Golden fields of grain, undulating under a blue sky - wheat is the very picture of wholesomeness. Indeed, wheat was an integral food source for countless cultures for thousands of years. The grain is known to absorb more soil-borne minerals than other grains, providing indispensable nutrition for the growth and rise of many civilizations. However, wheat just isn't what it once was, as the purity of wheat products declined in the 20th century, and wheat became a primary ingredient in many processed foods.
The wheat of our ancestors is incomparable to the wheat popularly consumed today. Most of the wheat products consumed today are highly refined and possibly rancid. The bread that Jesus broke at the last supper is very different than our modern loaves also due to breeding, scientific manipulations, and farming techniques. Spelt, a relative of wheat, more closely resembles the 'bread of life' that sustained the ancients. It has gained popularity because many of those who cannot tolerate contemporary wheat products can properly digest spelt.
Chinese Medicine recognizes wheat as a potentially medicinal food. Wheat is used to nourish the heart & calm the spirit. Wheat is the comfort food that puts the heart in the heartland of America. Wheat also supports the kidneys, quenches thirst, and stops excessive sweating. It is seen as an excellent food for the promotion of growth in children and weak individuals, thus it should be limited or avoided by those who are obese.
Wheat & Allergies
Wheat, like many foods that cause allergies, is difficult to digest. For instance, in comparing wheat with rice, rice dishes digest quickly and don't feel heavy in the gut. A trip to an Italian restaurant for a heavy pasta meal at lunchtime is a different story. The wheat-rich meal keeps the belly satisfied until long after dinner. Eating difficult-to-digest foods causes stagnation and rotting in the digestive system, irritating the intestines and provoking an immune response. Many eaters find wheat at the root of their digestive woes. Bread, perhaps the most common form of wheat consumed, is fermented, or predigested, by yeast before baking and consumption, to make it easier on your gut. Sourdough breads are left to ferment longer, and are even easier to digest.
Wheat is exceptionally sticky due to the presence of gluten, which comes from the Latin word for glue. As kids, many of us witnessed this phenomenon: We made glue from flour and water. As adults we bake flour and water into bread, then chew it back into glue. It's no wonder then that wheat products tend to clump up in the digestive tract.
Wheat & Kapha
In general, Kapha disorders are post-digestive, residing in the lymph, lungs, and heart. The sticky qualities of wheat are an obvious problem for the already wet and heavy nature of Kapha. Wheat, once digested, makes the blood gooey, bogging circulation (see Sweet Taste). Wheat encourages yeast growth, a particular difficulty for Kapha; fungi are Kapha.
Wheat & Vata
Wheat aggravates Vata people in the "seat" of Vata - the colon - because it is difficult for Vata to digest. Undigested wheat becomes gooey fecal matter and gets stuck in the cecum and ferments. The cecum is the beginning of the colon, located on the lower right of the abdomen. Fermented, undigested food makes the cecum feel bloated.
Wheat & Pitta
Generally, wheat pacifies a strong Pitta appetite. The strength of the Pitta digestive power makes wheat a more viable option for this group more than others. Some Pitta people have an allergy to wheat called Celiac.
Recipes with Whole Wheat Flour: Banana Cristo Smoothie
Alternatives to Wheat
Wheat is a mainstay in many diets, but it doesn't have to be that way. There are many products to substitute for wheat foods. Often times, substitution is not enough; you may be happier rethinking your diet on a bigger scale, eating more meals based around rice or other whole grains, and reconsidering the sandwich as the only lunch option.
Pasta - Rice, quinoa, corn pasta, spelt
Breads - Spelt, if you don't have an allergy
Sandwiches - Better to forgo the sandwich in favor of another foods, like soups, or explore wheat alternatives like gluten-free wraps.
There is a popular saying, "Wheat increases brawn, but rice increases brain." Wheat is dense nutrition, but it is difficult to digest. It pulls too much blood out of circulation and into the digestive tract. The loss of blood dulls the mind, and voila - a food coma comes on. Wheat's heaviness and its high glycemic index makes it an addictive comfort food.
Buying & Preparation
Avoid refined flours because they are void of fiber. Buy whole-grain wheat flour or spelt flour instead. Spelt flour has less gluten than regular wheat and is easier to digest. The best practice for experienced bakers who do not want to abandon wheat is to freshly grind wheat berries with a flour mill, using the flour as soon as possible or refrigerating it for up to two weeks. Taking this special care makes certain that the flour is fresh and not rancid.
Recipes with Whole Wheat Flour: Acorn Crusted Corn Bread Dipped in Honey
Cooking Whole Wheat Flour
From pita bread, to the flatbreads of Asia, to soft sandwich breads and crunchy baguettes, to the pizzas loved all over the world - wheat is a major staple food for many peoples. A meal without wheat is unimaginable for many, but skepticism about its dominance in diets and the flaws in contemporary cultivation and processing of the grain are worth considering.
Experiment with sprouted wheat products if you consider wheat a problematic grain in your diet. Some wheat allergies are due to the processed, and possibly rancid, wheat products that are most common in grocery stores. Spelt products are another possible compromise, though many resolve to go gluten free at least for a time to witness what these overly-relied-upon wheat products do to their systems.
