I've read that this and all grain are bad for you and I'va also read that it's one of the most perfect foods to eat. Does anyone actually know an answer to this??
Quinoa still has phytic acid content to it. Rendering it potential to bind to vital minerals (like zinc and magnesium) making it undigestable. That's one of the largest issue with grains (aside gut disturbances).
Quinoa, from last time I did research, is one of the lesser of defenders (gluten free, part of the spinach family, better in protein quality, etc.) It (neither any grain) still doesn't beat meat (that sounded funny!) in nutrient density, though. At the end of the day, I'll stick with a big steak or burger.
If you are going to eat it, I wouldn't eat it religiously, however I would soak it and prepare it for 12+ hours to release some of the phytates in it and increase its nutrient bioavailability.
CHRIS PITTS, seriously, do some research about paleo before asking these basic questions, it's clear from this and you're other posts that you've done none
The issue with the digestion is one thing. However, that can also be applied to many other foods that are considered "Paleo." That has to do with the individual. If you notice issues with them, don't eat them. Regardless of whether others approve of them or not.
The biggest issue with Quinoa is...WHY??? The short answer, and one most people who can't fully give up their grains hate to hear is that there are many other foods I would rather eat than Quinoa that taste better, are more nutrient-dense and have no side effects at all in-terms of blood sugar, digestion, etc. So why eat the Quinoa?
It has saponins, which are like the toxins in grains, they are meant to prevent it from being eaten, these can, of course, be removed, through proper cleaning. My personal opinion of it is that it is high in carbs, which is good if you have higher carb needs, but I would not eat too often. Also if you are trying to stretch a budget I see how it could be helpful as well.
Try making cauliflower "rice" instead, shred a whole head of cauliflower with a cheese grater and cook lightly in butter
You have started coming to Paleohacks and asking questions. Awesome. But have you done any real research into the paleo way of eating before you started asking questions? If not, cool, it is the typical American thing to ask questions and be spoonfed the answers w/out performing any of the real research yourself. End rant.
A lot of people are going to come down pretty hard on you for asking this question. So I'm going to respond with a little bit more of an open mind.
I think hardcore paleo eaters are just as bad as the pot smoking, hippie, vegan crowd. They are pretentious and think that their diet is premier. Take the paleo diet as a framework for determining what works best for you. Do a 30 day paleo challenge. Eliminate all grains, legumes, and dairy. See how you feel. If you want, add back some of the "safer" whole foods that aren't considered paleo. I'd suggest adding back one food at a time and seeing how you react. Since going paleo for 4 months, I have added quinoa and rice with no negative side effects. I've also added fermented soy and properly prepared beans. I'm an avid endurance athlete so these higher carb foods have actually made me feel a lot better. My sleep is better than it was during my low carb/high fat paleo kick (3-4 hours per night and now I'm sleeping 7-8 hours) and my recovery between workouts is pretty awesome. The paleo diet is an awesome experiment into what is the best form of fuel for you. What works for some of these people might not work for you. You also have to ask yourself who is responding to these questions and what are their goals for paleo. Everyone comes into paleo for their own reasons: Lose weight, get healthy, become a crossfit super athlete, increase libido, blah blah blah. And some people answer the questions with their own personal agendas behind the scenes.
In summary (b/c this isn't already too freakin' long), do a 30 day strict paleo diet. Assess how you feel. Determine your goals. Go from there. In all, if you are eating whole unprocessed food, regardless if it's rice, quinoa, sweet potatoes, celery, etc.. you're doing better than the average fat guy munching doritos and twinkies
Robb Wolf mentions in a podcast something like how quinoa is one of the latest vegan fads and supposed superfoods.
I like Tim Ferriss's take: http://www.fourhourworkweek.com/blog/2010/09/19/paleo-diet-solution/
"Quinoa pops up frequently and the refrain goes like this, “Robb! Have you tried this stuff Quinoa (the pronunciation varies depending on how big a hippy you are). It’s NOT a grain! It’s fine, right?”
Well, you’ve likely heard the expression, “If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…” Quinoa is botanically not a grain, but because it has evolved in a similar biological niche, Quinoa has similar properties to grains, including chemical defense systems that irritate the gut. In the case of Quinoa, it contains soap-like molecules called saponins. Unlike gluten, which attaches to a carrier molecule in the intestines, saponins simply punch holes in the membranes of the microvilli cells. Yes, that’s bad. Saponins are so irritating to the immune system that they are used in vaccine research to help the body mount a powerful immune response. The bottom line is if you think grains or grain-like items like Quinoa are healthy or benign, you are not considering the full picture."
Quinoa baffles me. Why and how did it become so popular? Why is it a societally endorsed super food? Even if you aren't specifically affected by grains, why obsess over eating Quinoa? As it pertains to me, grains seem to be relatively innocuous, at least in the short-to-mid-term. That being said, why eat them? And, if you are going to eat them, may as well make it something appealing, say beer or a pretzel dog? If you are going to eat something that has negative attributes, you may as well at least derive maximum taste enjoyment.