The Misadventures of Cheri

Mortifying my kids one swimsuit at a time

Quinoa Quatastrophe

on January 27, 2012

Okee dokee.  The last two days have been two of the most interesting and annoying of my life.  I’ll get to the point and then tell the story.  I had a pretty severe allergic reaction to quinoa.  You heard me right, quinoa.  The wonder food of the universe.  The gluten free answer to prayers.  The key to weight loss!  And I’m allergic to it all.

I have had a few quinoa dishes as it has gained popularity over the last couple of years.  But it has always been at a potluck type of situation.  Since there’s 50 things at a pot luck you want to try, I usually only had a couple of spoonfuls of the quinoa.  Apparently, my system can handle that.  This past Tuesday, I went to Winco and bought some from the bulk food section.  I came home and prepared a Corn and Quinoa Salad.  I highly recommend this recipe . . . different but delicious – I added more than called for red pepper and some celery – yum!  I then proceeded to eat it as if my life depended on it.  Seriously, I had about two cups of it for lunch.  And a bit as a nighttime snack.

About 10:00 that night I felt like I had been hit by a Mack truck.  I was falling asleep on the couch!!  I am the quintessential night owl so this was perplexing.  I just wrote it off as not getting much sleep the night before and going at it hard on the treadmill.   I drug myself upstairs and told the kids I was going to bed – they were as shocked as I was.

I woke up at 8:30 the next morning happy that I had gotten so much sleep.  This was going to be a grrrrrrrrrrreat day!  As I was coming to, I realized my skin felt tight.  I have severely dry skin and thought that was the problem.  As I rolled over, I noticed that my chin felt funny.  Like it was moving separately from my face.  I felt it and it felt weird.  I got up, said a hasty good-bye to Tyler, fed the dog and then retreated to the bathroom to get a gander at myself.  *Gulp*  My face was really swollen.  My wrinkles were gone (win) but I looked like I gained 50 pounds overnight (lose).  And my right ear was HUGE.  So gross.  I didn’t know what was going on, but figured whatever it was would benefit from Benadryl.

Wednesday was my Benadryl-knocked-me-on-my-can day, complete with a mid-day 2 hour nap.  Amber and I had an event we had to go to Wednesday night and I knew if I took an evening dose of Benadryl, I couldn’t drive.  Tyler told me to let Austin take us.  Score!!! I took the Benadryl, Austin drove us, I got made fun of by the kids for randomly saying, “That white car,” but we survived the evening.

Earlier that day, I sat on the couch and did some research.  Based on everything I saw, I figured I was having an allergic reaction to the quinoa.  Quinoa has the same acids in it that other foods I have problems with do – namely strawberries and rhubarb.  I also found out that quinoa isn’t actually a grain – technically it’s a type of grass and is more closely related to spinach than a grain.

Then to make my joy complete, I found out it was probably going to get worse before it got better.  And by the next morning (and 11+ hours of sleep), it did.  A website told me to expect “cauliflowering” which is basically your face being covered with whitehead type things.  And to be sure, I woke up with a major case of redness, a face rash and the cauliflowering.  Thankfully, I was able to get right in to my doctor because this HAD TO STOP!  The itchiness was driving me nuts.  Well, that, and I looked like something from a horror flick.

My doctor told me to take Zyrtec twice a day and Zantac twice a day.  Yes, Zantac, the heartburn medicine is also a level 2 histamine blocker!  Who knew?  She also gave me a prescription for a topical steroid cream.  And told me that no family medicine cabinet should be without Zyrtec since it’s a powerful histamine blocker without all the side affects of Benadryl.

I came home and took the meds.  And put on two layers of foundation because just catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror was more than I could handle.  After the Zyrtec/Zantac combo got in my system, I felt immensely better.  And this morning, most of my symptoms are gone.  Once I put on my makeup, no one will be able to tell of the suffering I endured the past two days anything was wrong.

So there you have it.  More information on quinoa than you probably ever wanted.

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45 responses to “Quinoa Quatastrophe

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    • Christina says:

      Thanks for posting! I had the exact symptoms as you and others posted here.

