Wheat Has a Use
As anyone who must eliminate wheat from their diet knows all too well, wheat is a very useful basic ingredient. It makes wonderful bread, mostly because it has such a high gluten content, which holds everything together and provides such great consistency.
Wheat has been part of the human diet for at least 10,000 years, and probably longer. It grows well in temperate climates. It is nutritious, easy to process and store, and is extremely versatile to cook with. For these reasons, it is a staple food in many parts of the world, particularly temperate climates.
The Problem with Wheat
The problem with wheat is that it has become a highly refined food – both in terms of genetics (breeding for high-yield, drought- and pest-resistance etc.), and in terms of how it is processed (white flour). The term enriched white flour is a sure sign that too much has been taken out of the original food, so that nutrients must be artificially added back into the food. Highly refined flour can be classified as unhealthy food for several reasons. Firstly, it is missing key nutrients that were originally found in the whole food.
The problem with relying on any staple as the primary food in your diet is that it can lead to developing allergies to that food. Wheat is no exception. It is one of the most common food allergens. While not a problem for everyone, a significant number of people are allergic to wheat. Probably a large proportion of these people are unaware of their allergy. They may be aware that they are under-performing, but there are also many under-performers who do not realize they may have a food allergy.
There are other problems with wheat, although some of these are caused by eating too many carbohydrates in general. See the internal links section of this article for more information.
If you are not allergic to wheat, or celiac, stick to eating whole grain wheat if you want your wheat intake to be healthy. You can make fresh flour using the whole grain for baking etc., although this is time-consuming, and you will need to buy a fairly expensive flour mill.
Types of Wheat
There are many types and varieties of wheat. Sometimes, the list of ingredients will list the type of wheat rather than just saying wheat, so it is well worth your while to memorize this list:
- Triticale (a wheat/rye cross)
Some of these types of wheat, for example spelt, are often found in foods that are “wheat-free”. Some people can tolerate spelt, while others can not. I find I can tolerate a little at a time, for example one or two spelt cookies, every week or two.
Synonyms to Wheat
When scanning a list of ingredients, watch out for these – they are basically made of wheat, or are wheat by a different name:
- All purpose flour
- Durum flour
- Graham flour,
- Graham crackers
- Graham crumbs
- Bread crumbs
- Wheat germ
Wheat is a grass. Besides being related to your lawn and bamboo, grass is also related to the following food crops because they too are grasses:
- Wheat allergy section
- Safe to Eat for a Wheat Allergy
- Avoid for a Wheat Allergy
- Allergy Symptoms
- Tired After Eating Bread
- Wikipedia on wheat
- Wikipedia on grass (Scientifically, a Poaceae)
- Whole Wheat (World’s Healthiest Foods)