So what's wrong with modern wheat? There's a great article about just this, on wisemindbodyhealing.com.
In a nutshell, it describes how the world’s wheat crop was transformed in the 1950s and 60s in a movement called the “Green Revolution”. The father of the movement, Norman Borlaug, pioneered initiatives that "involved the development of high-yielding varieties of cereal grains, expansion of irrigation infrastructure, modernization of management techniques, distribution of hybridized seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides to farmers.” according to his wikipedia entry.
He pioneered new “improved” species of semi-dwarf wheat that, together with complementing fertilizers and pesticides, increased yield spectacularly. This new technology was propagated around the world by companies like Dupont and Monsanto, while mid-20th-century humanity applauded the end of hunger.
This improvement in efficiency and output, with little or no regard to the effect on human nutrition, seems now to be responsible for some unintended consequences.
According to Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis, “this thing being sold to us called wheat—it ain’t wheat. It’s this stocky little high-yield plant, a distant relative of the wheat our mothers used to bake muffins, genetically and biochemically light-years removed from the wheat of just 40 years ago.”
And now scientists are starting to connect modern wheat with all manner of chronic digestive and inflammatory illnesses. We have mutant seeds, grown in synthetic soil, bathed in chemicals. They’re deconstructed, pulverized to fine dust, bleached and chemically treated to create a barren industrial filler that no other creature on the planet will eat. And we wonder why it might be making us sick?
The simple answer, which has sparked the gluten-free craze is “don’t eat wheat”. But many gluten-free products are so full of dubious ingredients that it seems very unlikely to be the sustainable answer to the problem. Click here for the full article.
Talk to anyone in your social circle and you will find people who can tolerate spelt but not wheat. Well here's the thing: spelt is wheat, just a different variety, and there are lots, many now available in supermarkets including einkorn (the first ever wheat), emmer (the second) and spelt.
All around the country there are small pockets of ancient and heritage grains being grown and milled for sale locally or over t'interweb. The times, said Mr Dylan, they are a-changing.
Try Scotland the Bread, Shipton Mill or BakeryBits online, or if you're in Brighton, Hisbe sells Bread for Life flours. But also try the major supermarkets for spelt, emmer, einkorn and khorasan and get experimenting.