In this section we will discuss my conspiracy theories regarding modern grains and why I choose what I do and not do.
Of course, conspiracy is a relative term as so much of our humanoid society is set up on a system of beliefs. If enough people believe one thing then all other things must be wrong. Remember the Earth being flat? Not in your lifetime, I’m sure, but you’re aware of the history. It was heresy to suggest not only that the Earth was round but that we were, in fact, NOT the center of the universe. Want to die a quick and painful death? Experience exile or permanent house arrest? Go against the prevailing **beliefs** of the time. Didn’t make the Earth any flatter, but it was the BELIEF of the time and don’t you dare to tell us that our beliefs were wrong all along. Well, that’s me. Hi, how are ya? My name’s Erin and I don’t believe what everyone else believes. Granted, I have watched over the past 10 years or so as my little cult of non-believer brothers and sisters has grown, but for so many people…
They want someone else to tell them what to believe. And death unto those that don’t fall in line!
Frankly, I don’t care if you believe me or not. You want to believe that the Earth is a quadrilateral prism that only exists in the mind’s eye of a mythical invisible unicorn, knock yourself out. This is all about why I’m a rebel. Not why you have to be one.
Tally ho!! (or my preference: Allons-y!!)
We’ll start with wheat. Staff of life stuff and all that. Totally and completely unnecessary in a human diet… but it makes cake so we give it a pass. It tastes good. It’s versatile. It’s relatively cheap and can be used as a tummy filler. Sadly though, the modern berries we use are a far cry chromosomally from the wheat berries our long ago and far away relatives were plucking as they migrated across the grassy plains hunting and gathering. 14 chromosomes in that ancient wheat, 42 in modern wheat.
Not GMO though, all just human selection and hybridizing through the years to encourage those plants which worked best for us for production. To my knowledge the only grain that IS GMO is corn. Wheat, oats, rice, sugar cane (it’s a grass too, we just use it differently), barley, rye, etc., no one has bothered to pull a gene from another plant/organism (such as the Bt toxin used in corn/soy) and inserted it into our grains to make a GMO option. So worrying about non-GMO grains rates right up there with concerning yourself with gluten-free butter. Gluten doesn’t come in butter and frankenscience doesn’t come in our grains (except corn). Yet. I still say give ’em time and they’ll be able to eff anything up 😐
So, WHY, you ask, do I insist on buying only organic wheat?? Great question. I didn’t used to, ya know. But then they started absolutely *drenching* the wheat fields with glyphosate directly before harvest to artificially dry the plants and plan their harvests based on what worked for the humans instead of what worked for Mother Nature. Now, re-read that part: directly before harvest. Do you really think all of those chemicals are being washed off those little wheat berries before they’re sent off for processing to be bagged up beautiful and white in your favorite five-pound brand? No. Glyphosate is a known carcinogen, at least to those that have seen the studies on the rats that go for 3 months and a day, not just three months and don’t tell us what we don’t want to hear. More importantly than that though (yes, I said more important than a cancer causing time-bomb), it kills your gut bugs.
Your gut bugs, microbiome, intestinal flora, internal bacteria, friendly/beneficial bacteria, you may know them as probiotics (though those are literally bacteria that you’re simply swallowing to try to repopulate your own flora)… whatever you name them, the bacteria that lives symbiotically with us outnumber our human cells. We are more bacteria than human. Your microbiome dictates your immune system, why on earth would you want to jack-up the balance of what’s going on in there?? I like my gut bugs and feed them well.
So, organic wheat it is.
Now, why the fermenting or the sprouting of said wheat? That’s easy. The wheat is a seed. Seeds want to propagate and make more plants, they want to discourage you from eating them. They don’t want to be food as, really, they’re just not getting anything out of this arrangement. So that wrapped up tight little wheat berry contains “anti-nutrients”, things like phytic acid. Things that make nutrient absorption in your gut difficult at best. These anti-nutrients actually BLOCK vitamin and mineral absorption, which is why you could eat and eat and eat… and still be super malnourished.
However, sprouting the wheat first makes the seed give it up. That seed then thinks it’s going to be a new plant, and woohoo!! gets excited. Dumps all that nasty little anti-nutrient business and can now be used, but most importantly, absorbed. If you’re going to eat foods loaded with vitamins and/or minerals, it only makes sense to be able to absorb said vitamins and/or minerals instead of getting less than nothing out of the whole hassle of chewing.
Same thing happens with fermentation. All the little bacteria and yeasties break down all the components that make a non-fermented grain bad for human consumption. You can then eat it with none of the complications experienced by the general population when consuming conventional, standard, everyday wheat products.
Except if you have Celiac Disease. Your little villi are damaged and hurting. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it. At least not until long after you’ve repaired the villi and completely healed the gut. Even then, I would be so very wary. Will the pre-digestion of fermentation help? Yes, probably. But there’s still gluten in there. Ancient, organically grown Einkorn wheat might be okay – still has gluten, but it’s a different kind of gluten protein, but honestly with the pain associated with that particular disorder if you mess up, it would be like playing Russian Roulette with the next week or two of your life.
Yup, despite what your mama may have told you when you were a child, corn is indeed a grain not a vegetable. Original corn looked way more like modern wheat, but once again, humans have cross-bred and hybridized the snot out of this grass until today we end up with huge “cobs” filled with seeds. Sweet seeds at that. Original corn? Not so sweet.
Gluten-free, but still starchy, it makes good, non-gluteny bread, butter glazed popped corn, and a pretty color addition to your Thanksgiving table.
But still a completely unnecessary component of a human diet. If you like corn though, and you want to eat corn in all of it’s versatile incarnations, for the love of all things holy, buy organic. This is one of the MAJOR GMO products. That is not just corn DNA you’re noshing on at Thanksgiving — and all with a side of glyphosate sprayed on it. I can do without the flavor profile there. If you have a local grower, ask what they use on their crops. Ask if it’s grown from non-GMO seeds and if they spray. Don’t worry as much with “certified organic” as you do with “organically grown” when dealing with local vendors. USDA organic certification is cost-prohibitive for most small producers, but with your questions, you will be able to tell right off the bat if the grower has the same passion for food that you’re looking for.
Store stuff though? When in doubt, certified organic all the way.
RICE, OATMEAL, BARLEY
Ehhhhhhhhhhh… I don’t know. I’m not really sure how much rice is sprayed. I do know it’s not GMO. Same with the other 2. I know I really, really prefer steel cut oats over rolled, I get the slow ones that I have to soak overnight, and I do buy organic. There was a reason in there at some point that I switched to the organic oats, but I don’t remember why. Same with rice, but it may just be habit for me at this point. I do try to let my rice soak for a good 22-24 hours before I want to use it — think I ran across that on a Japanese site sometime in my distant past? Maybe. Either way, it was traditional in a culture that regularly uses rice, so that’s what I do. I only use barley like twice a year tops (in soup) and can’t really say I have a preference.
Suppose one of these days I’ll work up a care to look deeper into these 3, but I’m not your answer lady on any of them. Apologies.
Thanks for hangin’ with me during my stream of consciousness on, well, mostly wheat and corn 🙂 I’ll work up a good conspiracy theory for the rest of the grains when I know more about what’s going on with them.
Thanks a bunch for putting this together!