Wholesome Child : Wholesome Child full
39 38 Vary and rotate whole grains for the biggest nutrition punch Swapping from refined grains to whole grains will immediately boost your child’s nutrition, however, by only offering whole grains that contain wheat and gluten, we are adding to an already overloaded situation. While the jury remains out on whether we are eating more wheat than our grandparents did, I think we can all agree that we are certainly consuming more gluten. Gluten is a sticky protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Due to the abundance of wheat and wheat products in our diet – especially processed and refined varieties – there has been a rise in the number of people suffering from coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or an allergy to gluten. Not only are we eating it in foods such as bread, muffins, cupcakes and cakes, gluten is also added as a filler and binding agent in many processed food such as soy sauce, processed meats like sausages or cold cuts, anything crumbed, sugar that is not labelled ’pure cane sugar’, flavoured milk, store-bought stews and soups, mustard, gravies, sauces, salad dressings, pastries and even sweets. It’s no surprise that the typical Western child’s diet is overloaded with wheat and food products containing gluten. Consider that a child may have toast or cereal for breakfast, crackers for morning tea, a sandwich in their lunch box, a muffin for afternoon tea and stir-fry with noodles or pasta for dinner and it’s easy to see how they could be eating wheat and gluten all day long. By increasing the variety of whole grains to include some that don’t contain any wheat or gluten, you greatly reduce your child’s risk of developing sensitivity to wheat or gluten (which is sometimes only diagnosed when a child is 10). Alternative options could include, oat porridge for breakfast, rice or quinoa crispbreads for morning tea, buckwheat pikelets for afternoon tea and rice noodles for dinner. Variation and rotation of a variety of whole grains is the best strategy to ensure your child is getting the full spectrum of nutrients available. However, it’s also important to note that children can thrive and survive without including grains at each meal. Are we eating the same wheat as our ancestors? While some experts say that the wheat seed hasn’t been altered, others call out the hybridisation (cross-breeding) of the wheat we eat today as a major culprit in the rise of coeliac disease. In the mid-twentieth century the American agronomist Norman Borlaug pioneered the development of a hybrid dwarf wheat strain, in order to create a greater crop yield and one that was more disease resistant. This created a wheat strain with a higher and different type of gluten content upon which a substantial portion of the world’s population now depends for sustenance. Along with hybridisation, small studies have found that the breads we ate 50 years ago were not as immunogenic (able to provoke a response from our immune systems) as modern breads. This is the main reason why ancient wheat grains such as spelt and kamut, have become increasingly popular. These grains have not undergone the same form of hybridisation and therefore contain less gluten, which, for some, makes them easier to digest (see page 44 for more information on Ancient Grains). WHAT ABOUT GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) WHEAT? This is another major source for concern. There are ongoing trials of genetically modified wheat strains that have not yet tested safe for human or animal consumption. GM foods are produced from organisms that have been subjected to changes to their DNA using various methods of genetic engineering, as opposed to traditional cross breeding. Health risks associated with GM foods may include immune-related problems, faulty insulin regulation, infertility and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. Add to that the fact that Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide (active agent glyphosate), sprayed heavily on 85% of all GMO crops, has been declared a ’probable carcinogen’ by the World Health Organization (WHO). So for now: • Buy organic Certified organic products do not intentionally include any GMO ingredients. • Look for non-GMO labels These should be prominently displayed on packaging. • Avoid ’at-risk’ ingredients Unless whole grain products are labelled organic or verified non-GMO, avoid those made with ingredients that might be derived from GMOs. These include corn, soybeans, canola, and cottonseed oil. (See page 270 for more information about genetically modified foods). Tip: If your child has coeliac disease, gluten intolerance or a wheat allergy or you just want to reduce the amount of gluten consumed each day, try almond meal, coconut flour and buckwheat flour in place of wholemeal flour. Lettuce or cabbage leaves and nori sheets also make excellent replacements for wraps. So is a gluten-free diet the best way to go? Gluten-free products are everywhere in answer to the growing number of people following a gluten-free lifestyle. But before you overhaul your pantry, it’s important to know that many of these products are not necessarily ’healthy’. Most common gluten-free supermarket products are highly refined as their main ingredients include maize, potato starch, and cornstarch as well as added sugars and preservatives. If your family is following a gluten-free lifestyle, make sure you choose whole food gluten-free options such as quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice, sorghum, teff and buckwheat. Another thing to remember is to not only choose rice- based products. Too much rice and rice-based products, even wholegrain rice, can contribute to arsenic in the diet. Inorganic arsenic is found in nearly all foods and drinks, but is usually only found in small amounts. However, slightly higher levels can be found in rice and rice-based products such as rice milk, rice syrup, infant rice cereal and rice bran. Therefore, even for those following a whole food gluten-free diet, it is still best to rotate your grains. After all, each whole grain has something different to offer – from the calcium in teff to the protein in quinoa. Source: UCLA division of Digestive Diseases Coeliac disease gluten intolerance wheat allergy Definition: Genetic, autoimmune disorder; gluten ingestion triggers damage to small intestine. Gastrointestinal symptoms: Diarrhoea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, flatulence, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain. Other symptoms: Weight loss, malnutrition, iron deficiency, dental cavitiies, low bone density, skin issues, neurological disorders, liver dysfunction, joint pain, hair loss, fatigue. Treatment: Strict adherence to a gluten-free lifestyle. Definition: Intolerance to gluten or other wheat components without damage to small intestine. Gastrointestinal symptoms: Diarrhoea, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation. Other symptoms: Brain fog, neurological disorders, joint pain, fatigue, mood and behaviour disorders. Treatment: Adherence to a wheat-free/gluten-free diet (level of adherence variable). Definition: Immune response to one or more of the proteins found in wheat (can include gluten). Gastrointestinal symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, bloating, constipation. Other symptoms: Hives, rash, nasal congestion, eye irritation, difficulty breathing, irritation of mouth or throat, mood and behaviour disorders. Treatment: Strict adherence to a wheat-free lifestyle. vs vs 39 step 1: swap to Whole grains Did you know? Whole grains are an excellent source of fibre. Children aged 1 to 3 years need 19 grams of fibre per day. For children aged 4to8years that number rises to 24 grams per day. Did you know? When babies are offered white rice cereal or wheat cereal as a first food, their love affair with processed grains begins. Studies have shown that these formative taste exposures shape continued food preferences. WHOLE GRAIN SERVE Rice, quinoa, pasta, polenta, buckwheat, millet or noodles 1⁄2-cup (cooked) Porridge 1⁄2-cup (cooked) Bread 1 slice 1 waffle or pancake About the size of a CD case Bread roll half Muesli 1⁄4-cup Wholegrain cereal 3⁄4-cup Crispbreads 3 What does one serve of whole grains look like?