Gut health is on my mind again today. Its no wonder since the gut is the second brain. I’d wager that it is really the first brain. What goes in our digestive system regulates EVERYTHING in the body. When we put poor things in the digestive track the end result is a host of disease. Lately I have been talking to an increasing amount of people with all sorts of autoimmune and other diseases impacted by what goes in and on their bodies. The more I talk to people with Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lyme Disease, MS, pH imbalances, gluten intolerances, Hashimoto’s, trouble conceiving, etc. the more that one theme is a constant. We all need to change what we are putting in our bodies. As people of all different disease backgrounds search for answers outside the traditional medications that they are offered, they are finding a common theme, which is diet change. We now know that to help all diseases like arthritis, Lyme disease, psychological disorders and even creating a biome where new life can grow, we need to change what goes in our bodies. If you think that is just on paper or in theory, it not. MANY doctors, especially Functional Medicine doctors and saying we MUST change our diets to cure these diseases. They are prescribing real food protocols.
If you are going to stop reading because you do not have any diseases, I urge you to read on. I am about prevention first and foremost. If you don’t have any health issues yet I encourage you to make these changes before you do.
While I talk a lot about getting back into whole foods, today I am focusing on one particular food, Wheat.
Wheat has gotten a lot of press in recent years. This is why we now have whole grocery store isles for Gluten free foods. Unfortunately there is a lot of misinformation out there about wheat. So many people have jumped on the bandwagon on Gluten-free thinking they have a “Gluten” intolerance. What many people don’t realize is that it might not be the gluten at all. It just might be the structure of our wheat today. I have written a post in the past called Breaking Up with Your Bread. This is going to take it a little deeper.
I have been reading a book called Einkorn Wheat, Today’s Staff of Life by Gary Young. In the book he talks about how the wheat we know today has been hybridized into something our bodies do not recognize (not to be confused with GMO). Originally wheat had 14 chromosomes. Over time to grow crops that were increased in yield, the wheat was hybridized to 28 and then 42 chromosomes. This had the result of lighter, fluffier bread that we know today vs. the more dense breads from previous generations. We always want the bread to rise and be big don’t we? To most of us that big fluffy bread is what bread is suppose to be. Unfortunately our bodies cannot process wheat with 42 chromosomes over and over again. It causes inflammation in the body and has a higher gluten content that diseases like to thrive on.
Furthermore, the All Purpose flours and Whole Wheat Flours we use today are depleted in many enzymes and other nutrients that they once had. It increase the size of the shaft for bigger yield the wheat lost some of its crucial enzymes that DO make wheat grain so good for the body. Most people are familiar with vitamins and minerals in foods. The flours of today are striped of their vitamins ,which is why you see bread labels that say “Enriched Wheat flour”. The wheat has been striped of its vitamin and minerals. A chemically manufactured version of the vitamins are added back in; “Enriched”. Guess what? You body does not know what to do with man-made vitamins added to bread. Beyond the vitamins there are the ENZYMES. Do you know what enzymes are and why they are important in your food? Until recently most people in the nutrition industry did not even really understand the importance of enzymes. Enzymes in food interact with are saliva and the juices in our digestive tract to help food break down and get where they need to go in the body. With out the enzymes are food in not doing what its suppose to in our bodies. Enzymes are responsible for many of the biochemical reactions that are part of the metabolic process. The food industry though we could just add stuff back in on the back end of food after it was processed. Unfortunately we now know it doesn’t work that way. We need the enzymes in their natural state. Furthermore, that Enriched flour is processed into nothing but pure glucose in the body.
Here is my favorite sentence from the book as Gary Young writes it:
“Modern Wheat turns to glucose 3 times faster that White sugar. Because gluten is a super starch, a super fat, and a super drug, it is very addictive and causes cravings for carbohydrates that increase blood sugar, blood insulin, fat storage and food intolerances.”
Let’s back up and talk about carpet for a minute.
Carpet is the perfect analogy for talking about a healthy gut. Think of nice new clean carpet. It’s fluffy and soft. We can see the individual fibers and when we vacuum it, the dirt is easier to be removed. Our gut lining is like a carpet. The villi of the gut when they are healthy and happy look like that brand new carpet. When food goes in that the villi recognize, it absorbs the nutrients it needs for all organs of the body. Now picture the 10 year old matted carpet that you can never seem to get stains out of. That is what you gut increasingly looks like over time when you put wheat it can not recognize into the gut. The villi get inflamed. When they are inflamed they get matted and clump together. This creates gaps where food actually fall in to the gaps and does not get digested (this causes Leaky Gut Syndrome).
42 chromosomes cannot absorb into the villi like 14 chromosome bread could. We absorb the glucose but not much else. Our 42 chromosome bread is one of the things creating the matted carpet.
Celiac disease is a different bird to talk about but for the visual, when you look at a gut of a person with Celiac disease it resembles a tile floor. The villi are not there to absorb anything.
With the 42 chromosomes came increase gluten content. So we blame the gluten. Gluten in itself is not the bad guy. The bad guy is actually Gliadin which is a gluten protein. We have altered the proteins with hybridization. Added chromosomes altered the protein structure to something we can’t recognize.
The good news is that we can change our internal carpet to look and feel like new.
So what wheat do we eat? Have you heard of Ancient grains?
Ancient grains are varieties of grains that have little or no hybridization. It’s really hard to find ancient grains especially in the US because plants do naturally cross-pollinated and hybrids occur. Grains like Spelt, Farro, Amaranth, Barley and Einkorn among others have not been hybridized like traditional wheat. Therefore our bodies digest them better. Gary Young found unchanged wheat in the Middle East on his travels and was so taken by bringing back the original wheats that after years of research he started growing Einkorn in the US.
Some of you may have heard or even tasted Ezekiel bread. Ezekiel is a blend of grains but its base tends to be Spelt. I admit it; I don’t love it. I am so use to the breads I grew up on that it was a stretch too far. I have been looking for something I like better. When I joined Young Living I heard a lot of talk about Einkorn wheat. So on my quest to find something that could work for my family I bought Einkorn flour.
Here are just a few benefits of using Einkorn Wheat flour:
Higher in protein, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B6
Two times more vitamin A
Four Times more beta-carotene and lutein
Five times more Riboflavin
You read that last part correctly. Einkorn has very low Gluten. Because it does not have all those added chromosomes the wheat is lower in gluten. The Gliadin protein has not been altered so our bodies to not react like they do to 42 chromosome wheat.
This is the perfect option for those looking to bake occasionally. Baking with Einkorn wheat flour is easier than making those gluten free concoctions with Almond flour, coconut flour, and Arrowroot powder. Yeah, I have tried those. Been there, done that. You may be asking yourself why we don’t just skip to these gluten-free options. The problem there is that most gluten-free foods have compensated by increasing the sugar in the product and using a lot of indigestible additives that are bodies also see as foreign. You are not decreasing disease by adding in more sugar and chemicals just to avoid the Gliadin protein. We want to be putting in foods that are closest to their original state in nature.
So the question is, when are you when are you going to start using Einkorn flour?
Put that sandwich bread, potato rolls, hot dog buns, pancake mix, boxed cake mix, dinner rolls and French baguette from your regular grocery store in the trash and start making your own baked goods.
Your body will thank you when you make the switch. Imagine a life without these diseases that are so much on the rise in our society. Imagine feeling amazing. This is one step to amazing health.
There are several brands of Einkorn flour available. This where I get mine:
Young, D.Gary, Ancient Einkorn, Today’s Staff of Life, Young Living Essential Oils, 2014.