A Tale of Two Breads – first draft of work in progress

This is the latest of a series of 1-2 pagers I am putting together as handouts at the Farmers’ Market booth. Previous offerings including a basic Ingredient list and something about commercial yeast vs. organic yeast have been a tad lackluster. This one shows some promise…

A Tale of Two Breads

 

Bread is a tricky subject these days. On the one hand increasing numbers of people have been experiencing not only celiac but also ‘gluten intolerance’, with books like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain making persuasive cases that anything containing gluten is toxic. On the other hand, you have the seeming circumstantial evidence of people having consumed gluten-containing bread for about 5,000 years as a staple part of the diet. Whole books should be written about this, but here we shall look at two core aspects involving first: the quality and type of grains used for the flour, and second: the way these grains are fermented or otherwise processed, for I believe these two aspects go a long way towards explaining why something which used to be so good (‘real bread’) has become so very, very bad (modern imitation bread). I am not saying this is the whole story necessarily, but both are key characters in our ‘Tale of Two Breads’.

 

GRAINS:

 

  • Modern wheat hybrids have been bred to accommodate post-industrial production methods which began with mechanical harvesters in the mid 1800’s shortly followed by steel-rollers at large, industrial mills, followed by mechanical mixers in ever-larger commercial bakeries which all but eliminated small artisan bakeries and communal village bake-oven traditions. (One of the first commercial applications of Watt’s steam engine was for the Albion Mill in 1786.) Desired qualities in modern hybrids include:
    • Softer husks to facilitate mechanical threshing during mechanical harvestng
    • Harder grains (= more protein = more gluten) for the steel-rolling process
    • more elastic, resilient gluten to facilitate intense mechanical mixing
    • dwarf variety plants to prevent drooping of tall stalks from heavy nitrogen inputs needed to facilitate growth in soils deadened by chemical inputs
    • grains which can tolerate heavy pesticide use needed because sick plants raised on dead soils lack normal immune systems which repel pests.
  • Heritage Grains: Heritage grains come from seed stocks prior to post-industrial hybrids, so they: are not dwarf varieties, do not have unnaturally dense gluten, are grown in microbially vibrant organic soils and thus have healthy immune systems and so do not need chemical fertilizers to survive until harvest time.
  • French Road Bakery uses the following grain from certified organic farmers provided by both Speerville NB and Meunerie Milanaise QC (from whom I get steel-rolled Red Fife white flour).
    • Wheat: mid-1800’s Red Fife or 1930’s Acadian ( Maritime variety)
    • Rye – organic, believed not a modern hybrid since no need, grows everywhere
    • Spelt – ancient variety going back to Egyptian times
    • Barley, Buckwheat, Oats* – used in smaller quantities, not sure about varieties
    • Khorasan, a heritage grain from which comes durum used for pasta

 

PROCESS

 

Recently, cutting edge (albeit far too rare) research in Italy and also from the American Gut Project (both on my blog) is indicating that most gluten and related problems are most likely due to modern agricultural and processing methods which increase profits by lowering costs by saving time, extending shelf life and underpricing locals. Machines save time during tilling, planting, watering and growing, weeding, protecting, harvesting, threshing, washing, drying, grinding, mixing, leavening, baking, packaging and shipping – not to mention questionable chemical and other additives used to prolong flour storage and finished bread ‘products’. All of the above have degraded the nutritive content and digestibility of this time-honoured staple. In the 1800’s the average person in England ate a pound a day of slow-leavened bread, a working man often more like 2.5 pounds, with similar amounts in France, Italy, Germany and Eastern Europe including Russia. And this had been the case for centuries. Indeed, the way in which bread has gone from being a healthy staple to a possible killer is testament to the failure of modern, ‘scientific’ methods as practiced by mainly commerical, profit-driven corporations.

 

Along with fresh-grinding whole grains for the dark flour content (which avoids the vitamin degradation which takes place within a few days of grinding) French Road Bakery only uses fresh starter cultures grown from the grains themselves, not the factory-produced freeze-dried single-strain commercial product used by most commercial, home and even ‘artisan’ bakers today.

 

Traditionally, there are two main types of bread: those using specialised beer yeast remainders from nearby breweries (favoured by the English), and those using ‘sourdough’ leavens which are complex starter cultures grown from the flours in the breads. With either method the dough and/or starter cultures are soaked and/or fermented overnight at room temperature or for several days in cooler cellar temperatures, during which time a multitude of marvellous enzymatic, yeasty and bacterial ‘fermentation’ phases unfold, producing layers of esters, acids, vitamins and proteins, some being released from the previously dormant, chemically bound seeds, others from the microbes themselves, the end result being that when baked – the final transformational process which gelatinizes the starch rendering it soft and digestible – the breads rise and aerate into a well-woven textural and aromatically delightful tartan, with crunchy, rich-tasting, anti-bacterial crusts without, and soft, redolent organoleptically delicious crumb within, creating what we, in typical linguistic shorthand call simply: ‘bread’.

 

 

Back to our Story

 

Well, the thing is: such traditional slow-fermented bread really isn’t the same thing as modern bread, both that which is supplied from high-volume machine-led processes in commercial ‘production facilities’, and also that produced by home bakers using commercial single-strain yeast. The same word ‘bread’ is describing two very different things. Significantly, every single anti-bread book or article I have read thus far fails to make any substantive distinction between what can be called ‘real bread’ and modern ‘imitation bread.’

 

How many times do people walk past my booth refusing a sample, telling me they don’t buy ‘bread’ any more, and how many times do I think to myself ‘good for you, that is a wise choice, but I can’t help but wonder: do you know the difference between traditiona Real Bread like mine, and the modern imitation?’ Of course, most of them are not even aware there is such a difference, especially since you can use the same word, ‘bread’ to describe two very different things. (Same goes for properly processed/fermented, vs. improperly/too rapidly processed ‘gluten’.)

 

In sum: instead of ‘bread’ as most people think and speak of it today, French Road Bakery offers traditional ‘Real Bread’, a bedrock staple of a healthy diet in the West for millenia, versus the modern imitation which has been adulterated by mechanical shortcuts and is proving increasingly unhealthy, along with so many other poorly farmed and processed foods distributed via high volume supermarket systems which have undermined locally grown and prepared fresh foods, and in so doing have fostered no end of auto-immune and other systemic health problems along with almost wiping out vibrant rural and small town community culture by eliminating so many sources of local employment. This is a problem endemic throughout the developed world these days, but maybe in Cape Breton, with our deep roots in local community culture, we can show the rest of the world a way forward. Yes:

 

You CAN fight ‘the system’!

Buy a loaf of ‘Real Bread’!

Buy local produce at your Farmers’ Market!

 

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Some of my best friends are germs – Pollan again

http://michaelpollan.com/articles-archive/some-of-my-best-friends-are-germs/

I like this guy so much I ordered a few of his books last night. Increasingly am using the internet to find things of interest on the radar, so to speak, but if I want to drill down to any level of detail. I buy books. That said, this long magazine article is probably as good as most books.

I like the way Mr. Pollard is a truly excellent writer; you don’t have to agree with him to enjoy his crisp, colourful, and moreover very clear prose. Really a pleasure to read.

