On Chia and Quinoa

Paleo AcronymsI’ve promised a post on quinoa, but decided to include chia here as well. One of these I eat, one of them I avoid. Which is which?

Let’s start with quinoa, the food I avoid, although I will make a rare exception, when I just can’t help myself. Quinoa seems to be one of those “grains” that get a lot of attention these days among paleo and primal folks, with some being strictly against it, while others consider it a viable alternative to other grains with the argument that it contains protein. Well, newsflash, the amount of protein is really not noteworthy. Per cup you get only 8 grams. So, for anyone choosing quinoa as a protein source, don’t. Opt for meat… it’s much better for ya. 😉

Another reason not to eat quinoa is quite frankly, that this pseudo-grain is still like a grain. With its phytic acid and leptins, it acts like a grain. The phytic acid will bind to nutrients in your gut and flush them right out with it. Bye bye, nutrients, down the toilet. If you absolutely have to have quinoa, try soaking it. This will at least remove some of the anti-nutrients.

Chia… I have found chia to be a great treat for me. I like to put it into my coconut milk for some added chewiness. Chia is high in omega 3 fatty acid, but not enough to really do a whole lot of good. It also contains some protein, but only 4 grams per oz. Since it’s a seed, it won’t do any damage in your gut, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that you have suddenly discovered a super food.

After reading the book “Born to Run” I thought I’d give the seeds a try. After all, in the book, they are described as some kind of magical power food, that will enhance your performance as a long distance runner in some fantastic way. I have not found this to be true in my long distance runs or my Crossfit performance. But, I do believe it’s an excellent stomach filler, when you want some food in your stomach before a workout. And in combination with coconut milk and a little bit of honey, maybe some sliced apples, it does make a great pre-workout snack.

Having said that, paleo/primal is not a template. When you research your food options, you will end up making decisions based on what you find to be beneficial to you and for the health and wellbeing of your body. When you find something that works, then stick with it.

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