      Ate quinoa for Sunday lunch and ate a fresh batch on Monday night. The next morning I woke up with a itchy sensation on my neck. It looked slightly blotchy but I thought nothing of it thinking it would go away later.

      Boy was I wrong.

      The rest of the day I experienced hotness my cheeks and chin – only my face was affected. My skin felt tight, heavy and buzzing. That evening I went to the doctors who prescribed Zyrtec. By now my whole face was red, blotchy and slightly swollen near my eyes and cheeks. Upon closer inspection I noticed hundreds little raised whiteheads starting to surface. The next morning little white bumps had developed around my nose, cheeks, chin, ears and foreheads (but mainly cheeks). I had uni the next day, not to mention an important presentation. I went to the doctors again, and he prescribed anti-biotics along with rash-relief cream. The night before I was hoping it was ease in time for presentation day but it was now the matter of the whitehead and redness that looked unpresentable.

      I woke up next day with no intention of going uni, (thankfully I had a medical certiface) and good thing I didn’t because my face was still itchy, red and those 100 or so whiteheads had fully surfaced! Plus everytime I talked I felt vibration and itchy tingles to face. W

      The next day I’m pretty sure the anti-biotics started to kick in as the white heads started to dry out. My skin was still red-hot but the inflammation was disappearing. It wasn’t until the 7th day my skin returned to normal-looking. I should mention ever since the white heads started to appear I didn’t wash my face until the completed dried out! (4-5 days). The reason was because the whiteheads were so sensitive if I touched it, the pus would spill. I was worried this would affect the skin more and reduce my chances for a quick recovery.

      By the 5th day, I went doctors to ask if it was safe to rinse and clense my face. He gave me the thumbs up. So I carefully rinsed my face with water and then dried with a clean towel. There were some active whiteheads still but most of the cracked ones were gone with the rinse. It wasn’t until the 7th and 8th day my face returned normal looking and i could apply foundation.

      I only had a pale sunburnt look around my nose area.

      Now 3 weeks after that incident my skin normal as ever and clear.

      I’m recently took a blood test and he found no reactions to food. But he found an abnormality to grass, dust, trees and grass. Which is weird because I never had an allergic reaction in my life to nature, ever! and if I did why in the one week I ate quinoa for the first time EVER. Interestingly enough, I’m even more convinced its quinoa based on your story and others, more so because I learnt quinoa is a grain that comes from a plant that is a member of the grass family.

      So if they found an allergy abnormality with nature substances, the link of quinoa and grass makes perfect sense!

      It’s a shame because quinoa is so delicious but that skin experience is enough to steer me away from eating quinoa again.

  2. Kristin says:

    Ohh my god!! This save my life today! You have mo idea, well, maybe you do, I had quinoa on Monday and then on Tuesday.. Tuesday night o felt really sluggish.. But I went to the gym and came back super tired. I showered And went to bed. I woke up the next morning and my ear was swollen.. My right one and there was a gross texture on the skin.. I went to the bathroom to get a better look and I was covered with what looked like a heat rash. It was on my cheeks, my chin and alll over my neck. And it looked so gross and swollen. (that was yesterday) today the redness was down.. By I had to my earrings all out because my ears were so swollen that they were looking infected and hurt a lot. Now I have the rash all on my neck and cheeks and on my shoulders my chest and my back. And it’s (cauliflowering) it feels so gross and it makes me feel super selfconcious. I’m going to try what your dr told u to do. But.. Basically thank you for posting your experience!! I just hope it doesn’t last much longer.
    -K

    • nadine says:

      Thank you so much. I have just recently gone gluten free and made a pizza dough with almond and quinoa flour. i have never had quinoa before so i was super excited to try something new. I went to bed last night feeling so sleepy. when a got up this morning a was so red with hives and then the swelling started. I have never had a reaction of any kind so you can guess how scared i was. I will try the info and hope to be feeling back to normal.

      -n

  3. Mina says:

    Thanks for the info guys, so helpful! I was wondering what happened to me as I have the same symptoms, severe red raw rash, dry itchy skin and swollen eyes. I have been having a small amount of quinoa in the morning with my oats for the last week and I have never felt worse. I have a soy allergy and get the same symptoms, now I know that quinoa is the culprit.

