The question, is oats gluten free or not may come from the thought that it’s considered a cereal grain. The most recognized grains with gluten would be wheat varieties, along with rye, barley, and triticale. The difficulty in confirming oats as gluten free is a transportation and processing issue. There is a reaction to oats in less than one percent of Celiacs to avenin proteins. Let’s think a moment about the journey of oats to our tables.
Certified seed oats are most often planted today. Years ago, many farmers saved some oats from the previous crop to plant in the new year. Germination rates were often too low prompting them to buy certified seeds with growing characteristics for their area and growing season. Many of the Agricultural Colleges as well as commercial seed
producers have test plots and staff focused on seed production. Once the seed is purchased it’s delivered to the commercial farmer who then plants it and waits for the harvest. Neil Bromhall shows the germination cycle for oats and the Eat Happy Project does a nice video showing farm to fork for porridge in the United Kingdom.
Here is where it gets difficult to manage for most. It’s not difficult to clean a combine to get ready to harvest oats but it takes a great amount of care to keep it completely separate from other crops as it’s poured into trucks, unloaded at a storage facility, sold to a mill to make into instant, steel-cut, rolled oats or oat flour.. General Mills for example has created a process that separates the grains and mills the oats into a flour to create Cheerios. Steel cut McCann’s Irish Oats is gluten-free and has their familiar nutty flavor.
The story about Quaker Oats reflects the savvy use of media to position themselves in the marketplace where they hold the top four positions in popularity for hot cereal. Even babies as early as six-months can enjoy rolled oatmeal. With National Oatmeal Day just around the corner you may be wondering how to celebrate. I would think enjoying a bowl of oatmeal and shouting out #NationalOatmealDay on your social media sites would be a good way to start. Then enjoy the benefits as it helps to lower your cholesterol, reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer, being rich in iron and fiber. The Donnelly family in Ireland who holds the
oldest family Guinness World Record attributes eating oatmeal in the morning and before bed as the reason for their longevity. Originally laughed at and compared to eating horse feed the soluble and insoluble fibers are part of what Dr Michael Greger who wrote How Not to Die claims could solve a nations health problem.
Did you eat your gluten free oatmeal or porridge today?