Why Should I Avoid Wheat, Even Whole Wheat?
98% of the wheat in the US is ground and refined into flour: all purpose, cake, bleached, unbleached, with added germ and/or bran..... They are all refined “white” flours.
There is now “white wheat” on the market that is very pale (white) whole grain wheat. It was cross bred to please the American population obsessed with their 'white' bread, a way to get 'white' into a healthier whole grain bread. Keep in mind, this hybrid wheat has all the complications of wheat and gluten sensitivities.
Gluten is in: wheat, barley (beer!), rye, spelt, kamut, and oats. Oats are available gluten free as oats do not have gluten in them naturally. Oats are contaminated in the handling process. Beer is available in gluten free varieties. CJ's and Price Chopper in Potsdam have gluten free beer varieties.
I have always loved this quote; it says it all about refined foods and their eventual, degenerative effects on the body:
“The whiter the bread the sooner you are dead!”
Refined flours have had the bran and germ removed. This removes the fiber and most of the nutrients. Refined flours are sticky like glue; they were once used as wall paper paste! This stickiness gums up your digestive tract contributing to constipation and bowel disease. Eating 100% whole grains, 100% whole grain flours and 100% whole grain products avoids these health problems. (As well as eating a high veggie diet and the fiber involved with that.)
So why avoid wheat, refined or whole wheat?
Wheat, real wheat, has been destroyed by human manipulation. It has been cross bred so many times it is far from what heritage wheat was centuries ago. This cross breeding, creating hybrid strains, has changed the nutritional value of the wheat. Commercial wheat is now extremely high in gluten as compared to wheat's heritage counterpart (old seed varieties that have not been cross bred).
Gluten is the protein part of the grain. Wheat has been cross bred to increase the gluten. More gluten means higher rising, lighter, fluffier bread; the American ideal. Gluten is what people have sensitivity and allergies to. Cross breeding has made this sensitivity more dramatic because of the higher levels of gluten and the resultant imbalance of nutrients.
A term used by health and whole food advocates is “frankenfood”. Wheat has definitely been cross bred into a frankenfood!
Gluten, which is very high in these frankenfood strains of wheat, causes inflammatory reactions in your body. Some people are very sensitive to it and eating wheat causes severe distress. This is celiac disease. Others simply have low level inflammatory responses. This is a harder situation to deal with as the distress is not severe and only creates low level symptoms. People are not sure what is causing their bloating, swelling of limbs, headaches, joint pain, skin rashes, chronic cough, sinus and allergy symptoms... the list goes on & on.
Wheat is no longer harvested as it once was: cut and bound and left to dry “cure” in the fields. Modern wheat is harvested and removed immediately from the fields before it has a chance to sun ripen. This, despite what agricultural “authorities” will tell you, seriously changes our body’s physiological interaction with wheat.
Our modern bread and flour products are no longer made in traditional manners: sprouting and/or fermenting with a sour dough process. Our bread and flour products are now made with yeast. Sour dough fermentation changes the gluten in the flour making it digestible and tolerable to most people. http://www.culturedfoodlife.com/can-sourdough-change-the-gluten-free-diet/
Another issue with wheat is the use of pesticides on agricultural fields. These chemical pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, insecticides, and even the chemical fertilizers become part of the soil the food is grown in. These chemicals are absorbed through the plant roots and are a part of every cell of the food you eat. If these chemicals are sprayed onto the plants, the chemicals are absorbed into the whole plant just as a chemical rubbed onto your skin would be absorbed into your body and become a part of your every body cell. Chemicals destroy your gut microbial health and irritate and inflame your digestive tract lining.
Avoiding wheat completely will help to heal your gut and your whole body. Wheat, and wheat based products, are in everything from soy sauces, packaged foods like soups/stews/salad dressings & sauces of all varieties, vodka, cosmetics, glues (even the glue you lick on envelopes!). Avoiding wheat takes educating yourself, practice and….
Thickening stews, gravies, puddings, sauces, etc.: Use organic corn starch (organic avoids GMO corn) and tapioca starch. Certified gluten free oat flours works but does not thicken as “thick” as wheat flour.
