Friendly Flour: Einkorn Wheat
When my diet switched to a mostly Paleo one (with the occasional cheat), I subtly became gluten free.
I say subtly, because I never decided I was going to stop eating gluten. It just happened, as my diet was now filled with veggies, lean meats, fruits, and nuts. I didn't even notice the missing wheat until one day I ate restaurant bread on a 'cheat day'.
There was inflammation in my throat and belly, and I felt like I was coming down with a respiratory infection. Never in my life had I had that reaction to a wheat product. Why now? When you step away from an inflammatory food for a few weeks (or in my case, months), reintroducing that food to your diet may highlight just how much your body does NOT appreciate it. Mine is not actually a gluten intolerance or allergy. It's something else entirely.
Amber waves of grain?
I can usually eat wheat when I'm overseas without the adverse reaction I have when I eat it in the U.S. Why does a piece of toast in England not bother me, but a piece of toast in NY does?
Well, many American mega-farms spray Round Up weed killer onto their wheat crops because Round Up contains something called glyphosate. This chemical allows farmers to harvest more wheat faster. Read MIT lead researcher Dr. Stephanie Seneff's investigation of glyphosate and the rise of Celiac here.
While there is no such thing as GMO wheat, hybridization of wheat species over the years has left us with a variety that is not only bathed in weed killer, but fairly tough to digest. Once sprayed, processed, bleached, and stripped of its natural benefits, the wheat in most bread products in the U.S. is far less nutritious, and packed with toxins. It's kinda crap.
We are one of the only countries on earth who willingly let this happen to our bread source. Is this happening everywhere on all American farms? No. Is it happening on enough farms, heck yes.
So, now that we're all depressed, enter Einkorn.
What is Einkorn
Einkorn means "single grain" in German, and is a type of wheat. We could call it the original wheat, as it archaeologists have identified it in digs in the Fertile Crescent dating back as early as 7500 B.C. As it has not been hybridized, it can be found growing in the wild in places our modern wheat could never survive.
Unlike the wheat you see on modern, American mega-farms which has 42 chromosomes in its DNA, Einkorn only has 14 chromosomes. Well that's cool, but what does it mean? It means it is far easier to digest, and the nutritional value (yes there is some) of the wheat is easier to absorb. As far as taste, Einkorn has a lighter taste and consistency than your regular wheat, so its fantastic in baked goods.
Is it Gluten Free?
No. Gluten is married to wheat, no matter how natural the wheat may be. However, Einkorn has a lower gluten content, and many people with a gluten sensitivity can consume Einkorn without any issue. If you have a gluten sensitivity/intolerance or Celiac Disease, speak to your doctor before consuming Einkorn products.
If its so good for us, why do we grow the other stuff?
Despite being a hardy wheat, Einkorn isn't a great cash crop, and mega-farms have no interest in cultivating something that yields smaller amounts at a slower rate. So yes, basically, it comes down to economics, which is a polite way of saying "they want to make more money, faster."
Where can I find Einkorn Flour?
I get mine from Young Living because I know that 1) the Einkorn seeds are as close to the original as they can be, and 2) they have never seen a pesticide. The True Grit Einkorn Flour can be used the same way as all purpose flour (1:1 ratio). Young Living took the original wheat, and also created pancake and waffle mix, pasta, and granola. For people with a gluten sensitivity or intolerance, Gary also formulated a gluten free pancake and waffle mix, but that does NOT have Einkorn flour. It is made with flours of garbanzos, gluten-free oats, amaranth and sorghum.
So now what?
If you and your doctor are both comfortable with you trying an Einkorn flour, give it a try! In the coming weeks, I'll be sharing some holiday baking recipes that incorporate Einkorn, so you can see how easy it is to switch out the pale poison powder for something with some grit and nutrition behind it. Stay tuned!