problem, and im trying my hand at a gluten free low carb diet, and kept coming back to the frustrating fact that quinoa made me go to the bathroom like freakin mad ok, i sprouted them yesterday which means soaking them in water anywhere from a couple hours to overnight if your wanting to cook them, (also mature sprouts for salad fully grown are wonderful) ok so i sprouted some yesterday for 3 hours soaked in water, very simple, made a huge curry din din, and no problems whatsoever! its also super good for you to sprout anything you can sprout before eating it -to your health, cheers

      • Queen of Awesome September 7, 2014 at 10:48 PM #

        I wish the sprouting had worked. I tried that. I think quinoa just isn’t for me. Luckily there are other healthy things out there. Like pie. 😉

  4. Dolores Neilson June 27, 2015 at 11:38 AM #

    That’s because quinoa has saponin…..which is used in the SOAP industry. We definitely get ill when saponin (even residual) is left on the grain. I bought puffed quinoa once and had a huge bowl. I realized that the illness was due to the fact that the quinoa was puffed before it was rinsed off.

    Suspect the saponin (rinse THREE times very well until you do not see any more “bubbles”) on the quinoa.

  5. Sari February 1, 2016 at 12:47 AM #

    Me too…just tried it again last night…stupid me…after staying away from it for 6 months….never again…despite rinsing it.my stomach hurt so much… And i puked so violently…
    .its interesting that there is very little info about this reaction that some of us have. is it the saponins..?. Or something else?. Other foods containing saponins dont bother me…in fact i have never had this sort of reaction to any other food?!

    • Theresa DeBord June 22, 2017 at 9:07 PM #

      I ate Quinoa for the 3rd time today with my oatmeal. An hour later severe headache and start vomiting profusely. I will never eat that stuff again. I felt SOOOOO bad. I finally was trying to make an effort to eat healthier and boom, backfire.

  6. Michlelle Harrison July 18, 2018 at 1:09 AM #

    Better later than never. But this is exactly what happens to me. I hadn’t cottoned on until about the 4th time. How can anyone be allergic to a superfood right?


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