My take on Wheat
- Created on Sunday, 13 September 2020 05:23
Wheat is certainly a food that people love to hate, especially on the internet. For sure, there are people with gluten-sensitive enteropathy or celiac disease who cannot eat wheat, period. They must avoid it. But what about others?
There’s a growing trend to adopt the view that wheat is bad for everyone, that it hurts some people more than others, but it hurts everyone.
Well, if that’s true, then there has either been a change in people or a change in the wheat because there have been cultures that relied on wheat heavily. For instance, the Roman legions conquered the world on a diet that centered on wheat and barley. Wheat was the mainstay of the diet of the slaves who built the Egyptian pyramids.
For sure, no one has to eat wheat. There is no nutrient in wheat that cannot be obtained from other foods.
Besides the gluten, there is concern about the phytic acid in wheat which binds minerals. But, that’s less of a problem when wheat is leavened, allowed to rise, as in leavened bread. But, not all the wheat people eat is leavened, for instance, there is pasta and also wheat cereals. And, eating Vitamin C-rich vegetables with wheat neutralizes the phytic acid to a great extent.
If you consider the history of wheat, you know it’s a grass and it was originally grown to make grass for grazing animals. Yes, cows can graze on wheat grass, and they love it, and I have seen them do it. I used to live in a small Texas town that was agricultural, but mostly towards raising cattle. And in the winter, they would grow wheat and rye as winter grasses for the cows. It was quite a sight to be driving through dormant winter landscape and then come upon an emerald green field of lush winter wheatgrass, a green sea of it in the dead of winter. It was amazing.
So, wheat was cultivated, at first, to feed animals, but then, perhaps at a time of deprivation, they figured out how to make the stuff consumable by humans, and bread was born.
So, wheat is certainly not a primordial food for humans, like fruits and nuts. It’s a makeshift food.
So, what should we do with it? Why are we even talking about it? Throw the damn stuff out.
Well, the thing is: some of us do enjoy some good hearty whole grain bread, which is going to be made with wheat or mostly wheat. And I admit that I enjoy good whole grain bread. With some tasty avocado and some vine-ripened tomatoes and red pepper, those sandwiches are delicious.
So, I sometimes do eat such bread. But, I’ll add that I went ahead and did the antibody test for gluten sensitivity, and it came back negative. And, I really wasn't surprised because eating wheat never seemed to bother me.
But, there is another consideration, and that is that some people gain weight very easily if they eat bread- even whole grain bread. So, I recommend no bread to those who are struggling to lose weight.
But, I think it’s important to keep one’s perspective about this because whole wheat is a whole, natural, plant food (assuming it’s non-GMO and preferably organic). And as a whole, natural plant food, it does contain a host of nutrients and a lot of accessory chemicals collectively called phytonutrients, including antioxidants, plus plenty of fiber.
I have to believe that whole wheat is non-atherogenic, non-diabetogenic, and non-cancer causing. And heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are still the three biggest killers. Unless you get some unusual disease, heart disease, cancer, or diabetes are the most likely way you are going to die. So, if whole wheat is on the right side of those 3 diseases, it’s worth noting.
So, the bottom line for me is that some people should avoid wheat completely, and nobody should eat it wily-nily. And basically, the less of it you eat, the better. However, so long as you aren’t allergic to it, and assuming you don’t have a weight problem, if a little whole wheat bread is the worst thing you ever eat, you are likely to live a long time. There are a lot worse things you could be eating.