Oatmeal, so we hear, fights cancer and heart disease, and it makes the gluten free diet a little easier to maintain. Specially grown gluten free oatmeal does not have to be contaminated with gluten. If you have Coeliac disease and you want to know if you can still spoon down hot, steaming oatmeal on cold winter mornings, then you’ve come to the right place. Here you can find all you need to know about GF oatmeal.

Can  I order oatmeal in a restaurant?

No. It is sure to be contaminated with gluten unless the restaurant actually buys gluten-free oatmeal, and that is not likely to happen.

How is gluten-free oatmeal different?

These oats are not grown near crops that contain gluten. The oats are also tested for gluten contamination, supposedly on a regular basis.

Is gluten-free oatmeal safe for me to eat?

According to the Gluten Intolerance Group of North America, 1/2 cup of gluten-free oatmeal a day is safe for most celiacs. They suggest you introduce oats slowly into your diet so that the increased fiber does not upset your digestive system. A few people with celiac disease also have a hypersensitivity to oats. If you plan to introduce gluten-free oats to your diet, the GIG suggests that you should do it with the advice and supervision of your health care team.; make sure to have your antibody levels reviewed regularly.

However, according to a scientific study published by the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in June 2007, only 25 of the 134 “pure, uncontaminated oat varieties” reviewed in Europe, the U.S. and Canada had undetectable levels of gluten. The other 109 varieties were contaminated, especially with barley. It turns out that one of the two commerical gluten tests cannot detect barley contamination. Furthermore, some celiacs’ “hypersensitibity to oats” mentioned by GIG is actually “oat sensitive small intestine T cells,” which means trouble in the same area affected by celiac disease. Complicating matters still further, some varieties of oats are more toxic to celiacs than other varieties, regardless of contamination. That is why the Celiac Sprue Association recommends not eating oats.

All you need to know? Eating oats is currently a risky endeavor for a people with celiac disease, and GF children should absolutely not be allowed to eat any oats. If an adult is confident that the oats s/he is buying are uncontaminated, up to 50 grams a day might be introduced gradually under medical supervision.

Where to buy gluten free oatmeal?

Without being able to guarantee that these oats are in fact the gluten-free kind, here are some links to gluten-free oats. They all boast the use of the latest commercial test that scientists think can accurately detect barley contamination.

Bob’s Red Mill, a gigantic U.S. company

Chateau Cream Hill Estates, a Canadian company

Gluten Free Oats

Gifts of Nature

Only Oats, a Canadian company

What do I do with oatmeal?

Let me recommend a site (pictured above) created by an oatmeal zealot, Kath’s Tribute to Oatmeal.