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The Wheat I Can Eat – Einkorn

The Wheat I Can Eat

I had no idea that my rhyming was so good, I’m sure my wife disagrees, though. Regardless, I mentioned way back in the beginning somewhere that there is one variety of wheat that I am able to eat. Einkorn is this wheat’s name. Just as a reminder for anyone, I do have a severe reaction to gluten. Whether you want to call it a sensitivity, an allergy, whatever, it’s bad, and I have to avoid it like the plague. Einkorn has been very successful for me, though!

First off, let me say I am not a doctor, and even if I was, I’m not your doctor, or naturopath, or nutritionist or anything. I’m just your friendly neighborhood baker. I highly recommend you talk about this with whoever your healthcare professional is. After that, I recommend ordered a very small amount to try, and go from there if you it works for you.

It took me 6 months to drum up the courage to try it. I very much did not want to be curled up in bed in extreme pain. I ate one small cookie and went from there. Praise God it did not affect me, and was safe for me to eat.

What is Einkorn?

Einkorn is a variety of wheat, therefore it also contains gluten. That is the last similarity between einkorn and modern wheat. Einkorn is considered to be the original wheat that was ever domesticated (somewhere between 5,000-10,000 years ago). Since then we have hybridized various varieties of wheat to create all the varieties we have today.

Along with that hybridization came higher amounts of gluten and a different genetic structure to the gluten dna itself. This was both intentional and unintentional. As we have discussed, if you are wanting to create a great loaf of bread, gluten is wonderful and helps create that beautiful structure. Wheat farmers selected varieties over the years to increase that gluten and make it stronger so bakers can create those particular loaves of bread.

But this same hybridization has ended up helping create the problems that many of us are familiar with. While Einkorn certainly has its drawbacks due to its lower yield, weaker gluten, and increased difficulty in harvest, the weaker gluten that it contains also makes it edible for a large portion of the population! Your body may very well be able to process einkorn flour just fine even if you have a severe reaction to “regular” wheat.

Einkorn only has 2 sets of chromosomes as opposed to modern wheat which can be up in the 40s. Emmer, Kamut and Spelt are all in-between. Einkorn also does have quite a bit higher level of nutrients and protein compared to modern wheat. If you would like to learn more, here is a website all about einkorn.

Does all of this matter?

Does all of this matter for those of us who are gluten intolerant, though? Well, as I mentioned above, it all just depends. I think as a baseline rule, it does. It starts as a much healthier product to begin with compared to modern varieties. Almost all einkorn is produced organically so that can also aid in digestibility. As with all things, you need to try a little bit and see if your own body can handle it. We do know many gluten-free people who are able to eat einkorn, though! It functions basically the same as regular white flour, and it can be fermented into sourdough, so it is a wonderful thing to be able to add into your diet on occasion! Einkorn has made it much easier for our family to live with all our food allergies.

Let us know if you try einkorn and how it works out for you! Jovial Foods is where we purchase ours.

Make it a tasty day,

Chris

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Is it healthier to eat gluten free? Part 1

Is it healthier to eat Gluten Free? People ask me this question rather frequently. The answer is, as it frequently is, “It Depends”. People eat gluten free for various reasons, the clearest one being that they have some sort of negative reaction to it. If you have a negative reaction to it, then, while I am not a doctor, I would certainly recommend that you remove gluten from your diet. But there are some other reasons, so let’s dig into those, too.

Why do people say it is healthier to eat gluten free? There are several reasons that people do remove gluten from their diet. They are listed below.

  • Perceived Health Benefit
  • Fad Diet
  • Sensitivity to Gluten or Wheat
  • Eat Low Carb
  • Inflammation Removal Diet
  • Other Food Sensitivities

Perceived Health Benefit

I would like to deal with the perceived health benefit first. By this, I mean that people have heard that it is healthier to eat gluten free, so they switch all of their food over to gluten free pre-made products and feel that they are now better off and move on with life, never giving it another thought. This might help you feel better it or it might not.

