I was corresponding with someone the other day who mentioned that she was trying to be paleo. I applaud her choice. As in so many things however, education is the key. She mentioned that she was also trying to get her husband to follow this wonderful lifestyle (I applaud that too!) and she was making quinoa for dinner. (Pronounced “Keenwa”)
Quinoa is a popular choice amongst grain alternatives. Technically not a grain but a relative of green leafy vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard.
Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53. But, here is the kicker, it has a glycemic load of 19. Some sites have it as low as 16. We know that anything under 20 is a good choice. Ah, but is it?
There is a website with a Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Database. You can enter a food name and it will give you the info.http://www.glycemicindex.com On the left side column choose the database tab and enter the information.
So logically one would say that it would be a good choice.
Grains are eliminated from the Paleo diet because of the gut-irritating gluten most of them contain. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and millet. It is known to cause celiac disease, but an increasing number of autoimmune conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and lupus, may also be triggered by the consumption of gluten. Moreover, grains also contain lectins, a group of proteins that are hard to digest and can irritate the gut and create an array of health problems involving the immune system.
This excerpt is taken from the livestrong website:
“Although quinoa is not a grain, botanically, but rather a seed, it has properties similar to grains. Instead of containing gluten, the protein that attaches to a carrier molecule at the intestinal level to penetrate your bloodstream, quinoa contains saponins. Saponins constitute a substance similar to soap that is produced by the plant as a chemical defense system. This is why it is recommended to rinse quinoa before cooking it. However, not all saponins are removed and the part you end up eating produces small pores in the membranes of cells lining your intestinal wall, which irritates your immune system.”
So, I will ask the same question to you that I ask of my clients. Why eat it?