Oats. The iconic breakfast grain that everyone knows and loves. Yet it causes the most confusion when it comes to being a gluten-free grain or not. Low-and-behold, oats are inherently gluten-free and safe for Celiacs. Yet due to common growing, processing, and manufacturing practices, most oats end up cross-contaminated with gluten, thus losing their status as safe and natural.
Oats, how I love thee. From oatmeal to granola, oats are a whole grain superstar. That is, as long as they’re certified gluten-free. They must be certified gluten-free because most oats are grown in rotated fields with gluten-containing grains like what are are also processed in the same facilities and lines are gluten-containing products and grains. It’s rather sad since so many oats are then unsafe, making the Celiac sufferer in a conundrum. (Learn more about contamination and safety from this great audio-cast with GF Harvest and Jules Shepard!) Thankfully there are some great companies out there processing safe and certified gluten-free oats for those of us who need them! I don’t think I would live with out my oatmeal and granola!
Let’s talk about the humble oat’s background. Rated the world’s #1 breakfast food with the top producers being Russia, Canada, US, Finland, and Poland. First used as a staple grain to feed livestock, now is an essential to man’s breakfast table. Oats are one tough cereal grain and can with stand a lot in terms of growing and soil conditions. When the seed (which is the oat) is harvested from the oat plant, it is then most commonly steamed and flattened to create “old fashioned” rolled oats. They are also processed to produce quick/instant oats, oat flour, oat bran, groats, fiber, or even steel-cut or Scottish. The longer they are steamed and flattened, the quicker they will cook (i.e. those instant oat packets you can buy). No matter the processing though, the bran and germ of the oat usually stays intact so you are almost always eating a whole grain and getting the full whole grain benefit.
We all know and constantly hear how oats for breakfast is one of the best choices you can make to start your day. This is because oats contain significant amounts of protein, fiber and vitamins and minerals including: manganese, molybdenum, phosphorus, copper, biotin, Vitamin B1, magnesium, chromium, and zinc. Oats are proved to lower LDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, protect your heart and cardiovascular system, stabilizes blood sugar and keeps you feeling fuller longer (from soluble fiber), helping with healthy weight management. Oats have amazing amounts of antioxidants and have been shown to decrease the risk of certain cancers, type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and childhood asthma.
It should be obvious now why oats are a great whole grain to be adding in to your diet. I really only ever ate oats in instant oat packets when I was younger, then I stopped eating straight up oatmeals and granola for awhile while my stomach was trying to heal. Loading in the oats can still be hard on the stomach for me and many people. So if you’re new, especially if you have Celiac, slowly add in oats, no more than 2 servings a week to start and go from there. However, now that I’ve been eating more and more, I seem to be better with them. I eat my oats in of course processed cereals, but also overnight oats which I make sure to soak for at least 12+ hours before consuming, oatmeals (MyOatmeal is the best! (I think you can still use my 15% off discount code of healthy15 on your online orders!), oat bakes, my own homemade oat flour in baking, and of course, my favorite, GRANOLA! My stomach always seems 100% happy with baked granola and oats! I never do overnight oats more than once a week or every other week, but anything with baked oats seems to be fine on my tummy. Granola would be a good way to test your happy oat-tolerance level.
Oats are one of those grains you should by in bulk. However, hold up! You need to know which companies you can trust for safe gluten-free oats before you go and stock-up! I’ve got you covered though. My two favorite companies to get my bulk bags of gluten-free rolled oats from are Trader Joe’s and GF Harvest which I buy on Amazon. Other great companies producing gluten-free oats and hot oatmeals include Bob’s Red Mill, Golden Prairie, Montana Gluten-Free, Vitacost, Arrowhead Mills, Nature’s Path, Udi’s, Hodgson Mills, Glutenfreeda, Love Grown Foods, and Eco-Planet.
I bet you want some recipes now to bring some oat goodness into your life! These are the recipe on the blog as of…today 8/25/15, but this summer I have gone oat crazy and you will be seeing many new oat recipes in the coming months 😉
If your just want to buy some granolas and not make some yourself (which would make me cry) check out this ultimate list!
Homemade Oat Flour (rolled oats)
Apple Cinnamon Granola (rolled oats)
Blueberry Vanilla Flax Granola (rolled oats)
Cantaloupe Pistachio Granola (rolled oats)
Chocolate Banana Cashew Granola (rolled oats)
Festive Spiced Pecan Granola (rolled oats)
More Than Carrot Cake Granola (rolled oats)
Orange Hemp Seed Granola (rolled oats)
Peanut Butter Puff Granola (rolled oats)
Pumpkin Spice Granola (rolled oats)
Strawberry Mocha Granola (rolled oats)
Vanilla Pear Quinoa Granola (rolled oats)
Apple Gingerbread Muffins (oat flour)
Power Breakfast Muffins (oat flour)
Banana Butterscotch Pancakes (oat flour)
Cinnamon Pear Oat Pancakes (oat flour)
Chocolate Protein Overnight Oats (rolled oats)
Chocolate Cherry Oat Bake (rolled oats)
Cinnamon Cookie Oat Bake (rolled oats, oat flour)
Hazelnut Mocha Oat Bake (rolled oats)
Mint Chocolate Sunflower Bites (rolled oats)
So tell me:
+ What is your favorite way to eat the good ‘ole oat?
+ What’s your favorite cut of oats? I’ve actually never tried steel-cut, but I did just find some Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Scottish which I’m excited to try!
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