  4. Diane says:

    Thanks for the info!!!!! I have a reaction very much like yours but I have never experienced a food allergy before. Quinoa is the only change to my lifestyle lately -I ate it at dinner 3 days ago and woke up the next morning in agony. My face, neck, ears and chest are covered in hives so thick that some of the skin wouldn’t move. After taking your doctor’s recommended antihistamine combo I am finally starting to feel better.
    There should be warnings attached to all of the “wonder food” articles.

    • Mary says:

      After eating a quinoa salad for lunch, I was in agony that night from belly pain. Then I proceeded to get red itchy hives all over. When my throat started closing down and I couldn’t breathe, I knew this was a serious allergic reaction. I headed to the emergency room where they gave me albuterol breathing treatments and antihistamine. Later after finding out about the saponin coating on quinoa, I contacted the restaurant manager. He had never heard that you needed to wash the quinoa.

  5. coolcarlina says:

    Thank you SO much for this post! I swore I was the only one. I saw a video on youtube about a quinoa salad recipe and decided I wanted to try it. Like you, I ate it like my life depended on it.
    Well… It hasn’t been fun, let me tell you. I had the same experience, no joke! Three days later my face was swollen and red. And I too had (still have) caulliflowering. I too thought Benadryl would take care of it but moved on to Zyrtec. The swelling and redness has gone down but I still have the caulliflowering in the same places you have it. It’s a nightmare I hate looking at it. I can’t remember what my face looked like without it.

  6. Allana says:

    Hi, Thank you so much for posting about the Quinoa. I ate Quinoa cereal for the first time this morning and whith in an hr felt really weird, my face was hot red and itchy, my nose blocked and I feel achey and tired. It is the only thing different that I have done today, so it has to be it. Ive taken Telfast and still feel awful, I have numbness around my mouth and face.

  7. S says:

    I echo the comments here–thanks for posting on this. I just today put 2 and 2 together that maybe it’s quinoa that triggers a major rosacea-like reaction in my face, and this affirms my suspicions…The allergy seems to build, maybe nothing at first, then a slight reaction, getting more severe each time. I’ve never really had food allergies so it took a while to figure it out. This post and the comments helped.

  8. Dragos says:

    http://www.allergy-details.com/food-allergy/cooking-quinoa/
    You have to wash quinoa VERY thoroughly and even then it may lead to an allergy

  9. Mustard says:

    Wheat and barley are grasses actually which are monocots Quinoa is a chenopod (a goosefoot) while spinach is a caryophyllaceae they are both dicots. This indicates they are not closely related but more related to each other as dicots than they are to monocots.

  10. Heather Cortes says:

    Aaaaaaah! I thought it was exzema at first…..until my son got it too. I made it yesterday for dinner for the first and last time. Not only did all eight of us hate it two of us have symptoms. I thought exzema because of the weather until my 15 year old got it. You guys were lucky. It was just on your face. We have full body hives. We are talking tight skin, swelling, pain and the worst case of itchies ever. I woke up at 3am and wanted to throw myself out the second story window.Notably neither one of us have any allergies at all. This is friggin horrible and that’s the nicest thing I can say about it.

  11. Amy Sue says:

    Well, after reading your post and all the comments posted I don’t think I’ll even risk trying to eat quinoa. Sounds like you helped diagnose what a lot of people have been experiencing.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    Remarkable to read your experiences with Quinoa. I even told my dr that I thought I may be having a reaction to eating Quinoa. She thought more along the lines of a Thyroid issue . But after searching found your comments. . It was a 48 degree day when this bubbly red looking rash showed up on my neck , arms and stomach . Very irritating . I couldn’t believe I had a heat rash . I have never had heat rash . When exposed to the sun or heat , it was painfully prickly. One week with this and The rash is slowly disappearing . I can now sit in the morning sunshine . Thank you for sharing .

  13. J'nette says:

    Oh no! I have had a couple anaphylactic reactions in the past couple of weeks… so it’s a low histamine diet for me… no gluten, dairy, etc… Tonight I thought I’d try quinoa. So after eating it, I found this. I am praying it doesn’t develop into what you all have posted about. NO… Nooo.. not something else that can cause allergic reactions. I thought quinoa would be ok.

