Oats- gluten free vs. contaminated

You might wonder where I get all my ideas for my articles. Usually I think of them when I am talking to people about ‘gluten free living.’ For some families, it is a life changing event. For others, they simply kiss that ‘bread basket goodbye’ and they are on their way to a more healthy lifestyle change. For some, the results are dramatic. For others, it may take 6 to 12 months before they notice any major change in their body. Be patient, be consistent but stay determined.

One question that comes up in conversations is the status of oats in a gluten free diet. Well, I found out some interesting information that I did not even know! Here is the scoop on oats and what you can do to keep them part of your gluten free diet.

When it comes to being gluten free oats are often misunderstood. Oats are naturally gluten free, so what is the concern for people with celiac disease or those trying to be gluten free? Furthermore, why would anyone want to spend 4 times the amount of money on a bag of oats? The concern is that if oats are grown in a field that previously grew other gluten containing grains, some of those other gluten containing grains will naturally grow in the oat field the next year, which will then cause the oats harvested from that field to be contaminated. If a farmer uses the same equipment to process all his grains, that can also cause cross contamination. If the transport company that brought the oats to the processor has stored and transported other grains, this too will cause cross contamination. And if the processor processes other gluten containing grains, there can also be cross contamination.
Cross contamination was a major reason why oats were considered unsafe in the past. Oats, wheat and barley are usually grown next to each other in the fields, processed in the same grain elevators, milled with the same equipment, and transported using the same containers. Inevitably, the grains co-mingle and the oats become contaminated with gluten.
Today, some growers are dedicating fields and equipment to producing oats alone. It has finally become possible to obtain pure oats, free of cross-contamination, from specialized vendors. Bob’s Red Mill makes a gluten free 100% rolled oats as well as a Quick oats, which are great for a quick bowl of oatmeal in the morning.
However, what I learned is that a small number of people with celiac disease cannot tolerate even pure, uncontaminated oats. In these individuals, a protein in oats called avenin triggers an immune response similar to gluten.
In addition, studies with adults and children have shown that the majority of patients with celiac disease can only tolerate limited amounts of oats. When consumed in moderation oats did not cause abdominal symptoms or prevent intestinal healing in most cases. In general, it is recommended that celiacs eat no more than about half to three quarters of a cup of dry rolled oats per day for adults, a quarter of a cup per day for children.
Most of the large celiac societies and clinical treatment centers now advise patients with celiac disease to consider adding limited amounts of pure, uncontaminated oats to their diet under a doctor’s supervision. Although oats do provide nutrients, fiber, and diversity to a celiac patient’s diet, newly diagnosed patients are advised not to eat oats until their celiac disease is well control and their symptoms have gone away and their blood test results are normal. Furthermore, celiac patients should not eat any products that contain oats unless the oats are clearly labeled as pure, uncontaminated, and gluten-free.

Wow, luckily, after reading this article, I calculated that each serving of my yummy baked oatmeal bars only contains ¼ cup of oats! Enjoy! Be creative with these…add raisins, cranberries, mini-chocolate chips or cinnamon to add flavor and wake you up in the morning. Store these in the refrigerator then toast for 5-10 minutes to warm.

Baked Oatmeal Bars*
3 cups Certified Gluten Free Oats
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup applesauce

1 T vanilla
2 T grapeseed oil
1 cup almond milk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup organic sugar
1 large banana

1/2 cup blueberries

Combined above ingredients into large mixing bowl.
Let stand for 20 minutes.
Bake in an 8 X 8 baking dish at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
Cut into 12 bars. (178 cal)
Enjoy for breakfast!

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