Dangers of Modern Day Whole Wheat

Dancers of Modern Day WheatA few weeks ago I had a discussion with a friend whose son suffers from Crohn’s disease. He’s in his early 20’s now, but has had quite a battle with this horrible inflammatory disease since his early teens. He’s not alone and within this small circle of friends, I have another friend whose son has battled Crohn’s since early childhood. I also know many others who have lived with this horrible IBD for a good portion of their lives and all of whom are young people. Knowing this makes my heart heavy. It’s tough seeing beautiful people suffer.  This made me wonder what these families and individual sufferers have in common. Why are so many young people developing Crohn’s?  One thing that I continue to see among people who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases are major red flags in their diets. What they can’t see through no fault of their own, is that many of their healthy” food choices are instrumental in making them sick and keeping them in constant flare. Whenever I cross paths with anyone who has a chronic inflammatory disease, I always initiate a discussion about healthy eating, because I believe that there is a strong correlation between what we eat and how we feel. I also believe that with the growing number of chronic inflammatory diseases on the rise in not just young people, but people across the spectrum, that there is a direct link between chronic illness and our food source and it is this continued exposure to “harmful healthy foods” that is responsible for making us sick and keeping a great majority of our population dependent upon pharmaceutical drugs.

In addition to GMO’s and dairy, my concern’s have always pointed toward wheat gluten and I’m not alone in my thinking. Preventative cardiologist William Davis, MD wrote a New York times best seller called “Wheat Belly” it is through his observation of over 2000 patients that he began noticing a connection between wheat and obesity, chronic inflammatory diseases such as Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD), gluten allergies like Celiac and  gluten intolerance such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other chronic conditions and diseases such as asthma, eczema and ulcerative colitis.

So, what’s the big deal about wheat? It’s an ancient cereal grain often ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas and pastries. Correct? It’s also packed full of vitamins such as Calcium, Iron, Vitamin B-6 and Magnesium. The most important part of this description is “ancient.” Yes, grandma’s wheat was healthy, nutritious and a great addition to a healthy diet. However, it is only the wheat of the early 20th century that we can refer to as healthy, because what we’re eating in our modern world is hybridized and *bioengineered wheat, thanks to big agricultural on its quest for a higher yielding crop. We can’t even call what we eat today “wheat” perhaps it should be referred to as “beat” short for bio-wheat, “wheatio” “hybro-wheat, or perhaps more appropriately “inflammo-grain.” For those of us who suffer from chronic inflammatory diseases such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, IBDs such as Crohn’s & Ulcerative Colitis and IBS, this is another compelling reason to skip wheat based products and specifically wheat gluten protein, which has been altered through intense crossbreeding. The healthy amino acids and gliadin protein found in wheat has changed drastically over the years and it is this change that is potentially responsible for the 400-percent increase in Celiac disease that we’ve seen over the past 40 years. It is also modern-day gliadin protein that works as a powerful appetite stimulant and according to Dr. Davis this may also account for the explosion in inflammatory diseases that were are seeing on the rise.  Inflammo-wheat with its new biochemical code also causes hormone disruption that is linked to diabetes and obesity.

*Bioengineered wheat doesn’t just make you hungrier and heavier, it can also makes you nutrient deficient. The combination of digestion-impairing components in the seeds of grasses exposes you to a collection of poorly digested toxic, allergic and disruptive agents. Since modern-day wheat is a cross between wheat and non-wheat grasses, (that’s right grasses) through irradiation of wheat seeds and embryos with chemicals, gamma rays, and high does x-rays to induce the desired mutations. Our body’s poor reaction to this process is no surprise, since we as humans are not suited to consuming anything from the grass family. Graminivores such as cattle, sheep, horses and rabbits can obtain all of their nutrition from grass seeds, but humans can not and fortification does not change this one bit.  All grass contains high levels of phytates and ironically many grain breeders also select high phytate strains of grains because of their improved pest resistance. The modern-day whole wheat , corn and millet contain 800 milligrams (mg) of phytates per 100 grams, that’s approximately 3 1/2 ounces of flour. It only takes 50 mg of phytates to slash iron absorption by 80 to 90 percent. Phylates also reduce absorption of Zinc and Magnesium. An over exposure to wheat increases our intake of wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) which is responsible for blocking the intrinsic factor protein produced by the stomach, which is essential for B12 absorption.

Wheat ingredients are found in most processed foods including candy, Bloody Mary mixes, lunch meats, soy sauce and wine coolers. It’s also in what people consider healthier foods such as pizza, pastas, whole wheat breads and cereals.  There are also grains which share similar properties of wheat because they contain gluten-like proteins, such as Rye, barley and oats. If you must include grain in your diet opt for quinoa, buckwheat, millet and wild rice, but only in moderation. A 1/2 cup is an acceptable amount to avoid triggering high blood sugar.

What should we eat in order to avoid chronic inflammation of the intestines, stomach and joints? My simple recommendation is always fresh organic fruit and vegetables, along with organic lean protein. Avoid wheat grain and all processed foods which might have wheat gluten ingredients and stock your kitchen with many wonderful grain-free substitutes such as: almond meal, almond flour coconut flour, chia seeds, flax seeds, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, coconut oil, olive oil, shirataki noodles, kelp noodles, dried fruit, seeds, nuts and seed & nut butters to mention a few. Having these items on hand not only provide great pantry substitutes, but they can also help to correct the above mentioned vitamin and mineral deficiencies caused by high grain consumption. There are also many gluten-free resources available these days with the high number of Celiac cases, along with the fact that more and more people are discovering that they have gluten-intolerance. Your body is always the best guide for what ails you, observe, listen and eat well.

