“The wheat that is grown today is fundamentally not the wheat our not-so- distant ancestors grew”
If you found your way to this blog, you are most likely primal or paleo and do not eat grains much less wheat. You, no doubt, have put in your time and have found the reasons not to eat grains but here is yet another reason not to.
The world is consuming and being consumed by wheat. Gluten intolerance is on a sharp and dramatic rise with 1 in every 133 people being Celiac, which is severe gluten intolerance and a possible 40% of us being gluten sensitive. This is 4 times more prevalent than just 50 years ago. What’s more is that gluten intolerance comes in many forms and is being linked to many diseases such as neurological disorders, depression, osteoporosis, dementia, organ dysfunctions and a host of other big baddies. The big question on America’s lips is, “Why?”
First let’s talk about what gluten intolerance is. It is not a food allergy, not so simple, it is an auto-immune disorder in your gut, more specifically your small intestine. Basically, your gut doesn’t know what to do with the gluten and decides it is an alien life force and must be eradicated. So this triggers an immune response that damages the microvilli of the small intestines, which are the hair like cells that absorb the nutrition out of our foods for us.
Then the small intestine can no longer absorb the nutrients we desperately need and it gets upset. Very upset. The walls of the intestines get inflamed and soon most people get bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea, constipation, malnutrition and all sorts of lovely things. Undiagnosed celiac disease can lead to big troubles like anemia, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, acid reflux, Corhns disease and a multitude of cancers like esophageal and colon. (Gluten sensitivity can also lead to these same symptoms and diseases.)
So now back the original question, why this sudden rise in gluten intolerance and sensitivity? Well it seems the human’s proclivity of tampering with nature is wound up in this. The wheat that we are eating now to the tune of 146 pounds per person, per year, is not the same wheat of 100 or even 50 years ago. It has been hybridized into short stocky grain, bursting with gluten and is called “Everest” due to how much it is capable of producing.
Wheat was originally a much different plant, native to only a small region in western Asia and the Ethiopian highlands. It has historically been a large drooping grain, standing 5 feet high with a long narrow shape, high in protein and low in gluten. (Very difficult to harvest and mill) The husks are encapsulated and difficult to process. It had been the grain we ate for the last 7,000 year. Through hybridization the last 50 years, it has been changed in to a larger grain, low in available proteins and nutrients with more chromosomes and gluten.
“Everest” not only differs from our ancient grain genetically but it is also stored and processed in dramatically different ways. The commercial grain industry loves to have a surplus on hand so cereal grains are stored sometimes up to a couple years before it is milled, then stored again for a while. The metal grain silos where the grains are stowed are magnets for pest and mold infestation. For this reason they are routinely treated with anti-fungal agents and industrial pesticides. In fact some there are some crops in Canada that are first killed with Roundup then sprayed with fumigants to dry them more. These fumigants are never washed from the grains before they are milled.
Another interesting fact about “Everest” wheat; when we eat it, it is translated into eating pure sugar by our bodies since it is so low in available protein. One will get the same blood sugar levels from eating two slices of whole wheat bread as you would from eating a candy bar! No wonder diabetes is on a dramatic rise. Eating foods made with this wheat poses more health risks than nutrient value. It’s poison and poisoned.
I choose to quit eating all grains and wheat (mostly) 3 years ago due to the ceaseless insistence of my pesky son. (It took him about a year to talk me into trying it!) An interesting metamorphosis happened, my weight is down 30 pounds along with my blood pressure, carvings and the inflammation in my joints, my allergies are gone, and I feel great. Some people have a hard time embracing this lifestyle, but I love it. I’m here as a poster child to prove it.
This dessert is an example that we do not need wheat to make extra-ordinary sweets. This strawberry tart is excellent, if I do say so myself. The Oregon strawberries are just coming into season to enjoy on this. I use Bob’s Red Mill finely ground almond flour and Gluten free Kallari 85% Cacao Chunks from the web site Chocoshpere. (If your haven’t found that web site yet, you are in for a treat! They list on all their chocolates if they are gluten free or not. Highly recommend it!) !Here’s to health, as always.
Strawberry tart with a dark chocolate almond crust
Dark chocolate tart crust
1 1/4 cups of almond flour
1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of baking soda
2 tablespoons of coconut oil or a high quality oil, melted
2 tablespoons of honey
1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips, (I use 85%) melted
Turn on the oven to 350 degrees with a rack right in the middle of the oven. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, salt and baking soda and whisk it together till it is blended. In a smaller bowl combine the oil, honey, and melted chocolate. Stir the chocolate mix into the dry mix and stir till everything is well combined. (Here is the fun part) Press the crust into an 11 inch tart pan. (You can use a smaller pan, you’ll just have more curst up the sides) This takes a wee bit of patience and love to get it all in there evenly and pretty. Working with wet fingers really helps.
Pop the crust into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, until the surface of the crust loses its sheen and starts to look dry. Be careful here, it is easy to overcook this nugget. Take out of the oven and let cool for at least an hour before you fill it up with yumminess.
The filling and assembly
1 cup of coconut cream (the cream at the top of the can of coconut milk or purchased coconut cream here)
OR 1 cup of cream cheese if you aren’t dairy sensitive
1/3 cup of honey or more to taste
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1 pound of fresh organic strawberries, washed, de-stemmed and sliced
Dark chocolate to shave or drizzled on top (Optional)
Put the cup of coconut cream in the mixer and blend till smooth and shiny. Add your honey as the mixer is going till it tastes the prefect sweet, then blend in your vanilla. Stick the concoction in the freezer to harden for an hour or so then right before serving, spread the creamy filling into the cooled tart shell. Layer your strawberry slices on top of filling in an artful way then shave or melt some dark chocolate and drizzle on there. Serve immediately to a waiting and appreciative crew. It will all disappear, but if some of it is left, store it in the fridge. Bon appetite!