The following is an extract from “The Consumption Cleanse” chapter on Wheat.
Back in the day wheat used to be wheat. Nowadays what we call wheat, or more precisely the thing that actually lands in our mouth that we call wheat, is so far from the original heirloom grain of yore that we really should have called it something else – perhaps ‘Frankenwheat’. The oldest known variety of wheat, Einkorn, first surfaced in biblical times around the Mesopotamia neighbourhood.
From this fairly nutritious, low gluten natural grain, bread was made by simply soaking, sprouting and fermenting the grain and then cooking it with slow rise yeast. We have meddled so extensively that a once healthy food is now one of the most unhealthy. Well done modern man. Today’s wheat has been hybridised over and again to force it to suit our mass agriculture system. It is probable that it has also undergone some genetic modification, although that is the topic of heated debate. From the still somewhat nutritious grain, today we remove all the good bits, namely the bran and the germ, leaving only the starchy carbohydrates of the endosperm (reader giggles because I almost said sperm). We don’t soak, sprout or ferment anymore, we just grind, add a load of chemicals to make up for the ones we took away and then bleach and bake with quick rise bleach. Efficiency trumps goodness again.
So what is my beef with wheat exactly. I had already reduced my bread and pasta intake before I started this book just based on the idea that there was minimal goodness in the wheat of today. I knew wheat was mostly carbohydrates and ‘low-carb’ was the only way to achieve my exercise-free six pack abs which never eventuated. After researching this topic I do feel like my wheat reduction was on the right track, but for only a fraction of the reasons. These reasons are becoming more widely publicised and while wheat does feed more people than any other food, there is a growing shift by both people and business away from it.
I have no issue with bread or pasta, they are merely the innocent victims of their own ingredients. It is wheat that I’m going after and you will see why in ‘Why is it Bad’ below. You’ll see that you can ditch wheat and still eat pasta, bread and other foods that are normally made with wheat, but without the damaging side effects.
What is it?
Most baked stuff is already covered off in the Confectionery chapter. Bread and pasta made with refined wheat is the main target this week. Also off the shopping list are crackers, chips, pastry, flour tortillas, semolina and bulgur.
Whole grain wheat contains all parts of the seed, and is loaded with fibre, protein and nutrients making them satisfying and nutritious. So if you wanted to soften the your effort here, you can eat whole grain wheat. Keep in mind that whole grain bread is still out. It is simply a few whole grains splattered about on a refined wheat canvas. I’ll keep whole grain wheat off the menu for myself on account of the glyphosates used in its production, which is discussed below.I think you might find it easier in any case just to go hard core and say No Wheat.
How much do we consume and why?
Approximately 700 million tons of wheat are now cultivated worldwide making it the second most-produced grain after maize. However it is grown on more land area than any other commercial crop. You would think that this being the case, it would at least be something that is generally good for you. It is not as you will see below.
We consume the hell out of bread because it tastes so good and because we always have done so. But while we’ve been consuming it they have been changing the formula. Now it is still bread on the surface, but sadly, the profit motive and chemicals have made it no longer good for us. Time to let them know that by not eating wheat based bread. Them? They, you ask? I don’t know who they are, but stop eating this toxic consumption item, it does you no good at all.
Why is it bad?
The low carb, high carb, mega carb, no carb and bi carb approach to diet is not something this book delves into. It is not a diet book. It’s a book about consumption. Everyone knows bread and pasta and other wheat based products are high in processed carbohydrates. Whether that’s good, bad or ugly is subjective and dependant on the dietary trends of the day.
Disease and Death are a little less subjective and really not trendy at all. Modern day wheat grains are the cause of so many documented health problems that I’d say on a personal health level, it comes second only to sugar in terms of shocker foods.
- Glyphosates. This is the big one. This is the bit to pay attention to. If this wasn’t a problem, I’d consider still eating whole grain wheat at least. Glyphosates, the main active ingredient in common herbicides such as Monsanto’s infamous Roundup® is a poison. It is promoted as a poison. It has been declared a Class 2B carcinogen by the World Health Organisation. It is the most commonly sprayed poison on wheat crops the world over, GMO strains or not. Worse, in the US particularly but not exclusively, crops are drenched in this toxic poison just before harvest. This kills the plants, making them go to seed quicker and uniformly, making the harvest easier. Those plants not yet ripened, those that were still green, soak up the Roundup and die. Of these greener plants, the Roundup is trans-located into the kernels and eventually harvested as such. Wheat consumers undoubtedly consume small quantities of Roundup and larger if harvested as per the practice above. Ok. So I’m going to eat something that has been sprayed with a deadly poison, possibly just prior to harvest. No thanks. Glyphosate exposure, either from your environment or in the food you eat, disrupts good gut bacteria, decimating the beneficial gut microbes and weakening the intestinal wall. This makes you not only susceptible to glyphosate side effects, but other toxic chemicals you encounter. Glyphosate impacts are slow and insidious hitting your system over many years as your cellular system gradually becomes more inflamed. The consequences of this inflammation commonly include gastrointestinal disorders, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, depression, autism, infertility, cancer, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. On this topic my favourite clip is the one showing the Monsanto lobbyist telling a press conference that Roundup is safe to drink. But when the interviewer offers him a glass of it, he loses the plot. Check it out for chuckle.
- GMOs. So that it can tolerate glysophates, big food has invented a highly modified version of wheat, affectionately referred to as ‘frankenwheat’ by Dr Davis in his book ‘Wheat Belly’. This book is considered to be the bible of the wheat-free movement. Check out the clip that talks about his research. GMO wheat is creeping its way into our food systems regardless of whether it has approval to do so or not. It is banned as unsafe everywhere in the world, but this may be changing with lobbying from corporate interests. See the chapter on GMO Foods.
- Increase in Celiac Disease and Gluten Intolerance. In a report in a 2013 study published in the journal Interdisciplinary Toxicology,1 clear links can be seen in both Celiac disease incidence and glyphosate use on wheat crops.
- Autism. A recent study has an association between gluten sensitivity and autism.2 If you have an autistic child, you might want to steer clear of wheat, at least until more supporting research has been undertaken.
- Azodicarbonamide(ADA). ADA is a dough conditioner used when wheat is made into bread and pastries and the like. It’s also an industrial chemical that’s also used in the manufacture of yoga mats, shoe rubber and synthetic leather! Yummy. ADA can cause respiratory problems, skin irritation and disrupt the immune system.
- Blood Sugar Spikes. As bread is high in carbohydrates it can cause blood sugar spikes. Even whole wheat bread spikes blood sugar faster than many candy bars.3
Book 1 of the Consumption Cleanse continues the story and discusses how to remove wheat from you life and gives up some useful alternatives.
1 Sarah Pope, “Monsanto’s Roundup Responsible for Skyrocketing Rates of Celiac Disease, Gluten Intolerance and Other Wheat-Related Illnesses”, http://www.globalresearch.ca/monsantos-roundup-responsible-for-skyrocketing-rates-of-celiac-disease-gluten-intolerance-and-other-wheat-related-illnesses/5419461,accessed 7/3/16
2 Nga M. Lau et al, “Markers of Celiac Disease and Gluten Sensitivity in Children with Autism”, http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0066155, accessed 7/3/2016
3 Harvard Health Publications, “Glycemic index and glycemic load for 100+ foods”, http://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/glycemic_index_and_glycemic_load_for_100_foods, accessed 7/3/16