My brother got a big scare recently when he had some tests done and they discovered he was very anaemic. Usually in a male this is considered serious and may be an indication of internal bleeding. He now suspects that he may be gluten intolerant the same as our mother. When I was studying nutrition we were given a statistic that in the general population, 1:2000 can expect to be coeliac but people from the west of Ireland have a much higher incidence; up to 1:200. But this does not explain the explosion of people now saying they have an intolerance to wheat or to gluten. Gluten is the protein portion in wheat and is what allows the bread to rise, being elastic and therefore able to trap the bubbles of carbon dioxide produced by yeast metabolism.
I read an article by Dr. William Davis in Rodale News about the modern wheat plant. He claims that by selective cross-breeding the plant we grow now does not have anything in common with the original wheat plant. It is almost half as tall with a huge seed head and is bred for high yield. As it is a hybrid it would be unable to grow in the wild and so has to be doused with a combination of toxic chemical fertilisers and pesticides. Now before you say "oh, that only occurs in America", which to be honest was my first thought, my mother was told in a farmer's market by one of the women working there that this happens here in Ireland. She said wheat is soaked in Roundup before sowing!! Not a very nice thought because I certainly do not want to eat anything soaked in Roundup or Agent Orange.
The same doc says that modern wheat is so nutritionally deficient it may be responsible for obesity, diabetes and other inflammatory conditions, This is due to the changes that have occurred in the gluten protein gliadin which has become a "potent appetite stimulent". He goes into a lot of other theories about why this has occurred but by this stage I had had enough, however if you want to read his article here is the link http://www.rodale.com/wheat-free-diet-0?page=0,0&cm_mmc=Twitter-_-Rodale-_-Content-RecentNews-_-mutantwheattakingoverbreadaisle
Now you may think that by only buying certified organic flour that you will be on the pig's back however, if the actual wheat genus has been mucked about with that much, you are still getting a nutritionally deficient product, albeit free from the toxic chemicals; so what is the point?
I decided to eliminate wheat from my diet and then started looking into alternatives. I now use spelt flour for almost everything and today I experimented with making bread using rye flour, buckwheat and a "new" product called Kamut which is an ancient type of wheat grown by the pharaohs in Egypt (Triticum turgidum). Because it is a wheat variety it contains gluten so would not be suitable for diagnosed coeliacs. The recipe I used is as follows:
1 mug each of rye, buckwheat and Kamut flours.
1 mug of oat bran,
2 tablespoons of mixed seeds (sesame, pumpkin and sunflower)
1.5 teaspoon of bread soda sieved
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Buttermilk to give the consistency of gloopy porridge
Some more seeds sprinkled on top
If you wanted you could add a tablespoon of blackstrap molasses to give a nice dark, sweet flavour which makes the bread really good to eat with cheese.
I baked it at gas mark 6 (200degC) for about an hour and then turned it out and cooked it upside down for another 10 minutes until the base sounded hollow when tapped.
The resulting loaf was delicious, liberally smothered with butter and some of my brother in law's honey!
My next plan is to try making yeast bread and pizza dough with the Kamut flour and I will let you know how I get on.
Wheat Wheat Intolerance Coeliac