A little while ago I wrote an article called Organic Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be. Now I’m going to tell you why you should buy organic if you buy wheat. As I stated in my previous article, the main benefit to buying organic is to limit your ingestion of chemicals.Wheat is generally grown in large monocrop fields. For those who don’t know what monocrop means, they’re large acreage fields where there is only one kind of crop planted. For example, 100 acres of corn. And wheat is generally harvested by mechanical means.
At harvest time, large combines are driven through the wheat fields where the wheat berries are separated from the stalks. Wheat berries are what are processed into flour. Monocroping makes this process more efficient because the combines can drive in long straight paths.
Prior to the invention of these combines, these extremely large monocrop fields would have been impossible. It simply would have taken too human powered work to harvest the grain. But I digress. That’s a topic for a different day!
What happens before the combines are driven through to harvest is what concerns us today. Several days before the combines harvest, the fields are sprayed en mass with an herbicide to kill the wheat grass. Wheat is a grass in case you were unaware.
This killing of the wheat prior to harvest makes the wheat berries harden and so makes them easier to harvest. It’s done to increase the efficiency of the harvest. But the health concern with the practice should be obvious. Grain that has been freshly sprayed with herbicide is now going to be turned into a food product.
The reason I recommend eating organic wheat, actually I recommend not eating wheat so this is a compromise, is because the wheat can’t be sprayed with chemicals and maintain it’s organic status. It’s 2017 in case you’re reading this in the future and that has changed. Remember, the USDA can change the organic requirements whenever it wants.
So while the organic wheat likely isn’t more nutritious or more environmentally friendly, it will probably have a much lower concentration of round-up, or glyphosphate if you want the chemical name. We already are exposed to a lot of the stuff and we should be doing everything we can minimize our exposure.
About not recommending eating wheat, that’s because there are chemicals in wheat that cause it to inhibit nutrient absorption in our gut. There are things we can do to negate that and make it safer to eat. I’ll cover that in a later post!