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October’s 31 Days of Real Food-Day 20

by Olivia Furlow

Day 20-Whole grains vs. Refined grains


Wheat is a key ingredient in the American diet. But after being milled, it is hardly utilized in its whole form with all it’s natural components intact. When we eat wheat, we get it in the form of bread, pies, cakes, cookies, biscuits, white rice, spaghetti, cereals, and other forms that have been treated, heated, fractioned, and fragmented until it is next to impossible to recognize it for what it was originally. These are all examples of refined grains.

A refined grain is made by processing a natural, whole grain so that some or most of the nutrients are lost. Almost all grain products have been refined in some way or another.

Why are Refined Grain Products Harmful?

Refined grains and their food products are substandard foods for several reasons:

They are excessively starchy and high in gluten.
They are practically devoid of natural fiber.
There can be up to approximately 25 different chemicals that are added           to refined grains and breads products.
Grains are fumigated.
Bleaching chemicals are used.
Artificial colorings and flavorings are used.
They are nutritionally imbalanced.
Because refined grain products are nutritionally imbalanced, they are responsible for contributing to several degenerative diseases. Calcium leaching from the bones and teeth occurs because of the altered phosphorous-calcium balance in these products. Sugar and refined grain products are primarily responsible for tooth decay in this country, as well as being the major cause of brittle bones in the elderly.

The making of bread and flour products took a real turn for the worse at the end of World War 2. Bakeries in America began using large amounts of chemicals, additives, bleaches, and preservatives.

The millers discovered they could make the flour very white by bleaching it. Other chemical oxidizers are added to bleach and “mature” the flour, such as nitrogen dioxide and azocarbonamide. Are these chemicals dangerous? Absolutely! Germany banned all such oxidizers back in 1958, almost 60 years ago!

The next step in the chemicalization of bread is to add chemical dough conditioners to the dough to enable the resulting bread to stay fresh and soft for a longer period, without getting stale on grocery store shelves. To give this softness and white bread texture, mono- and diglycerides are added to the bread dough at the rate of about 1/4 pound per year per person consumption. This makes the bread more squeezable and fluffy. Some of the chemicals used as dough conditioners are similar to the anti-freeze mix used for automobile radiators. One of the chemicals used as a dough conditioner is polyexy ethelyne monosterate. Workers in factories that make this chemical have been known to develop skin rashes from the fumes. polyexy ethelyne monosterate is also used in making peanut butter, ice cream, candy, and salad dressings.

One of the biggest changes in modern wheat is that it contains a modified form of gliadin, a protein found in wheat gluten. Gliadin unleashes a feel good effect in the brain by morphing into a substance that crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds onto the brain’s opiate receptors. Gliadin is a very mind-active compound that increases people’s appetites.

Wheat, in particular, is one of the biggest dietary triggers of food allergies and intolerances. Many experts blame the higher gluten content of modern wheat varieties. A type of protein found in many grains, including wheat. Gluten gives dough elasticity, trapping air bubbles and creating a soft texture. Because soft is considered desirable, wheat today has more gluten than ever.

Choose whole-kernel grains when possible. Whole-kernel grains, such as wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat, hulled barley and whole-wheat berries. These grains have heartier, more complex structures than pulverized and processed ones, making them slower to digest, less disruptive of blood sugar and better at satisfying hunger for an extended period of time. Minimally processed grains, such as steel-cut oats, are another good option.

When you bake, replace part of the flour with nut or seed meals. Meals made from ground nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, coconut and flax, can often stand in for flour in baking recipes as well as breadings on meats or seafood.



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