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wheat - Europe vs North America?

 
R Ranson
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So we're trying the wheat free thing in our home as one member of the household has some issues and since he never liked wheat, to begin with, we wondered if it was causing some of his symptoms.  Within three days he went from needing major surgery to as healthy as he's been in ages.   There are other health issues at play, but the big thing is, many of the most serious symptoms went away after cutting out wheat.

I'm not very good at the wheat-free thing.  I love pasta!  I can't live without pasta.  Sometimes I make a mistake when cooking and accidentally add wheat based ingredients to his meal.  I'm getting better at not doing this, but that's not really the point. 

What's really interesting is that if the wheat-based ingredient came from Europe, he has almost no symptoms.  If the wheat or product comes from North America (also China), then the symptoms are intense, present within 20 minutes, and last two to four days. 


My question: What is different between wheat from North America and Wheat from Europe?
 
Burra Maluca
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I wonder if it's the gluten content?

As a kid I was told that all the bread was made from flour imported in from America as the European stuff didn't have enough gluten.  No idea if that was for real or if it was just a successful marketing thing that everyone fell for though.
 
R Ranson
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It could be the gluten.  I think the wheat grown here is 'hard' and the wheat traditionally grown in Europe is 'soft'.  Not certain exactly what that means, but I've seen it said before.

We haven't cut out gluten yet, just wheat.  That might be the next step.
 
Rebecca Norman
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I have seen in lots of bread books, that hard wheat makes better bread because it has more gluten. But I think wheat is such a global commodity that you cna't assume that a product made in a certain country is made from wheat from that continent. But maybe there's a difference in milling? Even that I doubt there's much national distinction, but maybe?
 
Steve Taylor
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Europe banned gmo's a while back and I suspect that's one reason.

It seems European's have greater food awareness, generally speaking.

We have a family member with a very similar issue.  If you have an Aldi's by you I suggest their gluten free pasta.  Aldi's is a German company and lots of their products are imported from Europe where food laws are better in my opinion.   The vacuum sealed Expresso from Italy is delicious and cheeper than name brand coffee from the states, with the probability of it having less or none of the chemicals allowed in the states.

Gluten levels do vary from bread to bread. Fast food bread intentionally increases the amount of gluten to additive levels whereas sour dough is fermented and easier for our bodies to handle.   Heirloom wheat grown in the states might be fine for a wheat allergy in small doses after an elimination diet.

Also spelt wheat may be tolerated by wheat sensitive people as is the case with us.
 
David Livingston
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I was told that as a kid too Burra not sure it's true though maybe just the UK . Or it could be that a higher gluten content is required for the flour needed in modern bakeries.
I use French flour without issues
I remember a thread  here on Permies where folks from the USA talked about flour going rancid I had no clue what they were talking about .
Also I had a friend who thought she had a serious allergy to flour but discovered it was an allergy to the additives
Here in France I can get quinoa pasta
David
 
Galadriel Freden
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I don't know if this has any direct bearing, but this year the EU recommended that glyphosate no longer be sprayed on wheat and other grains pre-harvest (for desiccation).  I'm not sure this recommendation has been put in force, but maybe it's not as widely practiced over here anyway.  We don't eat much wheat in our house, but if I buy it, I always buy organic--for this reason.

https://www.soilassociation.org/news/2016/april/13/huge-setback-for-safest-ever-pesticide/
 
David Livingston
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Certainly I know that the flour is milled differently in France than in the UK
I was told that in the UK the miller makes fine white flour then adds stuff back in here in France they grade it by particle size 45 / 60 / 80  / 110 / 150 are commonly used I use 60 for cakes 80 for bread sometimes 110 for bread

David
 
R Ranson
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One of the big things I'm sensitive to with wheat, rice, and milk substitutes is the vitamins they add to them.  Here in Canada, the 'No Additive Flour' I can buy, has 7 ingredients - one of them wheat. 

I wonder, do European countries require flour and other staple foods have added supplements and vitamins?
 
David Livingston
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I asked the GF she said it's a crime to add stuff
 
David Livingston
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So what additives are put in flour ? And why?
In Europe in Victorian times there was a lot if addulteration things added to flour such as chalk / bleach / white lead all to make it worth more . Eventually strong enforced laws were past to stop this sort of rubbish going on .

David
 
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R Ranson
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The current additives in North America (maybe other places) are there because we have a lot of diseases caused by nutritional deficiencies.  There are some that are specific to eating white flour and polished grain.  Someone noticed if they add these synthetic vitamins to the flour, then people didn't get as sick. 

I wish I could remember what the specific illnesses were.  I'm thinking something called pellagra... but that might be corn based.

Iron deficiencies is another big one here, so we usually have iron added to white rice.  B vitamins seem to be another big one. 


Here's the ingredient list from the bag of "No Additive, Unbleached, All Purpose Flour" in my cupboard.
unbleached wheat flour
Niacin
Reduced Iron (whatever that is)
Thiamine
Mononitrate
Riboflavin
Folic Acid


Everything except the wheat and the mononitrate look like vitamins to me.  I'm kind of scared to look up 'mononitrate' as I don't remember seeing that listed in the last bag of flour I bought.