  14. Molly says:

    My duty goes shit like yours, only it continues on from there. Zyrtec, benadryl, and hydrocortisone cream didn’t even touch it. Went to the doctor and he prescribed me prednisone and said I would see improvement within a few hours. After six hours and six oils of prednisone, my condition continued to worsen and my airways and tongue began to swell. My eyelids were nearly swollen shut! I had to go to urgent care and get an epinephrine shot and prednisone shot.I’m still not out if three woods, so I have two epi pens just in case. I could still die from aniphylaxis. If you think you are alleergic to quinoa, get help NOW.

  15. Molly says:

    Pardon typos. “My story goes about like yours..” is what I meant.

  16. Autumn says:

    I thought I was absolutely nuts when my aunt mentioned that maybe I should stop eating quinoa. I had only heard about all the wonderful benefits of quinoa. Well, not so for me. I ate it for several months without any issues. Eventually, I ended up with blood sugar swings within a couple hours of eating a full meal, an erratic heartbeat, inability to walk long distances (to the bathroom or around the corner to the kitchen), brain fog, extreme fatigue, nightly emotional spells where I would launch off into incoherent crying fits, balance problems, and felt like I was walking sideways at times. I would get really dizzy anytime I rounded a corner or climbed stairs. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. There was no swelling of anything, rashes, etc. I went to my dr. who ordered bloodwork – a few high and low levels here and there, but nothing of alarming concern. I went to an ENT to check for balance disorder and/or inner ear issues – nothing – everything checked out normal. I was referred to an endocrinologist who ordered more bloodwork and came up with a couple of high hormone levels, but nothing overly concerning. After being in bed for two weeks and on medical leave from work, I took my aunt’s suggestion and stopped eating quinoa. Wouldn’t you know within two days, my strength started to return and I started to feel somewhat normal again. I’ve been off of quinoa for two weeks now and sure enough, I’m fine. I relayed all this info to the endocrinologist who said that she has had patients with similar reactions to wheat (I’m not eating wheat and haven’t been for a year!) and even has one lady who cannot eat any whole grains whatsoever. So, if you consume alot of whole grains, which we are lead to believe are healthy, you may want to try eliminating them from your diet. I can tolerate buckwheat and brown rice okay. There may be a few of us who can’t do most whole grains despite being told that they are good complex carbs for us.

    I truly hope that there are others who can benefit from these posts. There is nothing more frustrating than going to dr. after dr. only to be told that everything is “normal” from all the bloodwork that you get back when you know that something is clearly wrong or off.

    • Stella814 says:

      Oh my gosh! I made this baked quinoa hot breakfast cereal and have been eating that every morning. I too have been having dizzy spells on and off for the past three days and have been feeling hypoglycemic. I won’t be eating quinoa anymore. Thanks for posting!

  17. Dagmar says:

    Finally! I found this blog realizing that I am not the only one with this allergy. I had made a quinoa – bulghur mix the night before and ate quite a bit. I woke up this morning with itchy, red skin – I look like I have a sunburn – people at work thought I went tanning. My face ears,neck, back,chest, and upper arms are covered in tiny raised bumps.I’m going to try benadryl tonight and if it doesn’t improve, I’m going with the zyrtec – zantac combo -thanks for the info !

  18. Lucy says:

    Thanks for this blog …. this morning the penny dropped about the quinoa.
    On Sunday night, I made for the first time quinoa with a tom sauce – and ate about a cup full, and popped the rest in the fridge as I’d cooked too much.

    Awoke on Monday with what appeared a heat rash on my arm – figured it was due to sport on the Sunday.

    Monday and Tues I have eaten the left over quinoa with salad for my packed lunches (I also have it for Weds lunch but now I’ve trigged it will be going into the bin) … and the rash has gradually gotten worse, and covered more of my body.

    Today I have a rash all over my back and front, tops of my legs and it’s really sore on my throat area …. just hoping it starts to subside soon.

    Thanks again.

  19. Pat says:

    I’m finding a lot of stories like these on the Internet! I ate a boatload of Trader Joe’s Tri-Colored Quinoa Superfood (frozen mix with veggies) yesterday, which was the only thing I’d eaten “new” or different in the last couple of days. This morning, I woke with severe redness and itching all over my back, which spread to my neck and face. Several hours later, it’s lighter pink, but tiny bumps remain all over. I’ve eaten quinoa with no ill effects before, and I’ve rarely had food allergies throughout my life. Obviously, I strongly suspect the quinoa! I saw a couple of other references that suggest that the sensitivity builds up and shows up over time. Rats!

  20. Robin says:

    As I laid awake very late at night in bed with all these symptoms I googled “rash from quinoa” you site was the first hit! THANK YOU! I got out of bed and hit my CVS!! And now I feel like I can sleep peacefully! 🙂

  21. Joe says:

    Grr, I think I got done in by a Quinoa allergy. I skipped the washing step (sometimes recommended, othertimes mysteriously absent from Costco bags) and then started having cramps, upset stomach, then throwing up with extra mucous-y vomit before I made the connection to this superfood causing an increasing allergic reaction. Not sure how many times I’d prepared without washing, but know I was washing some of those past few times. I swore off the quinoa for months and then had an incident.

    I went to a pot-luck the other day and was tasting lots of fun things, then about a half hour after leaving I was throwing up food-poisoning style for hours. The following day I found out that a dish I thought was cous cous with various veggies and spices was actually a really fine grained quinoa that I’d had a few servings of.

    Moral is, wash your quinoa well and be careful… I think it just keeps getting worse once your body is primed (saponins trigger inflammation, body can mis-identify quinoa in the future and you get allergic reaction to quinoa itself, even after you learn to wash away the saponins).

  22. jade says:

    s the last few days ive had a reaction to this amazing “superfood” which I will never eat again. it was the first and last time. its ruined my life in the last 3 days. rash, hives, red sore face, itchy as hell and now my face feels like sand paper!! can someone advise how long this lasts ???

  23. Downunder foodie says:

    After reading all the comments here and on other sites I am convinced that it’s the saponins in the quinoa that has triggered my upper body hives. The first time i tried quinoa i was fine. The second time was last night and it tasted bitter, 2 hours later my body broke out in a red itchy rash. Unfortunately i did not make the connection till just a few hours ago, luckily i only ate more at lunch and not dinner. If it doesn’t subside i shall try zyrtec tomorrow ( or rather later this morning).

  24. Ozgal says:

    Made a lovely Quinoa and egg curry for lunch and the following morning my face was a bit bloated and red. Didn’t make a connection. Had it for lunch again the following day and was ok but then in the night. I woke up with my face on fire! It was so swollen and itchy. My lips had puffed out and huge bags under my eyes. Pharmacist said I was allergic to iron but I’ve never had that in the past. After reading this I’m positive it was the quinoa! Day 2 and my face/neck area is itchy and finally the swelling is abating. I’ve had quinoa several times before and no dramas. This latest dish didn’t taste bitter at all. I think hat I’m allergic to it. Happy to stick to brown rice!!! Pharmacist wouldn’t give me Phenergan because it would ‘make me drowsy’. I’m so itchy today. Drowsy would be great!

  25. Melissa Kay says:

    Wow.. I wish I had done my homework before trying something new and read this before my first spoonfull of quinoa (spoon because im asian hehe) well, I prepared a nice healthy meal for my family and decided to make Quinoa that was sent to my mom from a family friend from the US, Trader Joes branded.

    I did wash it before I cooked it.. it was so good, I cooked it with black beans, tomatoes and parsley in olive oil. Woke up the next morning and had a few hives on my forehead and on the left side of my face.. I didn’t mind it so much since I thought that a bug must’ve bitten me when I was asleep. Guess what I had again for breakfast? Tuna and olives in Quinoa! Yum! (More like.. eek! Now)

    Woke up the next day and was so shocked to see both my cheeks red and puffed up like the marshmallow man.. but its true, it made my skin looked smooth and tender. But no thanks.

    I was rushed to see an ENT (this morning) who prescribed me an antihistamine and steroid tabs for 5 days to help reverse the swelling. I feel a bit better but I can still feel the tightness on both my warm cheeks. Im a little scared to look in the mirror when I wake up tomorrow.