And this is a very long article, so I won’t try to summarize or anything. Just take a snippet from a part in the middle I found particularly interesting because I had a lot of dental work (and antibiotics) the past few years (no more, I had all the back teeth taken out so no more work needs to be done!).

These days Blaser is most concerned about the damage that antibiotics, even in tiny doses, are doing to the microbiome — and particularly to our immune system and weight. “Farmers have been performing a great experiment for more than 60 years,” Blaser says, “by giving subtherapeutic doses of antibiotics to their animals to make them gain weight.” Scientists aren’t sure exactly why this practice works, but the drugs may favor bacteria that are more efficient at harvesting energy from the diet. “Are we doing the same thing to our kids?” he asks. Children in the West receive, on average, between 10 and 20 courses of antibiotics before they turn 18. And those prescribed drugs aren’t the only antimicrobials finding their way to the microbiota; scientists have found antibiotic residues in meat, milk and surface water as well. Blaser is also concerned about the use of antimicrobial compounds in our diet and everyday lives — everything from chlorine washes for lettuce to hand sanitizers. “We’re using these chemicals precisely because they’re antimicrobial,” Blaser says. “And of course they do us some good. But we need to ask, what are they doing to our microbiota?” No one is questioning the value of antibiotics to civilization — they have helped us to conquer a great many infectious diseases and increased our life expectancy. But, as in any war, the war on bacteria appears to have had some unintended consequences.

One of the more striking results from the sequencing of my microbiome was the impact of a single course of antibiotics on my gut community. My dentist had put me on a course of Amoxicillin as a precaution before oral surgery. (Without prophylactic antibiotics, of course, surgery would be considerably more dangerous.) Within a week, my impressively non-Western “alpha diversity” — a measure of the microbial diversity in my gut — had plummeted and come to look very much like the American average. My (possibly) healthy levels of prevotella had also disappeared, to be replaced by a spike in bacteroides (much more common in the West) and an alarming bloom of proteobacteria, a phylum that includes a great many weedy and pathogenic characters, including E. coli and salmonella. What had appeared to be a pretty healthy, diversified gut was now raising expressions of concern among the microbiologists who looked at my data.

“Your E. coli bloom is creepy,” Ruth Ley, a Cornell University microbiologist who studies the microbiome’s role in obesity, told me. “If we put that sample in germ-free mice, I bet they’d get inflamed.” Great. Just when I was beginning to think of myself as a promising donor for a fecal transplant, now I had a gut that would make mice sick. I was relieved to learn that my gut community would eventually bounce back to something resembling its former state. Yet one recent study found that when subjects were given a second course of antibiotics, the recovery of their interior ecosystem was less complete than after the first.

Few of the scientists I interviewed had much doubt that the Western diet was altering our gut microbiome in troubling ways. Some, like Blaser, are concerned about the antimicrobials we’re ingesting with our meals; others with the sterility of processed food. Most agreed that the lack of fiber in the Western diet was deleterious to the microbiome, and still others voiced concerns about the additives in processed foods, few of which have ever been studied for their specific effects on the microbiota. According to a recent article in Nature by the Stanford microbiologist Justin Sonnenburg, “Consumption of hyperhygienic, mass-produced, highly processed and calorie-dense foods is testing how rapidly the microbiota of individuals in industrialized countries can adapt.” As our microbiome evolves to cope with the Western diet, Sonnenburg says he worries that various genes are becoming harder to find as the microbiome’s inherent biodiversity declines along with our everyday exposure to bacteria.

Catherine Lozupone in Boulder and Andrew Gewirtz, an immunologist at Georgia State University, directed my attention to the emulsifiers commonly used in many processed foods — ingredients with names like lecithin, Datem, CMC and polysorbate 80. Gewirtz’s lab has done studies in mice indicating that some of these detergentlike compounds may damage the mucosa — the protective lining of the gut wall — potentially leading to leakage and inflammation.

A growing number of medical researchers are coming around to the idea that the common denominator of many, if not most, of the chronic diseases from which we suffer today may be inflammation — a heightened and persistent immune response by the body to a real or perceived threat. Various markers for inflammation are common in people with metabolic syndrome, the complex of abnormalities that predisposes people to illnesses like cardiovascular disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes and perhaps cancer. While health organizations differ on the exact definition of metabolic syndrome, a 2009 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 34 percent of American adults are afflicted with the condition. But is inflammation yet another symptom of metabolic syndrome, or is it perhaps the cause of it? And if it is the cause, what is its origin?

One theory is that the problem begins in the gut, with a disorder of the microbiota, specifically of the all-important epithelium that lines our digestive tract. This internal skin — the surface area of which is large enough to cover a tennis court — mediates our relationship to the world outside our bodies; more than 50 tons of food pass through it in a lifetime. The microbiota play a critical role in maintaining the health of the epithelium: some bacteria, like the bifidobacteria and Lactobacillus plantarum (common in fermented vegetables), seem to directly enhance its function. These and other gut bacteria also contribute to its welfare by feeding it. Unlike most tissues, which take their nourishment from the bloodstream, epithelial cells in the colon obtain much of theirs from the short-chain fatty acids that gut bacteria produce as a byproduct of their fermentation of plant fiber in the large intestine.

But if the epithelial barrier isn’t properly nourished, it can become more permeable, allowing it to be breached. Bacteria, endotoxins — which are the toxic byproducts of certain bacteria — and proteins can slip into the blood stream, thereby causing the body’s immune system to mount a response. This resulting low-grade inflammation, which affects the entire body, may lead over time to metabolic syndrome and a number of the chronic diseases that have been linked to it.

Evidence in support of this theory is beginning to accumulate, some of the most intriguing coming from the lab of Patrice Cani at the Université Catholique de Louvain in Brussels. When Cani fed a high-fat, “junk food” diet to mice, the community of microbes in their guts changed much as it does in humans on a fast-food diet. But Cani also found the junk-food diet made the animals’ gut barriers notably more permeable, allowing endotoxins to leak into the bloodstream. This produced a low-grade inflammation that eventually led to metabolic syndrome. Cani concludes that, at least in mice, “gut bacteria can initiate the inflammatory processes associated with obesity and insulin resistance” by increasing gut permeability.”

I think that this is important work and an intelligent article; moreover that most if not all problems with bread – which of course concerns me as an organic sourdough baker – derive from this issue, namely a degraded internal system due to degraded (over-processed = overly denatured) inputs.

We all need more fresh air, exercise therein, and fresh and/or well fermented foods. It’s not rocket science.

 

++++++++++++

Article linked in above snippet:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/09/14/1000087107

Abstract

The indigenous human microbiota is essential to the health of the host. Although the microbiota can be affected by many features of modern life, we know little about its responses to disturbance, especially repeated disturbances, and how these changes compare with baseline temporal variation. We examined the distal gut microbiota of three individuals over 10 mo that spanned two courses of the antibiotic ciprofloxacin, analyzing more than 1.7 million bacterial 16S rRNA hypervariable region sequences from 52 to 56 samples per subject. Interindividual variation was the major source of variability between samples. Day-to-day temporal variability was evident but constrained around an average community composition that was stable over several months in the absence of deliberate perturbation. The effect of ciprofloxacin on the gut microbiota was profound and rapid, with a loss of diversity and a shift in community composition occurring within 3–4 d of drug initiation. By 1 wk after the end of each course, communities began to return to their initial state, but the return was often incomplete. Although broadly similar, community changes after ciprofloxacin varied among subjects and between the two courses within subjects. In all subjects, the composition of the gut microbiota stabilized by the end of the experiment but was altered from its initial state. As with other ecosystems, the human distal gut microbiome at baseline is a dynamic regimen with a stable average state. Antibiotic perturbation may cause a shift to an alternative stable state, the full consequences of which remain unknown.”