Gluten-free diets are becoming more and more popular, and also easier because there are more recipes and tips than ever. There are countless Web sites and recipe books that advocate for vibrant and delicious gluten-free options.
Bread rises because gluten is sticky enough to catch and hold air bubbles formed by yeast. When baking without wheat, look for sticky substitutes. Ground oatmeal is often suitable substitutes for wheat based products that don't have to rise too much, perfect for pancakes, cookies and waffles. Spelt or sourghum flour are sticky enough for baking breads, especially given extra time to let the dough sit or to knead the dough. Otherwise, add xanthum gum or tapioca flour to help gluten-free products rise.
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Is Whole Wheat Flour Good for My Ayurvedic Diet?
Find out by taking this free, easy quiz.
You'll learn your body type, and whether 'Whole Wheat Flour' is a good fit.
Complete the basic quiz in 1 minute, or go deeper with additional quizzes at your own leisure to learn more about your body.
AYURVEDA'S GUIDE TO VITALITY & WHOLESOME NOURISHMENT
Your Ayurvedic diet is tailored to your individual body and your specific imbalances.
With an Ayurvedic diet you feel joy and satisfaction because what you are eating truly nourishes and balances you.
Disease results from diets and lifestyles that are incompatible with your nature.
By eating a personalized diet matched to your body, you experience optimal health.
See How it Works.
Functional Ayurveda helps you assess imbalances through 20 main biocharacteristics
Aggravating these characteristics weakens your body and causes imbalance.
By knowing which characteristics are habitually imbalanced in your body, you will be able to identify and correct imbalances before you get sick.
Every characteristic has an opposite which balances it (i.e. hot balances cold).
You restore balance by favoring diet and lifestyle choices that increase the opposite characteristic.
Taste is used to sense the most basic properties and effects of food.
Each taste has a specific medicinal effect on your body.
Cravings for food with certain tastes indicate your body is craving specific medicinal results from food.
Taste is experienced on the tongue and represents your body's reaction to foods.
Sweet taste causes physical satisfaction and attraction whereas bitter taste causes discomfort and aversion.
Kapha should use less sweet taste while Vata and Pitta would benefit from using more sweet taste.
One of the first signs of illness is that your taste and appetite for food changes.
The six tastes are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter, and astringent.
Do you crave foods with any of the tastes below?
According to the biocharacteristic theory of medicine,
people tend to get sick, over and over again, due to habitual causes and imbalances that are unique to the person.
Your body type summarizes this tendency, showing you the 'type' of conditions and imbalances that frequently challenge your health & wellness.
Using body type, you can also identify remedies likely to improve your strength and resiliency.
Your body type identifies physical and mental characteristics as well as your personal strengths and weaknesses.
The calculation of your body type is based on your medical history.
The 3 functional body types
are Catabolic (Vata), Metabolic (Pitta), and Anabolic (Kapha).
Catabolic individuals tend to break down body mass into energy. They are easily stimulated, hyperactive, underweight and dry.
Metabolic individuals tend to burn or use energy. They tend to be rosy-cheeked, easily irritated, focused, driven, and easily inflamed.
Anabolic individuals tend to store energy as body mass. If they store too much energy, they could gain weight easily and have congestion. Anabolic people tend to be stable and grounded.
Medicinal Benefits, Uses & Herbal Actions of Whole Wheat Flour
Experiences are Personal
Experiences vary according to the person and constitution. Individual results may vary.
The list of herbal-actions below has not be approved by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.
A tonic herb restores function through strengthening tissue. This can happen through a combination of nourishing the tissue, and invigorating tissue metabolism. The tonic should not be withering, as in caffeine.
An herb that literally calms the heart. These herbs are helpful in the treatment of anxiety, sadness, depression, or other emotional imbalances in the heart. Related to the Chinese Herbal Category 'calms spirit.'
Phytates prevent absorption of nutrients. They are commonly found in all seeds, including nuts, grains, and beans. Sprouting greatly reduces phytate content, as well as long, slow cooking with vinegar.
Whole Wheat Flour may be beneficial for these symptoms. The suitability of any food for a condition is highly dependent on the individual.
Please see your doctor before using this food to treat a medical condition.
Eating Ayurvedically makes you feel nourished and energized. Food digests with ease when
right for your body type (dosha). Healthy digestion is seen as the cornerstone of well-being in
Ayurveda. Healthy digestion generally prevents illness. If you do get sick, a strong digestive fire
reduces the severity of illness and increases your resilience. It also improves your mood. Once
you begin eating Ayurvedically, you will feel refreshed, vital and strong.
John Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a
healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda biocharacteristics.
His approach to Ayurveda is clinical, yet exudes an ease which many find enjoyable and insightful.
John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda,
offering professional clinical training in Ayurveda for over 15 years.
John's interest in Ayurveda and specialization in digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel,
as well as public service work in South Asia.
John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem.
His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion.
John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing.
In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots,
and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church.
Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick.
That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
Outside of work, John enjoys spending time with his wife and 6 kids, and pursuing his love of theology, philosophy, and language.