What has gone wrong with our Gut health - is it modern day grains or is it something else.
The following article is a journey on how the world and our food has changed in the last 50 - 60 years. Knowledge gives us the power to make choices....I hope you find this helpful in making your own choices.
Every week at market 2 out of every 5 people come before Rory and I and say we don’t eat wheat or tell us they are gluten intolerant.
More and more people are now removing wheat and ‘gluten’ from their diet and feeling better for it. Yet they feel ok when they switch to grains like Spelt or Kamut, which both contain gluten – just a different type of gluten. So what is really going on.
For thousands and thousands of years grain has been a staple food for civilisations.
It was easy to cultivate, and it could be stored for years in the kernel form giving people food stability over years when conditions failed. It could be ground and prepared into fresh breads and porridges and it would release the nutrients and be nutritious, sustaining and enjoyable to eat.
So what has changed?
PHASE ONE – THE LATE 19TH CENTURY
In 1870 the steel roller mill changed the way our grain was milled.
It was fast and efficient and instead of mashing all the component parts of the grain together it could separate the parts allowing a fine white flour to be produced at low cost. People were delighted, rich and poor alike were getting what they believed to be a ‘quality’ product.
It also stored better- meaning it could be shipped longer distances. It also eliminated pest problems, pests no longer seemed to want to eat it…..so what is that telling you?
Within 10 years most of the old style stone mills were no longer in use and we had our very first ‘processed food’. The beginning of the modern industrial food system had begun. Food was able to be produced in large factories and was now ‘shelf stable’.
Wikipedia – “From a human nutrition standpoint, it is ironic that wheat milling methods to produce white flour eliminate those portions of the wheat kernel (bran, germ, shorts, and red dog streams) that are richest in proteins, vitamins, lipids, and minerals”.
The food value of a staple dietary food for millions of people was now just a filler with very little nutritional value at all and yet it continues to be the most popular way to eat wheat.
PHASE TWO – MID 20TH CENTURY
The Green Revolution is an historical fact. It began in the 1950’S and 1960’s.
The Green Revolution was about solving world hunger however, we are now seeing some unintentional consequences.
In 1970 Norman Borlaug was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in agriculture which people believe saved billions of lives worldwide.
His work in creating a new ‘dwarf’ strain of high yielding Wheat was praised as a life saver for billions of people at a time when crops were not producing enough to feed the growing populations of many people in developing countries like Mexico and the Indian subcontinent.
According to Dr William Davis the author of Wheat Belly –
“This thing being sold to us as Wheat – it ain’t Wheat. This stocky little high-yield plant, a distant relative of the wheat our mothers/grandmothers used to bake muffins is genetically and biochemically light years removed from the wheat of just 40 years ago”.
The amount of gluten in the new varieties had also increased, praised by bakers because it made their breads lighter and fluffier.
PHASE THREE – ROUNDUP
In 1974 Monsanto invented the herbicide Glyphosate and brought it to market under the trade name Roundup, after DDT was banned. But it wasn't until the late 1990s that the use of Roundup surged, thanks to Monsanto's ingenious marketing strategy.
Genetically engineer seeds to grow food crops that could tolerate high doses of Roundup. With the introduction of these new GE seeds, farmers could now easily control weeds on their corn, soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets and alfalfa crops—crops that thrived while the weeds around them were wiped out by Roundup.
Glyphosate-containing herbicides are now applied to crops several times each season both for killing weeds and for desiccation just prior to the harvest in non-Roundup®-Ready crops, such as wheat and sugar cane. It accumulates in the leaves, grains, and fruit, and thus cannot be removed by washing and, furthermore, is not broken down by cooking.[ 41 ] Nowell et al.
206 ] identified pesticides as a leading cause for declines and deformities among amphibians and pollinators in the United States.
Testing in Hawaii has shown Bees have Roundup in their gut linings.
One comprehensive information site is the link below. All the graphs show the same increase in health decline as the increase in glyphosate usage.
An estimated 6.1 billion kilograms has been applied worldwide over the last decade.
Is this why all the insects are gone?
Our final summary for you.
Here is where our daily bread is now positioned for the majority of people on the planet, and any of the other grain, and seed crops mentioned.
· We have created mutant seeds.
· We grow it in synthetic soil bathed in chemical fertilizers.
· We ‘dessicate’ it which means to soak it with a glyphosate herbicide just before harvest to increase crop yield and dry it out so it can all be harvested at the same time
· We pulverize it, bleach it and remove all the good nutritional parts to make fluffy bread and pastry's
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
· Reduce your intake of processed foods
· Buy organic grain and seed products (breads, pastas, crackers)
· Eat heritage fruit and vegetables where possible. Find that old orchard in your area and buy from them, or go to your local farmers market and buy from the growers, ask them if they spray. Some small growers like ourselves are not organically certified but we grow our own food without spraying. Not everyone is out to tell lies about your food.
· Cook your own meals and keep it simple
Fear is a terrible thing when the thing you fear is something you have no way to control. I can't make farmers change what they do - or can I ?
What if I stop buying their product?
Will they have to rethink what they do? Maybe if enough people say enough is enough.
As a consumer all we can do is choose to stop buying the products we don't believe in. I make conscious decisions about the things I buy, and if I don't believe in the ethics of the "Corporation" I choose not to buy their products.
We are focused on bringing you an 'ancient' grain bread by supporting New Zealand organic growers to continue to grow these old varieties using organic methods. This is our way of helping people make informed choices and support local initiatives.