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Tasty & Healthy Nuggets, Issue #005. To eat, or not to eat wheat!
October 19, 2013
To eat, or not to eat wheat! Why it is a good idea to cut down on wheat consumption.I used to be a bread addict. Up until about twelve years ago I would have bread for breakfast and bread for either lunch or for dinner – plus some cakes and biscuits from time to time.
I ate so much bread that finally I became ill, and didn’t need a doctor to tell me that I had developed gluten intolerance. Even though I couldn’t picture a life without bread, I gave up wheat altogether and started to get better almost immediately.
What made it easier was the knowledge that if you stop eating the problem food for three months, you can often reintroduce it into your diet again - in smaller amounts.
What I had not counted on was that once the three months were up, I no longer craved bread in the same way I had done before. I would eat it but in much smaller amounts.
Our stone-age ancestors ate no wheat, and the wheat that was finally introduced to our digestive system bear little resemblance to the wheat used in most supermarket breads today.
The problem with modern flour is that almost all nutrients have been removed from the flour while improvers, enzymes, stabilisers, emulsifiers and preservatives have been added to make the bread stay soft and without deterioration for up to a week or even longer, which is completely unnatural. Never mind your health, the only thing that matters for the food producer is to give flour and bread as long a shelf-life as possible.
Modern refined wheat contains a lot of gluten as the more gluten there is in the flour, the lighter the loaf becomes - and the harder it is for our intestines to cope with this onslaught of gluten. It is apparently a specific subset of gluten, called gliadin, that is an intestinal irritant and which can cause allergic reactions.
Gluten is the key protein in wheat but it is also found in rye, spelt, barley and oats. Oats though, doesn’t contain gliadin. If you have gluten intolerance, you might still be OK to eat oats.
There are, of course, some conscientious bakers around who use nothing but unadulterated flour and make bread with only a small amount of yeast and/or sourdough bread. If you are lucky enough to have such a baker in your vicinity, do get your bread from there.
Apart from the health aspect, if you want to lose weight cut down on your bread consumption. It is a good idea to cut down on all types of wheat-based food.
You will gain more weight from eating bread than pasta though, as pasta raises your blood sugar levels much less than bread do. And the single best way to lose weight - and keep the weight off - is to keep your blood sugar as level as possible.
Even if you do not have gluten intolerance, swap food made with refined white wheat for food made with wholegrain as wholegrain are slow-releasing carbohydrates that will keep your blood sugar balanced and make you feel full for longer.
Have a think about how much of your food intake actually contains wheat – bread, pasta, cakes and biscuits. Your health and your weight will be much better off with a lot less wheat in your diet.
Until next time – Happy Cooking!
(The book on nutrition that I’m reading is: The Optimum Nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford.)
Comments? Ideas? Feedback? I’d love to hear from you. Just reply to this zine and tell me what you think.
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