Prepper Food Storage Ideas… Wheat and Gluten Sensitivity
by Michele O
Wheat is the backbone of most long-term storage and bread made from wheat the “staff of life”. After all, 3000 – 4000-year-old wheat found in pyramids was able to sprout, and it’s not exactly frigid in Egypt. Now that is some long-term storage.
But what happens to you or a family member who discovers they have either a wheat or gluten allergy, or intolerance? Most people think that an allergic reaction is the typical hives, runny nose, all the way to life-threatening anaphylactic shock, but there are many others.
Other lesser known symptoms of wheat and or gluten sensitivity include stomach upset, bloating, abdominal discomfort, pain or diarrhea; or it may present with a variety of extra-intestinal symptoms including eczema, allergic rhinitis, bronchospasm (asthma-like symptoms) headaches, and migraines, lethargy and tiredness, attention-deficit disorder and hyperactivity, schizophrenia, muscular disturbances as well as bone and joint pain.
I personally get fibromyalgia from accidentally ingesting even tiny amounts of wheat. Sometimes, allergies SUDDENLY manifest after eating something without any difficulties your whole life.
Doctors and scientists now believe that 10% of the general population is has a gluten sensitivity, and that does not include strictly wheat allergy/intolerance.
For me personally, sprouting the wheat takes care of my problem – but I have to make sure EVERY SINGLE grain is sprouted. Even one or two now sprouted causes me several days in incredible pain. However, for someone with an undiagnosed celiac sprue (gluten allergy) or gluten intolerance, sprouting will probably not help. Sprouting may make wheat more tolerable for some, but does NOT get rid of the gluten.
Sprouted glutinous grains (wheat, rye, barley, and contaminated oats) still have the protein gluten present. Sprouting begins some enzymatic breakdown of the protein and for those who are not gluten intolerant but merely have difficulty digesting certain grains, sprouting can make that process of digestion easier. For these people eating sprouted grains/bread may alleviate some of the symptoms, they get from eating non-sprouted regular bread.
Again, in NO WAY does sprouting eliminate gluten from the grain and these sprouted grains are NOT SAFE for anyone with gluten intolerance – celiac nor gluten sensitivity.
For those people who are, or become allergic/intolerant to gluten, eating wheat as a daily staple will cause life to be unbearable and may result in death. So, what can you do? Well, I personally store many other grains, such as Milo (sorghum), rice, tapioca, teff, corn, amaranth, quinoa (both amaranth and quinoa are complete proteins), buckwheat (which is not related to wheat at all) – AND YOU SHOULD TOO.
I buy Milo at the feed store in 50 lb bags, just as I do wheat (I’m prepping for 30 people, and none of the rest of them have a wheat allergy that I’m aware of). Also, consider using some of your non-gluten food grains as seed (although NEVER eat grain that is specifically seed grain – it sometimes has additives that might not be good for you).
Milo/grain sorghum is an easy to grow grain, and both wet and drought resistant. You will get slightly better yields watering it occasionally, but for drought areas, this is a good crop to grow to sustain your family if a SHTF scenario goes on longer than a year or two (and at that point in time, probably 80% of the population will be dead, so you’ll have a bit more room to grow grain in). The leaves and stalks can be fed to your animals too – no waste.
Buckwheat is both a grain (strong flavored) and green manure. If growing it for green manure, early spring or summer is fine, but it doesn’t set grain well in high heat so for grain production, it should be planted in the late summer/early fall so that the grain has time to mature – maybe 11-12 weeks before the first frost.
THE BENEFITS OF SPROUTING GRAINS
As the grain germinates, enzyme inhibitors are disabled, and water-soluble vitamins such as B complex and vitamin C are created, fats and carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars. When examining the nutrient density of sprouted wheat to un-sprouted wheat on a calorie-per-calorie basis, you’ll find that sprouted wheat contains four times the amount of niacin and nearly twice the amount of vitamin B6 and folate. Folate (folic acid) is VERY IMPORTANT for women of childbearing age, as folic acid in the diet (even before pregnancy) prevents spina bifida.
Moreover, sprouted grains generally contain more protein and fewer starches than non-sprouted grain. Another plus is that it is lower on the glycemic index making it more suitable for those suffering from blood sugar issues and diabetes. Sprouted grains, seeds and nuts also encourage the growth of good bacteria, known as pro-biotics, which help to keep the colon clean, and are high in protective antioxidants.
Flourless bread (and cakes!) are made with grains and legumes that are sprouted before grinding. The sprouted grains used most often for these flourless breads include wheat, millet, and spelt. Sprouted grains take on a very sweet taste because sprouting changes some starches in grains to sugars.
Sprouting barley, then drying it increases its sweetness and makes malt (note to you makers of beer). The bread can also be made with no yeast (traditional), or you can add your sourdough starter if you like sourdough, no or low salt, and you can flavor it with raisin and cinnamon, grated carrot or small pieces of fruit to make the bread almost dessert-like. Sprouted breads are generally denser, allowing the fruits to evenly spread throughout instead of sinking to the bottom.
HOW TO MAKE SPROUTED WHEAT (ESSENE) FLATBREAD
Note: This is a very dense bread – not even remotely related to Wonder Bread.
Soak 3 cups of whole wheat berries (not flour) in water for at least 8 hours. You can also sprout other grains, legumes, and beans to make your bread. This will add variety, flavor and more complete nutrition but you’ll have to experiment with their sprouting times. Soak them in a large stainless steel or ceramic bowl overnight. In the morning, drain and discard the soak water. Rinse the soaked berries a couple of times again and drain well.
Spread the berries out as best you can in the bowl, cover with a clean cloth and let it sit in a warm place for about 10 hours in warm conditions, 24 hours in winter/cooler conditions, maybe 48 hours in Canada and Alaska, I don’t know. Rinse with clean water a couple of times a day. When it is sprouted, you will see the tiny root poking out of the seed.
As soon as it is about 1/16″ or 1/8″ long, it is ready. If you don’t catch it at the right time you will soon discover what living food is. Instead of sprouted wheat, you’ll have baby grass and it won’t make sweet tasty bread.
As soon as it is ready you have to dry them or bake it right then.
If we still have electricity, place them in a strong food processor like the Cuisinart, and process well. Scrape the sides of the food processor if you have to, but blend the mixture well until it forms a sticky dough ball.
If no electricity, it might be easier to dry the grain in the sun (or solar oven), grind into flour then add just enough water to make a sticky dough.
Traditionally, Essene Flat Bread contained only sprouted wheat and nothing else. During the sprouting process, the starch is converted into simple sugars which make a sweet tasting dough. If you want to make sweeter bread, (especially the first time, or for kids) add 1/4 cup of raw honey and 1 teaspoon of salt. You can also add cinnamon and raisins, or other small pieces of fruit for variety. This kind of bread metabolizes slowly and helps you feel satisfied with less; it also improves digestion and elimination.
Squeeze and knead the grain for about 10 minutes, and then form into 2 small flattened round loaves with your hands. Sprinkle an insulated cookie sheet with a little bran or cornmeal, and put the loaves on it.
Traditionally, the loaves were baked in the sun and/or on hot rocks. You can bake it in a solar oven, wood-fired brick oven (I’ll be posting an article on the building of one in a month or two, once we are done making mine) or if we still have electricity, a regular oven.
In a solar oven, bake for an hour or two, then flip the loaves and bake on the other side if you like.
In a regular oven, preheating the oven is not necessary. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes – 40 – 45 if the oven was not preheated. Then turn the oven down to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C), and bake for approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes more. Allow the bread to cool thoroughly on cooling racks for several hours (if you can wait that long).