Einkorn and Finkle, Finkle and Einkorn

by Elizabeth on April 10, 2012

“Bread Day” 

So admittedly, today’s post, which comes on the heels of the famous NGI “Bread Day,” may seem like a  bit of a downer. It’s almost hard to believe that something so delicious and seemingly innocent as a bagel can wreak such havoc in some people’s bodies.  I’ve been gluten-free on and off the last 2 years (mostly on and strictly on for the last 6 months) and it has completely transformed my health. At one point I was so out of answers as to what was making me sick all the time that I began to resign myself to the idea that I must just be a sickly person. And even though it’s still occasionally challenging to live completely gluten-free (like when traveling or eating at a restaurant), it’s really become second nature and I can’t say I feel deprived. Having an experience like I did this weekend where I accidentally got “glutened” (as they say in the celiac world) reminded me of how grateful I am to not be living like that day to day anymore.

 I’ve become more curious about this issue over the last two years as I encounter more and more people with celiac or gluten sensitivities.  Last week alone I heard from two friends who had just been diagnosed with celiac! I picked up “Wheat Belly” by Dr. William Davis and I really recommend it, even for those without gluten sensitivities. It’s mind boggling to learn about how drastically different the wheat we eat today is from the wheat our ancestors ate, called einkorn or emmer.  The grain we eat today has been cross-bred and hybridized so many times that its molecular structure is nothing like its original form.  Think of it this way –  Men and women are only one chromosome away from sharing identical genetic makeups but we’re all familiar with the saying “Men are from Mars,  women are from Venus.” Now imagine the outcome of multiple gene alterations. The initial reason the first hybrids was engineered back in the early ’80’s was a good one – to increase crop yield and decrease world hunger. The problem was that this new wheat (and the many subsequent alterations) was never tested for its effect on human consumption.  So essentially, we are the guinea pigs.

Courtesy of WheatBellyBlog.com

The wheat on the far left is the original wheat plant, the one on the far right is the wheat we eat today, and the ones in between show the successive hybrid forms.

Dr. Davis posits  that these changes are not only responsible for the explosion of celiac cases (4x as many today as in the 1950’s) but for a host of other diseases, including diabetes.  He tests and demonstrates how consumption of modern day wheat (even whole grain wheat) raises your blood sugar HIGHER than sucrose ie WHITE SUGAR! Interestingly enough, einkorn and emmer do not spike blood sugar higher than sucrose. Also, when Dr. Davis (who is gluten intolerant) tried einkorn for himself, he found that he had none of the unpleasant symptoms he experiences from eating modern day wheat. Clearly there’s a lot more research needed but in my opinion, Dr. Davis makes a very compelling case.

Previous post:

Next post: