It is time to begin rethinking food – as a parent, as an adult, as a critical thinker, as someone with a food intolerance.
I grew up eating Frosted Flakes, Rice Crispies and Corn Pops – do you know what they all have in common? They all contain wheat. It seems to be hidden in nearly every processed food, regardless of product name. It turns a cheap grain into an expensive frozen meal or box of beloved cereal or artisan bread.
The all American breakfast: sausage or bacon, omelette and a side of toast or pancakes – without a doubt made exclusively from modern wheat.
Is it much ado about nothing, or is it really the fluffy glutenous grain ruining our health? William Davis, MD, certainly thinks the latter and in most of it I agree. Last year we went gluten free for 2 weeks, to try and determine for ourselves if gluten was a potential indicator for our (Cheryl and Roland’s) sluggish or simply less than ideal digestion, Csermely is a little tank, she can eat anything, so far anyhow, and it is our job as responsible parents to keep it that way. Our conclusion then was that we did indeed feel better on a gluten free diet! Yet, we are not opposed to eating grains, we view it part of our diet, part of agriculture and part of a balanced life.
When we started eating bread again my irritable bowel began acting up, the stomach churning in the night, the swollen (wheat) belly, the diarrhea…
So, after reading Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health I began to question whether eating modern wheat was worth it. Were a few slices of airy bread worth a month long sinus infection? Was the weekly tantalizing pizza, that was leading my body to a state of acidosis, worth it? Have I been baking bread the wrong way all along? Why do we even desire the lofty breads of mass destruction?
Up until some time in the 1960′s wheat remained essentially the same, standing almost 4 feet tall with tight clusters of berries, golden and waving in the breeze. Then mass production stepped in and hybrids came into existence left and right to produce the now common dwarf and semi-dwarf varieties that are less than half the height of their former glory.
“It was simply assumed that, because hybridization and breeding efforts yielded plants that remained essentially “wheat”, new strains would be perfectly well tolerated by the consuming public.” p. 25 Wheat Belly
Generalizations often lead the unassuming astray. Wheat has been modified over the last 50 years to produce short stalks that can bear the weight of heavier heads and seeds, to make it easier to harvest. More, more, more! We can feed more people, yet the nutrition is declining. Breads are fluffier, but they are lacking in zinc, magnesium, copper and iron. Harvests are large but the modern wheat needs to be handled like a baby, providing fertilizers and aid – it cannot grow alone like its ancestors – einkorn and emmer wheat.
With the rise of celiac disease, diabetes, acidosis, thyroid problems, cancer and the ever increasing waistline of human society it is time to take a good look at what we are eating.
Is it wise to give up wheat? Modern wheat? Our answer is yes. We are giving it up in favor of other grains such as spelt and barley (both contain gluten), buckwheat, millet and organic corn.
Proper preparation of grains, such as soaking and making slow rising sourdough bread will replace our learned ways of making fast rising industrial bread and cakes at home. Giving up wheat is not giving up life. It is giving up cravings, it is gaining intestinal health, it is a path to nutritional healing at home.
If you are gluten intolerant without a doubt or are just looking to reduce your consumption (along with the many side effects of consuming modern wheat) then Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health is a must read for your understanding of gluten, gliadins and the scientific basis of why we should not eat modern wheat!
This book left me with some things to think about:
- Traditions are not the same when the ingredients are changing at an ever alarming rate.
- We are changing agriculture faster than the stomach can adapt.
- Mass produced food is changing our insides in ways never seen before.