We live in an era of convenience foods which are highly processed.
Nature has provided us with all the food we need to stay healthy, active and full of energy. However when we start tampering with natural foods we lose the chemical and biological structure of these foods.
The more food is processed, the more nutrient depleted and chemically altered it becomes.
Apart from losing its nutritional value, processed foods also lose their taste, flavour and colour. So, to compensate for that, manufacturers add additives, preservatives, colours, flavour enhancers other chemicals.
Many of these chemicals have been shown to contribute to poor health.
Natural foods get changed into various chemical concoctions which are then packaged and presented to us as food.
I want to talk about the most basic ingredient – Flour.
Many of us buy supermarket groceries that are made with flour, are keen home bakers, like to go out for a burger or have a pizza. I do all of the above!
But, do you know how your flour is processed?
A whole grain of wheat has 3 layers
The Bran – where you’ll find most of the fiber.
The Germ – the nutrient dense embryo that will sprout into a new wheat plant.
The Endosperm – the largest part of the grain.
White Flour is made by peeling off the husk and bran and crushing the grain. The husk and bran are the most nutritious parts. Refining food destroys nutrients. Depletes food of the nutrients even. What’s remaining are pure carbohydrates or a form of sugar.
The flour is then chemically bleached similar to bleaching your clothes. Flour bleaching agents are a food additive added to flour in order to make it appear whiter.
Besides bleaching the flour another process is called bromating to improve the doughs elasticity and produce a higher rise. Nearly all the flour in the supermarket has been bromated. The substance (potassium bromated) is supposed to bake out as it cooks, but if any remains behind it can be very harmful. Did you know bromate is considered a category 2B carcinogen (possibly carcinogenic to humans) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)?
Flour has to get shipped to the manufacturers who are using it, cereal companies and bread companies. And when this flour gets shipped it is difficult to avoid pests, however when shipping white flour no insecticides are needed because white flour when consumed by these little critters kills them! White flour is a natural insecticide! So by the time the white flour reaches shore and is being transported to your favourite Kellogg’s cereal you can be assured it has had it’s fair share of many dead pests in the bag. They died by eating the white flour…..
Lets talk about fortified foods.
After removing all of the nutrients from wheat when the large scale manufacturing began, it was discovered that many people were nutrient deficient and the government introduced mandatory folic acid fortification.
Similarly breakfast cereals with very low nutritional value are fortified. In fact manufacturers claim that with one bowl of their product you will get x amount of the RDI (Recommeneded Daily Intake) of those vitamins.
Well….. the HUMAN BODY is not that simple. Synthetic vitamins have a very low absorption rate. The body has been designed to recognise natural vitamins that come from food.
And yes, while the body is amazing at detoxifying itself and regenerating, we should keep in mind that when it continues to receive trauma from environmental factors, stress, diet and lifestyle, that something is going to give.
So, whatever the packaging says about fortified foods in breads, cereals, yogurts and other processed products, please keep in mind that this isn’t how nature intended for our bodies to take in those vitamins.
This article is in no way meant to encourage you to alter your diet. It’s purpose is to spread knowledge of what we are presented with as food and what we are ingesting.
My suggestions for alternatives to break up bread/wheat products consumption are brown rice, quinoa, lentils and beans.
If you love homebaking try unbleached flour or homemade almond meal.
Remember that having a diet full of vegetables and fruits and whole grains has been linked to better overall health.
You can’t out supplement a bad diet.