Thank you for this article. I, too, know many intelligent, spiritual LDS people who have been persuaded to leave wheat and/or grains out of their diet. The first time I received an ad magazine for the "wheat belly" diet book my thoughts immediately went to D&C 89:4 "In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation" I wrote it down, taped it on the ad and placed it in my files.
I have also had a tough time with wheat, but I don't have Celiac disease. I purchased organic Einkorn (also called Farro or Emmer) wheat online and then at my local health food store. This wheat is grown especially in Italy now, but it is identical to the wheat used in Egypt and the Holy Land anciently. It is much, much different than modern wheat. It's much smaller, and produces a darker, more bulky flour. When you work with the flour, you realize that modern wheat is as much an art medium as a food -- very fluffy. Einkorn wheat is low in gluten, and the gluten has different enzymes than the high gluten of modern wheat. Thus, I make bread from it using an Irish soda bread recipe. Next step is to try using natural yeast. Soda is still needed, though, because there is little gluten to react with the yeast.
[…] While all of her recipes also include wheat flour, that is a topic for another article on why wheat is the premier ingredient for the best bread for both health and taste, and can be found in Meridian author Jane Birch’s article: “Discovering The Word of Wisdom: Wheat for Man” […]
Hi Shelley: Kathy Cotton explained the word "these" in vs. 14 well (above). I
Hi Kary! Not everyone has sensitivities due to an unhealthy diet, but an unhealthy diet is not just one of fast food and other processed foods. Meat, dairy, eggs, and most high-fat/salt/sugar foods are not healthy. Most people eat a diet that is not very healthy, but we can choose more wisely by following the guidance in D&C 89!
Shelley Hitz, here are the verses you refer to:
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground
I am gluten and milk intolerant, which also includes oats. Cannot eat much starch due to having hypoglycemia from all of the alcoholism in my family and past. One thing that has not been mentioned is "conspiring men" in the last days. Men conspire in all sorts of ways, including hybridizing and genetically modifying seeds and adding poisons to them, adding junk to what animals eat such as dead parts of their own flesh and polluted grains, adding sugar to nearly everything- on and on.. Living by the basics in the WofW, as well as learning ways to assist my own health issues has led me to answers for myself. While I am mostly vegan,eating lots of raw vegies and some fruits, using good quality eggs and tempeh for protein, upon occasion I feel a need for some chicken or fish, but it has to be raised without being polluted-which is rare and expensive. . Rye has often become contaminated with ergot, and I just noticed that it is for the fowls of the air and swine- those are scavengers capable of eating diseased things without it affecting them. Wheat grass juice and sprouted wheat work for me, although if I want a grain, I use a brown rice flat bread, or a bread made with ancient grains.Foodforhealthint. makes very high quality powdered fruits and veggies to supplement the poor quality of shipped organic foods,for me. There are important footnotes to read in this chapter, and much cross referencing can be done. While pondering on this chapter, earlier, will open great physical and spiritual promises to us, I wondered why the way we eat will protect us from the destroying angel in the last days; there could be many layers of meaning in this verse. The promises are very interesting and can be cross referenced if you have a Bible concordance with Hebrew and Greek origin meanings. Looking up " staff" in my Hebrew concordance, I noticed a verse in Leviticus 26:26 that says-"And when I have broken the staff of your bread, ten women shall bake your bread in one oven, and they shall deliver you your bread again by wight: and ye shall eat and not be satisfied." Bread has been the staff of life for many people, but perhaps the attempts to change grains, the way breads are made, the way we eat them, as well as polluting them with poisons, is why they are not satisfying. Even though this law is given for our temporal salvation, in that our health will be protected, the Lord also says that all laws He gives us are spiritual. So I think there is much to ponder in this. My storage contains wheat, because I believe that if I had to survive in an emergency, the Lord could adapt my body to it if I used it in the right way. An interesting story from church history taught me that concept. I also wonder if there are genetic differences in the way other cultures need to eat, and what sorts of complications might come up for them with this law. Many nations eat unclean foods, but have a totally different food culture- the Japanese being one particular group, in mind. Lots to ponder and perhaps experiment upon, as well as reading good nutritional information. For me- it is always what works best for my body.
Can you you write about no strong drinks, except in our sacraments? Words not exact but By memory
I have given much thought on this topic as well as well because of some of the many health issues in our day and wondering how to make sense of it all. My understanding is that the verses in D&C 89:14, 15, and 16 are all talking about grain. Verse 15 "and these ( talking about grain) hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger. " Is it possible that Grain is good for man in this instance, only if we are starving or nutritionally depleted? Grain can be stored easily with out going bad, which makes it a perfect "good" food in times of famine. As to the staff of life...We don't always use a staff...We use one when we are struggling...or doing something hard, for instance when I use a stick or pole to climb a mountain, but not all the time. Is it also possible to have too much of a good thing with consumption of grain vs other perhaps healthier choices?
Another thought to consider is that wheat bread started being made differently, including different yeast, starting sometime around WWI, for sustained shelf life. Natural yeast actually eats most of the gluten in wheat, so preparation is a key part in this, I believe.
I've also been learning about soaking grains and nuts, similar to soaking beans. This process makes them easier to digest and less irritating to our insides. All pioneers and people in Joseph Smith's day (and probably in all human history) used these kinds of preparation methods.
