Lately wheat has been getting a bad rap. But what most people don't know is that there are many, many different varieties of wheat. Any wheat that was developed before the 1950s is considered 'heritage' and is free of any genetic modification. Any wheat developed after this period has been genetically played with (hybridized - not genetically modified.) - organic or not. So, when we are grocery shopping how do we ensure that we are getting healthy wheat?
Well, it is not easy! There is a lot of deception in our food industry. In my opinion whole grains are definitely healthy and should be consumed regularly. The "whole grain goodness" that you get in the grocery store is the exact opposite of good. A disconnect has been created between our food and where it comes from. Most people are not aware of what happens to their food before it gets to their table; I believe this is a large part of the reason that there is so much confusion around whether wheat is healthy or not.
I have talked about this issue with a variety of different people. Although I do not claim to be an expert by any means, I do feel that I have a bit of an understanding of what has happened and why modern day wheat is no longer a healthy product.
Our bodies have an amazing ability to adapt and adjust to diet changes, but the changes that have been happening to wheat have happened in such a short span of time, that our bodies have not been able to adapt. For over 10,000 years people have been consuming wheat products and up until just a few short decades ago conditions such as gluten intolerance and celiac disease did not exist. People were consuming wheat regularly, and it was great for their health. The evolution of our bodies over thousands of years made it possible for us to digest and utilize wheat, but the high-speed change that has happened to wheat in recent years has been too much for our bodies to keep up with. Our digestive system does not recognize this new wheat as digestible and is not able to process it for nutrition and energy. But the wheat they were consuming years ago was grown organically and without hybridization. It is only recently that organic farming even became a thing - up until then, all farming was done organically. People had been farming for thousands of years this way without the issues of wheat intolerance and celiac disease. These new health problems are directly related to the industrialization of agriculture and the "non-food" as I like to call it, that we are being fed. But, I digress. That is another issue entirely, possibly a discussion for my next post.
Back to my original question: how do we ensure that we are getting healthy wheat?
Basically, stop buying ANY wheat products from your local grocery store. Wheat that you find at your local health food store may be nutritious, but that is not a guarantee. Even some organic wheat is hybridized and it is not required to state that on the label. Look for 'heritage' or 'ancient' varieties of wheat. These are the varieties that our bodies have been able to utilize and digest without issues due to evolutionary adaptations. The older varieties of wheat are recognized by our bodies and can be processed for nutrition and energy.
The only sure way to know exactly what you are getting is to know your farmer and ask questions; constantly ask questions. Knowing your farmer is a great way to get reconnected with your food and where it comes from. Connecting with your farmer should be easy - most farmers love to talk.
The variety of wheat we carry is called Selkirk. It is a variety from before the 1950s, and is a healthy wheat that our bodies recognize. Our whole wheat flour, all purpose stoneground, and unbleached stoneground are all made from Selkirk wheat. When I consume this wheat, I feel comfortably full and well fed. I know that it has been grown organically and with care, because I was part of the entire growing process.
Here at Daybreak, we are the farmer and the processor and we would love to get to know you! Here's to our health, and to nutritious whole grain products.