Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why Is Wheat Such A Problem . . . or . . . Who's Been Monkeying With My Wheat?

Nearly every day I'm asked why food allergies seem to be so much more prevalent now than they were in the past.  So I decided to share my theories.  

Yesterday on my radio show I started a 2-part series on food allergies and how they affect your health.  So I thought I would share some of the information with you.  Since I know that many of you are dealing with wheat or gluten allergies, I decided to give you my theory on that subject first.  

My friend Di encouraged me to share this excerpt on wheat, flour and grains from my first cookbook, and since it's Earth Week I thought this was appropriate timing.  I hope you find this explanation enlightening . . . or at least interesting!  :)

So why change FLOURS . . . or . . . What Happened To My WHeat?

In my clinical practice I found that 9 out of 10 people I tested were allergic or at least sensitive to wheat.  Growing up on a farm where wheat was planted and harvested I think I have a bit of a historical prospective and as a scientist and researcher I have a bit of a scientific prospective that may be unique.

In my lifetime almost everything about wheat has changed considerably from farming practices to hybridization to the gluten content.  In the past, all evolutionary changes of plants and our human biology were able to keep pace with one another.  It often took decades for an actual change to occur.  However, after WWII technology was introduced to farming in at a fast pace.  Farmers could replace good farming practices, like crop rotation to build the nutrients in the soil, with chemical fertilizers . . . they could replace companion planting to reduce pests with pesticides . . . and as the soil became depleted the weeds naturally began to thrive so the next step was herbicides.   Each leaving behind their own chemical signatures in the soil so that as the next year’s seeds sprouted and grew they were up taking a chemical soup that human bodies were not designed to ingest.

If that were not bad enough, researchers began to create a “super wheat” hybrid with a higher gluten content, more disease resistance and higher yields.  Each successive generation of hybridization brought yet another change.  These fast evolutionary changes did not allow our digestive systems the time to produce the proper enzyme alterations to properly break the wheat down, leaving undigested foreign proteins to enter the bloodstream.  When this happens the body’s natural response is to build up an antibody to the foreign protein and an allergy is born.

Now of those 9 out of 10 patients only about 15% are actually totally gluten intolerant.  So by simply reverting back to ancient grains, 85% of my patients were have the ability to break down those protein forms and can enjoy more grains without the undesirable consequences (bloating, constipation, diarrhea, pain, vomiting, lethargy, indigestion, eczema, psoriasis, hives, rashes, and the list goes on and on).  Since these ancient grains are not the “big money” crops they are largely ignored by the big production farms and are grown by smaller, organic farms where the soil is carefully tended to produce healthy crops that contain more nutrients without the unwanted chemicals. 

Now for those of you who are in that total gluten intolerance group, the good news is that nearly all of the recipes that contain gluten have a GF sister recipe!  So no more Styrofoam nibbling for you!!!!  Now you can whip up light and fluffy muffins, breads, cakes, cookies and crackers fit to serve anyone . . . and best of all they will never know unless you tell them!

So here are just a few facts about the whole grains that make up the majority of the flours I recommend:

· Amaranth is a GF option that is rich in protein, calcium, iron and zinc as well as the amino acids (protein building blocks) lysine and methionine

· Blue Corn is also GF and contains vitamin A, manganese, potassium and small amounts of bio-available sodium

· Flaxseed is one of the best sources for lignin and omega-3 fatty acids as well as soluble and insoluble fiber

· Oats are one of THE most nutrient dense grains with significant amounts of bio-available B Vitamins, vitamin E, copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, protein and cholesterol balancing beta-glucan

· Quinoa is not a true grain, it’s actually a seed and it is the most nutrient pseudo-cereal of all!  It contains almost 20% high quality protein as well as iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, copper and sodium PLUS it’s GF

· Rice bran—the brown or dark colored coating on whole grain or brown rice—is rich in B vitamins, silica and fiber

· Spelt is rich in bio-available iron, magnesium, B vitamins, phosphorus, zinc, protein and its carbohydrates stimulate the immune system and regulate blood-clotting factors

· Wild Rice is not a true rice and it is one of the most nutritious of the grains.  It is high in protein, B vitamins (especially folate), iron, phosphorus, zinc, magnesium and fiber

You can listen to my entire presentation by clicking on the link below.  All of my shows are archived so that you can listen 24/7! 

Now if you have any questions you can call in next Wednesday and I'll answer them live on the air!

Happy Thursday!

Dr. P

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