Some people are born with unfortunate allergies, others develop them later on in life. Both are very annoying, but arguably the most infuriating variety are the ones you create for yourself (not on purpose, obviously. That’d be insane.). Typically, my embarrassing middle-class allergy falls into this category. Confused? Don’t worry, I’ll explain and hopefully you can avoid this shameful fate for yourself.
Last year, I developed a rather unpleasant allergy to a very popular healthy food. I’d never had any real issues with food before (other than eating too much of it), so it came as a rather nasty surprised when I figured out what was causing the horrible stomach cramps and intense vomiting sessions. The culprit?
Quinoa. Quinoa. How pathetic and embarrassing is that? Even as I write this, I cringe. When I’ve been forced to admit to it in public, I can see the look of judgement in people’s eyes. I can almost hear them thinking, “Ohh, poor little princess can’t have her quinoa! I wonder if she’s allergic to caviar too?”
Regardless of how ridiculous it is (and I know it really is), the fact remains that it can be physically very painful. There are definitely worse allergies out there and I am comparatively very lucky, but it’s still not much fun. This delicious protein-rich “wonder grain” went from being my best dinner time friend to my sworn enemy, and it didn’t happen over night. My intolerance to the little buggers came as a result of eating it a lot (several times a week) and not washing it properly. Who knew that those instructions to thoroughly wash it on the packets and on numerous websites were meant to be taken seriously? It turns out if you don’t rinse it really really well before you cook and eat it, the saponin – the natural oily residual on the grain – can build up in your system and lead to pure agony at any time. Hooray! I only found this out after stumbling across this blog post from Embracing the Absurd, which was a big help as there’s very little information out there about this.
I’m writing this blog post for two reasons: the first is to encourage all you quinoa fans out there to wash the hell out of those damn grains before consumption, and the second is because as of next month, it’s been a year since I last ate the stuff. Apparently if you wait a year, you should be able to eat the food again. The question is – is it worth it? I’ve read a few articles about how the increased popularity of quinoa has put intense economical pressures on countries that farm it, such as Bolivia, and shockingly, I’ve managed to survive without it in my diet. I really like bulgar wheat and cous cous, which work just as well. No grain, no pain?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, so please share your thoughts in the comments. Thank you!