A Letter To Our Community Bread-maker
I wrote to our community bread-maker:
You may recall me being philosophically negative about bread in general. I want to let you know that I've changed my stance. Much of my stance had to do with a negative connotation derived from the Roman concept of "bread and circuses" which is really unfair to pin to bread specifically since that concept was using bread as a general notion of free food to distract the populace from what was happening in government at the time. Yes, I resented bread being used as a general stand-in for food at large, but much of that resentment had to do with my personal health grievances.
In August I read a book that has changed my stance on bread, and many other stances, dramatically. Because of reading The Plant Paradox, I now understand that my negative reaction to eating bread is not just the fault of gluten. The most recent time I had bread was in 2012 on a roadtrip with Lytenian. I had a slice of sprouted, whole-grain, organic bread with olive oil. After that single slice I was in horrific pain for about six hours. Now I understand why.
Whole-grain bread has its wheat germ in tact which contains WGA (wheat germ agglutinin), which like gluten, is a lectin. Lectins are carbohydrate-binding proteins common in seeds (grains and beans in particular) that help protect the seeds from being consumed by animals by giving animals gastric distress. WGA is a more potent lectin than gluten. Both of these lectins damage the intestinal lining that separates our gut from the intestinal contents. By disrupting this barrier, a lot of things get into the gut that shouldn't. This condition is commonly known as "leaky gut." WGA in particular is known for its ability to break out of the intestine and then find a cell and latch on to its insulin receptor, causing much havoc in hormonal communication within our bodies.
When someone has leaky gut they are often sensitized to other compounds, such as the LPS (lipopoly-saccharides) which are found in olive oil. While olive oil is perfectly healthy for people without leaky gut, it can cause very negative reactions in people with leaky gut. WGA, gluten and olive oil together is a particularly dastardly combination for someone who'd already been through stomach ulcers and continuing leaky gut. I didn't know in 2012 that many of the so-called health foods I was eating (such as t'eff, lentils and cashews) were actually perpetuating my condition. The best I could come up with was that non-raw foods were clearly hurting me.
Now, between reading The Plant Paradox by Dr. Gundry and Cure Tooth Decay which is based on the findings of Dr. Weston Price, I have enhanced my knowledge of long-lived cultures and how they prepared their bread and why it is very, very different from both conventional white bread and organic whole-grain bread. Traditional breads made by the peoples of the blue-zones (people who live in areas where it is normal to live past 100 years of age with good health) are made by refining the organic, whole grains (removing wheat germ and its WGA), fresh grinding the white flour and using sourdough fermentation which then removes most of the gluten in the fermentation process.
Sourdough fermentation is actually one of the few ways to remove most of the gluten. Most lectins (such as the dangerous lectins in kidney beans) can be entirely removed through pressure-cooking. Gluten, however, is immune to being pressure-cooked. This makes sourdough fermentation fairly unique and special.
If someone's gut is healthy and contains the right helpful microbiome, then the small amount of gluten remaining in sourdough bread should be fine, given that the wheat germ has also been removed, and that the grains were raised organically (without glyphosate). Likewise, if someone's gut is healthy, olive oil should be a healthful addition.
Following Dr. Gundry's parameters, I believe I have finally achieved a healthy gut lining. I am interested in trying bread of this nature, but alas, there is none sold in stores. I believe Greg has already mentioned to you our shared interest in organic, white, sourdough bread. If you can make it, we will buy it. Even if it turns out that I can't digest it (as it may turn out that even a tiny shred of gluten is intolerable for me personally), Lytenian and Greg are interested as well.
Further reading on this topic: