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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…..pay 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!
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