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Sunday School: Wheat: A Nutritional Powerhouse?


sunday school

There are a lot of different diets out there.  There used to be the low fat diet, the Atkins diet, South Beach diet, and I’m sure a myriad of others.  Now you hear of even more: grain free diet and the Paleo diet are among some of the newer ones.  Of course, then you have people who eliminate sugar, dairy, and/or grains for whatever reason this week.

I’m going to be straight with you- I don’t vilify ANY WHOLE, REAL food.  Even sugar has its place as long as it is a REAL food sugar like honey {#1 choice}, sucanat, stevia, and  maple syrup in moderation.

It seems like everyone around me that encourages people to eat real food is discouraging people from eating grains.  While I can totally understand those who have to avoid them {wheat} due to celiac disease, I think many people have done away with them just because it is the latest fad.  And, I believe grains have been vilified wrongly.

While I would love to think that most people are aware by now that bleached,white flour {and at the very least – white bread} is terribly unhealthy, it simply isn’t so.  There are still many people {including many of my own family members} who eat white bread – why else would more than half of the grocery store bread selection be white bread?  But, it isn’t just white flour that is lacking in nutrients.  And, for those who’ve looked into why people are cutting their grain intake, it is because they do not see grains as a “nutrient-dense” food.

And, if you are looking at any flour on the store shelf you will most definitely come up with a product that is lacking in nutrients – even WHOLE WHEAT flour.

The Good and Bad News about Wheat

The richest source of vitamin E is found in the germ of the wheat kernel.  When wheat is milled into flour, the vitamin E is very quickly oxidized.  Wheat, as well as other grains, then must be either eaten whole or the flour used freshly milled to obtain the vitamin E.  Vitamin E is literally needed by every cell in the body.  – Credit, “Do Not Eat The Bread of Idleness” by Sue Becker.

Prior to the 1900′s most flour was milled locally and bread was baked at home. Since flour could not be stored, only enough grain was ground fresh each day by the local miller to meet the needs of the community.  In the 1920′s new technology was developed that separated the wheat components thus allowing flour to be stored indefinitely.  They began to separate the germ, germ oil, and bran and sell the white flour.  The germ and bran were then sold as cattle feed {a new profitable market!} and people’s health began to decline.  Cases of pellagra and beriberi began to increase.  Both diseases where a result of vitamin B deficiencies and health officials traced the problem back to the new white flour.

This new milling process {that allowed people to purchase and store flour indefinitely and stop milling their own} stripped the flour of its B vitamins as well as about 24 other nutrients!  So, health officials urged the large mills {that had now put the local millers out of business} to return to producing whole wheat flour again.  But, they didn’t want to lose their profitable market of selling the germ and bran as cattle feed!  So, instead, they chose to “enrich” the white flour by replacing 4 vitamins for the 25 to 30 that were removed.  That solved the immediate problem of beriberi and pellagra, however, we are now plagued with many diseases that are directly related to our consumption of white flour (appendicitis, diverticulitis, hiatal hernia, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and more!).

When the fatty acids, forming part of the cell structure, are destroyed by oxygen in the absence of vitamin E, virus, bacteria, and allergens have an easier access into the tissues thus causing greater risk of infections and allergies.  If the diet is improved to more adequately supply vitamin E, resistance to disease and infection can be greatly increased. – Credit, “Do Not Eat The Bread of Idleness” by Sue Becker.

bread 1

How can you capture the benefits of Whole Wheat Flour?

Once the wheat kernel is broken open, as in milling, the nutrients immediately begin to oxidize.  Within about 72 hours 90% of over 30 nutrients are virtually gone.  So, you have two options:

  1. Buy whole wheat bread from a local bakery who you know mills their own whole wheat – on the day that it is made.
  2. Mill your own wheat and bake your own bread.

My family chose option #2.  We recently purchased our own grain mill.  It is a WonderMill Grain Mill.  It literally takes all of about 5 extra minutes to mill my own wheat before I make my own bread.  I was already used to making my own bread products with all purpose flour, so making bread wasn’t a totally new concept to me.  However, I had only tried using whole wheat flour once before and never again because I didn’t care for the taste.

We’ve been making our own whole wheat bread, pasta, waffles, tortillas, and pancakes from fresh milled wheat for about 3 weeks now.  Already I have noticed a couple of changes in my own health and behavior:

  • I haven’t craved sweets since eating whole wheat products.
  • I feel full with only a little bread or pasta.  Whole wheat is very filling.  When you eat refined flours you usually eat MORE than one serving.  It is often hard not to.  Think about the last time you had a white flour yeast roll.  Did you snarf down a whole basket of bread before you knew what happened?  Yeah.  Me too.  Whole wheat bread is so nutrient dense and filling it only takes one serving before you feel FULL. {Hello skinny jeans?}.
  • I do not feel tired.  I actually have more energy.  Carbohydrates usually make you feel sluggish.  Not whole wheat.  It makes you regular {did that make you giggle?} so actually your body’s systems function like a well oiled machine giving you the energy you need to do the work of a well oiled machine. :)

And, my kids LOVE it.  They both want to help use the WonderMill and they haven’t even noticed a change in some things, like the waffles and pancakes.  And, they like the bread BETTER!  Eliana’s language is exploding lately and some of her first words have been “bread” and “butter!”  HAHA!   Judah actually THANKED my mom for the delicious whole wheat biscuits she made (with coconut oil – not shortening) this morning!

Man Cannot Love By Bread Alone…

A healthy diet consists of many REAL foods in their whole state {not processed} in moderation.  I still cling to Micheal Pollan’s food rule that state, “Eat real food. Not too much.  Mostly plants.”  But, in my diet wheat will be allowed and will be a nutrient and vitamin dense food.  Jesus himself compared himself to bread…what better food could their be? :)

 ”I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.” John 6:48

 

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Comments

  1. Great post, Denise! I’ve been wanting to try this, but the choices in wheat berries confuse me a bit — hard, soft, red, white, etc. What type do you use? Or are you saving that for another post? :D

    • Tara,
      I’ll write another post! Thanks for the inspiration. ;)
      There are a lot of choices but here is a good rule of thumb:
      I like hard white wheat for yeast breads (it is not as strong as the red and most anyone will enjoy the flavor). I use soft white wheat from non yeast breads (think pancakes, waffles, biscuits). I’ll write a post about the “why” soon! :)

  2. LOVE, love, love this post!

    But one tiny little thing… “what better food could their be?” I’m sure you meant “there.” :)

  3. When I make homemade bread (usually about 1/2 whole wheat–my 100% Whole Wheat is always a bit too dense) the kids love it–but they do say it is more filling. When I send sandwiches in to school with homemade bread they only eat half :)

  4. Melanie Sullivan says:

    Yay! :) Glad you decided to try milling your wheat! We love it, too, and you’re right – half a sandwich is plenty for me most of the time and one-fourth is about right for the kiddos! Hope to get together with you soon, my friend!

  5. I mill my own wheat flour as well. I love, love, love the WonderMill. After learning about all the lost nutrients in store-bought flours, I was sold on milling my own! Where do you buy your berries?

  6. I just came across your website & this article. I already bake most of our baked goods with the exception of sandwich bread. I usually buy sprouted wheat berry bread. Do you know how the nutritional content of sprouted wheat & grain breads compares to whole wheat flour?

    • Denisesawyer says:

      Sprouting your wheat berries is supposed to be a way to make it more easily digestible. However, I haven’t been sprouting my wheat berries. It IS MUCH more nutritional to mill your own wheat berries and my family is doing that.
      Denise

  7. Wow, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data! existing here at this
    webpage, thanks admin of this web site.

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