How Did Our Ancestors Eat So Much Bread Without Any Problems?
The wheat our ancestors ate were more easily digested forms of wheat. In addition, their diets weren’t so laden with wheat and wheat byproducts. Instead, they ate a diverse range of plant foods. Lastly, our ancestors properly processed their grains, including wheat, before eating them.
Since then, both overexposure to wheat, in its many forms in processed foods, and the development of high-yield wheat crops contributes to rising cases of celiac disease and gluten intolerance. People with celiac disease develop and pass on genes that react drastically to even miniscule amounts of gluten.
In fact, modern wheat can affect all of us negatively. There are many compounds in wheat gluten that can damage us, including gliadins, gluteomorphins, glutenin, lectins and wheat germ agglutinin.
It’s the structure of these compounds that have detrimental health effects on humans because they create a negative reaction within the digestive tract for many people.
- Gliadins make up the bulk of gluten and are very hard for us to digest. Worse, their amino acid structure is very similar to that of human organs, so when we develop antibodies to gliadins, our immune systems can attack our own tissues.
- Wheat germ agglutinin (WGA) is a lectin that causes severe issues for people with celiac disease or sensitivity to gluten. Sprouting wheat grains doesn’t eliminate this lectin. WGA isn’t checked for during gluten intolerance tests, and it can damage human tissues even when allergies or sensitivities aren’t present.
Studies suggest that sourdough bread fermentation can partially degrade gluten proteins in bread and pasta. That’s good news if you have gluten sensitivity because few gluten-free products are completely gluten-free and those that are lack nutritional value.
If you do have celiac disease, look for gluten-free products and those in which fermenting practices have been used. A 2012 study has found that sourdough fermentation can help reduce intestinal inflammation in those with celiac disease, and fermentation increases the nutrient value of foods.
How to Make Homemade Ezekiel Bread
Some people prefer to make their own sprouted bread to ensure they’re getting the freshest product with the best ingredients. If you’d like to try making your own sprouted bread, look for unprocessed, untreated whole grains in health food stores (usually in the bulk section) or try buying them online.
You can sprout almost any grain, but you need to start with whole grain berries and not the kind that have been milled, rolled, flaked or prepared in other ways that will prevent them from sprouting. Some of the best options to include in sprouted bread are: wheat, spelt, oat groats, barley, buckwheat, brown rice, einkorn wheat, as well as various seeds like sesame, poppy, chia and flaxseeds.
The process of making homemade sprouted bread involves:
Soaking grains: You can do this in a large bowl or even a crockpot/slow cooker.
Draining the grains: You’ll need either a strainer with small holes in it or a sleeve/cheese cloth. This step is to separate the soaked grains from the water they’ve been sitting in.
Drying or dehydrating grains: You’ll need to dry the grains out after they’ve sprouted to turn them into flour. You can either do this by baking them at a low temperature in the oven, or some people choose to dehydrate them.
Grinding the grains into flour: You can either use a high-speed blender like a Vitamix, or choose to purchase a grinder specifically made for flours. There are a range of grain grinders available on the market that differ in terms of price and capabilities, depending on what you’re looking for.