Trust Your Gluten-Free Oats & Support A Gluten-Free Farm

Gluten-free oat field & Heart Mountain. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Gluten-free oat field & Heart Mountain. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Imagine a pile of dirt you swept to the middle of your kitchen. You set down the dustpan, pressing the lip into the floor while sweeping all that dirt into it. Then, you pick up the dustpan only to find a line of dirt that was left on the floor (that line is called a deedle — no joke). You groan and repeat the effort, but there’s still another deedle, albeit a smaller one. Do it again and there is still an even smaller deedle. And so you keep repeating until you feel you can’t see it anymore…but it’s still there.

Now imagine the floor is a delivery of oats and sweeping it up is the sorting method companies like General Mills and Quaker are using. Sweep (sort) as much of it as you want, but you’ll always have that deedle. I’m calling them: dirty oats.

It’s a sordid mess…

Thanks to Tricia Thompson of Gluten-Free Watchdog, she set out to compile a list of manufacturers and suppliers of clean oats — gluten-free oats grown under purity protocol, the only oats recommended for those of us with Celiac and NCGS. What she found were companies of gluten-free oat products were already using dirty oats.

Purity protocol/clean oats are grown from pure seed stock in fields that have not grown gluten containing grains. They are harvested with equipment, transported by trucks, and stored in grain towers that are gluten-free and have not done the same for gluten-full grains. Think of it as the perfect restaurant you dine in…everything they make your dinner in has never touched anything with gluten nor has it touched the work surfaces.

Mechanically sorted/dirty oats, are not safe for us by any means. You can put it through whatever test you want to get it below 20ppm, but they will always be dirty. To help you with this visual of these types of oats being dirty, I want you to take a second and go to this post from Gluten Dude, scroll down to the picture of the sorted grains. Those barley and wheat grains were mixed in with the oats. This is why I previously used the analogy of picking croutons out of your salad and still eating it. It’s the same thing.

Companies are turning to dirty oats, even ones we’ve trusted in the past (as you’ll see by their absence from the list GFW put together), and we’re getting sick for their increasing profit margins because the dirty oats are cheaper for them. If we continue to buy from companies using dirty oats, we’re lowering the demand for clean oats. It’s Economics 101 and there’s been a shift in the demand which has created an excess supply because it’s not being sold.

GFO dedicated gluten-free oat mill. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

GFO dedicated gluten-free oat mill. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Right now, GF Harvest may be putting their 2016 crop on hold because of this shift — they still have clean oats stored, unsold. I had the pleasure of meeting Forrest Smith several years ago at the Allergy & Gluten-Free Expo. Forrest started growing oats and milling them with a countertop mill under purity protocol as part of an FFA entrepreneurship program in high school. He is passionate about providing our community with truly gluten-free oats; it’s in his eyes when he tells his story. He was diagnosed with Celiac at age 2 and many more in his family have been diagnosed since. The family founded GF Harvest in GF Harvest and handles the growing and milling of the gluten-free oats themselves. This is a true family farm that needs all of us to demand clean oats.

This is not a sponsored post and I am not benefitting from this post in any way. This is about awareness of our gluten-free food supply and support of a farm who does right by our community. If any other farmers of purity protocol oats openly stated they were in this position as well, I’d be supporting them without hesitation. These are the people who should be getting our dollars, not multi-million/billion dollar corporations who only want more money in their pockets.

Also understand that if we continue to buy from corporations using dirty oats, production of clean oats will end. We already give up a lot in our diets now, do we really want to give up one more thing because we aren’t using our collective voices and our money to keep the supply of clean oats in demand?

Please consider supporting the Smith family and their farm. They have a special starter pack of three different types of pure oats with free shipping and (while supplies last) a bonus. Go here for the special offer.

GF Harvest Amazon Store

Sunrise during field inspection. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Sunrise during field inspection. Photo provided by Seaton Smith

Pissing In The Gluten-Free Cheerios

CheeriosADDENDUM: Since writing this post I started a petition on Change.org as more and more stories of people in gluten-free community kept pouring in. Please sign it and share. The only thing that you have to be to sign this petition is a human being who believes Celiac/gluten-sensitive people should be able to enjoy labeled gluten-free foods safely.