Changing from the standard American diet (based on wheat products) to the standard American gluten free diet (based on products made with wheat substitutes) might actually be more of a problem. Wheat based products, while far from perfect, do still contain a decent amount of the whole grain. They are not a pure starch. Many gluten free products are made out of a high concentration of pure starches. This produces a tastier product, but it also hits your blood sugar way faster. Go take a look at some of these products on Amazon. Even the “Whole Grain” products have added starch.

This is an important fact if you are switching to Gluten Free because of a sensitivity to it. I love a good bagel or slice of bread. It is probably best that we don’t eat it all the time, though, especially with the high levels of starch in GF food. It is always better to find products that contain more whole foods and fewer additives like starch.

If you have any of the related health issues caused by wheat or gluten, then yes, it is a healthier switch! If you are doing it “just because”, then you might be causing more issues for yourself by increasing your intake of starches through trying to eat gluten free.

Fad Diet

The fad diet of eating gluten free has waned some since its beginning though eating grain free is still common, whether it is Paleo, Primal or Keto. Many people jump in because it is the popular thing to do, whether or not it is healthier. This does help drive the market to produce better items, which is nice for those of us who do have to eat gluten free! Ultimately, though, it will not last as people move on to the next fad diet.

Several articles have been put forth by upset waiters and chefs over the trouble that people on gluten free diets have caused. Some of these writers have felt that no one is actually sensitive to gluten. Other writers say they know there are probably people with legitimate issue, but they are overshadowed by who are following the fad diet and being overly nit-picky. The fad diet people end up  jading the restaurant industry against all gluten free people.

For some reason, people on fad diets seem to take a stronger stance on their eating than those with legitimate health issues. I have dealt with this in my own career in restaurants. People can be jerks, please don’t be one! As I wrote about yesterday, you get nowhere when you are a jerk to other people. Yes, as people with food allergies, we need to be firm and clear on our food needs, but we can do so nicely. If the server does not understand our needs, it is probably because we aren’t communicating well.

Concluding Thoughts

Don’t take this the wrong way. If you truly feel like it is healthier to eat gluten free, please do so! I am not trying to dissuade anyone of that. We love being gluten free and mostly grain free! I only caution against those who are jumping on the bandwagon purely because it’s the trend.

Tomorrow we will continue talking about the other reasons it may be healthier to eat gluten free. See you then!

Have a tasty day,

Chris

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Gluten-free is a fad (well, somewhat)

 

“Gluten free is a fad.”

“Most people who are gluten-free don’t really NEED to be and are just following the fad.”

 

Have you heard these statements before? Or said them yourself? I hear these all of the time. Often with a tone of disapproval. Some people agree; I don’t and think it should change.

When Chris was first diagnosed, it was hard to find gluten-free products. Most of them were terrible. Imagine poorly flavored cardboard, cat litter, and sand. Basically, not good. (One of the reasons why we started this bakery.) The gluten free movement was young. There were few products on the market and few of them were good. People only ate these gluten-free products if they had to.

About 1 on 100 people suffer from celiac, and there are others who must eat gluten-free for other health reasons, like Chris. Even the smallest amount would cause him excruciating pain for days. It took months of testing to figure out the cause. He is not gluten-free for a fad, but for necessity.

However, some people eat gluten-free because that is what other people are doing.  They hear about gluten-free in the news; or a friend is talking about “going gluten free”. This might be called a fad. But you know what? I’m good with that.

Remember supply and demand from your economics? Back then, few people wanted gluten-free products; the demand was small so the supply was small. Now, a ton of people want gluten free; the demand has grown and so the supply has grown. Many companies create gluten free products to meet this demand. Demand regardless of the “why”: for health, for celiac, for necessity, for fun, or YES, for fad.

I am grateful for anyone who is gluten-free for fad. If those consumers didn’t buy gluten-free, the demand would be much smaller. If it was smaller, there would be less options and the options would not be as good.

Therefore, today in 2019, I am glad for anyone who eats gluten free for fad reasons. With them, we all have more, better options. Thankfully, Chris was able to make dietary changes and work on getting better.

So if you see someone who eats gluten-free because everyone else is, thank them for me.

(But guess what? There are great reasons to eat gluten-free. So even if you started this because you were curious, keep enjoying gluten-free living!)

 

~Nathan