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Ancient Heritage Wheat Might Help the Gluten-Sensitive

Ancient Heritage Wheat Might Help the Gluten-Sensitive

By Sara Novak, TreeHugger

Across the country, there’s a growing sentiment in favor of turning back to our roots, both in terms of how we grow our food and the heirloom seeds that we use to do it. Heritage grains, those that were around long before grains were widely hybridized to boost yield, are a part of the growing phenomenon, according to a story in Pacific Standard.

Einkorn the Answer?

One strain in particular that’s getting some special attention is einkorn, a nutritious ancient grain that may be digestible to those with gluten allergies and the more serious celiac disease. Einkorn has a different gluten structure than modern grains, made up of far fewer chromosomes.

Eli Rogosa, Director of Heritage Wheat Conservancy, is working on a study on ancient grains and gluten sensitivity as well as complete intolerance. According to Pacific Standard:

Rogosa, in partnership with the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is testing to see if gluten-sensitive celiacs can tolerate the grain. Rogosa is also growing plants on site and organizing conferences with artisan bakers and crop specialists on the farming of heritage wheats in New England.

Refinement an Issue

Bob Klein, co-owner of Oakland, California’s Oliveto restaurant and founder of Community Grains, thinks that other differences in the modern grain make it intolerable.

“Things like goat grass were introduced into the wheat strain, and there’s evidence that some degree of intolerance comes from goat grass,” says Klein to Pacific Standard. He explains that if you look at earlier varieties, you don’t see that problem. “You have this modern phenomenon of lots of people becoming intolerant to gluten, and it’s indisputable. But it’s also very hazy as to what it is exactly, and whether it’s one cause or many. One theory is that we’re responding not to the grain itself but the refinement, and I’m in that class.”

It’s exciting news and it speaks to the need to preserve these ancient grains, from long before refinement and yield became the goal.


Does Gluten Affect You?
6 Reasons to Go Wheat-Free (At Least For a Bit)
7 Steps Away From Refined Grains

Read more: Conditions, Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, Food, Health, Vegan, Vegetarian, , , , , ,

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11:21AM PDT on May 7, 2013

good to know

10:25AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Very interesting,thanks!

8:27AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Thank you for this interesting article on Ancient Heritage Wheat seeds. I find it interesting that it may be the refining of wheat that causes gluten intolerance. Getting back to the old ways is probably going to be the 'in-thing' in the future.

3:35AM PDT on Apr 28, 2013

Thanks for the info

2:30PM PDT on Apr 27, 2013


12:41AM PDT on Apr 27, 2013

Thanks for the info

10:56PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013


4:19PM PDT on Apr 26, 2013


9:11AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

Goat grass?

8:24AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Sounds interesting as GMO is nasty stuff. Purely for profit and messes with the Natural order of things contaminating Nature. While I am not gluten intolerant, heritage and heirloom seeds must be cherished and kept alive because genetically modified plants are frightening. I have even heard of wildlife dying when eating GMO crops at times.

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