Einkorn was the first wheat grown by humans at the dawn of the agricultural age 12,000 years ago. Einkorn is wheat in its purest form, cultivated before hybrid strains were produced to generate higher yields.
After thousands of years of breeding and genetic changes, the wheat that is primarily used today is not the same plant. Recently developed strains of wheat contain easily-digestible carbohydrates and high amounts of new gluten proteins.
New Wheat, New Gluten
Dwarf wheat was introduced in the 1960s, gaining traction in the 1980s. Once farmers witnessed the yields produced by this super-grain, wheat growers quickly adopted the strain for their own crops. As a result, virtually every wheat product–including many non-wheat-related processed foods–contain dwarf wheat.
Dwarf wheat has high amounts of new gluten strains that were never part of the human diet prior to the last several decades. Dr. William Davis, cardiologist and author of Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health, says that “when compared to century-old strains of wheat, modern strains of [common wheat] express a higher quantity of genes for gluten proteins that are associated with celiac disease”.
Combined with an overabundance of wheat in the modern American diet, toxic gluten protein is thought to be the main reason for the increasing rates of celiac disease and gluten sensitivity.
Gluten Sensitivity and Einkorn Wheat
Einkorn is wheat at its purest, having preserved its original genetic form. In-vitro studies have shown that gluten contained in einkorn wheat is less toxic than modern varieties.
Many of those who are sensitive to gluten find that they are able to use einkorn wheat without the experiences of blood-sugar swings and digestive problems created when they eat common wheat. However, those who have celiac disease should abstain from anything that contains gluten.
Baking With Einkorn
Baking bread with einkorn wheat flour is only slightly different from conventional wheat. Einkorn’s low gluten content keeps the dough from rising as much, and the bread is slightly more dense. It tastes similar to modern wheat, creating a crusty, nutty-tasting bread that’s perfect for soup or a hearty sandwich.
Many of the answers to modern health problems can be found in traditional diets that have a history of including foods in their purest forms. A solution to the growing rates of celiac disease and gluten intolerance might be found in the wheat of our ancestors: the 12,000 year-old einkorn.
“Einkorn Overview.” Jovial Foods. Web. 07 Oct. 2012.
Davis, William. Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health. Emmaus, Penn.: Rodale, 2011. Print.