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not digesting quinoa

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Old 05-07-2012, 03:34 PM   #1
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I've been making Jillian Michael's quinoa crunch (recipe), and I can't help but notice my body doesn't seem to be digesting it (if you know what I mean without this being a TMI post). Is this because of the way it's cooked? should I try soaking it first? Am I still getting the benefits even if my body doesn't fully digest it?
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Old 05-07-2012, 04:04 PM   #2
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Are you rinsing it? Most recommendations say to rinse but I never do.
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Old 05-07-2012, 09:13 PM   #3
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I rinse it just once...even though it says to rinse till the water is clear. It gets a little messy with all the little grains getting all over.
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Old 05-07-2012, 11:38 PM   #4
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I can't think of a way to explain this without delving into TMI, so be forewarned.

Many foods (and all foods containing fiber) aren't fully digested. Sorry to be graphic, but it's why many birds and other animals eat the poo of other animals or pick stuff out of other animals' poo. Humans can't digest fiber (so fiber calories would matter to a cow, but not to a person because cows can digest fiber and humans can't). It means that high fiber foods often come out looking quite a bit like they did going in. It doesn't mean that the food isn't digested, just that part of it isn't.

The part that you're seeing is mostly the outer layer of the quinoa which is mostly fiber (which is always undigestible by humans). The outer layer is much like the outer layer of corn. It shows up in poo looking a lot like it did before you ate it, but most of the inside has been digested. The outer layer, mostly fiber still looks intact, so it can be easy to assume that none of the grain was digested - but this isn't true. You are digesting the quinoa, and what you're seeing is just the undigestible bits.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:00 PM   #5
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thanks kaplods... I wasn't sure if it was the same way flaxseed doesn't get digested if it's not ground up first.
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Old 05-08-2012, 02:54 PM   #6
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thanks kaplods... I wasn't sure if it was the same way flaxseed doesn't get digested if it's not ground up first.
If you ate quinoa raw this might be true (I'm not sure), but the little curly "tails" you see in quinoa are remnants of the outer bran layer.

Grinding does make flaxseed more digestible, and it isn't digestible "whole" but you don't have to really grind flaxseed, you just have to "crack" the shells. Grinding is the best way to get the most nutrients (and calories), but just cracking them coursely in a morter and pestle or in a food processor will also allow your body to digest most of the flaxseed. So a course grind or crush works nearly as well as grinding.

The curly quinoa tails are "proof" that the outer layer has peeled off, so the grains are digestible because the inner part is exposed - and that's all you need that exposure of the interior (which is true for flaxseed too).

If you ate flaxseed raw, but didn't swallow until you had thoroughly chewed them with your back molars, you'd also get much of the flaxseed nutrition - but humans don't generally chew thoroughly enough to crack the flaxseed outer shells in significant numbers - but again it doesn't need to be ground as much as it needs to be cracked open.
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Old 05-08-2012, 04:50 PM   #7
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Quinoa has a natural coating on it that serves as a deterrent to birds and insects. So quinoa should be rinsed until the water is clear. It does make a mess though - what I do is put it in a large pot, fill with water, wait till it settles, pour off the water and repeat. Or you can manage to set up the pot so that the water pours continuously into one side of the pot and the run-off pours out the other side. I've never had digestion issues with it.
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Old 05-08-2012, 05:34 PM   #8
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Quinoa has a natural coating on it that serves as a deterrent to birds and insects.
Most quinoa sold in America is pre-rinsed. As a general rule, if it's sold in a prepackaged box, it's probably been rinsed, and if it's sold in bulk bins it may or may not be.

The coating needs to be washed off because it's bitter. If the quinoa isn't bitter, it has been rinsed.

I usually don't rinse unless I have to. I pour water into the quinoa, and if the water isn't cloudy or frothy, it's already been rinse. To double check, I'll test it by throwing a few grains into my mouth. If it's bitter, it needs more rinsing, and if it isn't it doesn't. Usually there's no need to rinse.
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Last edited by kaplods : 05-09-2012 at 02:27 AM.
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