Thursday, July 20, 2017

Gluten addiction and overdose

I was talking to a friend earlier and we got on the topic of gluten intolerance.

I have a number of friends/family members who can't tolerate even the slightest amounts of wheat. I had a friend over a few years ago and we were walking through my yard--her son couldn't even touch the wheat stalks. There are a number of problems, though.

Wheat, in its natural form, is very filling with a lot of nutrients.

In the mid 1900's, scientists began deliberately crossing wheat with other grasses in order to make it more economically feasible--shorter stalks, less bulk, more energy put into wheat production rather than leaf and stalk, more wheat per stalk, resistant to fungus and disease, etc.

One side effect of these changes was a massive increase in the amount of gluten in the wheat, which made it rise more easily and with less effort. Demand for the altered wheat increased, to the point that the majority of the wheat commonly used today is descended from these crosses. You can still get "heirloom" wheat, but it's more difficult to find. It also won't rise as well. Some older grains have as little as 3% gluten, while modern bread flours have many times more.

The habit of adding gluten to baked goods is an additional risk. Many flours have gluten added as part of processing, and people add gluten in the form of "dough enhancers" when they bake.

This results in something I call gluten overdose.

The human body is designed to function on a hunter-gatherer diet--lots of exercise, plain water, meat, herbs and seeds. This includes the ancient relatives of wheat. We are supposed to eat this stuff. It's part of our makeup. But if your diet was 90% meat, enhanced with protein powders, protein drinks and protein supplements, you wouldn't stay healthy for long. The body is simply not designed to handle overdoses on that level.

If your diet was 90% watermelon, supplemented by green food powders (not so many options in this direction, but you get the point) you wouldn't stay healthy for long.

And yet we seem to think that we can live majority on grains that have been supplemented with a product nature doesn't produce in those quantities and it won't affect us, our digestive systems, or our genes.

Our society, in my opinion, suffers from a gluten overdose. Those sensitive to these substances are getting sick, and it's gumming up the digestive systems of the rest. Depressed immune systems because of bad dietary choices result in even more, and more violent, "allergic reactions" to the substances causing the problems.

Celiacs is real. Gluten intolerance is real. What I think we've mostly been missing is the link between quantity and overdose.

Thursday, July 13, 2017



I have 2 Orange Glow, 5 Sugar Baby, and 4 that may be either Congo, Jubilee, Ali Baba or my own saved seeds (variety unknown). I'm hoping for one of each, but that's unlikely. At least three of the four, anyway. This year I'll be mixing them all to try to come up with a variety that does well here. Later years will focus on cold, drought and heat tolerance, but right now I need to start the process. I'll keep pure seeds of each variety, but mostly plant from my mixed variety for my own use. The larger plants already have male blossoms.


I planted green beans (our own heirloom), kidney beans, pinto, hidatsu shield, black turtle, great northern white, yin-yang and hidatsu red. So 7 varieties of dry beans, and one of green. Only about a dozen plants of the green beans survived, so those will mostly be kept for seed. Kidney, Hidatsu Red, Hidatsu Shield, and pinto are runner beans, while the rest are bush. This year I'm just testing to see what we get the best yield from, which don't survive in our yard, etc. From this year's harvest we'll try the taste, then likely plant the four or five that do the best. Kidney is already a problem--as far as I can tell none came up so I'll probably try that one again next year in a more controlled environment--meaning that rather than just scattering it in various areas of the yard I'll put it in the main garden with the rest of the beans.


We lost almost the entire almond, peach and nectarine harvest with that late freeze. I think there are maybe a dozen almonds on the tree, but no peaches or nectarines. Not a big deal, as we still have peaches and nectarines from previous years. No walnuts, either. The grapes got bitten by the late freeze as well, but they've recovered well. It appears that the fruit won't be affected, particularly for the green grapes. I'm pulling several grapevines out this year, as they don't fruit at all. One is in the raspberries so there are other reasons for pulling it. So I'll "lose" three (non-producing) grape vines and open up that space for other things.

I'm actually thinking of pulling out the filberts and replacing them with something else. Research indicates that the catkins and flowers are sensitive to frost and emerge in March. I'm not sure--I've never seen blossoms at all--but that would definitely be a problem. At the moment I'm leaning toward pistachios, but I want to do more research. Some plants simply do not do well in my yard, and there's no way of knowing until I try.


Most of the squash were planted at random around the yard. 4 zucchini under the walnut to see how they handle the juglones. They look good so far. The winter squash are struggling, likely because of lack of water and too much heat. I planted two blue hubbard seeds, but one has indented leaves and the other entire leaf margins so I'm guessing there's some crossing going on. If both grow blue hubbards, great. If not, I have a surprise coming. I have two spaghetti squash, three small (pie) pumpkins and five large pumpkins. Dad insisted on the large pumpkins. Other squash are either cucumbers, yellow crookneck, yellow straight-neck, spaghetti squash, cantaloupe or honeydew. I'm keeping a map and I'll keep seeds from each. I plan to throw out or give away the "parent" seeds, since seeds grown in my own yard seem to do much better. I haven't decided whether I want to do crosses on the squash.


The greenhouse is the major project for this year. It needs to be finished ASAP so I can start the late season crops there before planting out. I need to be able to record the temperatures so I have a better idea of what can grow IN the greenhouse and what needs to be brought back inside for the winter. I'm hoping (unlikely, but hoping) that I'll be able to leave the citrus in there over the winter.