History of White Flour
Wheat - the Staff of Life
Wheat, also known around the world as the Staff of Life. Merriam-Webster defines the staff of life as: a staple of diet; especially bread. In other words, bread/wheat is a necessary part of ones diet. Why, then, has it become such the "bad guy"? If we need bread/wheat daily, a staple of diet, then why has wheat been the subject of so much controversy? Hmm, don't you find that interesting? In truth, it's not the wheat. But, what's been done to the wheat that is the problem. One major issue is white flour. I'm sure you are wondering what's so wrong with white flour. Come with me to discover the history of white flour and how it came to be a major issue.
History of White Flour
See, before the 1900's you would go down to the local miller and have him mill or grind up however much flour you needed. You would go home and have to immediately make your breads, biscuits, cakes and whatever. The fresh milled flour could not be stored very long, because it would spoil and the oils would go rancid fairly quickly. In addition, the fragile nutrients once stored safely inside the wheat shell oxidize within just a few days and are lost. It was discovered that if the bran and oil-rich germ were sifted away that the white flour wouldn't spoil. At the time, only the wealthy had servants who sifted the milled wheat into white flour. By 1910-ish the steel rolling mills replaced the local millers and the white flour could then be had by the masses. The newly sifted flour was lighter, fluffier and had a very long shelf-life. As a housewife, you loved that! You could then make your breads, biscuits and cakes whenever you wanted. The people bought the white flour and the cattle and chicken farmers took the sifted out bran & germ as feed. (In New Zealand, one miller was asked if it was true that all the nutrients were gone after the milling process. He said yes, they had had it tested. He was also asked what would happen if the cows were fed the white flour? Without hesitating he said, "They would die.")
Yet, that's what we have been feeding our families for decades.
Soon after this mass sifting-of-the-wheat, three diseases became epidemic. Yes, epidemic!:
- Beriberi - a nervous disorder, a B1 deficiency. Can anyone say ADD, ADHD? I'm just wondering?
- Pellagra - a disease of mental and GI issues, a niacin - B3 deficiency. Also call the disease of the four D's: Diarrhea, Dermatitis, Dementia & Death. Can you say skin issues, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Spastic Colon? I'm again, just wondering?
- Anemia - Iron deficiency
In addition, the insane asylums became full. The officials traced these issues back to the sifting of the wheat and its lack of nutrition. They urged the millers to put the bran and germ back but they refused. Hey, they were making too much money! The miller was making twice the buck from the same product. So the officials said that the white flour had to be "enriched" or "fortified". So,
out of the 30 plus nutrients that were lost only 4 were added back,
synthetic 3 B vitamins and iron. B vitamins must be taken in balance in order for the body to use them properly. In synthetic form, which our bodies do not know how to assimilate, these chemical versions do not represent the original ratios found naturally in the whole wheat. I don't know about you, but the term enrich and fortify mean to make stronger. Hmmm, how is fake supposed to be stronger? In the south, the mental institutions were overrun because of the severe niacin- B3 deficiency, resulting in Pellagra. These institutions began supplementing with niacin and soon the asylums were emptied.
Note: A fifth nutrient, B9 or folate in the synthetic form, folic acid, was added in the late 1990's to help combat babies being born with brain defects and neural tube defects such as spina bifida.
The millers then decided the sifted flour needed to be whiter so they began bleaching it. Why? Why does the flour need to be whiter? Nitrogen trichloride was used for the bleaching for 25 years. Nitrogen trichloride has since been removed from the market, but a chlorine derivative is still being used to bleach the white flour whiter. In a British study a group of dogs were fed a diet of the white flour for two weeks. The dogs developed the "running fits"; some of them even died. I thought that meant diarrhea; no, it meant they were so restless they ran and ran; some running to death. Can you say hyperactivity? Again, I'm just wondering?
Unfortunately, today so many "experts" want to blame our many health issues on other things, but not the sifting of our wheat. I'm not saying that it's the solution to all our health problems, but it is a fact that what we eat does affect our health: physically and mentally. Is fixing some of our ills as simple as eating a piece of REAL bread? Perhaps. Here's what I have discovered in my research and experience, that
those who have switched to eating freshly milled truly whole wheat breads have had much improvement
in the areas of: Digestive issues, constipation relief, blood sugar stabilization, weight loss, headaches and sinus issues resolved, and a host of other issues.
So, could it be - "Give us this day our daily bread" - is truly an answer?
Please visit the following pages to learn more about eating healthier and milling your own wheat/grains: