What really happens to Wheat – from Seed to Storage.
When grown in well-nourished, fertile soil, whole wheat is rich in vitamin E and B complex, many minerals, including calcium and iron, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. Proper growing and milling methods are necessary to preserve these nutrients.
But look what happens to non-organic commercially grown wheat.
It Starts with the Seed
Even before they are planted in the ground, wheat seeds receive an application of fungicides and insecticides.
Pesticides and Fertilizers
Some of the main chemicals used on commercial wheat crops are disulfoton (Di-syston), methyl parathion, chlorpyrifos, dimethoate, diamba and glyphosate.
Besides contributing to the overall toxic load in our bodies, these chemicals increase our susceptibility to neurotoxic diseases as well as to conditions like cancer.
Many of these pesticides function as xenoestrogens, foreign estrogen that can reap havoc with our hormone balance and may be a contributing factor to a number of health conditions.
Hormones on Wheat?
Sounds strange, but farmers apply hormone-like substances or “plant growth regulators” that affect wheat characteristics, such as time of germination and strength of stalk. Cycocel is a synthetic hormone that is commonly applied to wheat.
Chemicals Used in Storage
Chemical offenses don’t stop after the growing process. The long storage of grains makes them vulnerable to a number of critters. Before commercial grain is even stored, the collection bins are sprayed with insecticide, inside and out. More chemicals are added while the bin is filled. The list of various chemicals used includes chlorpyrifos-methyl, diatomaceous earth, bacillus thuringiensis, cy-fluthrin, malathion and pyrethrins.
Then there is the threshold test. If there is one live insect per quart of sample, fumigation is initiated. Two of the fumigants used include methyl bromide and phosphine-producing materials, such as magnesium phosphide or aluminum phosphide.
The damage inflicted on wheat does not end with cultivation and storage, but continues into milling and processing. A grain kernel is comprised of three layers: the bran, the germ and the endosperm. The bran is the outside layer where most of the fiber exists. The germ is the inside layer where many nutrients and essential fatty acids are found. The endosperm is the starchy middle layer.
Flour was originally produced by grinding grains between large stones. The final product, 100 percent stone-ground whole-wheat flour, contained everything that was in the grain, including the germ, fiber, starch and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals.
Since grinding stones are not fast enough for mass-production, the industry uses high-speed, steel roller mills that eject the germ and the bran. Much of this “waste product”– the most nutritious part of the grain — is sold as “byproducts” for animals.
Literally dozens of dough conditioners and preservatives also go into modern bread as well as toxic ingredients to improve rise and prevent sticking. Even the synthetic vitamins that are added to replace the ones destroyed by refinement and milling are themselves toxic.
What can you do?
Look for Healthy Whole Wheat Products
Buy organic 100 percent stone-ground whole-wheat flour at a natural food store. Slow-speed, steel hammer-mills are often used instead of stones, and flours made in this way can list “stone-ground” on the label. This method is equivalent to the stone-ground process and produces a product that is equally nutritious. Any process that renders the entire grain into usable flour without exposing it to high heat is acceptable.
Look for organic sourdough or sprouted breads. If bread is made entirely with 100 percent stone-ground whole grains, it will state so on the label. When bread is stone ground and then baked, the internal temperature does not usually exceed 170 degrees, so most of the nutrients are preserved.
Although our modern wheat suffers from a great number of indiscretions, there are steps we can take to find the quality choices that will nourish us today and for the long haul. Go out and make a difference for you and yours and turn your wheaty indiscretions into wheaty indulgences.
Source:~~ The Weston A. Price Foundation for Wise Traditions in Food, Farming, and the Healing Arts
Notes: Maybe you’re not really “gluten intolerant” but you have a toxic digestive system that flares up and signals pain when you eat commercial, flour based products with so many added chemicals. Leaky gut, IBS, Crohn’s, Colitis, Celiac etc etc… are all symptoms of the same condition, a toxic digestive system. Cleanse your system and then start healing the gut with lots of plant based wholefood fibres and ferments.