Wheat: It does a body good?

in Health by

By Danette Vernon

Last month I had company and served up a quick meal, that included my roommates frozen biscuits. I had forgotten how good they were!

So when I replaced his, I bought some for me too. I just couldn’t resist. Then I spent a few days outside of my own element, wherein sandwiches, “on white bread,” were the rule of the day.  I was shocked at how much wheat I was ingesting, compared to vegetables–or anything really.

Many cultures in the world revere carbs in the form of bread, rice, or corn. Or for some, it’s simply all they have. But I knew better than to eat that much of a cereal grain…wheat in particular.

One, bread, my carb of the month, turns to sugar easily. Two, it’s nutrient deficient. And three, as noted in my last article, on occasion, it contains wood dust. But so does your average package of pre-shredded cheese, along with many other beloved pre-packaged foods. Check your labels for “cellulose.” (http://www.cracked.com/article_19433_the-6-most-horrifying-lies-food-industry-feeding-you.html)

Aside from these facts, cereal grains, due to their very nature, may inhibit the metabolism of what few nutrients there are in today’s average slice of bread. In addition, it is suspected that cereal grains may cause autoimmune reactions in more people than current statistics suggest (1 in 133).

Dr. Mercola, renowned advocate for a healthy life-style, tells us that, “Plants produce chemicals to defend against predators, such as insects and birds. These secondary metabolites may protect the plants but they can have negative effects on human metabolism.” He explains, “Lectins, which are proteins that are widespread in the plant kingdom, are recognized as major anti-nutrients of food. Cereal grain lectins are wheat germ agglutinin (WGA). It can interfere with digestive/absorptive activities and can shift the balance in bacterial flora shown to cause problems with normal gut metabolism. The potential to disrupt human health is high.”

It has been suggested that WGA, wheat germ agglutinin, can be found in even higher concentrations in whole wheat or sprouted wheat, the “go to bread” of the health conscious. So, what to do?

One, breast feed your children. Dr. Mercola quotes a study (Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism 45:4:2001, 135-142) wherein the authors, “performed a case control study of 250 children and found the risk of developing celiac disease {gluten intolerance}decreased significantly by nearly 2/3 for children breast-fed for more than 2 months. The age at first gluten introduction had no significant influence on the incidence of celiac disease. The authors concluded that a significant protective effect on the development of celiac disease is offered by breast-feeding.”

Too late, you weren’t breast fed, and neither were your children? For general purposes:

1. when making sweets or quick breads, you may substitute non-cereal grains such as Amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat flour (not useable for leavened bread products). These three grain-like seeds are gluten free and unrelated to cereal grains. Despite its name, buckwheat is not a wheat-relative. Nut flours or bean flour are also wheat substitutes.

2. If you could never see yourself giving up “gravy” or other sauces, you may substitute potato starch, arrowroot powder, or tapioca as a thickening agent in place of regular flour.

If, however, you have digestive issues or suffer from allergies, a classic autoimmune reaction, Dr. Mercola suggests looking, “at your family members and your family history for clues about dietary problems. Adjust the ratio of cereal grains to meat, vegetables, and fruits and see if the adjustment has physiological and psychological effects.”

In conclusion, he advises, “above all, eat a varied diet and not too much of one thing. And, finally, exercise regularly and with vigor.”

Amen.