What’s up with Wheat?

Chances are that you probably know someone who is intolerant or even is sensitive to wheat. Or you have been in a grocery store in the past 2 years and notice that everything from chips to apples have been labeled as gluten free. While I know that there are certain cases i.e. Celiac’s Disease, where people cannot eat wheat at all, it seems that every one is developing some sort of intolerance to wheat. Why is that? Well according to Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly, wheat is dangerous and toxic for everyone.

This is a pretty extreme stance on wheat, but I can’t totally discount it. One of the reasons that Dr. Davis believes that wheat is so bad for us is the fact that it is not the same wheat that was grown 50 or 60 years ago. This is true for many of our crops, as genetically modified food is everywhere whether you realize it or not. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdfplus/10.1021/ac0028604 Due to higher demand for food, farmers have to make sure they get the most bang for their buck and grow as much as possible, regardless of whether it is in season or not. Sadly this means unhealthy results for you. It is no surprise to hear that there is a new protein called gliadin found in wheat that is harmful to the human body, as it was never meant to be there in the first place. This is why it is so important for all of us to be really conscious of the food that we purchase and consume. This is why it is so important that we get the government to start labeling GMO food and work harder to show us what is in all of our food products.

Now back to wheat. We have all heard that refined wheat, or the white wheat that is used in the majority of food products and homes today, is not good for us. In the refinement process, this wheat is stripped of all the nutrients that are good for us and essentially turned into a sugar. The body will process it faster and turn it into glucose and therefore be treated as a sugar. In order to avoid this problem we have been told to switch to whole grains, ones that have not been stripped of nutrients during the refinement process. But Dr. Davis makes an interesting point when he says that we have been told to switch from eating something bad to something less bad. It does seem a bit like flawed logic. And perhaps cutting out wheat does have a grain of truth to it (yup, I just made a really bad pun. Deal with it). I can only speak from my personal experience when it comes to wheat consumption. Now, I do not have Celiac’s nor do I have a sensitivity to wheat, at least that I am aware of and I am by no means a doctor or nutritionist. But I have cut down on my consumption of wheat (whole wheat that is, no white stuff for this girl) and I do notice a difference. Because I have not totally cut out all wheat, I try to consume any wheat products in the morning or afternoon. I realized that if I had wheat with my dinner, I was left feeling like I had a rock in my stomach when I went to bed. Now that I have limited it to my mornings, I give my body the whole day to digest and also use that wheat for energy. And I don’t go crazy eating huge meals mainly consisting of wheat. Saturday’s in our house is pancake day, so that is the biggest meal that I eat that consists mostly of wheat. But like I said before I eat that in the morning and I don’t feel as bad as if I had a stack of pancakes for dinner (as delicious as that would be!).

I think that the main thing to take away from this article and post for now is that you have to listen to your body’s needs. If after you eat wheat you feel less than stellar, try experimenting with cutting down or cutting out wheat. And of course always be on the lookout for what you eat, meaning don’t buy GMO food if possible and stop eating white flour right now. Seriously, it offers you no benefits and whole wheat flour as well as whole wheat pastry flour taste and work just the same and are so much better for you in terms of nutrients. And experiment with other grains like quinoa or bulgur. Both are whole grains and offer a ton of nutritious benefits to your diet. These are all ideas and suggestions that have helped and worked for me, so try them out and tailor them to your needs. That is what is so great about proper nutrition, there is something out there that will work and benefit your body! I thought that I would end today’s post with a recipe, yay! In light of our wheat post, this is a recipe for a totally wheat free lasagna (what?! That’s crazy Katie! Impossible!) It’s true. Instead of noodles, I make my lasagna with spaghetti squash. Now before you scoff or sic your 100% Italian grandmother on me, I promise this is just as filling and delicious as regular lasagna. My pasta lovin’ fiancé can’t get enough of this meal and once spaghetti squash season rolls around he asks me to make it constantly. So give it a try! You won’t be disappointed!

Spaghetti Squash Lasagna

2 cups of marinara sauce (with no added sugar or preservatives. Read the label!!)

3 cups cooked spaghetti squash

1 cup ricotta (again read the label to make sure it is only ricotta)

1 tbsp grated Parmesan (spend the money and buy the block. Most often the stuff in the shaker has chemicals to prevent it from clumping)

Cooking the squash:

Preheat your oven to 375. Cut the top and bottom off your squash then slice in half. Scoop out any seeds and place the 2 halves skin side down on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and what ever seasonings you would like. I use garlic powder, basil, and oregano, but you can use whatever you like best. Place in oven and roast for 20 to 30 min. The squash will be done when you can easily pull apart the sides and it looks like spaghetti (hence the name spaghetti squash).

For the lasagna:

Keep the oven at 375. In a glass casserole dish, ladle enough sauce on the bottom to cover it. Next layer with the squash followed by the ricotta then the sauce. Keep layering until you are done making sure you end with marinara sauce on the top. Sprinkle the top with your Parmesan cheese. Cover the casserole dish with foil and bake in the oven for 15 to 20 min or once the edges start to bubble. Remove foil and cook for 5 more min then remove and serve!