  26. Blare says:

    I read that quinoa allergies are very rare, and that most reactions are from improper cleaning. I tried a processed quinoa and had an immediate histamin reaction. That being said the reactions of all of these posters are so similar that it seems more likely that you are all reacting to the saponin which is naturally occurring pesticide on quinoa. Stop eating it for a few weeks to a month, then try it again after properly cleaning it.

  27. Hayley says:

    I ate a quinoa and feta salad two days in a row last week and woke up on Saturday with a swollen face and hives. As the day progressed the swelling worsened and I started developing white head spots around my chin, inner eye brows and around my nose. This was the first time I have had quinoa. My doctor said he had never heard of an allergy to it or seen the whiteheads. Were you able to get allergy tested for it? Did you find any information on it? Many thanks

  28. Debra says:

    While eating quinoa, my esophagus squeezes shut! It feels like a severe case of indigestion or having a heart attack, a condition I’ve never had before. To my knowledge, I do not have any other food allergies. I’m in good health otherwise.

  29. Carol says:

    I also had an allergic reaction to quinoa……..my eyes swelled up, were red and itchy and it took a while to figure out what it was because I have been eating quinoa for 3+ years and all of a sudden I can’t eat it anymore, I’m so disappointed because I can’t eat wheat and quinoa is so delicious………but I went through hell and I’ll never eat it again. My allergist couldn’t even figure it out, imagine that!!!

  30. Linda says:

    My daughter experienced these same symptoms. She went to the emergency room thinking she was having a heart attack with extreme chest pain as well as nausea . She didn’t suspect an allergic reaction to quinoa “The Super Food.” She tried it again the next day and got similar symptoms but not quite as severe. She decided to stay away from quinoa for about two weeks but decided to have some this morning. She is again having severe reactions, red face and arms, tight skin, chest pain and extreme diarhea and nausea. Needless to say she will never eat quinoa again. Warning signs should be put all over the packaging letting people know that QUINOA CAN BE A HIGHLY ALLERGIC FOOD. So much for this super food, No No to quinoa!!!

  31. Ellen says:

    Thank you for posting this!! I think i had this EXACT reaction to quinoa a few days ago, and I was at a loss for what it could be, as I’ve never had any sort of allergic reaction to food before, and I’m not usually affected by season allergies or anything like that. The only change in my routine before the reaction was a dinner of quinoa salad – followed by the same leftovers for lunch the next day. I’ve definitely eaten quinoa before, too, so I figured that couldn’t be it.

    After eating the quinoa on Wednesday night, i noticed driving to work on Thursday morning that my face was super red, flushed, and hot to the touch. I also had a small reddish rash on my upper neck. I figured it was a reaction to heat/humidity or over-exfoliating or something, and didn’t think twice about having more quinoa for lunch. By that evening, I noticed my right ear was ridiculously swollen, red, and hot – and my face hadn’t improved at all. Still bright red and hot, even though i’d kept a cool, wet facecloth on it for a good portion of the afternoon. I took some benadryl and went to bed – but woke up on Friday with no real improvement to my ear, and the swelling had moved so that my whole face felt puffy and tight. I went in to see my doctor, still not having any idea WHAT was causing the reaction, and she told me to take zyrtec (in addition to the benadryl, if i wanted to). I started that, and by Saturday the swelling had gone completely, to be replaced by a horrible rash filled with whiteheads and red blotches all over my face, neck, chest and back. Today (Sunday) the rash is only slightly better. I’ll keep taking zyrtec and hopefully it will continue to improve! Maybe i’ll try some zantac as well.

    I’m curious – for those of you who have experienced the rash, did you do anything other than zyrtec/some sort of antihistamine? How long did it last? I’m hoping it clears up by this weekend since I have a wedding to go to!

  32. Allergiclady.. says:

    Thank you so much for the post. I really appreciate this blog.. I have tried quinoa and liked it. But my face begin to itch and had some rashes, prickly and so annoying. It’s so embarrassing to have big lump in your checks.
    I have not used make up because I don’t want the rash to get worse. The only thing that change for me is I tried quinoa because it’s gluten free and my husband can benefit eating it too.
    This facial skin allergy has to go! It’s driving me nuts! I will stop eating quinoa and see what happen next.