Making Recipes Gluten-Free: Any recipe can be made gluten-free. Just substitute gluten free flour for the gluten containing flour. If a recipe calls for 2 cups all-purpose flour, use 1 ½ cups of whole grain, gluten-free flours. Let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes then stir again & decide if the consistency is too runny or too thick for whatever you are making. Add liquid or flour accordingly to thin or thicken the batter. See making any recipe whole handout. If you need this handout, email me.
Reading the Labels
The best way to be sure that your food does not contain wheat is to read the labels. Anything that contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), modified starches, or malt will usually contain wheat. Unless the label says otherwise, it is almost safe to assume that the product contains wheat. Certified gluten-free means wheat, rye & barley free.
Gluten Free Products
A word of caution: when a health problem arises manufacturers are quick to respond with ' food products' of all kinds to help solve your problem. Gluten free products are HIGHLY processed and full of junk ingredients.
This is equivalent to the “Health Food Store Syndrome” – people buying anything in a health food store because “it must be good for me”, “it's organic”, “it’s sold in a health food store”, etc.
Gluten free does not mean it is healthy. There are thousands of gluten free products on the market: cakes, cookies, breads, pizza crusts, boxed mixes; processed food heaven! Learn to read labels. Most of these products are full of fillers. Yes the “fillers” in question are gluten free, but they are also refined, nutritionally devoid foods. If the natural, whole food nutrition is not in the food, the refined food product will rob your body cells of nutrients and contribute to degenerative diseases. You are trading off one health problem for another health problem of equal degenerative quality.
Things to look for are: white rice flour, corn starch, potato starch, tapioca starch. Basically cheap, filler ingredients that just do not seem real; keep refined ingredients out of your diet! These fillers create a host of health problems in your body including blood sugar and insulin issues that contribute to inflammation and exacerbate health issues.
Brown rice bread without fillers is a good alternative and is carried at Potsdam Food Coop, Nature's Storehouse, Canton and maybe even Price Chopper. Avoid the White Rice Flour bread and products; these are refined, white rice!
www.littlestream.com has 4 or 5 varieties of gluten free bread that are whole foods. Gluten free breads tend to be denser and heavier. Gluten is what makes bread rise up and feel 'fluffy'. This is why commercial white breads are so fluffy! Gluten free does not get fluffy. The brown rice, brown rice & raisin and quinoa loaves are mild tasting. The buck wheat loaf is very yummy, has a strong taste as buck wheat is strong like rye. (If you ever ate real rye bread, not the commercially baked variety with maybe a ¼ cup of rye flour per loaf, but real 100% rye bread.... it is dark, almost black and strongtasting. Russian Black Bread is a perfect example of great rye bread. I am not teasing you here to try real rye bread, rye has gluten. I am just giving explanations for better understanding!)
Some people find they easily tolerate whole spelt and whole kamut varieties of wheat. These are heritage strains of wheat and have not been cross bred to death. Because they are still heritage strains, the gluten is much lower and in proportion to the other nutrients, balanced like nature planned! Know your sources to be certain spelt and kamut are being used, not a hybrid whole wheat.
If you want to avoid gluten, avoid spelt and kamut. Avoid ALL wheat, rye, and barley, as well as oats that are not certified gluten-free. I would recommend oats that are certified gluten free and organic to avoid chemical irritation to the gut and body’s cellular health.
I often question whether these “heritage” varieties are even pure anymore or just another form of hybrid wheat with all the gluten problems. You have to be 100% certain of your source of grain flour.
Potsdam Food Coop has whole grain spelt and spelt raisin made in their Carriage House Bakery. Little Stream Bakery has several varieties of spelt bread and a kamut loaf: nutritious, delicious, and lower gluten.
NOTE: If you have Celiac disease, spelt and kamut are NOT OK grains to eat. If you are avoiding gluten to heal arthritis or any other health condition, these grains are also not ok.
Enjoy whole grains; strive for heritage varieties avoiding hybrid wheat. Strive for gluten-free grains when eating wheat free and gluten-free. Be well! Paula
Learn how to live Gluten Free in the home study course created for your vibrant health: