So we know that grains aren't Paleo, but what about the pseudo grains such as quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) chia seeds and buckwheat? Are they considered acceptable for a paleo diet? The answer is no, and here’s the reason why…
Pseudo grains are actually seeds, not grains, but are loaded with anti nutrients and carb heavy. If it looks and acts like a grain – it’s a grain! Quinoa seems to be a really fashionable “health food” at the moment – but do you really need it?
Just like other grains, quinoa contains anti nutrients like phytic acid, lectins and saponins – substances not tolerated well – and not good for gut health and permeability. Phytic acid binds to minerals preventing you from absorbing them – it can even leach minerals from your body for this purpose. Lectins and saponins are culperates in gut permeability which can lead to leaky gut.
Whilst properly preparing grains by soaking and sprouting can help to minimise the amounts of anti nutrients in the grains, it won’t get rid of them entirely.
Quinoa is popular because it’s high in protein, yet many paleo foods such as grass-fed meat and leafy green vegetables are actually far better sources of protein.
Before you can eat grains like quinoa, a lot of processes need to happen – which is why it is a “modern” food. Pseudo grains need to be ground, separated, roasted and rinsed. Would you do all that work yourself just to add in a small about of quinoa to you lunch?
Whilst some people may tolerate properly prepared grains,if you are in any doubt, it’s surely best to avoid them altogether. There are so many paleo friendly alternatives, such as cauliflower rice, zuchinni noodles or spaghetti squash.
Do you avoid all grains, or do you eat some in moderation? How do you prepare them? I’d love to hear what you think about pseudo grains like quinoa, in the comments below.