*The term Bioengineered should not be confused with GMO. These terms are not interchangeable. Wheat has not been “Genetically Modified,” but it has in fact been “Bioengineered.”

Reference:  “Wheat Belly” & “Wheat Belly Total Health” Interesting reading here on the The Positive Pear: Juicing, Healthy Whole Foods,

Natural Anti-Inflammatory, Vegan Friendly & Gluten-Free: Roasted Seaweed Snack!

When I talk about healthy gluten-free snacks I can’t help but rave about one of my all time favorites and that’s the Roasted Seaweed Snack by Trader Joes. These small paper-thin snacks are only 30 calories while offering only 2 grams of fat, 1 gram of protein and 50 mg of sodium.  If you are now thinking, “why on earth would I ever want to eat seaweed” then consider its incredible healing benefits. Seaweed is packed full of Amino Acids, ionic and trace Minerals plus Vitamins, most specifically Vitamins A, B and C. It also contains Beta-Carotene and Iodine, essential for Myelin production which helps to combat symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) by nourishing the mitochondria.  Seaweed also contains high amounts of Iron, Calcium, and Fiber, along with the non-essential amino acid Taurine, which is great for alertness and mental clarity.  Incredibly beneficial to those who suffer from *Fibro Fog, memory issues and depression. It also aids in bile production which helps with digestion. Seaweed is also instrumental in naturally lowering cholesterol levels which is essential to heart health. This wonderful super food also has antiviral and antibacterial properties, as well as an abundance of anti-inflammatory properties.  Proving very beneficial to those with chronic inflammatory conditions such as Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS).

Seaweed also contains Selenium, Collagen, Asparagine, Boron, Bioflavonoids and Antioxidants. When you eat this amazing little snack, you are strengthening your hair, bones, teeth, gums and connective tissue, while improving your thyroid, eyes and skin.  You are also sharpening your brain, removing toxins from your body such as mercury, lead and heavy metals, while helping your body to fight infection, colds, flu, allergies, and other respiratory problems.  In addition to lowering your risks of breast and prostate cancer. Trader Joe’s Roasted Seaweed Snack is vegan-friendly and a great substitution for chips and other high calorie, high sodium snacks. Plus, there is no need to swim to the bottom of the ocean to enjoy this tasty little snack.  They are packaged nicely, sold at your local Trader Joe’s and are very reasonably priced at only $.99. They also travel well for eating on the go and they are quite addicting, so be sure to stock up!

Great packaging, opens easily and travels well. Roasted seaweed remains fresh and in tact.

Beautiful snacks which you can serve on a plate or in the included plastic container. They tend to absorb moisture rather quickly, so be careful of leaving them out for too long.  Especially in humid climates, or you’ll risk losing the crunchiness which is their appeal.

Paper thin, filling and incredibly delicious!

If you like a little kick be sure to try their mouth blowing Wasabi Roasted Seaweed Snack. I like spicy, but one bite of this flavor was all that I could take.  I will say it’s worth trying and if you can’t handle the heat revisit the idea of the original flavor.

Raw Kale Salad with Lemon & Anchovy Vinaigrette

I absolutely love Kale in all of its glorious varieties and prepared in many different ways. I often eat kale as a side or an as entire meal, because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cholesterol-lowering  and cancer fighting benefits.  This is a fun, tasty recipe for anyone looking to add more vitamin K to their diets.  This dish is perfect for a low-starch/balanced protein diet, and to make more vegan friendly simply omit the anchovies & eggs.  If your not growing your own Dinosaur Kale, be sure to pick up a few bunches from your local Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods or the Organic Produce section of your local grocery store.

Beautiful Kale of Many Names: Dinosaur, Tuscan & Lacinato:

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces organic Dinosaur Kale, devein & remove large stem, thinly slice crosswise (makes approx 8 cups)
  • 6 Anchovy fillets packed in olive oil, drained (Trader Joe’s/approx 174 mg of sodium)
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed organic Lemon Juice
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 teaspoon 365 Organic Dijon Mustard (Whole Foods) or Spicy Brown Mustard (Trader Joe’s)
  • 3/4 cup Extra-Virgin Cold Pressed Olive Oil
  •  Freshly ground Black Pepper
  • 1 hard-boiled Egg, peeled

Prepare:

Vinaigrette: Combine the organic lemon juice, anchovies, garlic & mustard in a blender; purée until smooth. Keep the blender running while you very slowly pour in the oil. Season with freshly cracked pepper to taste. Cover and chill.  Can be made 2 days ahead & kept refrigerated.

Using a microplane zester/grater and a small bowl, grate your hard-boiled egg.  I personally choose to use only the egg white, but if you prefer not to waste your egg, continue to grate the yolk as well.  Grating can be done up to 6 hours ahead, simply cover, chill & store separately from other ingredients.

Toss kale and creamy dressing in a large bowl to coat. Add additional freshly cracked pepper if needed. Top with grated eggs and voilà!  Enjoy as a meal or serve as a side dish, compliments of “The Positive Pear”  (to modify for vegan friendly avoid the egg & anchovy)

Other Positive Pear Kale Recipes: “Kale”