quinoa or saponin poisoning- what the hell?

So, I am making some diet changes in hopes of fixing some health issues that have come up this fall.  Not sure yet what is going on, but I've had some symptoms that may be affecting my bike racing and some symptoms that are definitely affecting my quality of life in general.  I won't go into more details for now since the point is just that I plan on trying a stripped down, home made only diet here for while.  Yesterday was day one of that effort and ironically? it didn't go very well.

Quinoa has been brought to everyone's attention the last few years as something healthy people 'in the know' are eating.  I've been eating it here and there for a while and usually in relatively small quantities.  I plan, at least initially here, to cut out wheat from my diet and figured a quinoa based stir-fry might be a good dish to try.

It turned out really good too!  I ate a small portion for lunch then headed to a doctors appointment before going into work.  I had a bit of a rumble in my stomach at the doctors, nothing new as it's the whole reason I was there anyways, and basically ignored it.  Around 6 I got hungry and ate a larger portion for dinner...

Around 6:45 I had a bad headache.  At 7 I was dizzy and my head was pounding to the point of keeping me from getting anything done.  By 7:40 I was laying down in a dark conference room at work trying to figure out how not to throw up while also somehow getting home.

I forced myself to drive home at 8 which cost me 3+ hours of PTO.  As soon as I got into my house I laid down on the bed in a fetal position and slept.  Around 1:30 am I felt a tiny bit better and finally felt able to lift up my head.  I googled a bit and realized I was having a somewhat common issue with the quinoa.  A reaction to a toxin called saponin that is naturally present.  I had rinsed it briefly in water (per the instructions on the container-  fwiw this was the red quinoa from trader joe's).  I obviously had not done enough, nor had I been aware of any danger.  I won't be eating any quinoa in the future, I guess.

1 comment:

  1. What?! I had no idea quinoa could do that! I just stick to rice and potatoes. If you want any wheat-free tips let me know. I've been off for about 6 years now.