What did you eat today? Bread at any point? Pasta? Maybe couscous? Some bran flakes or cake? Probably all of that was made with wheat. Possibly you’ve had some corn during your day or some rice. But apart from that, how many cereal varieties do you know?
Wheat is popular. It is popular for a good reason. It has been cultivated for a very long time, it grows without too much attention and the amount of fertilizers and pesticides one has to use is not too bad yet. Through cultivation however wheat loses it’s natural protection against fungi or diseases. Enormous breeding makes plants into something more or less artificial. So, it is still a plant. There’s nothing wrong with eating wheat.
However, a uniform diet of mostly highly cultivated wheat teaches your body nothing about how to cope with anything out of the norm. The result? Allergies, gluten intolerance, celia.
Why not try other grains? Well, what’s the first thing that pops into your eyes when you go to the supermarket? Yes, some generic white bread made out of wheat. Looking for wholegrain? You might stand a chance. Looking for spelt or rye bread? Good luck, you’re lost. If you do find anything close to that, it will certainly exceed a normal family’s budget. Millet is the main source of nutrients for about 1/3 of the worlds population. If you try to buy it in a regular European supermarket it will be really expensive compared to other options.
Rice is cheap and can be bought in masses. It’s a perfectly good grain to begin with, but it is processed for a long time until you find it in a bag on the shelf. The skin and with it all nutrients and vitamins are taken away, just to later artificially fortify it with such. Why? To grow rice in large quantities on the same place you need lots of pesticides and fungicides to keep your crop healthy. And what happens with those? Well first of all they soak into the soil and stay there for years. But, as your rice plan is kind of attached to the ground it grows on, those also go into the plant. And with that, in each grain, where in particular the residue of such liquids gather in the skin of each grain. Hence, off with… and with it all vitamins, but at the level of contamination of regular rice that’s probably for the best.
But why are alternative grains so much more expensive? Well, as I said above, if you want to make good money out of a crop, you need to grow large quantities at one spot. And with that, you get plenty of diseases. Now wheat and rice are everyday food for most people. They have both been cultivated for a very long time and now grow much richer than other grains do. And more harvest on a smaller space means a lower cost for everyone, including you, the consumer.
There’s not much you can do yourself to reverse this process and suddenly make all other crops the same price as wheat. But to keep yourself and our planet healthy, it is important to vary your cereal intake and give variety a chance. Variety is awesome, just as a painting is much more beautiful than a plain white wall.