Wheat: Natural or Manmade?

“One out of three people either say that they have a food allergy or that they modify the family diet because a family member is suspected of having a food allergy (NIAID).”

However, equal numbers of people are starting to suspect something is wrong. “How can people be allergic to something Allah created?” The answer to this question is simple. But, underscores a deeper problem in our modern society. The answer is that many foods aren’t natural, but rather by man.

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The Prophet Mohammad called milk the “the perfect food” and recommended its use as a curative food. Nevertheless, doctors are now saying that milk is harmful to many people. There are many other foods that have befallen the same fate. The story of wheat is an example of what went wrong in the food manufacturing chain.

Wheat is a creation of Allah. And yet Ron Hoggan, the author of the Wheat Free Website claims that wheat can exacerbate everything from eczema to AIDS (Hoggan).

He, like other scientists claim that wheat contains peptides and enzymes that are indigestible by humans and thus allergies occur. Other experts such as Robert Crayhon, claim that a Paleolithic diet of hunter-gatherers, is the only suitable one for human consumption (Cordain).

Crayhon states that farming only came into existence 10,000 years ago. But, the human genetic code hasn’t changed since then. The research of Paleolithic scientists is important because it emphasizes the that wheat, as we know it today isn’t the original natural wheat. But, humans had already engineered it as far back as 10,000 years ago.

When humans took wild grains out of the wild and started to alter these grains for mass distribution, the grains slowly started to change into something else. Even though, despite the convincing arguments of the Paleolithic dieters, wheat allergies weren’t as widespread 30 years ago as they are now.

The reason for the modern allergy plague is more complex than the Paleolithic scientists claim. Commercial hybridization, biotechnology, and non-native diets have more to do with allergies than anything else.

Selection and cross breeding by farmers is a form of creating a man-made wheat seed. However, industrial hybridization has created an even more synthetic wheat seed. Since the beginning of recorded history there has been some sort of breeding technique.

A representative for Hybritech and Montasanta says, “Until the middle 1800s cross breeding was limited primarily to farmers selecting the better seeds of whatever crop they were growing for next years seed source We, at HybriTech and Monsanto, believe we are on the verge of a major revolution in wheat with hybrid wheat will playing a major role in this revolution. In the 1930s hybrids became the major excitement with hybrid corn setting unprecedented records. Since then most of our vegetables and some fruits are now hybrids” (Coy).

Still, hybrid seeds could be at the core of the increase in wheat and corn allergies over the past thirty years. Some form of food intolerance has existed since the beginning of time and is even recognized in Islamic Healing through the theory of humors.

Yet, such widespread allergic reactions to staple food groups is a modern concept. One reason is because Hybridization creates foods that are man-made rather than nature-made by Allah.

Hybrid seeds are the first-generation offspring of two distant and distinct parental lines of the same species. From a nutritional point of view these seeds require the use of fertilizers and pesticides, which then enter the food chain and may cause chemical allergic reactions.

In addition, the usage of these fertilizers creates depleted soils, which then do not provide enough nutrients for the plants grown on them. In turn, the plants are lacking nutrients that people may need to digest them.

On the morality side, farmers who use these seeds are forced into a cycle of debt by having to purchase their seed new each year, buy fertilizers and apply them and build new irrigation systems to allow for the increased watering needs of the hybrid seeds (Primal Seeds).

Commercial hybridization can also create plants with an imbalance of absorbable nutrients and excess proteins. “Food allergens [the food fragments responsible for an allergic reaction] are proteins within the food that usually aren’t broken down by the heat of cooking or by stomach acids or enzymes that digest food. As a result, they survive to cross the gastrointestinal lining, enter the bloodstream, and go to target organs, causing allergic reactions throughout the body” (NSAID).

Genetically modified plants pose even a greater threat. Richard Lacey, Professor of Food Safety at Leeds University states that between 1997 and 1999 genetically modified foods (GM) became more than 2/3rds of the International diet.

He warns that, “You may have, at one time, known exactly how much salt, fat and carbohydrates were in each of the foods you ate because regulations mandates their labeling for dietary purposes. But you would not know if the bulk of these foods, and literally every cell had been genetically altered!” (Lacey).

The introduction of non-native plants to regions around the globe has also been a problem for many people. Wheat is not natural to many areas of the world. Just as Mangos and Kiwis do not grow in the Arctic, wheat does not naturally grow in places like Holland.

Professor Cordain says, “A Danish friend told me that prior to the end of World War II, many Danes considered wheaten bread to be a special treat, because wheat does not grow well in Denmark. North American natives have had a similarly limited exposure to gluten” (Cordain).

Cordain even goes so far as to say that, “Both the fossil record and ethnological studies of hunter-gatherers (the closest surrogates we have to stone age humans) indicate that humans rarely if ever ate cereal grains nor did they eat diets high in carbohydrates” (Cordain).

Many experts suggest that eating foods native to the region one lives in is the healthiest way to eat. Although experts don’t always agree on what the definition of native is. Cordain claims that domesticated wheat and rice aren’t native to any region. They were all recent additions to the human diet.

In fact, wheat didn’t even exist at all in Europe until recently. The first appearance of milling stones was in the Middle East roughly 10-15,000 years ago. These early milling stones were likely used to grind wild wheat, which grew naturally in certain areas of the Middle East.

However, wheat wasn’t domesticated in the Middle East until about 10,000 years ago and was not even introduced to Europe until 5,000 years ago. Rice was domesticated approximately 7,000 years ago in SE Asia, India and China, and corn was domesticated in Mexico and Central America roughly 7,000 years ago (Cordain).

It has become harder and harder to know what foods fit into the Qur’anic advice to, “Eat of the good foods Allah has provided you.”