Avoiding modern wheat has become the going rage. Many people have a variety of symptoms from modern wheat which are quite well written about. What I want to focus on is how ANCIENT wheat has gotten a bad name because of this modern wheat.
What are folks really reacting to anyway? Is it the gluten? Modern wheat was altered to make more loaves of bread fluffier with high levels of gluten and build a higher profit. It was breed for that.
Lets go back to the ancient wheats – einkorn wheat (Farro Piccolo), emmer wheat, durum wheat, khorasan (kamut) wheat and spelt wheat. These ancient wheats are an amazing form of protein, anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. What ancient wheat being an anti-inflammatory? Yup…
The Montana khorasan wheat farmer, Bob Quinn, who I was lucky to sit in on his lecture on ancient wheat at the The National Heirloom Exposition in Santa Rosa, CA this past summer. Bob’s company Kamut did tons of double blind studies and research comparing ancient wheat and modern wheat. Here is the link to some the research his company produced and you can email him for more double blind studies if they are not listed https://kamut.com/en/health/research. The bottom line is if you don’t have celiac disease than you can benefit from eating ancient wheat. You won’t have any reactions even if you have reactions to modern wheat.
What I want to talk about is my experience with this ancient wheat. I like many people had avoided wheat as it seemed like the healthy thing to do. I was heading to Italy before my bi-annual homeopathic seminars in Belgium. I said to my colleague that I wasn’t going to eat wheat in Italy. This Russian colleague of mine said that we were going to Italy and I was going to eat wheat. After a bit of arguing with her, I caved in and said what would it harm. I know I can be quite rigid about things and perhaps she was right. I mean how often do you get to go to the region of Tuscany in Italy. The interesting thing I noticed was that my body craved the wheat once I started eating it. My body felt so good eating it unlike the modern wheat I would occasionally eat in the United States. Granted I have never had any ill symptoms of eating wheat. Well it turns out, Italy imports 80% of Kamut wheat from this Montana farmer. That said it was many years later that I got to hear Bob Quinn speak at heirloom festival. All I really knew was something was very different about the wheat I ate in Italy but I could not explain it.
I used to bake bread in a Co-op in Southern Illinois. After I heard the lecture on ancient wheat, I decided it was time to shake off the rust and start baking bread again. I had just acquired a grain attachment to my vitamixer so I could mill my own grain. Now the challenge was to source all these different ancient wheats and start playing with them. I have currently played with Kamut (khorasan) wheat, Emmer wheat and Spelt. I have a 22.5 lb bag of Einkorn wheat coming in the mail that I am so excited about.
The next step for me will be making a sourdough starter with Einkorn wheat. And then sprouting and dehydrating the ancient grains before grinding them. A bit of an extra step but a good dehydrator machine is pretty easy to come by and we have plenty here on the land. When you sprout the wheat the growth inhibitors are deactivated which leads to a greater availability of vitamin C, folate, and minerals like iron. The sprouting process creates reduction in carbohydrates along with an increase in protein, lowers gluten and creates more soluble fiber. All around sprouting the grain makes it healthier food.
So getting over the hurdle of sprouting and dehydrating will be a journey well taken…