Monthly Archives: June 2009
Before I begin, let me just say that there are many foods out there that can cause or contribute to bad health; refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils to name a few. But you already know about the common culprits. Let’s talk wheat.
How many items of food do you eat each day that contain wheat (of any kind)? Chances are you eat wheat with all 3 meals plus a few snacks. We eat a lot more of it than we think we do, and over time, it can really cause some problems. But don’t take my word for it, I’m providing links to all of the articles that write about this stuff in great detail. (at the bottom) There are also links to some great sprouted wheat and healthier wheat products.
The One-Two Punch
Unsprouted wheat, along with many beans and other grains contain two evils that are at the root of the issue. Lectin and Phytase. Both of these are in the grain to protect it from disease. God made it that way. Once sprouted, both of them get reduced to almost zero.
The lectin in wheat is essentially a long chain protein that loves to bind to the cells that line the stomach and intestines and cause inflammation and destruction of the lining. It even gets past the intestine wall and enters the blood stream and creates havoc with your immune response. Your ability to properly digest food is essential to your health. Lectin also is usually able to bind to the insulin receptor, telling your body to store fat. This response along with the fact that wheat’s complex carb get’s converted to sugars in your stomach real fast means that your blood sugar is freaking out, and your body is mistakenly telling itself to “store fat”. Lectins, in general, are in us all, and in animals and plants, and many have a good role to play, but the lectins in unsprouted grains are not good for us.
Phytase, or phytic acid, is equally menacing. Here’s a quote from Sue Gregg’s blog.
“Just because you’ve switched from white flour to whole grains does not mean that you are getting all the nutritional value. In fact you may also experience new problems with digestion and assimilation. That is because whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain. Phytic acid combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract.”
Phytase basically blocks your bodies ability to absorb the things it needs, even if you ate a healthy meal. This isn’t an immediate concern, but over time your body will begin to notice, and systems will start to falter.
So to summarize, wheat basically spikes your blood sugar, allows destructive lectins in, and blocks the absorption of many nutrients your body needs. This process over time can lead to many health problems including inflammation disorders, diabetes, allergy, fatigue, osteoporosis, and even cancer..
Going Old School
Our ancestors had it all figured out. The 3 ways to make grains and beans healthy for us are sprouting, soaking or fermenting. Again, Sue Gregg says it best.
“Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize a large portion of the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption. This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins, and difficult-to-digest proteins including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.”
Sprouting converts the grain into a vegetable. It totally enhances it’s nutrition value, and makes it super easy to digest without the “high glycemic” factor. And soaking – now we know why Grandma always had a big pot of beans soaking for a day in cold water.
Ideally, all breads everywhere would be made sprouted or at least “sour dough” which uses cultures to ferment it, but we are left to fend for ourselves. So what to do? I have decided to do two things. One is to reduce the amount of grain products that I eat everyday, focusing on lean proteins, vegetables and good fruits. The second is to use sprouted or old world grains when I do eat “grain products”.
What the heck is an old world grain? We now know that modern wheat has been genetically engineered to get a more robust, and high gluten (more lectin) product. But back when the earth was younger, we ate Kamut and Spelt, and Quinoa. Kamut and Spelt are both wheat, but they are some of the earliest varieties of wheat on the earth. These grains are more nutrient rich and have lower natural levels of lectin and phytase.
So I eat sprouted for all my breads, and old world for all my pastas, since pastas are going to be soaking a bit in boiling water, and the phytase will be mostly removed since it is water soluble. It just drains off in the pasta water. Eden Organic has some amazing pastas made with Kamut, Spelt and Quinoa.
You can sprout your own wheat, but I prefer to buy sprouted wheat and spelt flour online. Bre and I buy Ezekial bread for most standard bread products, and I make the rest from scratch. We make pizza crusts, cookies, pie crusts, biscuits and pancakes all from sprouted wheat or sprouted spelt.
Here’s a sprouted wheat crust for our Bacon, Swiss and Spinach Quiche.
If you decide to ditch the unsprouted grains, you’ll also want to try to buy chicken and beef that are organic and grass fed, since grain feed animals end up with lectin and phytase in their meat. And do your self a favor and get organic eggs if you can afford them.
It’s a tragedy that eating health has to cost so much and be a pain in the butt while eating poorly seems so cheap and easy. But if eating poorly leads you to major health crisis in the future, you’ll be paying for it in other ways. Think of eating well as insurance for your future health.
If you want to read up on the dangers of modern, unsprouted wheat (this includes whole wheat… pretty much everything at the grocery store in the bread isle), then check out these references.
Here are the links to our favorite products or brands for sprouted grain products. :)
Ezekial Bread (Food for Life)
Alvarado Street Bread Co. (sprouted sourdough)
– they also have a sprouted hot dog bun.
Sprouted Flours (unsifted and/or sifted for finer baking)
You can use sprouted flour just like the usual unsprouted kind in any recipe in the same quantities.
I hope you find this info useful.
Do you ever have one of those “Matrix” moments when you suddenly realize that you’ve been living in a false reality? It’s the moment of awakening knowledge, that makes your brain say “ah-hah!” It’s the sudden awareness that life can be better, and you’ve been taught all wrong.
Well, I’ve been having a Matrix moment for the last 6 months, and it all started when Bre and I visited a doctor in California. We were both sick of being sick, and tired of being tired, and needed some help. I’ve lived long enough now to know that what I eat can really affect every part of me, so we decide to give this doctor a try since he has helped almost half of my family become much healthier than they had been.
At the end of our second appointment we were both told to stop eating wheat. What? Stop eating wheat? Are you crazy? To be honest, I’ve been eating sprouted Ezekial bread for a few years (as toast in the morning), and I love it, but aside from that, I’m a wheat-a-holic, and Bre is no better. Here is a doctor telling me that eating any kind of unsprouted wheat is a bad thing for us. Wow.
So I started to ask the obvious question that anyone who believes that God is good would ask. If our Creator, who made the earth for us, and made us to prosper in it, and made the food for us to eat, is a good God and loves me, then why would eating wheat be a bad thing? Something is wrong with this picture. So I began to read up.
The funny thing about truth is that it is usually already staring you in the face; You just don’t have your eyes open to see it. As I read about wheat and other grains, I began to find out that “earth” people used to eat a lot less grains, and when they did, they almost always allowed them to sprout first before grinding them up to make stuff. In fact, many cultures around the world still do this. Only in Western societies do we grow and consume a “genetically enhanced” wheat that we process and over process and make into light, fluffy, sugary, yummy treats. It’s not sprouted. It’s not even the ancient wheat that early cultures ate. It’s mostly just crap in a loaf. And we’ve been taught, thanks to advertising, paid for by companies who push this stuff (well meaning or not), that we need whole grains to be healthy… History tells us that this is not the case. And the science to back it up has been emerging for the last 125 years. The problem is the Matrix has already been built, and the people are already happily living inside of it. And now they don’t want to change.
So why is this wheat so bad for me and my wife? Well, it all has to do with a bit of chemistry and the way our body works. This is where it gets crazy, so hold on. I’m going to try to connect the dots, and provide some references in a second post (part 2 coming soon)..