I got an e-mail earlier today from a wheat grower in Canada who is growing a ton of Red Fife wheat
. He mentioned in a newsletter that there's now a ton of evidence in support of Red Fife (and probably many other Heritage wheat cultivars) actually being hypoallergenic and easily tolerated by people who otherwise would have serious wheat allergies and problems with gluten.
I found this section of the information he sent to be quite an eye opener:
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Although Red Fife wheat does not have a lower total gluten content than other newer varieties of bread wheat, we've preliminarily determined (prior to expected laboratory testing) that the gliadin protein levels in Red Fife are 35 to 40% of this wheat's overall gluten protein content. Wheat gluten comprises gliadin and glutenin proteins. This compares to ~80% gliadin protein levels found in a popular modern bread wheat variety that we last grew in 2003. Elevated gliadin protein levels are primarily what cause people to have allergic reactions/intolerances to most wheat.
We suspect that many decades of wheat plant breeding, to primarily achieve higher yielding wheat varieties, has caused the protein composition to shift. This would be especially so in the post World War II era when synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides were introduced into agriculture. The result would be greater dietary intolerances and also loss of particular attributes such as taste!
Consider also that in the last decade some wheat has been the focus of invasive alteration by agro-chemical multinationals using transgenic (genetically engineered) processes to impart herbicide tolerance or other unnatural characteristics. Red Fife wheat was never subjected to toxic chemical inputs, and we insist that all present day growers respect this by using only certified organic or biodynamic management for their farms and soil; and therefore necessarily excluding synthetic toxins and GMOs.
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I'm excited to learn that people who have had this struggle and may soon be learning that the issue isn't about avoiding all wheat, but rather staying away from modern, over-bred and highly-commercialized cultivars that have the high Gliadin protein levels known to trigger people's wheat allergies.
Pretty cool, eh?