The documentary “What’s With Wheat?” by Cyndi O’Meara was released at the end of June, allowing free screenings for a limited time before being released for purchase. O’Meara is a nutritionist looking to investigate the growing epidemic of wheat intolerance and why it is being linked to so many health problems now since the population has been eating wheat for thousands of years. The film features O’Meara and 14 other experts who discuss all aspects of wheat ranging from its rich history and effect on civilization to agriculture and production practices over the past century to health and metabolic effects.
The documentary begins by explaining how deeply grains have impacted our society, enabling humans to become agriculturists and eliminating the need to hunt and gather. As technology and food manufacturing have progressed, so have the methods by which we process wheat. Throughout the film there is an emphasis on how tradition has been done away with, in both farming and production practices. Due to these changes, the film claims that wheat is unhealthier today because it contains more chemicals and because we no longer ferment wheat anti‐nutrients remain that can be harmful to the digestive system.
The film also states that most health and immune problems originate in the gut and that a healthy digestive system is essential for overall health. The documentary examines the way modern wheat is produced and the techniques used that are harmful to gut health, championing the idea that staying away from foods that contain chemicals (including wheat) is key for a healthy gut. Experts featured in the film conclude by urging viewers to become more aware and informed about their food choices, encouraging them to pay attention to where food is coming from, how it is being produced and to eat unprocessed food.
The documentary has a runtime of 75 minutes and is available for purchase at WhatsWithWheat.com. Thus far the film has received little media coverage or social buzz.
Key Points Relevant to the Industry:
- Farming traditions have been lost.
- Farms have become factory‐like, focused on yielding the most product for the lowest cost and effort.
- Monoculture (the cultivation of a single crop in a given area) is destroying the land and crops.
- Pesticides and chemicals are unnecessary and overused.
- Traditional wheat preparations methods have been done away with.
- Bread has gone from three basic ingredients to over 30.
- Breads are rarely fermented anymore, making the bread less nutritious and leaving harmful antinutrients in the finished product.
- Wheat is processed and stripped of its nutrients, then refortified and enriched with vitamins and minerals.
- U.S. wheat is plagued by the widespread use of pesticides and glyphosate
- Pesticides kill insects as well as microbes in the soil, compromising the health of the fields and yielding unhealthier plants.
- Glyphosate is a neurotoxin; when wheat treated with glyphosate enters humans’ systems it can cause an array of problems, from harming the microbiota in the gut to disrupting an array of metabolic functions.
- Political and government oversight weighs heavily on the food we eat.
- The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have strong influence over food production and what people eat.
- The government subsidizes wheat production making it inexpensive to produce and purchase.
- The U.S. produces more wheat than necessary and as a result, wheat and wheat byproducts are found in more than just food, including shampoo, makeup and lotions.
Key Themes of the Film:
- Concern about farming practices and chemical treatments used on crops.
- Farmers need to treat the land better and the need for mass food production to become ecological agriculture.
- Consumers should take an active role in how food is produced.
- People must change the thinking and production process to limit the impact on future generations.
- Wheat is not the problem, but how wheat is being treated is. Wheat is not unhealthy or harmful if it is grown, processed and produced using traditional, chemical-free methods.
- Consumers should be more educated about the food they are eating, where is comes from, and how it is made.
- Cyndi O’Meara: Nutritionist, Author of “Changing Habits,” creator of “What’s with Wheat.” Concerned by the state of our health system and the lack of educated consumers, Cyndi explores issues such as cancer, diseases, diets, drugs and medication by asking people to make a choice about what they consume.
- David Perlmutter MD, FACN, ABIHM: Author of “Grain Brain” and “Grain Brain for Life,” he is considered a leader in the field of nutritional influences in neurological disorders and is known for his unique approach to treating neurological disorders through preventive medicine.
- Dr. Terry Wahls: Author of “The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine,” is a clinical professor of Medicine at University of Iowa.
- Natasha Campbell-McBride MD: Author of “Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Natural Treatment Of Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Depression And Schizophrenia”
- Joel Salatin: Author and farmer who was featured in Michael Pollan’s “Omnivore’s Dilemma” and the movie “Food, Inc.”
- Leo Galland, MD: Co-author of “The Allergy Solution: The Surprising, Unlock the Hidden Truth about Why You Are Sick and How to Get Well”
- Dr. Stephanie Seneff: Senior research scientist at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab
- Sayer Ji: Founder, GreenMedInfo.com
- Sarah Ballantyne, PhD: Author of “The Paleo Approach” and founder of the website ThePaleoMom.com
- Pete Evans: Chef and cookbook author
- Kim Morrison: Founder and creator of Twenty8 Chemical‐free Skincare and Aromatherapy
- Dr. Rodney Ford MB, BS, MD, FRACP: Specialist in food allergy and gastroenterology
- Sally Fallon: Founding president of The Weston A. Price Foundation and A Campaign for Real Milk
- Mark Sisson: Author of “The Primal Blueprint,” and creator of Mark’s Daily Apple blog
- Dr. Vandana Shiva: Physicist, social activist and founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy (RFSTN), an organization devoted to developing sustainable methods of agriculture