- Created on 12 June 2013
- Written by Nazarene A. Leyco
It’s difficult to live flour-free. Can’t imagine life without it. Almost all foods contain if not make use of a certain type of flour. And since a lot of things we put in our stomach are dependent on flour, it is hard for someone to switch to an all-produce diet or raw food diet.
Experts say that even before the wheel was invented, a revolutionary technology had been discovered long ago back in the time when men were fighting for survival against the most ferocious of beast: the production of flour.
The breakthrough that some stodgy seeds could be ground into nourishing dust changed the history and fate of man in a new direction. It is deemed as one of the most significant and important discoveries in human history.
Without this discovery there would be no bread or buns, no pasta or pizza, no cakes or couscous, soup, and a whole lot of edible products the world now enjoys. In short, civilizations have subsisted on it because without it, the beast would have prevailed.
Since then, millions of people worldwide have benefited from this nutritional revolution that has also catalyzed agricultural progress in many countries around the globe. However, a lot of people are still unaware of its value and importance and take it for granted.
After that invention, several other inventions ensued to make life more bearable and convenient. Now, the world knows about the amenities of high-tech food processing, mass-production, mass-marketing, long shelf life. So from the farm, the seed goes to the factories and processing plants to cater to the needs of billions of people worldwide.
Unknown to many there are many types and source of flour and each has its own quality. The commercial flour or commonly known as the White flour (flour that has been germed) that millions of Filipinos consume daily is just as good as a starch and gives the body little amount of nutrients. Sometimes it is even void of nutritional benefits and in some cases, certain flour is toxic to the body.
However, there are alternatives to enriched white flour. You can try substituting white flour with whole wheat, oat flour, rye flour, almond meal, brown rice flour, or millet flour. Pasta and bread are just some of the foods that commonly contain white flour, but pay attention as many processed and frozen foods contain the less nutritional flour.
Conventionally, white all purpose flour is a mix of hard red wheat berries and soft white wheat berries ground up until almost all of the grain turns into powder. Having said that, the kind you are buying is nothing but residue of a by-product with very little nutritional value.
It doesn’t stop in the flour being germed (a germ is like the sex organ of the seed). It has to look good commercially! And in order to achieve that, it has to look clean and white since other types of flour are brownish. This leads to the bleaching process to get the flour so ashen.
And who would tell you that the white bread you are buying from the bakeshop is of less nutritional value? That would be like committing a trade suicide.
The food processing industry and the deceptive jargon of marketing plus the stiff competition have all contributed to the deterioration of the quality of the breads, pasta, and other flour-based products which used to be more nourishing many years ago.
Three-fourths of that dietary fiber is removed from commercial flour. As a result, constipation is very common.
Dieticians, health buffs, people who know about this fact and those who have the resources or means mill their own flour at home to give their family the most nutritious and safest flour possible.
Here are some of the facts that consumer need to know or consider when buying food or ingredients that
- Whole grain foods are high in fiber because the wheat germ and bran still intact
- Whole grain foods are digested more slowly, leaving you feeling fuller for a longer.
- Whole grain foods have more nutrients than “white” foods.
- Whole grains are not processed as a starch, and are therefore less in sugar.
Milling one’s flour at home maybe a tedious task but it sure is the best thing meticulous consumer can do to ensure quality in his or her plate.
Even the Greek philosopher Hippocrates, in ancient times once recommended stone-ground flour, complete with its vitamins, minerals, natural bran and dietary fiber, for beneficial effects on the digestive tract.
But it will take more than Hippocrates to enlighten everyone about the truth on flour. The media and all those who are in the know or have the capacity to educate others can make an impact.