The 4 Reasons Why I Switched to Einkorn WheatUpdated: March 22, 2017Traditional Preparation of Grains
I’ve been purchasing organic white wheat and spelt in bulk for many years to grind into fresh flour. I did this in order to avoid the conventional toxic wheat in North America that is frequently desiccated with glyphosate containing herbicides prior to harvest.
I credit this with my family avoiding any wheat allergies or problems digesting grains in general provided they are traditionally prepared. For those of you who do have wheat issues, you’ll be encouraged to know that my husband used to have allergy and digestive issues with wheat years ago, but no longer does thanks to careful avoidance of conventional toxic wheat and rebalancing the gut environment with traditional cooking, raw dairy, and a few months on the GAPS Diet.
Having a lot of experience dealing with wheat allergies, I can say that there certainly is a huge difference between modern processed wheat (warning: it’s toxic!) and what you produce yourself at home.
I remember when I was breastfeeding my youngest child, if I ate so much as a mouthful or two of processed wheat at a restaurant in the form of a sandwich, slice of pizza or a bread roll, she would spit up for one or sometimes even two days!
If I ate wheat at home that I ground myself and either sprouted, soaked, or sour leavened, however, she never had any problems with spitting up, a huge testament to the radically improved digestibility of wheat that is prepared using the wise preparation methods followed by ancestral cultures.
Given my success over the years with incorporating traditional methods of wheat preparation in my home, you may be surprised to learn that I’m switching the type of wheat I use.
What’s more, I’m switching 100%.
I still have about half of a large bucket (15 lbs or so) of organic spelt to use up and a small amount of organic soft white wheat before the switch is complete, but my goal is to have my family completely transitioned to einkorn wheat within another month or two.
Reason #1: Einkorn Tastes Better
My first experience baking with einkorn occurred after one of my blog sponsors generously sent me a goodie basket of, among other things, einkorn flour and wheat berries. I was delighted when I ground the einkorn into flour and saw how light and white it was.
I am not a fan of bran and am not of the food philosophy that all that fiber is actually good for you (folks just think they need a lot of fiber as they are so constipated from all the processed foods they eat!), and seeing that einkorn, the most ancient and unhybridized form of wheat, has less bran compared with modern wheat was encouraging to me.
My family went completely wild when I made soaked waffles for the first time using the fresh einkorn flour. Ever since I made those waffles with einkorn, my family has been begging me to use only that flour.
Like any Mom, I’m a sucker for kids who love my cooking and tell me so on a frequent basis, so I made the decision to switch to einkorn completely for all my home baking.
Reason #2: My Family Digests Einkorn Better Than Even Spelt
My husband’s stomach is my canary in the mine. If something is not easy to digest, he can tell and lets me know right away. As he has fully recovered from a wheat allergy, he knows which forms of wheat and which preparation methods sit best in his stomach and which do not.
While my properly prepared grain dishes made with wheat or spelt digest fine for him, once he tried the einkorn, he could tell that his digestion was even lighter for the experience, possibly because einkorn is so low in gluten.
Better digestion means better absorption of nutrients, so einkorn surpassed the competition in that category.
Reason #3: Einkorn is Different from Modern Wheat
The first thing I noticed when I ground einkorn into flour for the first time was how much smaller a grain of einkorn is compared with a grain of modern wheat. They are about half the size!
In addition, the telltale crease on one side of a grain of modern wheat is absent from a grain of einkorn. The reason for the differences is that over the centuries, humans have gradually changed the genetics of wheat by selecting those seeds at harvest time that suited the goal of higher yields and more gluten which worked well for larger farms and larger scale agriculture, production, and distribution of wheat products.
Reason #4: Einkorn is The Purest Form of Wheat Available
Einkorn is like most plants in that it is a diploid meaning it contains 2 sets of chromosomes. About 2,000 years after einkorn wheat, emmer wheat was created by the hybridization of 2 wild grasses. Consequently, emmer has 4 sets of chromosomes. Kamut and Durum wheat are both descendents of emmer.
Spelt, an heirloom wheat, is the result of hybridization between cultivated emmer and another wild grass and so contains six sets of chromosomes. Modern wheat is a descendent of spelt.
Note that while extensive hybridization of wheat has occurred over the millenia, there is currently no genetically modified wheat on the market.
As you can see, einkorn is the purest and most ancient form of wheat available as it only has 2 sets of chromosomes and naturally contains a very different composition of gluten that is easier to digest for many with non-genetic gluten intolerance. Yes, there really is such a thing as good gluten!
Where to Source the Best Quality Einkorn
The only downside of einkorn is that it is not yet widely available as it is too new to the American market. My healthy shopping guide lists sources that are fast and affordable to ship to your door that I use myself.
The organic einkorn wheat berries from these sources are grown and packaged on one secluded and pristine farm in Tuscany. It is very important to rotate crops on this farm because in the hills, yields are low and the land must stay fertile.
What this means is that this particular source of organic einkorn comes from fields that were used for pasture for five years prior as well as a year of cultivation of chick peas, lentils or fava beans. This ensures that there is no risk of cross-contamination with other types of grains and that each year’s crop of einkorn comes from truly fertile earth.
Have you tried einkorn wheat yet? If so, what observations have you made about this ancient, unhybridized wheat?
Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist
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