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What About Quinoa?

By Marcus | In Nutrition | on May 29, 2013

If you attended my nutrition seminar prior to the challenge, or are just a regular reader of our posts, you should be familiar with the “Good Food Standards” that we promote. These 4 guidelines can help you think through whether or not a food is something desirable in your diet, rather than having to memorize a list of “paleo friendly” items.

Grains violate all four of the Good Food Standards and are often one of the biggest hurdles for people when they transition via something like a Whole30. It bears mentioning that this includes pseudograins such as quinoa, which is often touted as some sort of superfood.

Holley recently told me how her company cafe was offering quinoa as the “vegetable” for the day and she received an earful when she turned down their offer of this “superfood”. I suppose if you’re playing the game of categorizing items as Animal, Vegetable or Mineral, then yes — quinoa would fall into the vegetable family. By standard definition however, it is a grain. As a grain, it contains some anti-nutrients that can disrupt gut health (one of those Good Food Standards). We’ve previously talked quite a bit about gluten, which is present in most of the common grains. Quinoa has a different protein substance, which is similar to gluten in its effect on the body.

Quinoa is also praised for its relatively high protein content. This may be the case when compared to other grains, but you’ve never heard us point you in the direction of grains for your protein intake! When quinoa is pitted against something like grass-fed bison, it fails miserably.

For these reasons, we advise against the consumption of quinoa. It may be the most impressive option among grains, but you can get everything it offers in a better package through other means. Those other means also don’t come with the downsides that quinoa can bring.


Reminder: if you participated in the challenge, make sure you complete your benchmark lifts/workouts this week! Essays are due to me via email no later than Sunday, June 2nd.

Edit: I have gotten some questions about the essays and wanted to answer them here for the benefit of all participants.

Q – When was an essay required?! What needs to be in the essay, etc. ?

A- This was announced at the time of the challenge announcement itself. See the post titled 2013 Nutrition Challenge.

“Last but not least, a closing essay will be required for consideration for the prizes. This is just a short few paragraphs summing up your strategy and experience during the challenge.”

I also reminded everyone at the end of the challenge, in the post titled Final Hurdles:

“Write a short essay about your experience in the challenge — perhaps how it changed your life, what you took away from the experience and any changes you intend to keep going forward”


WOD 05.29.13

Snatch 1-1-1

Then, AMRAP 8

  • 12 Pistols
  • 8 Toes-to-bar
  • 4 Burpee shuttle runs*

* 1 burpee shuttle run = perform 1 burpee, run 15 yards to cone. Burpees are performed instead of touching the floor between runs

One Comment to "What About Quinoa?"

  • Kyle says:

    May 29, 2013 at 9:28 PM -

    I know i asked you about this last week, Marcus. Thanks for expanding on the subject!

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