In case you are wondering, this No Additive flour costs about three times as much as regular flour, but contains fewer ingredients. 
 
David Livingston
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Mmm
Well the nitrate and the reduced iron is gibberish frankly . Nitrate of what ? Iron in what form ? With what? I don't expect actual bits of iron like a nail most likely some sort of sulfate . Plenty chances of odd reactions going on between the ingredients here  leading too X and folks having an allergy to X
Am on my phone at the moment might get the chance to look at the links above tomorrow


David
 
David Livingston
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Interesting discussion here http://www.thefreshloaf.com/node/24162/european-flour-vs-north-american-flour
discussion about the possible effects of fermentation time and other differences
I often wait for six hours for my bread to rise
I have not found any info on either the iron of the nitrates

 
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I don't know if they even exist on the other side of the ocean, but we have a working water mill about 15km away. There we can get flour and when the package says 'no additives', it means non other than wheat and maybe some ground up stone that came off :p

But if you suspect the added stuff, you might try one of these mills.

For gluten, spelt does contain gluten, but most people with gluten intolerance can eat spelt no problem. Here, I think it's the level of gluten however I'm no doctor and I haven't seen a trained medic/ scientific paper with a good explanation yet.
Longer rising times also often reduces the problem. Friend of mine with serious gluten allergie could eat Demeter certified bread no problem. So eather a different strain of grains, the no pesticide requirement from Demeter or the 3 DAYS preparation process before the bread was ready to eat.

Demeter USA, in Germany the second most well known 'brand', after coca cola

 
David Livingston
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R
A couple of thoughts
Have you tried Spelt ?
Do you know anyone who makes there own flour ?
Is your family member allergic to marmite ? ( this has many of the additives you listed above but no gluten )
Does sour dough make a difference ?( different yeast compared to most breads sold commercially )

David
 
Steve Taylor
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Let's throw sprouted bread into the mix. Especially sprouted spelt.  If spelt had a chance of being tolerated by your family member, the sprouted version could be even better.

I don't know anyone who makes their own sprouted bread.  If you are looking to buy bread, sprouted may be a good alternative.
 
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Steve Taylor wrote:Europe banned gmo's a while back and I suspect that's one reason.


This is a common mistake. In fact, no GMO wheat is sold in the US or elsewhere. Not seed, not grain, not flour. There has been testing, and other fields have been contaminated, but not to the extent that most American bread would be different from most European bread.

So the answer must lie in any of the other things mentioned above, such as milling or fermenting techniques. Since US wheat isn't GMO, it IS used a lot in Europe, so I doubt the difference is farming techniques.

King Arthur website:
GMO – yes or no?
... GMO wheat is not approved for commercial production or sale in the United States and North America.

Wikipedia:
As of 2015, no GM wheat is grown commercially, although many field tests have been conducted.
... As of 2013, 34 field trials of GM wheat have taken place in Europe and 419 have taken place in the US.
... As of 2015, no GM wheat had been approved for release anywhere in the world.

Monsanto 2014:
Today’s report by the USDA affirms that no genetically modified wheat is in commerce and that the commercial seed and grain supply does not contain genetically modified wheat. This finding is supported by extensive testing by USDA, state universities, Monsanto and others. The USDA report also concludes that the unexpected detection of genetically modified wheat in Oregon last May was an isolated event on one farm, one field.

GMO-Compass::
Right now, no genetically modified wheat is being grown anywhere in the world. Plans to introduce GM wheat in North America were abandoned in 2004. Nevertheless, scientists are still exploring ways of improving wheat using genetic engineering.
 
R Ranson
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David Livingston wrote:R
A couple of thoughts
Have you tried Spelt ?
Do you know anyone who makes there own flour ?
Is your family member allergic to marmite ? ( this has many of the additives you listed above but no gluten )
Does sour dough make a difference ?( different yeast compared to most breads sold commercially )

David


These are great thoughts.

At the moment, we're trying to heal the gut from whatever it was that was damaging it.  Later on, I hope to introduce some breads back into the diet to see if the reaction is as strong.  We have a mill (a few actually) so I can buy or grow the grain whole and make flour that way.  It's just I've been lazy the last few years so I've bought flour.

We haven't had spelt for ages.  That's a good thought.
I'm also wondering about rye.  He's always had a preference for rye, but it does seem to have some gluten in it.  That's why I'm curious if it's the gluten or something else in wheat.
He loves marmite and it doesn't seem to give him any symptoms.  Maybe the vitamins in marmite are more natural? 

Homemade sourdough seems mildly better than regular bread (and worlds better than commercial 'bread' like substances). 

I think it will be two or three months without any wheat (and possibly gluten-free) before we start experimenting with adding gluten-grains back into the diet. 


I've always been such a strong advocate that most of these gluten-sensitivities aren't actually caused by our genetics.  If humans were naturally gluten-sensitive, then all of Europe would have gone human-free a few thousand years ago.  Too many calories come from gluten grains, especially in Northern Europe. There must be something in the way we process or grow grain now that is causing this pandemic of grain-sensitivities.
 
David Livingston
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Rye has very little gluten in fact Rye bread sold here in France has a max 40% rye because otherwise there is not enough gluten for the bread to rise . So its certainly worth a try I think
 
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