The hybridisation of wheat is a naturally occurring process that happens when two compatible species mix or cross-pollinate. However, Modern wheat has been hybridised so intensely both naturally and by human intervention that it has become too high in molecular starch and proteins, making it challenging to digest. Gluten is a protein specific to wheat and some other grains to a lesser extent, including rye, oats and barley.
Gluten gives strength and elasticity to flours enabling the rising process of bread.
Wheat has hard or soft grain. Bakers tend to prefer hard grain wheat over soft because the harder the grain, the more proteins and gluten are available to help the rising characteristic so unique to a wheat dough.
Modern farming practices have also contributed to the indigestibility of modern wheat. The high use of glyphosates is the main contributor, found in most weed killers, including round up. Over two-thirds of wheat crops in the UK are sprayed with glyphosates in pesticides. This process dries the crop and causes it to ripen faster, making it more profitable in time and yield for farmers. We interrupt wheat’s natural ageing process, and these weedkillers or glyphosates embed into the grain, so its in the flour and our bread.
Glyphosates are scientifically linked to digestive disorders, leaky gut, infertility, cancer and endocrine disruption, potentially causing DNA damage to human cells.
Modern wheat has been hybridised even more to withstand the impacts of weed killers and become resilient against such chemicals. Every time wheat crosses with another form of wheat or grass in gains chromosomes and additional proteins, starch and gluten. Modern wheat contains 42 chromosomes opposed to ancient grains such as einkorn which only has 14.
Here are five ways to navigate the minefield of modern-day wheat.
If you don’t have gluten intolerance and enjoy wheat, buy organic, Support local bakeries and request organic bread. If you don’t have a local bakery, Most supermarkets have at least one organic bread, including Sainsbury’s Tescos and Morrisons.
2. Use Ancient Grains
Ancient grains can be easier to digest. Einkorn, Spelt, Emmet, faro and Kummut are some to consider. These grains have fewer proteins and gluten but are softer grains so not as easy to bake. It can be done by following whole wheat recipes and making adjustments like using less water and less kneading.
you can sign petitions to eradicate the use of glyphosates and support organic, local farmers and bakeries. Show your support for sustainable farming practices and the availability for healthier pesticide-free choices in your food.
Ancient cultures always sprouted and fermented their grains. In the book Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon points out that Grains contain phytic acid, which can block calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron. High diets of whole grains that are not soaked or fermented can cause bone loss. She suggests by soaking grains for 7 hours you will neutralise most of the phytic acid which inhibits numerous enzymes that help digestion, making any grain more digestible.