Wednesday, December 3, 2014

How to outsmart modern wheat and gluten intolerance

By Alex Pietrowski via The Waking Times, 29 November 2014


There’s no doubt about it – modern wheat is quickly becoming the new high-fructose corn syrup and a menace to wellness. Gluten found in modern wheat has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, ADHD, psoriasis, poor gut health, depression, and multiple sclerosis, and is not tolerated by people with celiac disease, irritable bowel syndrome and wheat allergy. Some also attribute many other adverse health effects to modern wheat, such as “neurological impairment, dementia, heart disease, cataracts, diabetes, arthritis and visceral fat accumulation,” in addition to a full range of intolerances.

Wheat has changed incredibly since the first cultivated varieties from 10,000 years ago. During the post-WWII Green revolution, the Western world, with the goal of increasing agricultural output, widely hybridized wheat grains and started using synthetic fertilizers and pesticides to resist disease and to boost agricultural output. As a result, wheat has turned into a nameless mono-crop.

The majority of wheat is processed into 60% extraction, bleached white flour. 60% extraction–the standard for most wheat products means that 40% of the original wheat grain is removed. So not only do we have an unhealthier, modified, and hybridized strain of wheat, we also remove and further degrade its nutritional value by processing it. Unfortunately, the 40% that gets removed includes the bran and the germ of the wheat grain–its most nutrient-rich parts. In the process of making 60% extraction flour, over half of the vitamin B1, B2, B3, E, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, iron, and fiber are lost.” [Natasha Longo]

Re-discovering Heritage Wheat

Ancient varieties of wheat still exist, and more people are starting to pay attention to the potential these grains hold for the gluten-sensitive and gluten-intolerant individuals, in addition to offering a healthier option for everyone who enjoys pastas and breads. For example, “a diploid species with 14 chromosomes, einkorn has a different gluten structure than modern wheat (which has 42 chromosomes) and is easier to digest.” (Source) Einkorn (Triticum monococcum) is the oldest and most primitive cultivated wheat, and, based on recent laboratory testing, T. monococcum gliadin (gluten) doesn’t have the same effect as regular bread gliadin and hence may be a possible alternative for the gluten intolerant.

Organizations such as the Heritage Grain Conservancy and Community Grains work to collect and protect almost-extinct varieties of ancient grains, such as einkorn, and are helping to establish a new grain economy for local and organic farmers. Below is a short video with Eli Rogosa, the director of the Heritage Wheat Conservancy, discussing her efforts at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst to preserve ancient wheats from extinction.


“Healthier” Wheat Options

In addition to einkorn, other heritage wheat varieties include red fife (Triticum aestivum), kamut (Triticum turanicum) and many others (for example, see this list of Canadian heritage wheat varieties here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Canadian_heritage_wheat_varieties) Although only about 1 percent of the wheat grown in North America goes by an actual name, they are now more readily available to the public:
More about Milling
Even home gardeners are planting wheat, in backyards measured in square feet rather than in acres. They are harvesting it by hand, threshing it by flailing chains inside plastic buckets, separating the chaff from the berries (or kernels) with vacuum cleaners and then grinding it themselves on hand-cranked mills.”  (smithsonianmag.com)
If you are considering growing your own wheat, or start first by buying your own heritage wheat grain, also called wheat berries, you may also want to understand the milling process. Some will argue that freshly milled flour has much more flavor. Others claim that whole-grain milling, without separating the germ, bran and endosperm, offers more nutrition than typical wheat flour. Even flour labeled “whole wheat” may be just white flour recombined with bran and germ, as the FDA only loosely regulates this process.
A seed is a miracle, and when you take apart a wheat berry, it seems to kill it.” -Craig Ponsford, founder of Artisan Bakers in Sonoma
Home mills can be found in many varieties: from hand grain mills, to a wide range of electric grain mills, to high-quality industrial-strength mills. If you start growing and buying whole wheat berries, consider that most wheat grain varieties will last up to a year if stored properly. Here’s a great resource with details about storing all types of whole grains: http://wholegrainscouncil.org/recipes/storing-whole-grains

