Are you struggling to go gluten free even though you know that for the sake of your own health you must? This was me for at least 3 years before I finally did it. Learn about why and how it is possible for you to go gluten free and not feel deprived. Watch my video below to learn more about how I did it and how you can do it too. Need help? Schedule your free wellness consultation with me.
Are oats really safe for the gluten free diet? This is a question that comes up on a regular basis when talking about the gluten free lifestyle and implementing a gluten free diet. While the short answer is no. The long answer is much more complicated than that. There are a variety of reasons why this is the case.
1. Unlike wheat oats actually do not have gluten in them naturally. However, they are very often processed on the same equipment as wheat and therefore become contaminated. That said you can buy gluten free oats that have not been processed on the same equipment and therefore are marketed and sold as gluten free. My favorite brand is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain, Rolled Oats, 32-oz. Bags (Count of 4)
2. Even oats that are marked as gluten free can become contaminated if you buy them from the wrong source. For example, I do not recommend purchasing gluten free oats from the bulk section at the grocery store because people can easily spill regular oats, wheat and other items in them. It’s much better to get them already packaged.
3. In the United States and I think in other countries as well, an item can be labeled gluten free if it has less than 20 ppm of gluten. This means that many “gluten free” foods, do in fact still have trace amounts of gluten in them. Some foods are known for this being more of an issue than others. Oats is one food that typically has at least a trace amount of gluten even when labeled gluten free. For this reason some companies that make gluten free and other allergen free foods such as Enjoy Life do not use oats in any of their products because they believe that there are no truly gluten free oats. For this reason some celiacs who have a very severe case of the disease cannot eat oats. Personally, I can eat the gluten free oats just fine although the ones that are not certified gluten free do make me quite sick.
4. Recently there was an article that came out saying that many grains even those that are organic have been contaminated with one of the same chemicals that has been sprayed on wheat for years and caused many people to have problems with wheat.
In short, there is no easy answer to the question are oats really safe for the gluten free diet? It varies from person to person. If you eat gluten free oats and your body reacts okay to them then I would say you can eat them. However, I would be careful to not eat them too often.
Living a gluten free lifestyle is advertised and promoted as a one trick pony and as the secret to everything from losing weight to relieving pain. However, the reality is much different. To begin with a gluten free diet is not by default healthy. Furthermore not everyone needs to be gluten free and going gluten free does not guarantee weight loss or good health even for those of us who do need to avoid gluten. The other mistake that I see many people making is that they assume that going gluten free will be the end all be all and once they are gluten free they will be healthy all the time when the reality is that going gluten free is just the first step.
Once you are gluten free then here are some additional things you will need to do:
1. Determine if you have additional food sensitivities or allergies. This can be complicated and doing an elimination diet is usually the best way.
2. Find ways to eat more real foods and to avoid too many gluten free junk and processed foods. When you first go gluten free it may be necessary to eat lots of gluten free bread, pasta, cookies etc, however after you have adjusted to the lifestyle you will want to limit consumption of these foods.
3. Start taking a probiotic supplement and find ways to get more probiotic foods. These are really important to the overall health of your digestive system.
4. Consider giving up cross reactors to gluten such as corn. This can be difficult to stick with 100% of the time but it can be important to improving and maintaining your overall health.
5. Get over any addictions you have to sugar, caffeine and other unhealthy foods.