In the past year, sales of ancient grains have increased by 50%. They are being used to make pastas, added to bread products, and now appear on food labels more commonly in grocery stores. Most people have heard of quinoa by now, even if they do still think it's a bit weird. Ancient grains are the modern food producers new best friend.
Ancient grains are making a comeback in many kitchens and with good reason. Many ancient grains contain more vitamins and minerals, more protein and fiber, and more flavour per bite than found in any modern grain. A particularly noteworthy one is einkorn. What's interesting about these grains is that although they have gluten,they are more digestible than modern grains. Many health conditions like leaky gut, Crohn's, celiac, arthritis, and eczema have been linked to modern wheat. The most common source of gluten in our society is modern wheat. Perhaps the problem is not the gluten at all, but the altered composition of the wheat itself. Wheat in it's true form is far less reactive and allergenic than the hybridized chemical resistant modern version.
This wheat has been altered to allow for higher yields and shorter stems. To withstand more application of chemical. To have shorter growing seasons for ease of harvest. It has not been altered to allow for better mineral absorption, or higher Brix (the energy content of the plant), or healthier seeds. Nowhere in this quest for the modern perfect wheat has the question of nutrition been asked. I attended an organic seed breeders meeting a few years back, and was shocked by the conversations. I was definitely the odd woman out. I was expecting talk of what kind of soil it was being grown in, and what the energy content of the wheat was. Looking back, I suppose I was a bit naive. It turns out I was all wrong about what's been happening in seed breeding - even organic seed breeding -, and modern seeds are not something I want to grow. Only a few people in the crowd had heard of Brix. I thought all farmers knew this! I was told that working towards a more nutritionally dense version of anything was naive and while a nice thought, just wouldn't pay the bills.
These are the kinds of people developing new versions of our food. Considering the nutrition is nice and all, but it just won't pay the bills. No wonder ancient grains are making a comeback. This way of thinking about wheat, rice, corn, barley, ALL of our food commodities as "how can I make more money off this while investing less in it" and not "how can I make this a higher quality product" is exactly what's gotten us into this illness epidemic. We are a nation of sick, tired, stressed and undernourished people. But we are not going to stay that way! The tides are turning, and the rise in popularity of ancient grains is a sure sign of it. Ancient grains created and bred by nature are what truly nourish us, and they are back to stay.
But ancient wisdom doesn't begin and end with grains. We are now finding that bison is substantially healthier than the modern society's version that we've called the cow. Heritage and heirloom vegetable varieties are available most places that carry seed, Canadian Tire included. Some ancient healing methods are proving more successful than modern day medicine. All that we need was created perfectly fine by nature, it just wasn't so good at being mass produced and patented.
Ancient grains tend to not yield as high as modern grains. Our einkorn has what we call a "high shatter rate" meaning that the heads full of grain, once ripe, will easily snap off the stem. This einkorn is very close to a wild grain so it is used to growing without the help of man's hand. The heads snapping off easily is simply it's way of ensuring more einkorn will grow there the following year and the plant will live on. Most ancient grains also grow with a hull on them in the fields. The hull is a protective barrier surrounding the seed inside to protect it from all kinds of things like chemical drift, sun bleaching and frost. This hull has to be removed before the grain can be used for human consumption as we cannot digest it. This adds an extra step of processing to ancient grains before they reach our table.
We are honoured to provide these health sustaining products - we hope you enjoy them as much as we do!