Sunday, November 2, 2008

Wheat is for man

Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals.... (D&C 89:17)

Whole wheat contains manganese, phosphorus, magnesium and selenium in substantial percentages. It also contains adequate amounts of zinc, copper, iron, potassium and a small amount of calcium. It is rich in Vitamin B6, Niacin, Thiamin, Folate, Riboflavin and Pantothenic Acid. Vitamin E and Vitamin K are also present in small but significant amounts.

Unfortunately, processing the wheat, especially into white flour, removes most of the nutritional value and nearly all of the fiber. The nutritional value of whole wheat has been known for years, but recently, the breakfast food industry has appropriated the idea of "whole grain" as an advertising gimmick. All you have to do to see the difference is measure the weight of one cup of unprocessed wheat and compare it to the weight of one cup of processed breakfast cereal. For example, one cup of wheat weighs almost exactly 8 oz. or 1/2 lb. Kelloggs' Special K Cereal weighs 1.3 oz. or so per cup. So you can easily see that breakfast cereal is mostly air. It is also interesting to note that most breakfast cereal products claim to have added vitamins!

Also, wheat has no added sugar. If you look at the nutrition information on the side of the cereal box you will see some amazing things. Here are a few types of cereal and the sugar content of each:

Whole Grain Oat Cheerios 1 gm/cup
Raisin Bran Crunch 20 gm/cup
Honey Nut Cheerios 9 gm/cup
Total 5 gm/cup
Special K 7 gm/cup
Honey Bunches of Oats 6 gm/cup

And these are all "whole grain" healthy (supposedly) cereals. Just to know, 20 gm of sugar is .7 of an ounce. If the whole cereal only weighs 1.3 oz per cup, then most of the weight is in sugar.

Of course, we all knew that already. Right? So what are we going to do about it?

Let's look at price. Wheat has been rising in price for the past two years, it is just over $5.50 a bushel in the commodities markets, but it is sold in 45 lb. buckets for about $1 a pound as of November, 2008. A bushel is 128 cups. Breakfast cereal, on sale, is about $2.00 a box for about a 10 to 12 ounce box. It doesn't take a lot of math to see that at 1/2 lb per cup, wheat is a lot less expensive in bulk than prepared cereal, four cups or two pounds of wheat for the same price as 10 ounces of breakfast cereal.

More later.

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