Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Alternatives to Wheat

How much wheat do you eat on a daily basis? Did you know that the abundance of wheat in your diet can be causing health problems - some that you may not even be aware of? Wheat is one of the most common substances in many foods - it is also continually increasing the numbers of people who have allergic reactions from eating.

Many people make the mistake of simply replacing the wheat ingredient in foods with something else that can cause health problems as well - like soy or corn. But even these foods can cause allergies and health issues. Just like wheat, a great deal of corn and soy on the market is genetically engineered, treated with herbicides and/or is herbicide resistant from engineering. These foods cause a bevy of health issues when included in a regular diet.

The problem with wheat is twofold - (1) the fact that wheat is found in so many foods people eat each day and multiple times daily and (2) the fact that wheat contains 78% percent gluten. Modern wheat has been engineered to contain more of the gliadin, the substance in gluten which causes the "rise" factor when baking breads and doughs in the oven. Ancient wheats contained much less gliadin and were not eaten in such amounts as we consume today. Just take a look in your grocery store and read the labels on many processed foods. You will find that a majority of those foods do contain wheat.

What happens to the body when wheat is consumed? Your digestive tract can become irritated and hypersensitive to being repeatedly exposed to wheat. Many doctors and health sources report that an allergy is an abnormal reaction by the immune system to benign substances. But what is actually happening with reactions in the body to wheat is the fact that most wheat products are processed foods, which overall are not healthy to consume. When you consume wheat repeatedly, your body is reacting to a substance that is not healthy for your body. The same is true for many foods that people have reactions or allergenic responses to - such as peanuts, dairy, soy, corn, and even fish. Many of these foods are as unnatural as can be and are processed or contain some chemical or artificial ingredient that the body does not want or need.

After many years consuming unfermented, high-gluten grains can cause a long list of health issues including celiac disease, allergies, mental illness, chronic indigestion and candida albicans overgrowth (where unfriendly bacteria and yeast essentially take over the digestive tract and immune system, and eventually other organ systems). Recent research has connected gluten intolerance with multiple sclerosis.

What alternatives are available? There are good wheat alternatives to use that are becoming more and more available in the food marketplace. Some of these include millet, buckwheat, amaranth, and quinoa. However, use caution because if you are eating 3 - 6 servings of wheat daily already, you don't want to just replace your wheat servings with these and go on your way. Doing this can put you right back into poor health all over again. Why? Because if you are eating that many servings daily of wheat, you need to focus on putting something in your diet that is nutritious and something your body can actually use.

Cooked grains alone are not absorbable by the human digestive tract. You must be open to changing the way you eat grains. Fermented and soaked grains are much more digestible and nutritious than the kind our culture has been accustomed to eating for so many decades. For millinnea, people of the world have fermented and soaked grains because this is the principal method of causing the grain to become a food that the body can absorb and nutrient-dense. When you soak and ferment grains, gluten and other difficult-to-digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are easier to digest and absorb.

For more information about soaking and fermenting grains and how it can transform health, visit the Health Banquet and The Wedge. Also, read about the health benefits of grinding your own flour at The Urban Homemaker.

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