Last week I held my first local talk about growing health issues. What better way to start than the hottest food and diet trend. Gluten Free.
When I first came across this “Diet”, I was like oh here we go again. I scoffed. How can you eliminate the largest section of the food pyramid! Then all of these articles came out touting non-celiacs gluten sensitivity as a farce. And saying that no reaction could be proven. There what else do you need, for proof. Once I started looking at who financed these studies, or how they cherry picked the subjects, or even worse how the studies were completely misquoted. I decided to start researching more in depth.
What Happened to the Staff of Life?
To understand why man seems to be suddenly having wide spread issues with cereal grains, we must look at the history of medicine, agriculture, and the fight to end world hunger.
In the early 60’s a man named Norman Borlaug committed one of the most beautiful acts for man kind. A genealogist and plant physiologist, set out to end world hunger and stop deforestation. The United States had only just recovered from the devastating effects of the Dust Bowl which was at it’s peak in the late 30’s. Those areas most affected had not economically recovered until the mid 50’s, and there still remain ghost towns throughout the Plains Today.
He traveled to developing countries to education farmers on sustainable farming techniques, and very quickly realized that there needed to be a better grain that was more suited to a variety of climates. 1962 he successfully engineered a strain of wheat that was highly pest resistant, had more protein, was shorter and more dense as to not be knocked down by winds or heavy rains, and bared more wheat berries per stalk. It made such a huge impact on Mexico that it is named the catalyst for allowing them to grow into the developing country we see today. A nation that sits at the top of the list for countries set to make the leap from third world to first world.
Norman Borlaug won the Nobel Peace Price.
His dwarf wheat is spread to impoverished countries all of the world.
The first GMO’d crop, Norman Borlaug’s wheat, begins to be used in the US by the 1980’s and by 1997 it is 81% of the wheat strains grown world wide. Norman Borlaug was employed by Dupont. He is the father of GMO.
What does that mean for us?
Essentially when a stronger more pest resistant strain of wheat is created, it contains more of the things that are poisonous to the animals that eat it. Duh right.. but we aren’t beetles and aphids so we should be fine. Wrong.
The WGA, “Wheat Germ Agglutinin”, is one of those defenses. It clings to the inside of the exoskeleton of the insect, causes inflammation, and eventually killing the bug by separating their shell from their flash. Turns out that when we ingest WGA, some of it can slip into our blood stream, and it clings to our Cartilage, causing an immune response, inflammation, achy joints and eventually arthritis.
A stronger wheat higher in protein, yields a gluten protein that has a difference chemical ratio to ancient wheat. Rendering it super high in Gliadin and Glutenin. The two big baddies that nutritionists are pointing at for autoimmune diseases. Also accused of slipping the brain barrier and contributing to Alzheimer’s, ADD, Autism, Depression, Schizophrenia, and the list goes on.
Stronger, Faster, Heartier Wheat has more of the stuff we are not supposed to Eat!
We also produce the products we consume a lot differently.
It used to be that once the wheat berries were harvested from the stalks, we would then soak them for a few days until they sprouted. Eat some of these grains in stews, as cooked grains, or a porridge. Some would be then further let out to dry, then ground into flour. Mixed with yeast and left to ferment slowly, expanding and rising for a day until we could make bread to be eaten that day. Fresh bread was a special treat, for by tomorrow it would be hard and best dipped in broth, or ground into bread crumbs or croutons. OR we would take the sprouted grains and turn them into a mash, adding sugar, bacteria and yeast, and leave it to ferment making a tasty beer to enjoy next season.
Food took time. Sprouting changes the chemical makeup. Fermenting changes the chemical make up. Our bodies can then more easily assimilate the good nutrients like Vit B, Iron, magnesium, and Zinc. The fiber keeps us regular and feeds our good bacteria in our gut.
Now, we have industrialized and sped up the whole process. Drying, separating out all of the parts with solvents, degrading nutritional value (60% for whole grains and 80% for white). Grinding it up into a flour, and enriching the now sugary starchy powder with nutrients it used to have, usually only managing to get back 6% of what was lost. Then we quick rise it, or just fluff it up with hydrogenated oil, and pack it with more preservatives, and colorings so that it can look good and last for a month or so. Even if the wheat was not GMO’d the bread we have now in supermarkets is a distant cousin to what it used to only a few generations ago.
Get Back to Slow Food.
If you are still eating cereal grains. I suggest NO MORE then 1-2 servings a day, of NON-GMO, as in ancient grains like einkorn, kamut, and spelt. That have been SPROUTED, and baked with no hydrogenated oils, mono- and di- glycerides . Alvarado Street Bakery, Udi’s, and Ezekiel are good brands for bread found in general supermarkets. Usually in the freezer aisles. Flour to make your own bread to be found in super markets I really like King Arthur, Bob’s Red Mill, and Blue Mountain Organics.
Most importantly stopped buying pre-made packaged food. Learn to cook and feed yourself. Eat clean by sticking to the outside ring of the supermarket. Strongly question any food that you do not know what it is.
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