“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!
Carol L says
Thanks for the frank discussion about wheat/grains. Thanks too for this super-yummy looking tart recipe! I can’t wait to try it 🙂
You are most welcome! Interesting info huh? You will love the tart recipe I’m sure. ♥
I have been sharing this same info with my skeptical friends for years! Where did you get your info from on the transformation of grains?
Also wondering what gluten free chocolate chips do you use?
Really interesting info huh? I just found all this out in the last year so you’re way ahead of me! I got some of the info from the book “Wheat Belly” and some from different web sites of people that have researched wheat and the directions it is going. I use Kallari 85% Cacao Chunks, that I get from Chocoshpere. https://www.chocosphere.com/default/85-cacao-couverture-chunks-5kg.html. I should put that on my blog. Thanks for reminding me. 😀
Ellen G says
I’ve been gluten free for just over 1 year and all the same benefits you’ve experienced have occurred in me as well. Thank you for defending what I’ve been telling everyone I know! Where did you find your info on the mutation of wheat and have you found that it has happened with other grains as well? I’d be hard pressed to completely omit brown rice and corn because so many gluten free products are made with them.
I got most of my info from the Book “Wheat Belly” but also from different web site here and there where I gleened info. “BlueBird Farms” in eastern Washington is growing only ancient grains, like Emmer and they provided some info too. Thanks for commenting. 😀
Undiagnosed Coeliac Disease does NOT cause Crohn’s Disease. And what is anima… I assume you mean anaemia? Please get your information correct before posting such blogs as people who are reading this may believe the information to be true
Hello Cheaky Goddess! I’m sure glad you found that typo. Thanks! And BTW inflammation is considered the underlying issue in all the maladies that I mentioned. Grain sensitives undisputably cause inflammation. Thanks for reading my blog so thoroughly! 😀
Deb McCafferty says
Agreed. It’s so important not to spread misinformation — it weakens your argument. It is what I find most disconcerting (and annoying) about ANY food faddism. Word of mouth spreads all kinds of hysteria. Yes, Crohn’s is an inflammatory bowel disease, but it’s not even loosely correlated with celiac disease in the scientific literature. In fact, Celiac is far more strongly correlated with Type 1 diabetes, when it is of autoimmune etiology.
Also, lumping “all grains” together and asserting that they indisputably cause inflammation is a bit misleading and certainly oversimplified. For example, a vegetarian diet has been scientifically demonstrated to reduce inflammation in people with arthritis. Something in the meat is inflammatory to some people. Others swear that avoiding nightshade vegetables relieves their inflammation. Still others are unable to tolerate salicylates.
That said, eating is like religion. It’s a very personal thing. You find what works for you. What is good for you is not necessarily good for someone else, and when left up to information in a book, is open to a whole lot of interpretation. It sounds like you were, indeed, sensitive to something or some things in the food you were eating, and the fact that you feel amazing now speaks to you having found what works well for you. I’d just be careful that you do your best to check your facts.
Agreed back at you. FYI I spent more time on researching this post than any other post I have ever done. I even called Bluebird grain farms and interviewed them and read articles at WSU agricultural dept. It is a can of worms for sure and there is a lot of light still to be shed on this subject. I have two Crohn’s clients that swear that when they eat wheat their condition worsens and some factions believe that Crohn’s is a direct result of our modern diet which is mostly composed of wheat. I will not back down on that one. As I said before, I am not a scientist but if I was, I’d dive head long into this subject! It is grist for the mill! (Pun intended) Thanks for coming by! 😀
I read your discussion on Wheat and found it really interesting but you’re not providing any (real) sources for this! Except for the Wheat Belly book of course, I did a little research online and couldn’t find a list of sources that the book uses but I did find this little gem “Wheat Belly – An Analysis of Selected Statements and Basic Theses from the Book” by Julie Miller Jones which disputes some of the claims that the books makes. An interesting read.
If the book gives a list of scientific journal references could you please send them to me, thanks a lot!
Hi Emily. It is interesting info huh? I must confess, I am a food writer and blogger, not a scientist. Every book that comes out with inflammatory information sparks controversy. “Wheat Belly” is one of those such books. I would recommenced you do your own research and get back to me on what you find. That would be fabulous! I did, however, do some reading online with the WSU agricultural research on grain and it was dry and difficult to sort through. But what I gleaned from the info is that this is a rabbit hole that would be easy to fall down and research for ever and ever. It has so many untouched layers!! The industry has focused primarily on massive quantities and ease of production opposed to nutritional value. This end of the spectrum hasn’t hardly been touched,so fortunately with the book “Wheat Belly” a large amount of attention is being brought to a run away industry that needs some checks and balances. Did you know that the wheat industry is basically owned by three privately owned companies? More light needs to be brought to these dark fumigated corners of this major pillar of our food industry. Thanks for reading and let me know what you find.
I tried this last night. It tasted great, but the cream topping was completely liquid. I am not sure what I did wrong. I scooped the white solid stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk, it was exactly a cup. Used a little less honey than called for, and a tbsp of vanilla. What did I do wrong?
Oh dear, some coconut milk’s cream are more runny than others. I kinda knew that but forgot about that till I read your comment. I will figure that out tonight what to do for runnier coconut cream. I have some strawberries and was going to make this again so I’ll get back to you on this. Thanks again for you feed back.
I did a little research online and found that it should help to refrigerate the coconut milk overnight, then drain the liquid out the bottom before scooping out the cream. I am planning to make this again for Father’s Day and will try this method. The crust is SO good and strawberries are in full season around here. Yummy!
