True Whole Grains

In the early 1800s, high speed grain mills were invented and millers learned to remove the fibrous bran and nutritious germ from grains and to make finely ground flour from just the starchy endosperm portion of the grain. People eagerly adopted this new flour, which had very long storage life and made softer and lighter breads, cakes and pastries.

Unfortunately, this new white flour was virtually devoid of the vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and fiber found in Whole Grains. Its superfine texture makes it quickly digested and absorbed in the body, causing a rapid release of glucose and insulin into the blood.

This deluge of quickly digested nutrient poor carbohydrates represents much of what is wrong with todays diets. Currently, about 85 percent of all grain products eaten by Americans are refined. To bring our diet back into balance we need to eat True Whole Grains.

Our True Whole Grain flour contains nature's intended proportions of endosperm, germ, bran and all the corresponding vitamins, minerals and essential phytonutrients associated with each grain. Nothing is added and nothing is taken away. Commercial whole grain flours are reconstituted and do not have the original composition of the grain.

Grindstone True Whole Grain breads are made from 100% freshly-stone ground Whole Grains that have been allowed to ferment naturally. This is the only way to obtain a whole nutritious food, high in fiber and with the lowest possible Glycemic Index.

The Glycemic Index (GI) is a numerical system for measuring how fast a food or ingredient triggers a rapid rise in circulating blood glucose; the higher the GI, the greater the blood sugar response. A low GI food will cause a small rise in blood sugar levels, whereas a higher GI food triggers a large increase and a subsequent insulin spike .

Diabetes in adults is developed by repeated fast increases in blood sugar levels and consequent rapid releases of insulin to unhealthy high levels that, over time, lead to abnormalities in the pancreatic islet cells that make insulin.

Recent studies in the US and Europe have shown that a low-GI diet leads to weight loss, reduced body fat, and reduction in risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease without disrupting the nutritional balance.

Our breads achieve the lowest possible GI and are also a good source of healthy fibers with special qualities. In addition to its usefulness in weight reduction, fiber has been shown to be useful for a number of different conditions.

One of the most important properties of fiber is its ability to bind to toxins in the colon and then remove them from the body. When it binds to cancer-causing chemicals, fiber helps protect the cells of the colon from damage. 

When fiber binds to bile salts in the intestines and removes them from the body, the body is forced to make more bile salts. This is good, because the body must break down cholesterol to make bile. This explains why a good intake of fiber can be helpful in lowering high cholesterol levels.

Due to their high-fiber content, Whole Grain foods can help to prevent high blood sugar levels in diabetic patients, thereby helping with blood sugar control.

Freshly Stone Ground Flour

Stone milling is the oldest, slowest, and best method of grinding Whole Grains into the dense and creamy flour we use for our breads. It is a gentle and cool process that preserves every good part of the grain- the entire berry is homogeneously transformed into flour. All the protein, oils and vitamins from the germ, all the sugars and starches from the endosperm, and the tiny bits of bran are there in the final fresh flour.

We slowly grind our Whole Grains to a coarse flour using a small natural pink granite stone mill that never overheats the flour. When bread is stone ground and then baked, the internal temperature does not usually exceed 170 degrees, so most of the nutrients are preserved. Since we grind only a small amount of grain at once, the fat from the germ is well distributed which also minimizes spoilage.

We transform this True Whole Grain flour into a living dough within hours of being ground.

In todays completely automated milling process steel rollers crush the grain at remarkably high speeds heating it to elevated temperatures and destroying vitamins and antioxidants in the berry. Sifters remove the germ and all bits of bran from the flour. Some of the separated parts can be later mixed back to produce a so called whole wheat flour. But the germ is never added back because, exposed to air and heat, it oxidizes and becomes rancid.

Unbinding Phytochemicals for their Synergistic Protection

Cells in humans and other organisms are constantly exposed to a variety of oxidizing agents, some of which are necessary for life. These agents may be present in air, food, and water, or they may be produced by metabolic activity within cells.

Overproduction of oxidants can cause an imbalance, leading to oxidative stress, especially in chronic bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections. Oxidative stress can cause oxidative damage to large biomolecules such as lipids, proteins, and DNA, resulting in an increased risk for cancer and cardiovascular disease. To prevent or slow the oxidative stress induced by free radicals, sufficient amounts of antioxidants need to be consumed. The key factor is to maintain a balance between oxidants and antioxidants to sustain optimal physiological conditions.

