bulk of human diet is comprised of grains, and wheat is by far
the most popular. Per capita wheat consumption exceeds that of
any other single food staple in the U.S. It’s no wonder
when you consider all the pastas, breads and cereals that line
natural products store shelves and kitchen cabinets. This grain’s
popularity is further enhanced by the fact that it can be easily
transported, stored, and processed into many of the foods we consume.
wheat and other grains are so common, it makes sense to support
organic varieties. Organically grown foods are often higher in
nutrients than their conventional counterparts.
is an important choice for the environment, too. When grains are
organically grown, farming methods emphasize the health and fertility
of the soil since organic agriculture allows no synthetic pesticides,
herbicides, or fertilizers.
production uses biological pest control instead of pesticides.
By contrast, conventionally grown grains and flours are fumigated
not only in storage but also in transit. Organic grains use alternative
methods and more complex shipping schedules to ensure a fresh
and untainted product. Choosing organic grains also lowers the
risk of contamination from mycotoxins- secondary metabolites produced
by fungi that can cause mild to severe effects on health.
Dangers of Genetic Modification
process of genetic engineering or genetic modification (GM for
short) inserts genes from one organism into another. Corn and
soybeans have been subjected to this procedure, and now wheat
is being targeted as a GM crop.
rationale to genetically modify wheat is to make it more drought,
pest and mildew resistant. But the matter isn’t this simple.
GM is an unproven technology with little scientific data addressing
possible long-term effects on human and environmental health.
Some scientists suspect persons ingesting GM foods risk developing
new allergies, an inability to absorb vitamins and minerals, and
resistance to antibiotics.
farmers face a very real threat of cross-contamination between
GM crops and organic crops through genetic drift. Already GM corn,
soybean and canola crops have genetically contaminated neighboring
by some organic consumer groups have helped to halt the plans
for genetically modified wheat, for now at least. In the future,
though, things may change. The Swiss company Syngenta is preparing
to introduce what will be the world’s first genetically
modified wheat seed as early as the next decade.
majority of American consumers support labeling genetically modified
foods. But the only current guarantee that a food is not genetically
engineered is the organic label.
Using Organic Grains
baking, shop for organic grains to include in your favorite recipe.
The following recipes use organically grown grains and organic
cereals for healthier versions of family favorites.
2 cups stone ground organic flour
2 cups organic whole wheat flour
1 tbls. salt
4 tbls. Organic brown sugar
2 oz. Spectrum - Organic All Vegetable Shortening
1 oz. Organic milk
3 tbls. dry yeast
1 ¾ cups warm water (85º)
1 pat organic butter
In a mixing bowl, add flours and 1¼ cups warm water.
Retain ½ cup to dissolve yeast. Mix water and yeast.
In the mixing bowl, add salt, brown sugar, vegetable shortening,
milk and yeast. Mix well
If you are using a mixer, use the dough hook attachment
on low for 5 min. Or mix by hand until dough pulls away
from sides. It should be sticky and elastic. Knead and shape.
Place in bowl with a splash of olive oil, cover and let
rise in a warm place for 1 hour.
dough and punch down. Slice in half. Using one-half, cut
into thirds. Roll each out by hand to about 12-18 inches
long. Start at one end and braid the dough. Pinch each end
together. Do the same procedure with the other half of dough.
a large pan (or 2) with butter. Place the braided dough
on pan(s) and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm
place for 1 hour.
Remove plastic wrap and place in oven for 25 min. When done,
place bread on cooling racks and brush on melted butter.
Slice and serve!
½ cup organic brown sugar
2 oz. Spectrum - Organic All Vegetable Shortening
1 tsp. salt
2 large organic eggs
6 oz. organic vanilla yogurt
2 cups organic wheat bran
1 1/3 cups stone ground organic white flour (pre-sift with baking
2 tbls. baking powder (for flour)
1 oz. molasses, pre-mix with honey
1 oz. organic honey, pre-mix with molasses
1 tbsp. pure vanilla extract
3 oz. dried red currants and/or ½ organic apple diced
Pre-heat oven to 425º
Butter or oil the muffin pans. In a mixer or by hand with
a whisk. Add sugar, vegetable shortening and salt and mix
until chunky. Stop and add 1 egg. Mix for 30 seconds. Stop
and add the other egg and mix for 1½ more minutes.
Be sure to pull down mixture from sides of bowl occasionally.
Add vanilla, yogurt and wheat bran. Mix until even consistency.
Stop mixing and add pre-mix of molasses and honey. Mix for
2 more minutes. Add flour (with baking powder added), currants
and mix until same consistency.
Bake for 15 minutes. Remove
from oven and let cool on racks.