THE (UN)SKINNY ON WHEAT
Modern wheat no longer acts a nutrient for our bodies but as a chemical. So even if you do not have celiac disease you may have issues with wheat. Here are some of the reasons.
Cultivated wheat has been around for about 10,000 but today there is nothing about it that resembles what ancient civilizations ate. Or even our relatives 60 – 70 years ago. The way we grow it, the way we process it and the way we eat it have all changed as a result of how it’s milled and how it’s cultivated and farmed.
In the 1870’s the transition of stone ground wheat to the steel roller allowed for the separation of the various components of wheat and the birth of white flour. It was cheap and had a longer shelf life. Pests didn’t want it essentially because it was lacking nutrients. The steel roller mill became so popular, so fast, that it quickly replaced the old method of stone milling within 10 years. It was basically the inception of processed food and the industrial food system. It allowed for vast quantities of shelf-stable ‘food’, or as we now know a facsimile thereof, to be produced in large factories, many months and many miles from the point of consumption.
The next change to wheat came in the 1950’s and 60’s in a movement called the Green Revolution, when wheat was genetically modified. A new so-called improved dwarf species of wheat along with complementing fertilizers and pesticides, increased wheat production spectacularly. In fact, Norman Borlaug who led the Green Revolution, was heralded as ending world hunger thereby earning him a Nobel Peace Prize. But the truth is this was just filling people up not really feeding them as the grain had lost all nutritional value, stripped of its bran, germ, shorts, and red dog mill streams, those components that are richest in proteins, vitamins, lipids and minerals. These new farming technologies were propagated around the world by Monsanto and Dupont. Better living through chemistry?
To summarize. First came the technology to turn wheat into what is essentially white dust. Then came the chemical and genetic technologies that made it pest, drought and blight resistant. It’s dwarf size made it easier to harvest, dramatically increasing the yield. Not only that the gluten content was increased for better baking results.
So basically wheat nowadays is a mutant seed that is grown in synthetic soil, bathed in chemicals, deconstructed into a fine dust that is bleached and chemically treated to create a substance that basically no other creature on earth will eat.
And now scientists are starting to connect modern wheat with all manner of chronic digestive and inflammatory illnesses. Wheat raises blood sugar levels, causes immunoreactive problems, inhibits the absorption of important minerals and aggravates our intestines. Cardiologist Dr. William Davis noted in his book, “Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Path Back to Health,” today's hybridized wheat contains sodium azide, a known toxin. It also goes through a gamma irradiation process during manufacturing. According to Alessio Fasano, the Medical Director for The University of Maryland's Center for Celiac Research, no one can properly digest gluten, even without celiac disease. We simply do not have the enzymes. These only touch on the scientific evidence that modern wheat is essentially not good for us.
THE GLUTEN-FREE IRONY
Many people who go gluten free do not have celiac disease, myself included. Modern wheat sensitivity is about the wheat itself not just the gluten. Added to that is the fact that most people who turn to gluten free-products (not alternate whole grains) are actually just eating junk food that contain the ingredients such as rice starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, potato starch and guar gum as a substitute for white flour, all highly refined industrial starches that spike blood sugar as much—or even more than—white flour.
I stumbled on eliminating wheat from my diet instinctively but it is clear that there is much evidence to support it.