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Everything Old is New: Heirloom Grains Hold Hope for Gluten Intolerance

Written By: A. Coffin

November 2014

Back in the USA article: Everything Old is New: Heirloom Grains Hold Hope for Gluten Intolerance

It seems like old-fashioned things are new again, at least where food is concerned. If you’re older—as in a baby boomer—you may remember Wonder Bread with great fondness, as well as how it tasted. Passing around the Wonder Bread was like passing on a family heirloom to the grand kids. Oh, it may have gone by different names in different regions, but you know what it’s like; soft, white, melt in your mouth – the stuff of life. Every biblical reference to bread, brought to mind its flavor and texture. It was truly worshipful!

Back in the USA article: Everything Old is New: Heirloom Grains Hold Hope for Gluten Intolerance

But, times have changed. Today, Wonder Bread really isn’t found very frequently, and if it is, it’s a guilty pleasure, all that white soft goodness. It may even make you sick. We’ve become more sophisticated, and the foods we can tolerate are more sophisticated, too. For example, my significant other, who ate Wonder Bread with the rest of us growing up, now has an allergy to wheat, as well as many other plants that have changed over the years. He didn’t really change; the plants changed as companies played with the formulas to make a more germ resistant what.



Our wheat today is very different from its counterpart of the 60s and 70s. For example, according to an article from Pacific Standard, the wheat we grew up with has 14 chromosomes. Today’s wheat has 42. It’s a much more complex plant, resistant to disease…and the complexity has made approximately 30% of Americans intolerant to it, not counting those with Celiac disease. It seems like the things we did to genetically change wheat have come back to haunt us and make us sick, or at least many of us. For the rest of us, it just seems to make us gain weight.

The question, of course, is why, and how do we fix it. Interestingly, fixing it may come in the form of going back to those biblical roots of wheat.



A new report from CNBC News states that perhaps heirloom grains may provide the answer. More attention is now being paid to these ancient grains, whose low gluten content may just be the thing for those of us suffering from the composition of modern grains.

Many people find that eating grains overseas doesn't bother them, and many people report that einkorn, a wheat variety that is at least 10,000 years old, and grown in the US, can be used in breads, and people with gluten intolerance can eat it. Also, other similar forms of heirloom wheat are being studied.

It seems we’ve kind of messed up our food supply, but it also seems that looking to the past may help us solve it.

Read the CNBC Report: Heirloom grains gain a new following: Gluten watchers


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