Harvested Wheat field
LAST PIECE OF WHEAT BREAD IN OUR HOUSE - IT WILL LAST FOREVER
I feel a little like a traitor writing this.
We have lived surrounded by wheat fields for 20 years now. My daughter has grown up playing with our dogs in the wheat fields around us and riding her horse through the same fields after harvest. We have sat and watched many beautiful sunsets from the hills around us with the ripe wheat in the foreground and on many occasions we have snacked on some grain in the process.
Some of my friends are wheat farmers and I have broken bread (wheat) with them many times. They are caring people who have old-fashioned values and they see themselves as responsible stewards of their land which is in this area usually several thousands acres. They rotate crops by planting barley, legumes like peas, lentils and garbanzos and occasionally canola and alfalfa to return nitrogen back to the soil. The majority have not planted a lot of GMO crops yet. They might plant GMO wheat around the perimeter of their crops so that if they have to spray the ditches around the fields for noxious weeds as required by law they will not kill any wheat in the process. Some will not plant some of their fields for a number of years (CRP) and will be paid by the federal government for this. CRP land is often planted with local grasses and gives native wild life a chance to survive.
One or two have tried to plant some organic wheat on a field that had been used for alfalfa the previous couple of years and had therefore not been sprayed. We bought their hay to use for bedding for our horse, our ducks and our rabbits.
Most of the wheat grown around here is not grown for bread but for pasta and is referred to as hard wheat (triticum durum). The wheat that William Davis is most concerned about in his book "Wheatbelly" is the kind that is used for bread which is an offspring of Triticum Aestivum that has only been bred in the last 50 years through modern hybridization techniques.
The most basic and original form of wheat according to Davis is Einkorn which was harvested wild about 10.000 years ago, The evolutionary successor of Einkorn was Emmer (Triticum Turgidum) which was the wheat of ancient Egypt. Emmer wheat naturally crossed with another grass and resulted in Triticum Aestivum, which is the closest to modern bread wheat. Triticum durum is genetically closer to Emmer.
Since the 1940's there were efforts to increase the yields of wheat to feed more people worldwide and by the 1980's these efforts had brought wheat with huge seed heads that would have made the wheat plant buckle and impossible to harvest if wheat had not also been bred for very short stalks. This reduced the growing season required, the amount of fertilizer needed and the amount of "useless" stalk. This semi-darf wheat makes up 99% of all wheat grown worldwide.
Along with the desired changes in wheat, however came some unintended changes. It was found that wheat gluten proteins can change with hybridization, resulting in new gluten
proteins that are not present in either parent strain of wheat. Some of these express more genes for gluten proteins associated with celiac disease.
Another characteristic that distinguishes wheat from other sources of starches is an ingredient called Amylopectin A which makes wheat much faster to digest than other starches and leads to a surge in blood sugar that can be worse than table sugar (sucrose).
There are more changes that have been made to modern wheat and some of the results of these changes may not be known yet. The second part of the book "Wheat Belly" makes connections between wheat and many kinds of illness.
I'm coming back to my title of this blog: Don't alter God's design. You can insert the word nature for God if you like, but one thing seems to be clear, when humans start tinkering with food they may not always be able to foresee the consequences of their actions.
The thought of not altering God's design is not my idea. It comes from the book by Rex Russell "What the Bible says about Healthy Living" and is second of 3 principles in this book.
The other two principles are "Eat the foods God created for you" and "Don't let any food or drink become your God". It's hard to follow the 3rd rule without following the second one.