More and more convincing evidence suggests that the benefits of phytochemicals in fruits, vegetables and Whole Grains may be even greater than is currently understood, because the oxidative stress induced by free radicals is involved in the
etiology of a wide range of chronic diseases.

Over millions of years, plants have developed the capacity to synthesize myriad phytochemicals that help them 
resist pathogenst and/or attract beneficial organisms. For example, they can render plants unpalatable and thereby reduce intake by animals. Carotenoids aid in light collection under conditions of low light or help to dissipate excess absorbed energy as heat under conditions of high sun exposure; most plants have the flexibility to alter their carotenoid compositionin in response to growth under deep shade or full sunlight. 

Understanding how phytochemicals function in plants may further our understanding of the mechanisms by which Whole Grains benefit human health beyond basic nutrition.  More than 8000 phytochemicals have been identified, but a large number still remains unknown.

In addition to their protein, complex carbohydrates and micronutrient content, Whole Grains contain a complex array of phytochemicals whose additive and synergistic effects are responsible for their potent anti-oxidant properties.

Because most of these compounds are intended to protect the plants seeds for future germination - acting as defense mechanisms against pathogens, parasites, and predators - they are bound in cells located in the bran layer and in the germ of Whole Grains. In particular, vitamins, minerals, phenolic compounds, and phytoestrogens are abundant in the bran and germ.  Although these two parts make up only 15-17% of the grain's weight, they contain 83% of its phytochemicals. Only True Whole Grains can provide the synergistic effect of an enormous variety of natural compounds performing together to protect your health.

Despite the fact that for years researchers have been measuring the antioxidant power of a wide array of phytochemicals, they have typically measured only the "free" forms of these substances, which dissolve quickly and are immediately absorbed into the bloodstream. They have not looked at the "bound" forms, which are attached to the walls of plant cells and must be released by bacteria before they can be absorbed.

Phenolics, a family of powerful antioxidants, are one major class of phytochemicals that have been widely studied. Included in this broad category are such compounds as quercetin, curcumin, ellagic acid, catechins, and many others that appear frequently in the health news.

When researchers at Cornell University measured the relative amounts of phenolics, and whether they were present in bound or free form, in common fruits and vegetables like apples, red grapes, broccoli and spinach, they found that phenolics in the free form averaged 76% of the total number of phenolics in these foods. In Whole Grains, however, "free" phenolics accounted for less than 1% of the total, while the remaining 99% were in "bound" form.

The researchers explained that because previous work had examined Whole Grains with the same process used to measure antioxidants in vegetables and fruits looking for their content of "free" phenolics", the amount and activity of antioxidants in Whole Grains had been vastly underestimated.

Their results showed that the total antioxidant activity in all three types of whole foods is similar.  The team measured the antioxidant activity of various foods, assigning each a rating based on a formula (micromoles of vitamin C equivalent per gram). Broccoli and spinach measured 80 and 81, respectively; apple and banana measured 98 and 65; and of the Whole Grains tested, whole wheat measured 77, oats 75, and brown rice 56.

Cornell's findings may help explain why traditional cultures eating diets high in naturally fermented and fiber rich Whole Grains consistently have better health. Since short-term clinical trials that have focused on fiber alone yield inconsistent results, they conclude that the explanation for the health benefits of 
Whole Grains arise from the interactive effects of all the nutrients, not just their fiber.  We add tthat this is particularly true for Stone Ground and Naturarly Fermented Whole Grains, where the antioxidants are made bioavailable and the integrity of the fiber is preserved. That is, True Whole Grains.

Cornell researchers reinforce the message that a variety of foods should be eaten for good health. Different plant foods have different phytochemicals. These substances go to different organs, tissues and cells, where they perform different functions.

What our body needs is this synergistic effect, this teamwork that is produced by eating a wide variety of plant foods, including naturally fermented True Whole Grains.

Grindstone Bakery breads go through a long natural fermentation by lactic acid bacteria whose action is capable of unbinding these critical antioxidants from the bran and germ making them immediately available for our protection.

The same results cannot be achieved by simply taking pills of isolated and concentrated phytochemicals and many times an imbalance can be created leading to negative health effects. Prevention is always a more effective strategy.