A World Without Wheat

My friend Elaine sent me a link to an article the other day – it was this one – go and read it, I’ll wait for you to come back….

We were driving out to the seaside for my daughter’s birthday trip later that day; we drove past fields of wheat and I couldn’t help wondering what a world without wheat would look like.


Wheat field image from FWallpapers.com

I tried to imagine what would take the place of the vast expanses of gently swaying grain crops, and I got a bit excited! (I’m a simple soul, it doesn’t take much!) Would they be filled instead with vegetables and fruit or grazing livestock? Would we see smaller fields with more hedgerows? Probably not, as in Lincolnshire where they grow a lot of vegetables, the fields are pretty industrial sized.

Would we need more fruit, vegetables and meat to make up for the grain products that people commonly fill up on? Or would eating more nutrient filled foods, and fat, mean we needed to consume less food not more?

I’m not a scientist, so I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I guess if it’s true that 80% of the world population is going to stop eating wheat, we are going to need to ask these questions sooner rather than later.

Wheat, and other grains, take up so much of our available soil that it would change the world, and the little country I live in, extensively. This would have a massive knock on effect for farmers, which in turn would mean big changes in food production and food supply – effectively the entire way our economy and lives are run would change. 

It takes around about 1300 litres of water to grow 1kg of wheat! Our family of 6 directly uses 150,000 litres of water a year – that equates to approximately 115 bags of flour, or just under 2 and a half bags a week! That’s quite a shocking figure when I think about it – we would very easily have consumed far more than that when we were eating wheat – breakfast cereals, pasta, bread, pizza, biscuits etc etc ad infinitum! That is an awful lot of water for a product that caused us a lot of pain and weight gain!

Obviously everything we eat uses water, and probably in equally large measure to the amount wheat uses. Though I’d have thought that when you are growing your own veg and making use of grey water or harvested rainwater you are going to reduce the usage quite considerably, I don’t know, I’m not a scientist.

What I think isn’t taken into consideration though is this: we need to be careful with our water consumption, so with that in mind, isn’t it better for us to use water to grow food that is actually going to help maintain our health, instead of wasting it on a product that is, increasingly, highly toxic to human and animal life? 

Isn’t this a conversation that we need to be having now? I would love to be able to find decent, unbiased, truly scientific information about this subject, but it seems that, as with so many issues related to human and animal health, there are too many polarised opinions to really get at the hard facts. 

I don’t want to hear that going vegetarian or vegan will save the planet, because I just don’t buy that argument – it doesn’t stack up on so many levels for me. I don’t want to hear propaganda from CAFOs or organic farmers; I certainly don’t want to hear how monsanto crops are going to save us all from starvation; I want hard facts not twisted to satisfy an agenda. Is that possible, do you think? Am I alone in caring? What do you think?

 ETA: Just read that Monsanto are effectively pulling out of Europe


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4 thoughts on “A World Without Wheat

  1. There’s a fair few references in this piece: http://www.gnolls.org/1833/we-must-reclaim-human-health-sustainability-environmental-justice-and-morality-from-the-birdseed-brigade/ though I think TOTALLY unbiased research in this area is impossible (maybe any area?!)

    I also saw this piece tweeted by several non-paleo English foodie people recently however, so perhaps the message is getting through: http://sustainablefoodtrust.org/articles/mob-grazing-offering-an-alternative-to-gmos/

    • Thanks for those links! Have skimmed and will definitely be going back to read properly!

      I think youre probably right to say that unbiased info in any area is probably impossible, I get so frustrated by all the conflicting information that always seems to have an agenda of one kind or another (usually financial!) I just wish it were possible to cut through the crap and get to the core truths safe in the knowledge that no one is withholding details because they don’t quite fit the theory, but then I am a crazy idealist lol.

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