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The Manuipulation of Wheat

Flour has been so refined it ceases to give us essential nutrients it once did.

July 19, 2017

The Manuipulation of Wheat

Gluten intolerance and allergies are on the rise. Have you thought it may have something to do with the run of the mill (no pun intended) packaged flour that is sold and included in so many commercially produced goods?

Wheat has been altered by scientists so much over the past couple of centuries to be less resistant to disease, yield more and grow shorter and faster. Flour has been so refined it ceases to give us essential nutrients it once did. It also happens to still be a major player in our diets with millions across the globe basing their daily intake on bread of varying types.

The argument over the years has been, to feed the worlds burgeoning population this has been necessary. So now, today, to minimize the worlds worsening health what is to be done?

A common question I get asked in class is “what can I replace the wheat flour with” when making breads, pastries and cakes. I answer this carefully as there is emotion behind wanting a quick fix, easy answer. The reason people are continually enquiring is exactly that…there is no miracle replacement to create the unique and alluring texture that gluten in wheat does.

Yes, gluten free flour with is super-refined blend of ‘flour’ made from potatoes, tapioca, maize and the like will give a similar result. BUT on the majority of ‘cooking’ blogs I have read online, no-one is concerned with the effect on our metabolism and therefore health but everyone is concerned with texture and flavour!

Think about how far a potato, dug from the ground in its whole form has to go to be transformed into a powdery substance. This may give you some insight to the amount of manipulation necessary to achieve this outcome. This much refinement surely has to have an effect on the nutritional value?

I’m choosing to replace my white refined flour with Spelt. It’s an ancient variety which has not been tampered with. It’s readily available to purchase, even in supermarkets. The bad news is, as it’s yield is not as prolific as it’s modern alternative, its more expensive.

If you want to go the next step, buy organic. Considerably higher priced, but what price are you prepared to pay for your health. Think about it this way… more for good food today and less for health care in the future. It does make sense doesn’t it.

Here at Matters of Taste we are disturbed at the massive increase of customers who have specific diet requests. In 1997 when I started teaching, I remember during the first 5 years having only one lady asking me about egg substitutes as her young daughter had an adverse reaction. Today it is necessary to list allergens in each class as well as state whether the food is suitable for people who have coeliac disease or a gluten intolerance along with others who could experience the dangerous anaphylactic reaction to nuts, crustaceans etc. etc. if ingested, or even touched or breathed.

I hope soon, as we continue to all become more aware about the shift towards consuming food that feeds us good health continues and the responsibility we have surrounding ours and our loved ones lives is realised, that more of us cook from scratch using wholefoods. I know if you are reading this you are already on your way. Like me, knowing more about the manufacture of grocery items we purchase along with making the effort to grow fresh food in the garden and make spending more time on meal preparation at home a priority, will help us make better choices. Let’s hope this will in turn assist in reducing allergies and food related disease. Here’s to our good health, cheers!

12 Comment(s) Diet and Health

  1. Kerry

    Love your passion and information Tracey…long may you reign as a Mentor to us all.

  2. Cathy in Tas

    Hi Tracey. Good reading Than you. As you are aware I doing a Vegetarian Diet but also Gluten free and have survived just over 2 months. Flours very much on my agenda at the moment and I too been doing lots of reading and research. It appears that a LOT of people who have a gluten intolerance report that when they go to Europe they can eat the bread, eat the pasta and have no illness or adverse effect. The reason being that the wheat grown and turned into flour is not sprayed with chemicals as in Roundup. Phosphate is for killing weeds do we really want it killing us. Phoshate and the likes are a banned chemical in Europe. Maybe about time we woke up in Australia too!. If I have to use White Flour I am using the 000 Italian Flour. It is indeed a very interesting topic.

    • admin

      Interesting Cathy! Amanda Bryce AKA The Gutsy Pharmacist has just commented that organic flour gives better results and we are certainly experiencing that using it to make sourdough at home.

  3. Judy Sharp

    Hi Tracey – not sure if you are aware of this company I have bought their products before (at Fresh Provisions) and they are great – very helpful tips and recipes on their website. Cheers Jude

  4. Tracey I guess you know that Spelt flour is not suitable for anyone who has Coeliac disease as it still contains gluten.

    • admin

      Thanks Irene – apologies, i should have made that clearer. I’m certainly not suggesting anyone with coeliac disease consumes spelt.

  5. Amanda

    Totally agree Tracey, well written and great advice as always. Spelt and/ or organic are definitely they way to go. Organic flour does actually produce better results if you can afford it.

  6. Hi Tracey
    Unfortunately Spelt is not considered gluten free for coeliacs and coming up with alternatives for existing recipes is a journey for me. I am most interested in any research and subsequent classes you may come up with. Keep up the good work.
    Best wishes

    • admin

      Yes I know this is a problem for people Lesley. I’m just quietly ringing the warning bell around eating too much of the commercial alternative flour options for people who have coeliac disease. I am suggesting Spelt for people who are ok with gluten and others who may find regular flour has is a slight irritant to them. 🙂

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell
Tracey Cotterell


Tracey has been in the food industry since completing her Diploma in Hotel, Catering and Institutional Management in 1982 in the UK. She worked for an outside catering company in London, then joined her parents in rural West Sussex running

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Tracey Cotterell

Tracey Cotterell


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