I also agree with pesticides and GMO affecting the wheat and/or our bodies. That doesn't mean we can't find wheat grown a more proper/cleaner way, but it is more difficult.
I agree that most don't need to eat gluten-free, but some do, even if just for a short time to help heal the gut. Then our bodies are more able to handle the overload they are attacked with in our day.
Going to organic non-GMO grains can solve many of these problems. It's the wheat that has been genetically modified that has changed...not our bodies.
Thank you for your articles which I've been enjoying, and I have started reading your book. I have had similar experiences when I've tried to discuss the "meat" part of Section 89, so much so that I thought I must have missed something! Anyway, I wanted to say that I love oatsl, the rough kind, but it always gave me indigestion. However I have discovered that if I soak the oats in water the night before I cook it for breakfast I don't have any problem.As far as wheat sensitivity goes, Spelt is one of the older wheats that could be used. But the pioneers did not make bread as we tend to, they made sour dough bread and kept their sour dough starter for years, which made their bread more nutritious and more digestible. It's not surprising some people don't get on well with wheat if they are eating store bought bread that usually has a list of 20 to 30 ingredients! Ezekiel (Essene) bread is also good for us because it's not made from the flour but from the wheat sprouts.
Not to discount your experience, but how did you prepare and eat your grains? I, too, love grains, but it was the prepared-foods type of grains - cookies, cake, casseroles, etc. - and not the simple whole foods grains accompanied by fruits, vegetables, legumes, sauces made without oils and processed or chemical ingredients. These were a bit more difficult for me to "love" as for a while they were a bit too "basic" for me. Now I have dishes that I truly love and can repeat or modify while staying away from animal foods and added oils. I'm not perfect and backslide a little, but I really feel better on a starch/grain plan accompanied by fruits and lower-carb vegetables. I never have to go to bed hungry and rather than feeling over-fed, I worry about whether I've consumed enough calories!
Another reason that people feel that wheat causes them gastrointestinal or other physical problems is the "nacebo effect" (the opposite of the placebo effect): They have heard that wheat causes problems so it actually does.
Many gluten intolerant people can still store and use wheat. It stores so wonderfully and is great to sprout. It is a protection against hard times.
I am grateful for Dr. Birch's insights. I am also grateful that she allows for individual, spiritually guided variations from her reading of the Word of Wisdom. I am not grain intolerant. On the contrary, I LOVE grains. It took me years to realize that what I was experiencing was a type of food addiction. After a decade of strict adherence to a whole food plant based diet, all the while suffering from a variety of physical maladies, I feel that I was spiritually led to a low carb solution that has resulted in vastly improved health, including the vanishing of Multiple Sclerosis symptoms. Perhaps one of the reasons that the portions of the Word of Wisdom relating to grains and animal flesh continue to be by invitation is that the Lord expects each of us to undergo our own customized dietary physical and spiritual journey.
I really liked this article. Well done! A few statements are especially well said:
there are many people who have totally resolved their former intolerance to grains with gluten (and other whole food intolerances) by switching over to a fully whole food, plant-based diet and allowing their bodies to heal.
Every generation of Mormons has discounted parts of the Word of Wisdom because the surrounding culture and/or contemporary experts told them differently, and each time they have been proven wrong. I would caution us all that we are probably not any different. As compelling as certain evidence may seem, I believe as the truth is revealed the deeper wisdom of God
Interesting. It seems to me that you are also indulging in not a small amount of speculation when you assume that problems people have with whole grains are because they are accustomed to a processed-food diet. What about those who have problems but never eat processed foods (including fast food) and haven't for years? I have several in my family in that category and find it way too convenient to blame "processed food" for anyone who has a problem with gluten. You are correct--far more research needs to be done, and medical science has historically had precious little curiosity about the role of nutrition in human health (beyond the obvious need to have sufficient calories). Doctors are not taught about nutrition much in their course work, and the science has a long way to go to catch up. They are beginning to pay attention, which is great. There is a great deal we do not understand. But not everyone who has a problem has it because their previous diet consisted of frozen pizza and Big Macs, and if that is the mindset, we will not be asking the right questions.
once again we have the principle of people following others off the cliff.
When you look at all the food crazes, it always ends back to moderation and balance of the bounty that the Lord has given us.
Recent study from Austria has come up with a long known fact, that meat eaters are actually healthier and have less mental health problems than vegans and vegetarians.
During the Hippie revolution of the late 1960's when macrobiotic diets became the rage, a friends small son piped up with" Daddy, why do these people eating like that look unhealthy?"
out of the mouth of babes comes truth.
I think one of the things you missed out of your article is the way we are poisoning our wheat seeds with Round up and Monsanto seeds.
Before man started putting these on the seeds you heard very little about people not being able to eat wheat.
"The staff" is the short grass that wheat produces when sprouted. This as a juice is highly nutritive and healing. Notice it doesn't tell us how exactly to use it but when you learn the subtle meanings and define single words from the scriptures, a whole new understanding can enlighten.
Thank you Jane for a well thought out and powerful defense of the Words of Wisdom found in D&C 89. There are too many voices crying in the nutritional wilderness that confuse people today. While on my mission in Chile in the mid sixties we would eat cracked wheat for breakfast and would not even be hungry until late in the afternoon. Wheat is a nutritional powerhouse.Thanks for the reminder.
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