This page has further links on this topic for those who wish to explore further.

Michael Pollan – the Science of eating well

from the podcast site Enquiring Minds: https://soundcloud.com/inquiringminds

This is an unusually intelligent food discussion.

He also explains – again unusually well – what happens with proper (sourdough) bread. He also mentions the Italian research that suggests that those eating slow fermented sourdough (20+ hours) (such as mine), even some celiacs can tolerate it.

In any case, he talks about the beneficial effects of cooking, the paleo diet issues (including the problem with factory-farmed meats vs true wild meats of yore), and the value of fermentation. Also the epidemiological studies indicating plant-based diets are best, but he qualifies that very intelligently.

Towards the end of the bread discussion he speculates that perhaps the reason people nowadays are having problems with bread/gluten is that we (our gut systems) have changed due to modern diets and lifestyles, and ‘that may be at the root of a great many of the allergies we see because gluten intolerance is …. and auto-immune disorders that has to do with our relationship with bacteria.” But the growth in gluten free is far in excess of any change in our microbial cultures.

He has written a book which emphasises the importance of microbes. So I guess I’ll have to get that book!

Not sure which book, but this guy has an interesting selection starting with ‘The Botany of Desire’ to the most recent in 2013 ‘Cooked – a natural history of transformation’ and ‘Food Politics: How the Food industry influences Nutrition and Health.’

(I am still listening to this whilst writing this entry:) Ha! He is the guy whose body-bacteria was used for some experimental cheese recently (from belly-button, between the toes etc!). This playful experiment was based on noticing that stinky cheeses have similar bacteria to those we find on our bodies. I read years ago, for example, that the only place they have found the sanfrancisco yeasts naturally is in the human mouth, not in the fair fields of California.

Then he is discussing a recent article of his in the New Yorker about the behavioural and strategic intelligence of plants. Sensory sophistication. Plants have 15-20 distinct senses – smell, taste, sound – they can recognise the sound of caterpillars chomping on leaves and then prepare chemical defense against them! – also can sense chemicals in the soil, soil, volume, hardness, touch obviously, they can move towards a pole.

To demonstrate plants ability to demonstrate intention and consciousness, in a video a friend showed him a bean-plant in time-lapse photography over several days, looking nowhere except at a pole 18″ away and it throws itself over and over again until it finally makes contact, and after it has made one revolution around, it relaxes and starts to grow on it happily, so it seems they make a noise and are using some sort of radar to sense the pole, or maybe there is some other basis. The main point is that they have incredible sensory acuteness, brilliant defenses, and have kin recognition – they don’t compete with others of the same family. Also: trees in a forest are linked by fungi, so all fir trees in a forest, for example, are linked and they use the fungal network to send both messages and food. ‘The wood-wide web’ it has been called! (and why our internal flora have to do with brain function, I am thinking.) Can plants learn? Can they remember? ( I would say yes), Even though they don’t have brains. But how can you do these things without neurons? There must be other ways. (I think most of our theories about brain function are totally wrong so this is a promising direction.)

Amazing stuff!

Amazon.ca search page on him:

http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=michael+pollan&sprefix=Pollan%2Caps%2C1191

 

By the way, I came to the above interview from one previous with Deborah Blum about poisons in modern industrial/commercial practices etc.

Michael Pollan’s Plant article in the New Yorker:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/12/23/131223fa_fact_pollan

The Greatest Hits of in NY Times:

http://6thfloor.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/17/the-greatest-hits-of-michael-pollan/

Also in NYTimes:  http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/michael_pollan/

 

Wheat of the Future Based in the Past

http://www.organicagcentre.ca/Docs/HeritageWheats_JenniferScott.pdf

This link kindly provided by Mark of http://www.barnyardorganics.ca the farmers providing me with the new (or should I say old) Acadia wheat I tried out for the first time last week.

THis is six pages long, here is the first page:

Wheat of the Future Based in the Past
By Jennifer Scott (902)-757-1640, email:
jen@ns.sympatico.ca
In the past few years, winds of change are blowing through wheat fields. Wheat – a fundamental ingredient in bread and many other foods – contains more nutrients per
weight than meat, milk, potatoes, fruits and vegetables. It is a part of our national
identity. Canada is well known throughout the world for its bread wheat.
The change is not based on transgenic crops, scientists in white lab coats, boardroom
decisions, stock market hype, or millions of dollars in public relations efforts. The new
wheat is emerging from the fields of caring and conscientious farmers, locally-owned
flour mills, artisan bakeries, and the organic farming movement. Consumers seeking healthy food help to fan the flames – particularly those consumers who are having
difficulty tolerating conventional modern wheat. It is a grass-roots, community based
movement – building literally from the ground up.
First, organic farmers began to ask for bread wheat varieties that were more suitable for
organic farms where herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers are replaced with
healthy soil and careful management. They also needed choices of varieties that were
suitable according to the region and soil type. Stricter organic rules demanded that all
organic seed be from organic sources. Conventional wheat from conventional seed
sources was just not cutting the mustard. Clusters of organic farmers in Europe, the US
, and Canada organized field trials to asses wheat varieties – both modern and heritage
– that would be appropriate. In the Maritimes, the Maritime Certified Organic Growers (MCOG) in co-operation with Speerville Mill and the New Brunswick government began such efforts in 1998 with the help of the Heritage Seed Program and like-minded growers and millers in the US and Canada. Organic farmers in the region were recruited to grow
wheat. The price of organic wheat started to rise, making it more worthwhile to grow bread wheat – considered one of the more challenging organic crops to grow because of the quality requirements (minimum 13.5% protein, no fusarium, adequate dryness, and harvested at the correct time to prevent sprouting).
Meanwhile the demand for locally-grown organic stone-ground flour was outstripping
supply. The beauty of stone-ground whole wheat flour is its sweet and nutty flavour, and
superior nutritional value compared to steel-roller-milled flour. It contains the grain components in their original proportions and includes the germ. (Stone grinding distributes the germ oil evenly without exposing it to the excess heat that can cause flour to become rancid and much of the vitamin content to be destroyed.) But stone-ground whole wheat flour needs to be fresh. It shouldn’t be stored for months and months, or transported thousands of kilometers in a hot truck. This is also part of its beauty. It should be processed locally and used fresh. It is the domain of small community-based
business, not large multinationals.”
There is more about farmers in PEI and elsewhere growing Acadia and Selkirk, which are Maritime favorites of yore, and also mention made of how those with gluten issues who prefer spelt also do fine with Acadia (same is said of Red Fife).
In any case, I look forward to working further with Acadia in the coming months – whilst still only using Red Fife for white flour since that is what is provided by Milanaise – and will continue to use only such heritage varieties.

Gluten deconstructed – uh-oh: it’s an ‘abstraction’…

http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/wheat-contains-not-one-23k-potentially-harmful-proteins

(from: http://www.naturalnews.com/040538_wheat_gluten_proteins.html )

Wheat Contains Not One, But 23K Potentially Harmful Proteins

Related: http://newhope360.com/news-amp-analysis/future-wheat-lies-heritage-varieties

Okay: in previous post about Rye, I went on a bit of rant about how we misuse language sometimes, both in ordinary parlance but also to engender rather serious fallacies in important things like the so-called ‘scientific method’ (which is far more faith-based than most of us are willing to believe!).

From the greenmedinfo gluten article link at top:

Most folks don’t realize that when we are talking about health problems associated with wheat, or gluten, we are not talking about a monolithic entity, a singular “bad guy,” solely responsible for the havoc commonly experienced as a consequence of consuming this grain. After all, how could just one villain cause the 200+ different clinically observed adverse health effects now linked in the biomedical literature to wheat consumption?

No, the problem is that “gluten” is an abstraction, and in its perceived singularity profoundly misrepresents the true extent of the problem, much in the way that the tip of an iceberg does not convey the massive threat submerged below …

Gluten is the Latin name for “glue,” and signifies the doughy complex of proteins within the wheat plant, further classified as either gliadins (alcohol soluble), glutelins (dilute acid or alkalis soluble), or other. Because wheat is a hexaploid species  (doesn’t that sound creepy?), the byproduct of three ancestor plants becoming one, with no less than 6 sets of chromosomes and 6.5 times more genes than found in the human genome, it is capable of producing no less than 23,788 different proteins – a fact as amazing as it is disturbing.[i] “

Dear Readers, I draw your attention especially to this part: No, the problem is that “gluten” is an abstraction, and in its perceived singularity profoundly misrepresents the true extent of the problem, much in the way that the tip of an iceberg does not convey the massive threat submerged below …

Now let us leave aside the gluten argument because AS USUAL, there is no discussion of preparation process and any transformation that may or may not occur therefrom (no difference between raw or fermented soybeans, raw or fermented grains, raw cream or fermented curds = cheese etc. etc. ). But a very good point is being made here: that so-called ‘gluten’ which sounds discrete, identifiable, factual, solid because it has a basic name (‘gluten’) doesn’t really exist as such. In fact the word refers to any one of 23,788 things, and of course each of those things has other variables depending on what else is in the mix, both other ingredients, weather patterns, harvesting timing, dampness, and last but not least, fermentation and final temperature after baking or boiling and so on.

So my rant in the last post may well have been over the top but I take heart from the sheer coincidence which ensued, namely that the next article I opened up from the science.natural news site looking for something comparing wheat and rye after the rye post, happened to go into this business about single, simple terms like ‘gluten’ are abstractions.

Agreed. It’s time to stop dumbing us all down with catchy terms that everyone can too easily glom onto (or rather gluten onto) and go back to using our senses:

This blog author maintains that until there is solid evidence to the contrary – and thus far he has not seen any published – that good quality, preferably heritage grains, properly fermented using natural ‘slow sourdough’ method, and using ideally 50% or more of the whole grain to include the germ and fibre which respectively boost nutritional content and aid the peristaltic digestion process, are basically good foods (in moderation as with all foods, including water).

I am willing to grant that most modern fast-production breads are harmful, but even there we must be a bit more careful: is it due to overly quick fermentation with single strain yeast? Or is it chemicals from the agro-business fertilizers and pesticides? Or some subtle transference of malaise from the sick energy of the sick plants raised in such soils? Or something from the plastic it is usually wrapped in at the supermarket? Or is it the overly refined methods in modern flour, wherein whole wheat, for example, is steel-rolled, i.e. very finely pulverised, white flours, usually bleached, to which is then added some of the bran and germ taken out during the white flour extraction process, albeit this bran and germ comes from different batches of grains? Or is it prolonged storage, wherein fresh-ground flour loses most of its vitamin (and thus no doubt other nutrient) content within a matter of days after being ground? Or over-hybridized grains bread to grow in dead soils with chemical inputs, with short stalks which won’t droop after their diet of elevated nitrogen so the machine harvester can fork them up, and with weaker husks that are less resilient to pests and so require more pesticide coverings but are easier to thresh mechanically, and with higher gluten – up to 40 times according to some reports – so that highly refined white flour products will rise nicely mimicking the soft rise of a natural sourdough 8-36 hour fermentation (depending on amount of starter percentage and temperature)? Or is it simply that food should be made by hand, with care and attention, not by zillions of whirring metal machines and mechanical mixers? Or the additives in the flour to facilitate mechanical mixing which makes for rapid ‘gluten development’ in about 10 minutes which otherwise takes 12 hours with slow fermentation (during which a whole load of other things happen to this so-called ‘gluten’ and which is rarely if ever studied after such transformation), additives such as human hair – which makes the dough initially more stretchy during mechanical mixing and kneading but which then becomes firmer later on to make for a nice, springy loaf), and chalk to make it white, and denatured enzymes to help with dough development, and synthetic vitamins, or the really-bad-for-you ‘refined table salt’ they put in everything?

Is it all or one of these factors that make modern bread harmful? Have there been any solid studies on this? If anyone knows, please contribute so I and other readers may learn more.

I think you will find that by and large there is mainly junk science which I will narrowly define in this particular context as being that science which follows a general fallacy these days, which I can call in shorthand the ‘one-word fallacy’.

Again, as the writer of the greenmed piece RIGHTLY points out: ‘gluten is an abstraction’.

Which also means that nearly all conclusions about gluten are probably little more than guesses.

Oh – I didn’t mention the elephant in the room: let us say that all the problems with gluten are basically correct: is it the gluten or the damaged digestive systems which is to blame? Put another way: will a healthy person have a problem eating

a) properly made sourdough

b) high quality artisan, slow- fermented (now) conventional yeast risen

c) mass produced commercial

breads?

Perhaps what we are witnessing is a whole load of sick people brought up on bad, mass produced food, gradually becoming unable to digest certain things, one of them being under-fermented, over-hybridized grain products?

Is there any attempt to really understand all this?

We have trillions of dollars and Euros to spend on building bigger bombs. But understanding something as simple and basic as bread?

Nah, clearly it’s a simple thing: that little word ‘gluten’, obviously that is the culprit, and clearly our ancestors going back 5,000 years were deluding themselves when they though that bread was in any way, shape or form good for you!

PS: please don’t get me wrong. I have both respect and concern for those with gluten issues. I am just frustrated – as a baker who deals with this issue more than most – at how paltry is the research offered despite widespread condemnations and generalisations. Moreover it is clear that not only are many unhealthy gluten-free products flooding the mass marketplace, but also that going back to basics – which is my approach – is both under-studied and under-appreciated. Most importantly for my purposes: I cannot make a fair evaluation of the issue using studies properly conducting by well-trained, impartial experts, because we are so busy building bombs and making fancy financial products and whizz-bang gadgets that we have no time or interest to study basic things, let alone supply them in our modern world.

Basically Good things like:

good butter from pasture-fed cows

good cheese from the same

good bread – made from fresh-ground organic grains grown in local healthy soils

good vegetables, again organic from healthy local soils

good meats – again properly raised on local healthy soils

good clothing made from natural fabrics with regional styles

and so on.

All these simple, basic things are becoming increasingly rare.

Which is why the latest fad in Silicon Valley is…. wait for it… you guessed it…

$4.00 a slice sourdough toast with organic butter and jam!

$4.00 a slice.

Hmm…. maybe I’ll try it at the FM….

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2014/jan/15/posh-toast-costs-250-slice?CMP=EMCNEWEML6619I2

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's sourdough

Update Wed 22nd: follow-up on this scientific method business:

http://theclimatescepticsparty.blogspot.ca/2014/01/the-scientific-method-agw-falsified.html

http://www.albany.edu/~scifraud/data/sci_fraud_2927.html

Starting with David Hume in the 1700’s there have been serious, substantive objections raised concerning the so-called ‘scientific method’.

I’ll give one very small example relating to climate science concerning the temperature readings. Not only the instruments themselves (see how many of your thermometers give the same reading when put together in the same place!), but also placement: just a few feet higher or lower makes a big difference, also if there are breezes blowing at the time recorded, or not blowing, or some are placed by air conditioning vents, or in parking lots or airport runways which heat up far more than the surrounding zones, and so on.

The point is, that there is far more variability and unreliability in many of the data sets used to make, not scientific conclusions, but merely educated guesses which are then dressed up as science.

A clue: any time you read ‘scientists believe’, pay attention, for in fact that is the truth: they are about to tell you what they believe, not what they know. In other words, what they are about to tell you is not scientific at all even if their jumping-off point is scientifically gathered data. Data is not a conclusion.

Rye is good article plus my rant on how we use words like ‘rye’

Something I stumbled onto in web via Natural News Science pages:

Disclaimer: as with anything posted here, I don’t necessarily approve/agree with everything, but offer it as food for thought in these matters here discussed involving food/nutrition etc.

At bottom I offer a couple of comments, but first the article:

Consumption of rye linked to weight control and vigorous health

by Carolanne Wright

(NaturalNews) Rye is more than a flavorful ingredient in baking; research shows that this humble grain packs a serious nutritional punch. Contributing to cardiovascular health, cancer prevention, and management of diabetes, rye is an important addition to the diet. Not only is this grain healthy, but it also has been found to promote weight control and digestive health when consumed as dark rye bread.

Rye is a grass that is a close relative to wheat and barley. It grows in poor soils and cold conditions which makes it an important staple food for Europeans. In fact, Russia and Poland are the world’s largest producers of this grain. Rye flour has a far lower gluten content than wheat and is excellent for use with a sourdough starter.

Rye is very nutrient dense, supplying high levels of iron, calcium, potassium and zinc as well as vitamin E and a variety of B vitamins. It is also a good source of protein and soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps one to feel satisfied longer as it slows down the breakdown of carbohydrates and sugars. Rye contains ‘fructans’ (a type of fructose) as its main sugar source.

Rye has been shown to reduce heart disease and cancer risk while supporting diabetic health. Since rye is an outstanding source of cholesterol lowering soluble fiber, cardiovascular health is enhanced. This nutritious grain is also magnesium rich which helps control high blood pressure. Another advantage of rye is that it ferments in the gut, producing arabinoxylan, a short chain fatty acid. This in turn supports the immune system by triggering lymphocyte production while balancing blood sugar levels and lowering cholesterol. An article for Green Footsteps states, “Arabinoxylan is thought to act much like beta-glucan from oats. Beta-glucans are responsible for some of the heart-healthy attributes of oats and have a whole bundle of health benefits credited to them.”

Rye provides an abundance of lignans, a phytoestrogen that protects breast tissue from the cancer inducing effects of estrogen. Additionally, a study in Finland found that consuming rye bread offers protection against colon cancer. Rye binds to bile acids that may trigger this disease while safely eliminating them from the body. A separate Finnish study also found that consuming high fiber dark rye bread enhances insulin secretion while improving b cell function, which is positive news for diabetics. Moreover, it is a natural cure for constipation and hemorrhoids. For centuries, rye has been used to cleanse the stomach and intestines of impurities and parasites.

Research in Sweden found that rye can help with weight management. Volunteers who consumed rye bread for breakfast felt less hunger throughout the day than those who consumed whole grain wheat bread. Dark rye bread made with rye bran was found to be the most successful in reducing hunger. Researchers are unclear as to why rye suppresses the appetite more than wheat bread since both are excellent sources of fiber. One explanation may be that the fiber in rye bread has an unusually high water binding capacity that expands during digestion and produces a pronounced feeling of fullness.

Take pleasure in the many delicious virtues of whole grain rye and reap the bountiful health supporting benefits.

Sources for this article:

“All About Rye Flour, Rye Nutritional Benefits and Rye Production and Uses”, Green Footsteps. Retrieved on December 18, 2010 from, http://www.greenfootsteps.com/rye-flour.html

“High-fiber rye bread and insulin secretion and sensitivity in healthy postmenopausal women”, Katri S Juntunen, David E Laaksonen, Kaisa S Poutanen, Leo K Niskanen, and Hannu M Mykkanen, February 2003, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 77, No. 2, 385-391.

“The Tasty Health Benefits of Rye Bread”, Kristie Leong MD, September 6, 2009, Associated Content. Retrieved on December 18, 2010 from, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/211…

“Study finds rye bread at breakfast more filling”, September 3, 2009, The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved on December 20, 2010 from, http://www.newsday.com/news/health/study-fin…

“The Nutritional and Medicinal Uses of Rye Over the Centuries”, N. Soltys, May 12, 2009, Associated Content. Retrieved on December 20, 2010 from, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/170… the_nutritional_and_medicinal_uses_pg2.html?cat=37

About the author

Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef, and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness, and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.com she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people from around the world who share a similar vision.

ASH comments:

She doesn’t mention natural fermentation (‘sourdough’) except in passing. Personally I think this is a big mistake but one too commonly made these days. We have words and words have meanings and because they have meanings we think they give a clear picture. This is simply false. Back to Buddhism 101:

What is a river? The word is clear. The meaning is clear. But if you actually point at a river in front of you, it is always moving, never still. The clear meaning you have in your mind is not reflected in reality. There is no river as you conceive it, even though there is. This is not supposed to be mysterious hocus pocus, it’s a fact. Most modern medical science studies dead tissue, dead bodies in order to identify and categorise the parts. Or if not dead, then it isolates things in order to give them clear names, things like ‘blood cells’, ‘hormones’, ‘nerves’ and so forth. You can indeed identify such things, but just as with the word ‘river’ – which simply gives a name to something which is in constant flux and has no solid existens as such – you are merely naming a process, not a discrete (separate) thing.

And it’s not just that this ‘thing’ is a process in constant change. How can you separate the notion of ‘river’ from a situation which includes: terrain, including earth which supports the water in the ‘river’, and air around which gives space for such movement, and the rains and/or snows which give the ‘river’ it’s water contents, terrain again with higher elevations from which such waters flow, and vegetation in and around the ‘river’ which clean its waters, and wind which ruffles or disturbs its surfaces, and its various currents, including tidal flows influenced both by moon and rotation of earth. All these things – not to mention fishes and fishermen and children swimming – are part of the situation which altogether makes up what we can name as ‘river’ and moreover if you took any of the first conditions away (terrain, rains, air, sun, earth’s rotation etc. ) there would be no such thing to identify as ‘river’, therefore regarding it as a discrete, separate thing, although doable and understandable via our cognitive, conceptual process, is not – strictly speaking – accurate.

One could go so far as to say (and personally I would) that most of the so-called ‘fact-based scientific method’ is built on cognitive fallacies such as these, which in turn are exploited in our materialist, overly commercialised world today, which in turn is degraded our sense of natural environment and how to lead lives in accordance with that and our fundamental natures and potentials. (This is a big little issue, how we name and isolate, or perhaps rather freeze – things once we have named them!)

This is the same with most food ingredients, which we name – as in this case ‘rye’ – but in fact if you look closely, you won’t find any rye there. Rye is a grain which is in a continuous state of process, change, and moreover in terms of preparation and eating, how it is processed is at least as important – probably much more so – than simply what it is. Eating raw rye kernels – which is not hard to do when they are fresh, by the way – is very different from eating boiled rye, or rye mixed with wheat and fermented with single-strain sugar-fed yeast, or mixed with buckwheat and raised with natural sourdough cultures grown from yoghurt and apples, or sourdough cultures grown from the rye itself.

These things matter. They change the dynamic structure of the ‘rye’ on a cellular level. Not to mention a huge difference if it is boiled (as one can do, oatmeal style) or baked as in loaf of bread style.

Modern science, and in turn ‘nutritionists’ largely believe a fallacy: that by identifying and naming various bits and pieces of an organism, and analysing the chemical constitutuents (things like protein structures, carbohydrate structures, vitamins, phytonutrients, enzymes and so on) that they can therefore understand – or even chemically duplicate – their effects in isolation. You find out that oranges have lots of Vitamin C, for example, and leap to the conclusion that if you make an artificial chemical imitation of Vitamin C that it’s the same thing. It isn’t, the electro-magnetic fields on the subatomic and also crude cellular level are entirely different, the context is different, the substance is different, it goes from being part of a living, inter-related, organic matrix to an isolated, non-organic, non-living part, which although it is still connected somehow is far less vibrant, and certainly not the same thing.

In other words, just saying ‘rye is this and rye is that’ without qualifying what types of rye and how it is processed, is incomplete.

Why do I care about this? Because as an organic sourdough-only baker I am up against this all the time, this word-name business.

I mean: bread is bread right? ‘They’ (the new experts) say it is bad for you, right? It’s a major killer these days. What you make is called bread so even if you say it’s not the same as the supermarket stuff for $1.99, since both your stuff and that stuff is called bread, it’s basically the same.

That’s like saying that wild moose and discount hot dogs are the same because they rae both ‘meat’, or that Campbells canned ‘shepherd’s pie’ is the same as one made from scratch because they have the same name.

There is a huge amount of confusion about many things nowadays because people – some unscrupulously and many unwittingly – fool themselves and each other with overly hasty use of language. In this case, how the word ‘rye’ is used.

Here endeth the rant!

Except that: a following post will take a look at gluten in this same slightly deconstructive way, albeit I won’t do the looking but rather another author from the science.natural news site. http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/wheat-contains-not-one-23k-potentially-harmful-proteins

Comment 2: I think I read in Graham’s book on bread (written in late 1700’s I think) that rye is known as a good muscle builder, and that athletes in Scandinavia use it during training. Come to think of it, they didn’t talk of athletes back then so it must have been somewhere else I read it. My personal experience is that when I regularly eat the fresh-ground 100% rye loaf I sell, that the stomach feels better, along with bowels etc. Rye is very earthy and satisfying, also simple on the system, nutrient-dense, quick to break down, easy to absorb and also enzymatically stimulative and harmonious. It’s a very different animal, actually but until you try it 100% you can’t really tune into it that way.

If I were forced for whatever reason to only make one loaf, it would be the 100% fresh-ground rye. No question about it. But if it were not naturally fermented, I would have no interest at all.

2014 Ingredients Page

Am trying to put together a series of information sheets which for some reason have found hard to do. I know from experience that if something isn’t coming together, rather than force the issue, best to wait. So these are early attempts to get the ball rolling, or since I’m here in maritime realm, to ‘jig the cod’ of ideas. Moreover, it has come to my attention that some of my customers here do occasionally visit the blog in the hopes of finding information about the bread and that I need to do a better job presenting the types.

Perhaps I will turn this into a proper website that is more focused on the immediate, local operation. Or perhaps will start another website soon which simply links to this blog. In any case, here follow a few of the current pages, which will no doubt be updated at some point and/or deleted as better ways of doing all this present themselves…..

 This page has been linked on the RECIPES & PHOTOS page in the menu panel at top.

Logo2013rotated

French Road Bakery

1 888 238 5491

Organically Fermented Brick Oven Breads

INGREDIENTS

Grains: All grains are from Maritime or Quebec certified organic farms. Dark flours are fresh-ground in the bakery to preserve vitamins and other nutrients with otherwise deplete within four days of grinding. The white flour is from Meunerie Milanaise in Quebec, one of the finest millers in North America, and made from heritage Red Fife which they grow themselves (after I asked them!).

Heritage Grains: modern wheat has been over-hybridized to emphasise a number of desired characteristics:

a) softer husks to facilitate machine harvesting and threshing;

b) ability to grow well in depleted soils using chemical fertilizers

c) dwarf variety to maintain stalk strength since otherwise the nitrogen inputs foster high stalks that droop – bad for machine harvesting

d) high gluten to create strong sponge with minimal flour inputs for commercial high volume production

e) most commercial flours have undisclosed additives (such as human hair to facilitate mixing and stretching), chalk, synthetic vitamins, ammonium).

Grains used: Rye, Spelt, Red Fife wheat, Acadia wheat. Purchased as kernels then fresh-ground in bakery. Also use stone-ground Khorasan (kamut without patent fees) from Milanaise. White flour is steel-rolled Red Fife.

Other ingredients: most other ingredients come from regional, certified organic producers, and where possible, Cape Breton. Basically, nearly all dried goods (seeds, spices, grains, raising, beans etc.) are certified organic; fresh ingredients (such as onions, garlic, fennel, eggs, cream, butter) are organic when possible and affordable, otherwise not. And when not, this is clearly marked on the sign at the booth each Market Day.

Water: from local dug well, then flows through ‘double-vortex’ copper pipe structuring molecules and reducing bacteria. This is truly superior water.

Salt: organic sea salt from Portugal. Sometimes true ‘Celtic’ sea salt which is raked and sun-dried, sometimes lesser quality factory-dried but still unrefined.

Principal Formulas:

Fresh-Ground Rye or Spelt: Rye Loaf is 100% Rye, Spelt Loaf is / 90% Spelt / 10% Rye (it keeps better and has richer flavour this way). Spices: fennel seed, anise, caraway, coriander; Seeds: sunflower, fresh-ground flax. Portuguese sea salt. Baked at (relatively) low heat – 200-250C.

Sprouted Multigrain: Grains are soaked for 5 days to initiate sprouting process which transforms a chemically bound dormant seed filled with ‘anti-nutrients’ (which resist premature decay or bio-degradation and therefore also resist digestion unless properly pre-processed via slow fermentation) into a living, young plant putting for shoots. These sprouting grains are then mashed wet in food processor (no flour), then a little multigrain starter is added (see below) for a final finish. Grains: Rye, Spelt, Acadia or Red Fife Wheat, buckwheat, barley, oats, lentils. Seeds: sesame, sunflower and flax; Spices: fennel, anise, caraway, coriander. Sea Salt.

Dark Sandwich: 50% fresh-ground Dark, 50% white Red Fife. Dark: is 10% oatmeal, 25% Spelt, 25% Acadia or Red Fife. A little molassis (black-strap, usually not organic but sometimes), fresh-ground flax, sea salt.

Walnut: 50% fresh-ground Red Fife or Acadia, 50% white Red Fife. Walnuts. Sometimes local organic apples. Sea salt.

Big Spruce Barm Loaf: Big Spruce’s Jeremy White kindly supplies flat organic beer (best beer West of Killarney, Ireland!!) which substitutes all or part of water in the formula, usually about half; 50% fresh-ground Red Fife or Acadia wheat, 50% white Red Fife; sea salt.

Sesame Khorasan: 50% heritage grain Khorasan, 50% white Red Fife; sesame seeds, sometimes toasted sesame oil (usually not), sea salt.

Focaccia – Fresh-Ground spelt or Red Fife or Acadia 50%, 50% Red Fife white to which is added Cape Breton organic garlic, onions (usually from Hank’s Farm or Blue Heron Organic), rosemary and fennel seed, olive oil (usually but not always organic), sea salt.

White Sandwich: usually available only at Charrick Farms booth: 5% fresh-ground whole grain (rye, spelt, Acadia etc.), 95% white Red Fife, fresh-ground flax, sea salt.

Multigrain Starter: there will be another page about this but briefly: all organic fresh-ground starter culture comprising water, Rye (mainly), Red Fife or Acadia and Spelt. (No single-strain factory-farmed, sugar-fed yeast!)

(Blurb on bottom of Menu Sign at the Farmers’ Market in Sydney)

All ingredients Certified Organic unless marked:

All loaves with 1.1% organic Portuguese sea salt

Double-vortex ‘structured’ well water

Organic Heritage grains grown in biotically alive vs. dead soils

Fresh-ground wholegrain starter cultures vs. single-strain sugar-fed yeast

Fresh-ground dark flours – retained vs. depleted vitamins

Overnight probiotic fermentation – more nourishing and digestible

Hand mixed and stretched – less oxidization, no mechanical shortcuts

Basically Good Breads

made the same as since well before 3000 BC

Acadia Wheat

This week I used a new strain of wheat, Acadia wheat, which was developed specifically for the Maritime climate in the 1930’s. I am still trying to learn more about it but initial impressions are that it has a lighter, warmer profile than Red Fife, which is darker and more robust. Also it seems to have a more springy, albeit less chewy, gluten structure which promotes a lighter rise. I was surprised by this combination, namely that not only does the dough feel more springy and resilient, but also softer and lighter. I am hopeful this is going to be a keeper. There are scattered reports on the internet that this is better for those with gluten issues, but of course such things are

a) highly subjective and

b) rarely if ever researched thoroughly over time with large numbers of people and

c) very hard to tell in any case unless you happen to get very strong reactions to other wheats (in which case you probably will never bother to try this one!).

For example in the blog entry linked below, they say: “Acadia has proven to be agreeable with some gluten intolerances, which we all know is a growing concern for many.” (I wish such statements about being ‘proven’ were better verified …)

That said, it’s a bit hard to tell (about the Acadia) since last week I (finally!) put together a proofing chamber which maintains a much higher level of humidity than before which, especially with sourdough, promotes a more vigorous rise.

In any case, soon I’ll do a comparison bake with fresh-ground Red Fife versus Acadia loaves in otherwise identical conditions.

Meanwhile, this blog entry from a Maritime farmer who, working with Speerville, is growing this fine variety of wheat.

http://barnyardorganics.blogspot.ca/2013/10/inspectors-acadia-babies-oh-my.html

Their blog is delightfully called “For the Love of the Soil”. If gas weren’t so expensive these days, I would love to go down and visit…

Fresh-ground Acadia wheat flour, rising…..

Global Citizens Report against Big Ag, Big Pharma and Governments

Introduction:

http://farmwars.info/?p=12217

(many sites have commented on the report, in pdf format, below, so if you search for the title, you might find many other sites, albeit FarmWars is a leader at covering this sort of issue.)

The Report:

http://farmwars.info/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/A-Global-Citizens-Report-against-Big-Ag-Big-Pharma-and-Governments.pdf

Ok: Dr. Michael Milburn, friend and local acupuncturist, traditional chinese-style herbalist, qi gong teacher and healthy diet teacher, sent me the following report, which is a 30-page pdf containing zillions of links to other related reports, some of which I shall copy and paste below, but all of which you will find yourself if you can read through the entire thing which I recommend. It is much longer and denser than the typical 1-4 page internet or magazine article we are nowadays used to reading, but, given the subject matter, no more than a series of well-written notes highlighting various aspects each of which deserve book-length treatment, albeit all of which are well summarized in the title which is again:

Global Citizens against Big Ag, Big Pharma and Governments.

Actually, there isn’t all that much about Global Citizens doing X or Y simply because most of us are too stunned (and indifferent) to do much. Well, that’s a bit harsh: most of us lack the means to organise into bodies that can do slow, expensive, consistent work in laboratories, Courts and via lobbyists and political parties. Large corporations can sustain multi-year mutl-faceted, multi-million dollar campaigns, whereas most ordinary citizens cannot. It’s as simple as that and indeed one of the main functions of political systems (democracy, royalty, communism etc.) is to deal with the inevitability in human affairs of what can loosely be called ‘harmful centralisation’, in other words when too much organised power is concentrated in the hands of too few. It’s as simple as that.

Most of us have forgotten that the original role of the Monarch was to protect the wellbeing of the general citizenry (aka ‘subjects’) from overly ruthless feudal lords who in most societies had life-and-death power over their inferiors. Only the Monarch had life-and-death power over them. Of course the system didn’t always work as intended – like all systems – but we tend to forget that at root, the purpose of that system was to correct against excess of power by the elites in charge, which in those days were ‘nobles’ or ‘aristocrats’ or ‘feudal lords’. This was also the root concern of so-called ‘republics’ (like the US) or ‘democratic nations’ and so forth, the theory being that if the people elect the leaders every few years, corrupt leadership couldn’t possibly develop.

Today, elite power is concentrated in the hands of agencies which increasingly are divided into increasingly few, and in any case often interwovenly owned, keiretsu, or corporate networks, whose clout allows them, increasingly, to infiltrated and more or less control national government policies, which is why in more mature democracies, like the United States, it is increasingly difficult to perceive – on a policy vs. rhetoric level – the slightest difference between, for example, the previous Bush and subsequent Obama administration. The rhetoric might change, especially during campaign season, but the trajectory of national policy, be it military, social, medical and above all financial, does not. Each successive administration appoints people either from prior administrations and/or from leaders in the same industries (such as Big Ag, Big Pharma, Big Weapons, Big Finance – who are the Biggest of the Big since their few top firms outright own about 30-40% of all the other ones as proven by a well-known Swiss study a few years back). The officials’ job is to ‘oversee’ those same industries in the interests of the people (the role of government after all), but in fact for the benefit of those Corporate ‘Special Interests.’

Well, that’s a mouthful for a tiny, little baker on his tiny little blog. But this is an example of how everything is interconnected. It always has been and always will be and on every level, be it spiritual, psychological, conceptual, physical, chemical, phenomenological, ontological, microscopic, para-galactic etc. aka ‘the holographic universe.’

This is why the so-called ‘organic food movement’ – which doesn’t exist in any monolithic organised fashion of course – is important, because who we are both as individuals and as societies, or ‘communities’ as we like to call them in Cape Breton and Nova Scotia, is defined by what we do, and say, and feel, and think, which of course includes what we eat, including where it comes from, and how it is grown, treated, processed.

The lead point in pages 1-2 of the article linked above goes into how new processing methods which involve intense dessication (drying out) of cereal grains in the field prior to harvest use glyphosates, which enter the food chain and also damage microbial populations in soil. So these glyphosates are found especially in non-organic breads, cereals and of course also beer and whiskies.

This introductory section also goes into how both this sort of thing and introducing GM by companies such as Monsanto and Syngenta are being boosted by political leaders who often come from or are paid by those Corporate Special Interests.

To give you an idea of the style of this report, which alternates summarizing sections with links to further information, here is the Page 3 part concerning mainly Glyphosate alone, which is just one of many such issues broadly covered…. I can’t paste it in because of formatting problems….

Page 3 Fight for Life reportHopefully you can click on that to read, but if not just go to page 3 of the ‘Fight for Life’ report linked at the top. Actually, at top of page 4 they have a link to a YouTube video mentioned in the text about the dangers of GM foods:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_AHLDXF5aw&feature=player_embedded  This video is about how chemicals mess us up, basically, and how chemical toxicity undermines gut microbe integrity which in turn messes up the brain and many other systems, including liver enzyme function and much much more, involving autism, parkinsons, cholesterol cancer, chronic fatigue and so on.

I purchased and read Geoffrey Smith’s Seeds of Destruction a decade or so ago – about the dangers of GM foods – and highly recommend it. Although it’s fair to say that one cannot really determine if eating GM soy is bad for us in small quantities, it is quite clear that there is a pattern of bad science, deception, collusion between governments and Special Interests, and severe diseases in laboratory animals fed GM-based food regularly over time. At the very least there should be a moratorium on the methods and products until far more testing is done. Any fair-minded person reading this book – which is 80% comprised of extracts of a multitude of scientific reports – many of them previously unpublished – conducted by both Industry and govt-sponsored scientists, none of which are editorialized by the author, so you can read these reports and come to your own conclusions, an unusually fair and open way of presenting material. Indeed, I don’t remember ever seeing an argument, even a so-called ‘scientific’ argument, presented in such a thorough, open, objective fashion.

Well, the rest of the report you can read yourselves. The reason I am posting it is because this is also a first for me in that it links hard-core scientific papers dealing with Big Ag, shows the ties between Big Ag and Big Pharma (i.e. Sygenta) not only promote cancer-causing agents in agriculture, but then also own companies providing therapies (rarely cures) for cancer. A classic racket! It’s like the New Jersey mafia who used to have most of the heavy-duty transportation trucking contracts – which break up the roads – and then also the road-repair contracts, so the worse they made the roads and tore them up with their trucking fleets, the more money they made fixing the roads! And then further the corrupt ties between Big Companies and Government.

Indeed, some of the report even goes into the ‘conspiracy theory’ realm in the sense that corruption is so rampant that systemic collapse is almost inevitable, but not only that, it is even assumed, if not desired, that a certain amount of ‘depopulation’ is being planned for deliberately; how war in Syria was planned for two years before the Arab spring; how vaccines for viruses are largely fraudulent.

I cannot speak to the veracity of such viewpoints, but have always promoted organic and local foods – since the early 1970’s when I dropped out of college to go live on a spiritual commune in Munroe NY – mainly because it seems to me that this is a simple, direct intersection of politics, spirituality, economics, culture and so forth. Put another way: if we all ate organic, our entire culture would shift in so many ways – mainly because of resultant shifts in local community employment patterns, featuring people actually working together to make things together, wherein far more people would be making and doing things for local/regional clientele vs. simply selling stuff made in China or grown in Chile/California – that most of the large Corporate Interests and stupid things they make – including rotten films and television shows and controlled media etc. etc. etc. – would simply go away because people simply wouldn’t be buying into all that rubbish in the first place. On a more simple and immediate level, even though we might not be able to organise ourselves well in comparison with large Special Interests and Governments (which increasingly are the same thing), we can have considerable effect by the choices we make every day. And rather than just sheepishly going along with everything presented in Big Box Stores (whose presence is known to undermine small town / local community economies and yet who continually receive tax breaks to come in and drive away most small local businesses and replace them with minimum wage, low-skill jobs, little better than life prison sentences!), including what is offered in Supermarkets, we can choose to do things differently. As much as possible buy from Farmers’ Markets or local suppliers of any goods and services, including local shoe repair, sawmills, local service providers – construction, road repair, energy and other consultants etc. – and so on.

LINKS

These are the links I opened up – a very small selection – going through the article:

http://www.groundwork.org.za/Press%20Releases/Monsanto%20Publication%20-%20EN%20Final%20Version.pdf

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/pesticide-residue-found-on-nearly-half-of-organic-produce-1.2487712

http://www.criticalcollective.org/wp-content/uploads/GMO-emperor.pdf

http://www.seattleorganicrestaurants.com/vegan-whole-food/political-corruption-Monsanto.php

http://farmwars.info/?p=12140  (about corporate espionage)

http://www.naturalnews.com/041963_vaccines_cancer_viruses_Dr_Maurice_Hilleman.html#

(Merck vaccine developer admits vaccines routinely contain hidden cancer viruses from diseased monkeys, and how they introduced AIDS to the US from such vaccine operations)

http://braindrain.dk/ (chemical brain drain)

http://www.rcog.org.uk/womens-health/clinical-guidance/chemical-exposures-during-pregnancy-scientific-impact-paper-37

http://www.mpwhi.com/fda_says_so_what.htm (depopulation agenda)

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2013/04/24/is-there-a-global-depopulation-agenda-being-played-out/

(Note: I have not studied the depopulation agenda story. I am trying to avoid most of these things because am more interested in what can be done positively rather than dwelling on all the corruption. I am now satisfied that most of the elites and our political systems are dysfunctionally corrupt, even if many of the individuals working therein are sincere. I don’t need to keep reading about it any more and prefer not to, at the same time do not want to deny overmuch either.)

PS  a related article I just read, albeit not about this report:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/pesticide-residue-found-on-nearly-half-of-organic-produce-1.2487712

Short article showing disturbing levels of pesticides in organic produce. Yet another reason to support local farmers by asking for and then buying locally grown organic produce!