To Wheat or not To Wheat?

Feel bloated after bread, pasta and other wheat products?

Most people eat wheat 3 times a day so as a Naturopathic practitioner and as a client it really deserves our attention.

The refining problem

The problem is not the wheat. In actual fact the wheat grain in its purest form is incredibly nutritious. The problem is more what we have done to the wheat grain in the refining process to make it last longer, taste lighter and appear purer!

Starts with the seed

Even before planting the wheat seeds fungicides and pesticides have been added to ensure pests are killed.

Chemicals in Storage

Did you know if there is one live insect per quart of sample of wheat fumigation is initiated? The goal of fumigation is to “maintain a toxic concentration of gas long enough to kill the target pest population.” The trouble is the toxic chemicals penetrate the wheat as well!

Too hot!

Much of the wheat is damp and is dried at temperatures too high denaturing it and robbing the grain of its nutritious value.

Milling and refining

Over the years wheat has become hybridised to meet the demand of the manufacturers, producers and the public. The heavy dense bread we were once ate hundreds of years ago has become a light, refined and chemical laden loaf.

The gluten load

Through hybridising the wheat the gluten content has increased dramatically causing celiac disease in many and celiac type symptoms in others. Gluten has also been linked to Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Autism, (Hadjivassoliou M. et al 2001). And in these cases where they ate gluten free diet these diseases dramatically improved. For more information and some great recipes see ‘Wheat Free, Worry Free’ by Danna Korn.

No longer a complex carbohydrate

Whole grains such as wheat (in its whole form) are complex carbohydrates whose job is to provide glucose, the energy fuel of the body. However, refined wheat (wheat as we know it today) is no longer a complex carbohydrate and is devoid of fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Diabetes Risk

Little digestion is needed for processed wheat such as white bread so it is absorbed very quickly. This means that glucose is floods our body and cells and if it is not expended as energy quickly we store it as fat! This hyperglycaemic state can lead to obesity, diabetes and low blood sugar.

Additional Nasties

Apart from anything else bread contains up to a teaspoon of salt per slice and sometimes sugar and other preservatives. You may see it has healthy vitamins and minerals on the ingredients. This is because all he naturally occurring nutrition has been destroyed and now the manufacturers have to add it back in!

Phew. No wonder our bodies feel bloated and tired after a big pasta meal or doorstep sandwich. Quite simply, our body does not recognise what we are feeding it.

But it’s everywhere! I hear you say.

It absolutely is. And I commend the wheat industry and contracts they have made with supermarkets to dominate the shelves with refined wheat products. But remember their agendas…they are not the same as ours.

On a very basic level I seek to feel energetic, clear minded, passionate and on the ball on a daily basis. There are many ways I can feel this and food is one fantastic way. Wheat is wonderful but not in its current form.

So what are the wheat alternatives?

In natural health you are your body’s expert. No one else can tell you to eat a certain super grain, only you know what you feel good on.

Experiment with Spelt (how we used to eat wheat), millet, rye, rice, maize, oats, quinoa and buckwheat. They all have very different flavours and most are wonderfully light compared to wheat. All are available in health food shops and most large supermarkets stock a good whole grain selection.

For a bread alternative try a large romaine lettuce leaf with all your favourite ingredients to keep you feeling light and energetic throughout the day.

For some wonderful alternative recipes and insights into why we should steer clear of wheat for optimal health see ‘Cooking Without’ by Barbara Cousins.

Once you have your alternative recipe ideas in place I challenge you to take wheat out of your diet for 1 week. Notice how you feel on a physical and emotional level. I would love to hear how you get on.

In health



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