Einkorn: Our Ancestral Wheat
Are you an addict?
Today's modern wheat acts like an addictive drug in your brain, making you want to eat more and more of it. A good thing for the companies that make products from it, but not for us! As cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly, Dr. William Davis explains: "
"Wheat is addictive in the sense that it comes to dominate thoughts and behaviors. Wheat is addictive in the sense that, if you don’t have any for several hours, you start to get nervous, foggy, tremulous, and start desperately seeking out another “hit” of crackers, bagels, or bread, even if it’s the few stale 3-month old crackers at the bottom of the box...
"But the 'high' of wheat is not like the high of heroine, morphine, or Oxycontin. This opiate, while it binds to the opiate receptors of the brain, doesn’t make us high. It makes us hungry. This is the effect exerted by gliadin, the protein in wheat that was inadvertently altered by geneticists in the 1970s during efforts to increase yield. Just a few shifts in amino acids and gliadin in modern high-yield, semi-dwarf wheat became a potent appetite stimulant.
"Wheat stimulates appetite. Wheat stimulates calorie consumption: 440 more calories per day, 365 days per year, for every man, woman, and child. (440 calories per person per day is the average.) We experience this, sense the weight gain that is coming and we push our plate away, settle for smaller portions, increase exercise more and more . . . yet continue to gain, and gain, and gain."
Back to the future
Prior to the advent of modern grain technology, our grandmothers baked with the superior ancient grain known as einkorn wheat that had nourished people for thousands of years. In fact, the famed Ice Man, who lived more than 3,000 years ago, was found to have eaten einkorn wheat bread as part of his last meal!
All carbohydrates should be consumed with prudence, since most trigger insulin release to pack on excess fat. However, einkorn is one ancient grain that stands above the rest in nutrition and low reactivity potential. It's easy to digest and its low-gluten profile makes it ideal for people who are sensitive to this tough wheat protein.
Modern high-yield dwarf wheat contains a proportional high content of gluten that's different from its ancient ancestor and is much more difficult to digest. Einkorn is a simpler plant, since it only contains two sets of chromosomes, unlike emmer wheat (a generation removed) which has four sets, or spelt (another generation removed), which has six sets just like modern wheat. Since einkorn has only two sets of chromosomes, it is the most ancient and purest form of wheat with naturally low gluten content and is easiest on digestion. Furthermore, the humble einkorn supplies more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants than its sophisticated descendant.
From the website of Jovial Foods, marketer of einkorn products, comes this nutritional overview:
- High in thiamin, essential dietary and trace minerals
- Good source of protein, iron, dietary fiber and a number of B vitamins.
- Contains a significant amount of the powerful antioxidant lutein
- Higher Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) than durum and bread wheat
- Higher content of proteins, tocols and carotenoids than other species of wheat.
- Lower percentage of nutrient loss during processing
As you can see, einkorn flour just might be what the doctor ordered, especially if you are sensitive to the wheat protein fraction, gluten.
Nutrition information: draxe.com/einkorn-flour/