There is so much controversy surrounding gluten-free Cheerios right now. They are all over store shelves and it’s causing a divide. On one side are people who are encouraging people to eat them and eating it themselves. On the other side are people like me who are staying far from them and will never encourage anyone with any type of issue with gluten to eat them.

First, General Mills is mechanically cleaning oats instead of using certified gluten-free oats. This could change based on Tricia Thompson’s (Gluten-Free Watchdog) last conversation in which they stated they were looking to source “some” oats from growers following purity protocol. I quoted some because it’s not all. If you’re like me, if a product containing oats isn’t using 100% certified gluten-free oats, then I put it back on the shelf. My hope is that GM’s will move from some to all.

Second, some of the tests have had results as high at 90ppm. My thought is that if you are making a gluten-free product, the test results should be in a small cluster with an occasional slightly higher result (this is my opinion based on my psychology classes in statistics and methodology). Knowing that there has been one result that high, I don’t feel comfortable…because with my luck, I would get one of those boxes and be sick for weeks. NothanksIlikenotbeingsickallthetime.

Third, just because other people say it’s okay, I never jump on the bandwagon. I weigh the facts and the options carefully. You should too. Just because people say they don’t react, doesn’t mean the gluten isn’t doing damage while they enjoy bowl after bowl of cereal. There are a lot of things we all miss, but I refuse to do more damage to my gut just for something I might miss. I still won’t eat Domino’s gluten-free pizza.

It is a fine line to be in the public eye, blogging and using social media to spread the word about gluten-free living. It would be irresponsible of me to say, “Hey, gluten-free Cheerios are safe to eat because we have those awesome labeling regulations now.” No, it doesn’t work that way, especially with something this controversial and iffy. Research, dig, do due diligence. You owe it to your health (and that of your family if you’re the one making decisions for gluten-free family members) to do so and not just take someone’s word for it who you happen to follow on Facebook or read their blog.

If someone has to use a qualifying statement like, “If you have Celiac or are extra sensitive, you shouldn’t eat/drink this.” IF it is that serious, no one who is gluten-free should be eating or drinking said product. I won’t use gluten-free Cheerios until I’m certain they will be safe for EVERYONE.

Some articles by Tricia Thompson on gluten-free Cheerios:

General Mills “Gluten-Free” Cheerios: Comment from Gluten-Free Watchdog

More Thoughts on Gluten-Free Cheerios

Gluten-Free Cheerios: Take Two

After some discussion on the gluten-free easily Facebook page, Shirley has encouraged everyone saying they reacted to the gf Cheerios to contact General Mills and the FDA. I feel it is important to contact both and not just one. GM needs to know that their product and how they are processing and testing it is not meeting true gf needs. The FDA needs to know that a labeled gf product is making people sick. 

 

 

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal

First thing, the winners drawn last week in the Real Jules, Real Good Giveaway did not contact me so I did a re-draw. Jennifer C. and Chris, congratulations on winning gfJules™ Instant Gluten-Free Oats! Please email me at debi.v.smith@gmail.com with your mailing address by next week Wednesday, January 28th, 5pm EST.  Jennifer, I hope you and your daughter enjoy the oats. Chris, I hope you like the oats as much as you like Jules’ flour.

The first thing I made with oats while trying them out was this Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal. I had homemade pureed pumpkin in the refrigerator to make risotto, but I knew I had enough for a hot bowl of oatmeal. And if you’ve followed me for awhile, you know how much I like the pumpkin maple bacon combination. Plus, it’s been some time since my last pumpkin recipe.

Pumpkin Maple Bacon Oatmeal – serves 1-2 

1 cup water

1/2 cup gluten-free oats

1/4 cup pureed pumpkin

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup

salt

cooked bacon

In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add oats and stir occasionally. Once most of the water is absorbed, add pumpkin, salt, and maple syrup. Cook until the oatmeal reaches your desired consistency. Dish into a bowl and crumble at least one piece of bacon on top.