    • Allergiclady says:

      Ok. I went to walk in clinic since Benadryl, Zyrtec ,Zantac did not help
      The Doctor think it was Eczema?
      I told him about the quinoa intake?
      He has no clue what quinoa is? Anyway. I had to convince him that I’m having allergic reaction. He refuse to give me anything other than the medications I tried. I also mentioned
      That my mouth feels different. He checked my mouth is swollen..so then he change his mind and gave me short
      Treatment of prescribed prednisone and took it one to two hours the skin itching and prickly feeling went away for little bit
      Swelling is going away. I feel that is helping this situation.

  33. Ivana says:

    Thank you all! Reading this blog was very helpful!
    I too suffered a severe allergic reaction to what I now believe was quinoa. I have no known food allergies, so I am convinced that’s what did me in.
    I had a couple of helpings of a yummy quinoa salad at a potluck couple of days ago. This was the first time in my life I have eaten quinoa.
    On my drive home the palms of my hands started itching like crazy and my eyes started getting red, itchy and swollen.
    By the time I got home, I was suspecting an allergy reaction. About half an hour later, while I was getting in to the shower, I noticed rash (white bumps) on my butt and red rash on my back. Also my private parts were swollen. Figure that one out!
    I took Benadryl and was ready to watch some TV. Well, I was so tired, that I did not last five minutes and I went straight to bed. I felt like I got hit by a truck. I fell asleep immediately.
    I woke up at night with my esophagus acting up, I felt like I needed to burp, but I could not because my esophagus was closing. I had a chest pain and I was wondering whether I should go to the emergency room.
    When I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, I noticed my face and lips being swollen. My tongue was also swollen.
    The next day the rash was gone, but I was still severely fatigued and exhausted. Stayed in bed longer than usual.
    After reading your posts, I am convinced I had an allergic reaction to quinoa. Luckily my symptoms went away within 24 hours.
    No more quinoa for me – EVER!

  34. […] Jan 27, 2012 … I had a pretty severe allergic reaction to quinoa. You heard me right, quinoa. The wonder food of the universe. The gluten free answer to … [more] […]

  35. juanita says:

    I wish I had read this before trying quinoa…..trying to eat healthier i bought some quinoa, only gave it a cursory rinse as it says on the container pre-rinsed…..made a yummy dinner..I was so proud of myself for eating healthy!!! Next day a rash started on my neck….but I chalked it up to another form of psoriasis…I suffer from that on my scalp….but it got increasingly worse….then I ate the left over quinoa meal I made for lunch…..by mid afternoon my neck and chest was covered in hives. By then I realized it was an allergy…popped benedryl and slathered benedryl ointment on….aww ..relief….woke up today and it has subsided quite a bit…..but I’m with ya….no more quinoa for me….ever!!!!!!

  36. Greg says:

    My 21 y.o. Just had both eyes swollen shut, nasal passages swollen shut and throat felt clogged within half hour of eating trader Joes Quinoa & Pesto. He’s eaten it before but only half a container. Today, he ate the whole container. Two Benadryl(25mg each,OTC) restored his right eye to normal after an hour so we left the emergency room before being seen. Thx for the Zyrtec/Zantac tip.

  37. Maria says:

    Wow this post the nail on the head, I’ve been using quinoa flour and bang, rash all over body, next morning swollen face and neck.

  38. Loved your funny read Cheri……. needed the laughs because i feel like poo this morning from eating Quinoa. I have Grain allergies and had thought Quinoa was the answer, but apparently not! Happy Easter! He is Risen!

  39. Rob says:

    Having thought I was alone, I’m happy to hear others also have this allergy.
    So far it’s the only thing I’m allergic to.
    The looks I get when I order out and ask if there is an quinoa in the dish.
    No one believes me when I say I’m allergic.
    They sneak this Devils grain in everything now, it’s so hipster popular. Experiencing it again right now and I’m racking my brain trying to think where I ingested it from and hoping it’s not something new.

    • Cheri-Beri says:

      I’m the same way! I always ask about quinoa. I joke that I don’t have to ask much because everyone is so da*n proud of it. But yes, it’s hipster and exhausting. And I live a few miles north of Portland, OR. Hipster central. Ugh. I hope you feel better soon.

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