Funny you should say that! I did some research and came up with the same conclusion. I edited the recipe as such. (The reason I didn’t realize this is I use the coconut cream in the jar, not out of the can) What I did last night was use the coconut cream out of the can, room temp, made the mixture, then stuck it in the freezer for an hour to let it harden, then spread it on the tart shell. I think I might add a tablespoon or two of coconut oil too to assist in the hardening in the freezer. I’ll be running some more experiments and letting you know. Thanks for playing with me. 😀
I am allergic to all tree nuts and peanut. What could I use as a substitute for almond flour and in what quantity? Thank you for your post and any info you can provide for substitution…
I’d have to experiment with coconut flour to figure out what to do to substitute for it. As of right now, I don’t know. All the tart crust recipes I see out there have some almond flour in them. Try searching for a coconut flour only tart crust and see what you come up with. Sorry. Wish I had a better answer for you. 🙂
Kristi Robinson says
My crust all sank to the center when baking. I ended up with a big thick layer of crust at the bottom of my baking dish. What did I do wrong? The crust was pressed nicely up the sides before baking.
Humm, very strange. I’ve never had that happen. What sort of baking dish did you use? Also I am wondering if you added too much coconut oil or chocolate by accident? Or maybe not enough almond flour? That would cause the crust to puddle when baking. How wet was the dough before you pressed it into the pan?
Yep, Same thing happened to me. Had all measurements correct. It seemed to melt down from the sides. I did have a bit of a side on mine. Also, had to throw out the. Coconut cream as it was just like water. Made the filling with cream cheese in the end. Still to assemble and try it yet.
Lisa W says
What can we use instead of Kallari 85% Cacao Chunks? They are pretty expensive on that web site. Also, sorry to see some people are so rude to you with their comments. This is a wonderful site and I want to thank-you very much for imparting all of your knowledge and expertise!!! I love your recipes!!!!
I know, Kallari chocolate is a bit spendy but I buy the big bag and it lasts a long time since I don’t eat that much of it. (At least in a perfect world. 😉 ) I have also been known to use the “Enjoy life” semi-sweet chocolate chips that are gluten free. http://www.enjoylifefoods.com/chocolate-for-baking/mega-chunks/ They aren’t 85% dark chocolate though but pretty good overall. I hear that Ghirardelli 60% chocolate chips are gluten free. They are super affordable and yummy! Been known to use them a bit. If you aren’t super sensitive to gluten you can use just about any dark chocolate, which I did for years.
Thanks for the kind comments about my blog and other people’s comments. I think people get really threatened by some of the content of my posts. Its okay. One of my friend’s said once that if you have people upset with you then you are doing your job. I hope that is true! Let me know if you find any other chocolate that is gluten free and more accessible. 🙂
my sister in law made this for my birthday..delicious – even better the next day!
It’s my new favorite dessert. I gotta make it for the fourth but with blueberries and strawberries.
Fiona C says
Thank you for that information, I have been doing clean eating for about 9 months, I have not eaten wheat, yeast or grains for about 12 months. I am getting into paelo now and I love what I eat and read. I do a lot of blending and smoothies. I always share my information with people. I stopped eating wheat because of the severe pain it caused me everytime I ate it, I was tested for coeliac but it was negative, I still listen to my body if it hurts I don’t eat it again. I will definitely be reading wheat belly to help back my case with educating other people. It makes it so much easier with soapy receipes and resources online.
Thanks for coming by! Glad you are getting great results!
Just wondering if you melt the coconut oil first? I was planning on making this tonight after the kids go to bed, but serving up tomorrow after lunch. Have you tried making it this far in advance, and would you put the filling in the fridge after the hour in the freezer if you were? Just trying to think how I can preprepare it all the night before guests arrive, as I know my 2 young children will be attached to my legs whilst I’m in the kitchen if I do it an hour before!!
Hi! Hope I’m getting back to you on time. I would melt the coconut oil first. (I corrected that in the recipe, thanks!) Then I would make the crust tonight, store it in a cool DRY place, make the filling and keep it in the fridge, then assemble the next day right before your guest show up. If you live in a humid climate, I would bake the crust a wee bit past done, (But don’t burn it!) then it will soften with the humidity overnight. Good luck!
Diane Barlow says
Made this for New Year’s Eve and it was fabulous. Everyone loved it and it was so easy to make. Thanks.
Dana Zia says
It’s so easy and delicious huh? Glad you found it!
This looks absolutely beautiful and I am definitely going to give it a go–one thing I wanted to mention is that the Tropical Traditions coconut cream concentrate is actually coconut butter (whole, ground coconut meat), which is not quite the same as coconut cream from canned coconut milk. The texture is quite different and the coconut butter is pretty hard at room temp. I’m going to try it with the canned coconut cream and I will try your freezer method. Gorgeous photo!
Good point! I’ll have to change that part of the post. How’s it turn out?
meghan lusi says
What a delicious dessert! i made it for my daughters birthday and it was all gone within minutes!
I used cream cheese as i couldn’t find coconut cream. Lovely xx
Dana Zia says
It is amazing, isn’t it? And EASY! 😛
Delicious and perfect end to my 4th of July meal. Thanks!
Dana Zia says
Glad you loved it!
Made this yesterday but my filing melted everywhere on me. Not sure if I did something wrong or not. Looked not no pretty but tasted great. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Dana Zia says
Which filing did you use, the cream cheese or coconut cream? Sometimes the coconut cream is inconsistent with melting and needs to be chilled before serving. 🙂