Resources:

Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew by Samuel Fromartz

Gluten Is My Bitch: Rants, Recipes, and Ridiculousness for the Gluten-Free by April Peveteaux

Small-Scale Grain Raising: An Organic Guide to Growing, Processing, and Using Nutritious Whole Grains for Home Gardeners and Local Farmers by Gene Logsdon

Homegrown Whole Grains: Grow, Harvest, and Cook Wheat, Barley, Oats, Rice, Corn and More by Sara Pitzer

About the Author

Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and an avid student of Yoga and life.

Sources:

http://www.grain-chain.com/heritage-variety/
http://kunc.org/post/millet-next-trendy-grain
http://modernluxury.com/san-francisco/story/the-grain-of-truth?utm_content=bufferffe93&utm_source=buffer&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Buffer
http://www.psmag.com/health/do-heritage-grains-hold-promise-for-the-gluten-sensitive-42612/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17060124
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/Artisanal-Wheat-On-the-Rise.html

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of WakingTimes or its staff.

This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.

5 comments:

Bonnie Blue said...

After decades of not being able to get a diagnosis for celliac/gluten intolerance (DNA test shows I carry both genes from both parents), I have done a great deal of research since my four children carry at least one of the gene markers. Some of my autoimmune diseases will never be cured but perhaps put into remission or experience reduced inflammation. There are many books written by doctors who have done extensive research on grains. Basically all grains old and new are not what our body needs, but wants it because its addictive. Even people with no intestinal dysfunction symptoms should avoid all grains. It affects the body on a biological level in all body systems. You would be a very lucky person who grows old and never develop heart disease, dementia, thyroid problems, fatty liver, hypertension, etc. My niece gets her wheat from a farmer who grows old grains, but her and her husband are both still fat and unhealthy. I commend the search for better nutrition, its our natural medicine, but the testimonials from people who have gone grain free is remarkable. Books like Dangerous Grains, Wheat Belly, etc. have compelling knowledge. There is a huge community out there (paleo, grain free, against all grain, marks daily apple) with knowledge, research, and want to share why and how living this way has changed their life. I personally will never go back to grains, I'm feeling and looking too good. :)

Laron said...

That is some very interesting info there Bonnie. As of last week, I started to go grain/wheat free as I recently had some intuition come to me, triggered by various symptoms I have become aware of within my body after eating wheat. I knew it wasn't just gluten that was the problem, its like you said, grain in general. This was without doing any research on it at all. It's good to hear some validation around my intuition on it.

Joe said...

I believe sprouted grains are a healthy option. Ezekiel 4:9 bread and the Silver Hills brand both use various sprouted grains.

Unknown said...

At nearly $8 a lb. (way over that if you include the shipping costs), I'm not going to be buying those old school wheat berries anytime soon. In the early '90s, I was lucky to have freshly ground wheat berries delivered to me by some entrepreneurial Christians (fantastic wheat flour), but ironically, the Thurston County Health Dept. shut them down.

My problem is that I love bread baking, and have baked all my own bread for the last three decades. The health difficulties I have for this are not too terrible (overweight, eczema), but perhaps there are others I'm in denial about as I haven't read any of the anti gluten/grain books out there.

Maybe I'll be grain free in the next life, but probably not this one; I'm just too addicted. Perhaps another solution will be found by then.

Fantastic Fox said...

I've been gluten free for years now, then again I have always had problems with my stomach and all sorts of foodstuffs. Also I think that milk isn't compatible with the human body at all, but I do use sour milk products and cheese, they don't seem to affect me. Sure some humans might have iron stomachs, but one day the body will start to show signs of dis-ease with the current unhealthy inflammating diet (which consists of wheat, milk, the wrong kind of toxic vegetable oils like margarin, refined salt and sugar), no matter how healthy you might be.

http://authoritynutrition.com/6-reasons-why-vegetable-oils-are-toxic/