I tend to take my stress out in the kitchen, so as soon as Ben and I were both home I whipped out my giant knife and started going to town on some broccoli - I figure this is more cost-effective than chopping up my laptop, which is what I kind of wanted to do.
As I was cooking, Ben walked by and happened to glance at the recipe I was using. He cast me a very suspicious look and asked, "Double Broccoli Quinoa? ...Can you eat quinoa?"
No, I can't.
"But wait!" you say. "You eat quinoa all the time!" Well yes, I did. But I don't anymore, and here's why. It started last spring when, after eating a meal containing quinoa, I started to feel really nauseous. For whatever reason, I convinced myself that it was something I had eaten for breakfast and just went about my life. The second time, I was in an immersion practice...and if anything it was worse than before. Of course this was also the day we practiced falling out of handstand...it was less than awesome. This time I decided it was because the bulk spinach I used in my salad was somehow contaminated, and I vowed never to buy bulk spinach again.
Then in June, after eating a giant lunch of quinoa and subsequently feeling like I was going to ralph, I finally put two and two together. I went back to my desk and googled both "quinoa causes nausea" and "eating quinoa makes me want to die," both of which proved fruitful. Apparently, developing an allergy or extreme sensitivity to quinoa is a real thing, and is usually the result of eating quinoa that has not been washed or cooked properly. The websites I found suggested taking quinoa out of your diet for a few weeks or months and then trying it again...but they also cautioned that sometimes, the allergy never goes away.
So I took about three months off, before one day accidentally scarfing down a sample of orange quinoa at the Linden Hills Co-op. I mean, it was free. Anyone could make that mistake. But the best part was...nothing happened. Convinced that I was now invincible after surviving a teaspoon-sized sample, I bravely purchased a quinoa salad for lunch the very next day. Bad idea. Quinoa came back with a vengance. Imagine Ben's surprise when he came home to find me curled up on the kitchen floor hugging the dog.
"Umm... I ate some quinoa."
My almost-doctor friend Amanda suggested taking a full year off and then trying it again. I'm really bummed about this actually. I love quinoa -it is one of my favorite foods, and I would be pretty sad if I could never eat it again. But the nausea is BAD. And painful. It feels like the worst menustral cramps ever, except in your intestines. ... lovely visual, I know.
So I've started substituting other ingredients for my favorite grain...seed...thing. Last night I made my favorite double broccoli quinoa with millet. It was good - but it wasn't quinoa. It didn't have that snap to it. I loved the way the pesto would coat each grain separately, the contrast of textures... I like millet, but it just wasn't the same. Le sigh.
In a related story, this morning I stumbled across a Prevention Magazine article listing seven foods you should never eat. It was published through Fox News, which is ...not normally my go-to source for things that are real... but I learned a few things from reading this article. I already knew about farm-raised salmon, conventional apples, grass-fed beef...but canned tomatoes? And it is pretty scary that potato farmers say they would never eat the conventional potatoes they sell. If you want to read the whole article, you can find it here. Here's the list of seven foods you should never eat, and a brief explaination:
1) Canned tomatoes. Apparently the acidity from the tomatoes causes BPA from the cans to leach into your food, and BPA is no good for your reproductive system. Instead, buy the kind that come in glass jars, or TJ's brand in boxes.
2) Corn-fed Beef. Cows were meant to eat grass, not corn. Grass-fed beef is expensive, but it is a lot more nutritious.
3) Microwave popcorn Chemicals in the lining of the popcorn bag vaporize in the microwave and make their way into your popcorn. These chemicals can cause cancer and affect the reproductive system. Yikers.4) Nonorganic potatoes. Root vegetables absorb more chemicals from the soil than other veggies do - and potatoes are treated with herbicide, pesticides and fungicides before being shipped to your local grocery store. Washing doesn't help. Their own farmers won't even eat them. Buy organic potatoes.
5) Farmed salmon The shit they are fed is just nasty. Plus they are exposed to (and absorb) all kinds of dangerous chemicals and are treated with antibiotics and pesticides (pesticides? In fish? Really??). The worst in terms of carcinogen content come from northern Europe, so avoid those at all cost.
6) Milk produced with artificial hormones. This is a little trickier to avoid. While most supermarkets carry organic produce, the milk choices are generally pretty slim. If you go to a co-op you can probably find milk from local dairies that is less processed. Also, check the label to make sure the milk is produced without artificial hormones. Bad news, cancer, etc.
7) Conventional apples. Duh. Apples are the worst in terms of pesticide content. The saddest part is that workers who are exposed to pesticides on a regular basis have higher rates of many cancers - so by buying organic you are giving less support to these practices, as well as doing something good for your body and the environment.
Yes, all of these options are more expensive in terms of the $$ you spend at the grocery store. But when you consider the true cost to your health and the planet, it really isn't. OK I'll get off my pedestal now...
Phew that was a long one! So many words!!