What about cake flour for believers is our discussion for today.
Good morning and welcome once again to this journey through the importance of whole grains and starches in caring for Brother Ass, that stubborn creature who bears us all. He’s a fellow of habits, some of them very bad and not easily broken. Like the prodigal he often must spend some time feeding the pigs before he comes to his senses.
I start with a little anecdote. Many of you will remember Shirley Button with great affection, and some few may have enjoyed her book of anecdotes and recipes from the Strachan and Button families. It’s a delight and well worth a read.
The recipes are attributed to the many people over a number of generations like Sydney’s mealie bread or the steak and kidney-pie that Kath baked.
In particular there are numerous recipes from Shirley’s grandmother in-law, Kitty Strachan; without exception they all contain large amounts of cake flour and sugar.
Kitty is described by Shirley as being “two yards around.” I thought at first she was being a little mean, out of character and fat-bashing in today's PC jargon; only later did I discovered it comes from the Merry Wives of Windsor, portraying Falstaff.
Shirley was just being her normal no-nonsense self. Kitty died at 39 from type-2 diabetes.
Our final leg of the grains and starches journey is the most difficult. Most of us like Kitty have been seduced by cake flour to a greater or lesser extent.
Generally it’s easier to add good foods to our meal planning than to remove the bad ones; supplementing your cooking with kale and spinach to protect your eyes from macular degeneration was not so difficult. So today we will focus on 100% wholemeal flour.
It’s extremely difficult to get because the important very nutritious oils start to go rancid once the grain is cracked; so millers remove them along with most of the bran and germ. Adding to the woe Brother Ass has also become averse to chewing his food.
But folk at the Church of the Ascension are fortunate; they have an uncle in the milling business!
There is strong research that adding just one serving of a wholegrain every day will significantly improve the health of your heart, but various studies recommend at least 90 grams; that would lower the risk of many serious diseases substantially.
And if at the same time you remove one refined grain from your diet daily, say a white bread-roll or scone, then the benefit is much greater still.
90 grams is very achievable but you will have to work at finding whole grains. A bowl of stone-ground grits porridge for breakfast, two slices of artisan bread and a mealie would get you there.
The World Cancer Research fund recommends a whole grain and a legume at every meal; almost no one does that. We too “mik hoog” but often miss that target.
Bread is the great difficulty. It is almost impossible to buy true wholegrain bread. The Father of Lies has had an extremely influential hand in the milling industry, furthering his cause to lead us down the garden path to poor health and an early demise.
Millers are allowed by international law to call their products “wholemeal” provided they do not remove more than 40% of the germ and bran; that’s where the very important nutrients are to be found. In all-purpose flour most of the goodies that protect us from cardiovascular disease and cancer have been extracted. I call it the big fat lie.
There are a myriad of extremely important nutrients in wholegrain that you simply cannot get enough of from refined flour. Today we will mention just two; vitamin E and betaine.
My own journey with grains and starches began many years ago when I attended a lecture by a world renowned cardiologist, Wilfred Shute, in which he stated that heart attacks were extremely rare, barely mentioned in the medical literature prior to the refining of wheat.
And yet today heart disease along with stroke is the leading cause of death. He attributed it to vitamin E which is nature’s anti-coagulant; it stops clots from forming in the blood. Do not take it as a supplement by the way; that increases the prevalence of prostate cancer.
E is one of the fat soluble vitamins; it’s extracted totally from in the refining when the oils are removed by millers. When using all-purpose flour for baking you have zero protection from this singularly important nutrient that our Heavenly Father knew we would need. So he put it into the seeds of grains like wheat and maize that he gave us for food.
Most wholewheat bread is made from flour that has had all of the natural fat and vitamin E extracted, but because of the big fat lie you actually have not a clue about what you may be eating. Champagne Valley wholemeal is one of the best, but even theirs has had about half the fat removed and much of the bran.
White bread alas in my opinion comes directly from the Devil’s Pantry; there’s no debate, it has no vitamin E by their own admission. It’s fine on high and holy days, occasionally, but certainly not for our daily fare.
Betaine is involved in very complex reactions in the body and is absolutely essential in what is known as the methylation of a toxic breakdown product of protein metabolism. Forget all that, but the research is very strong on how important it is in preventing the build up of this harmful substance called homocysteine.
If that methylation does not happen then we get Alzheimer’s and disease; and a host of others.
Betaine is that important. The chief sources are the germ and bran in wheat, most of which are extracted in the milling of flour. You actually have no idea about your local loaf; white bread may have 15% of this phytonutrient and could contain about a half, but none of the vitamin E.
Betaine was first discovered in beetroot, hence its name.
Beet tops and spinach too are other good sources.
I strongly believe we should not fuss whether we are getting enough betaine or vitamin E from our meals; they are but two of thousands of these nutrients that we need. Rather let's just get back to enjoying natural, unprocessed foods. Spinach is easy but true whole grain meal is almost impossible to get which is why we have bought a mill and grind our own maize and wheat.
If at the same time you can halve the amount of sugar and cake flour you are enjoying then you have gone a long way to protecting Brother Ass from serious disease.
We will leave the subject of gluten for another day; suffice it say that if you get a bellyache or aching muscles from eating commercial bread remember that bakers also add a lot of toxic chemicals to their dough. Transglutaminase is being fingered as the villain of the peace.
This journey has been difficult for us as a family and I expect will be for you too. Once the penny drops that Brother Ass is the temple where Almighty God dwells it becomes a lot easier; not unimportant he will not go lame as often, get bloat or lose his marbles. That’s not small beer.
God bless and goodbye until next time, if invited, when I again send Jimminy Cricket to disturb you.
What about cake flour for believers suggests that each of us must make our own decision; for ourselves we keep such delicacies for high and holy days. It is our desire to live long in the land serving our Lord.
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