Gluten & Wheat-free Part 2
Before I start on part 2 of Gluten & Wheat-free, have you got any gluten or wheat related questions? If so, click here to email me and I will either answer them individually or in another group email if I think others are likely to be wondering the same thing :)
There are a few more pieces of information I wanted to share with you about wheat crops (but also apply to other crops) but didn't want to overwhelm you last week.
Effects of Hybridisation:
As briefly mentioned last week, since the 1970’s human-led hybridisation has created thousands of variants of Triticum Aestivum (modern wheat) bred to produce higher yields. As well as containing a higher gluten content, these modern versions also contain more chromosomes - 42 compared to 14 in the more ancient versions. The modern wheat also has a higher amylopection content. Amylopectin is a type of starch which raises blood glucose levels quickly. This may be a factor in the increase in intestinal inflammation and blood sugar regulation issues.
This is another process which has been used since the 1930's to create new strains of wheat and other crops. It involves using x-rays and occasionally chemicals or gamma rays to cause multiple genetic mutations in seeds. The seeds are then grown and desirable traits observed and selected. This process is allowed in certified organic crops as well as non-organic crops.
There are multiple technologies including splicing genes to insert, delete or switch off specifc DNA for particular properties. Certified Organic foods are not allowed to contain GM ingredients.
The use of herbicides, insecticides and pesticides are also of concern. The herbicide that has been in the media the most is glyphosate (Roundup). Glyphosate research is showing it has effects on:
the bacteria in the human gut - affecting the microbiome and therefore the immune system
tryptophan production which is a precursor for serotonin so has implications for mental health
tyrosine production which is important for thyroid health
chelation of iron and cobalt (cobalt is necessary for Vitamin B12 production)
inhibition of the cytochrome p450 enzymes which are needed for detoxification
animal studies have shown disruption to the microvilli and mucosal folds of the intestine similar to Coeliac Disease
cancer - lawsuits are now occurring over Non-Hodgkins lymphoma
The use of glyphosate increased since the development of Roundup Ready seeds for soybean, corn and cotton were introduced in the late 1990's. This meant farmers could spray the whole crop with glyphosate rather than having to be careful and only spray in between rows of crops directly onto the weeds they wanted to kill. Glyphosate is now also being used as a desiccant to dry crops before harvest in wetter climates. So it can be sprayed onto soil before planting, onto crops during growth and just before harvest.
This all sounds like a lot of bad news - what can I do about it?
As always it's good to be aware of these types of issues in our food chain but to prevent overwhelm, focus on what is within your control. There are a few simple steps we can all take:
Always choose wheat, corn and soy that are certified organic.
Regardless of whether you eat wheat or not, choose certified organic produce whenever possible. This will reduce your intake of GM ingredients and stop you ingesting glyphosate.
Some smaller producers cannot afford to be certified organic but still follow the same practices so have a chat at your farmers' market and ask what they do and don't use.
Eat less wheat in general. Even if you do not have any health concerns. Try having it only once/day - it might be more challenging than you think! Breakfast cereals, bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes, pies all contain wheat. It is going to be great for your health to get your carbohydrates from a wider variety of sources such as starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, squash, carrots, parsnips, beetroot, turnip as well as different whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, brown rice, millet, and if you can have gluten - rye, barley and oats.
Buy meat from grass-fed animals rather than grain-fed.
The best news is that fruit and vegetables are naturally wheat-free, gluten-free and if you grow your own or buy organic they are glyphosate free!
To help us all, please share where you shop for wheat-free, gluten-free or organic food by emailing me and I'll share it with everyone. Or send me a message on facebook @collectivelements www.facebook.com/collectivelements
Happy organic eating!
p.s. if you would like to read more about glyphosate here's an article https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945755/