A couple of days ago I was sitting in a doctor’s office when I spotted a Whole Living magazine which was a welcome diversion. I don’t often see those lying around so I was happily surprised, yet far more surprised by what I actually read. There was an article about a baker making sourdough bread with regular wheat that apparently gluten intolerant people can eat. The story goes on to explain about the starter and yeast and other things, but the gist of it was that at least one Santa Monica baker has a technique that has gluten intolerant people lining up for miles around, and it also talks about ancient wheat varieties versus the modern ones. Here’s the article so you can read it too, and join me in my plan to move to Santa Monica, or at least find out more about this technique. It sounds like at least a lot more people are thinking about this epidemic in gluten intolerance and trying to do something about it. (Yay!) The bummer for me though is the fact I was not tested for Celiac Disease when diagnosed with gluten intolerance. I just asked the doctor (whose office I was in reading the above article) about getting tested now and she said I would have to go on a gluten diet again before being able to get an accurate answer. That bites! I didn’t even ask how long I’d have to eat gluten (and feel rotten) because my immediate thought was about the feeling rotten part. She said as long as I don’t know I just have to stay off gluten entirely and forever~ which makes these ancient wheats and sourdough starter prospects bittersweet. It makes me wish I’d demanded to be tested way back when the first GI doctor I saw told me it didn’t matter because whether I was a celiac or just gluten intolerant all I could do either way was stay away from wheat, and that I didn’t look like a celiac b/c they are normally blonde and pale. (That still cracks me up.) At the time I wanted to know for certain because I thought it important for my kids since it is a hereditary disease, but I let him talk me out of sticking a long scope down my throat into my small intestine. Honestly, it didn’t take long for him to convince me that was unnecessary. Oh well. I guess I can always try these new things and see how I feel which sounds a lot easier than eating a bunch of gluten just in order to take a test. Looks like the Santa Monica farmer’s market is now on my “must go to” list now.
Apparently Einkorn isn’t the only ancient wheat with possibilities for gluten intolerant, but it seems to be the most popular. I found this page when doing a bit more research which gives some promising information. The most interesting thing I found on that site was how different Einkorn is to modern versions of wheat. Another site gives a bit more information on some of the other ancient wheat varieties and is even a resource for buying the seeds so you can have your own ancient wheat garden. I still have not tasted it any of it yet to vouch for taste or digestibility, but I will…soon.
So I’ve been hearing about this ancient wheat possibly being digestible for us gluten challenged people and have found one company that is making pastas from one of the strands, and selling the flour. It is called Einkorn wheat and the company I have stumbled upon is Jovial. I have liked their gluten free pastas for a while now, and really enjoy their blog and recipes but up until now I have kind of ignored the whole ‘ancient wheat’ thing thinking it wasn’t for gluten intolerant people. Now I’m starting to hear mumblings that perhaps it is. Obviously, a celiac needs to take extra precaution, but for all those people who don’t eat wheat just because it makes them feel awful in one way or another, this just might be a way to enjoy it again. I don’t know~ I haven’t tried it yet myself. Funny how I used to eat wheat nonstop and now I’m stalling about trying this new development of an ancient grain, but I really don’t like feeling sick. (Shocking, I know.) And really I’d like some more evidence before eating it and possibly feeling sick and causing damage to myself. But, if anything is going to lure me in it will be the possibility of a hearty European style loaf of bread to eat. I could eat alternative grains for pasta, pastries, crackers, and just about anything else quite happily for the rest of my life, but a good old fashioned hunk of crusty bread just can’t be made without wheat. Or at least it doesn’t taste nearly as good, in my humble opinion. Of course, that also means I need to learn how to make a good old fashioned European crusty loaf myself, and apparently Einkorn is tricky to work with (which is exactly why it has gone out of fashion while the higher yield, higher gluten wheats have flourished.) As soon as I drum of the nerve to tackle the baking, and the eating, it’ll be documented here first.
We just got back from a family’s house where I heard some interesting information in the most unlikely setting. All the kids were settled in front of a huge outdoor screen watching Toy Story 3 while the adults sat around the porch table sipping adult drinks and chatting after a long summer week, when the subject turned to wheat as is often the case at any eating/drinking event where I show up. I don’t instigate it, usually, it is just what happens~ some friend or family member will inevitably say, “you should try this…oh, can you eat this?” and a discussion ensues about what is (blank) made out of and does it contain wheat…? Tonight it was scotch which began the “is it or isn’t it” discussion. For those wondering, scotch is apparently made from barley which is indeed off the gluten-intolerants’ list of OK to ingest, so I did not get to try the “you gotta try this” drink of the night. But that is fine~ there was wine and I was happy and it led to a fellow there saying that there are small farms planting the ancient wheat varieties which have been completely out of the food system for the last 40 years, replaced by the current wheats that are stock full of gluten and harder to digest. According to this guy who seems to have been following the wheat news of late, people who are gluten intolerant may be able to digest these ancient wheats! I don’t know~ I’ll have to do some research, but not tonight…For now I’ll go to bed with a bit of hope of eating a real wheat bread again, maybe someday.