|Wheat field Froid, Montana, 1941. (Library of Congress image)|
It's been a bad decade for grains. Between publicity about grain allergies and fads such as the Atkins and paleo diets, a lot of people are shunning wheat, rye and barley. At a panel discussion this weekend sponsored by Common Grains I hear Monica Spiller of the Whole Grain Connection and Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills make some compelling arguments that will forever change the way I see grain. It was, no exaggeration here, a paradigm shifting discussion. Some of the questions Spiller and Roberts raised:
- Could modern hard wheat varieties, bred for the convenience of industrial agriculture, have the unintended consequence of increasing allergic reactions? Are older varieties healthier for us?
- What have we lost in terms of flavor when we decreased the diversity of grain varieties?
- Is sourdough bread a pro-biotic food? Could some of the allergy problems associated with bread be related to commercial yeast strains and the way commercial yeast processes sugar?