Gluten-free grains (also called cereals) are the seeds of plants and include brown rice, corn, Montina™ (Indiana ricegrass), millet, oats (pure, uncontaminated), sorghum, teff, and wild rice––as well as the pseudo-grains of amaranth, buckwheat and quinoa. A grain is “whole” when it is consumed in a form that includes the bran (outer layer and primary source of fiber), germ (the part that sprouts into a new plant) and endosperm (the bulk of the seed).
Until recently, oats were not allowed in the gluten-free diet because the protein in oats was thought to trigger the same toxic reaction as wheat and other gluten-containing grains. New research in Europe and the US over the past 16 years has revealed that eating moderate amounts of oats is safe for the majority of children and adults with celiac disease. Most of these studies used pure, uncontaminated oats, but it should be noted that a very small number of persons with celiac disease may not even tolerate pure oats. The mechanism causing this intolerance has yet to be established.
Based on this new research, a growing number of celiac organizations and health professionals around the world now allow consumption of moderate amounts of pure, uncontaminated oat products in the gluten-free diet. An extensive technical review on the safety of oats was published on Health Canada’s website. Celiac Disease and the Safety of Oats Unfortunately, the majority of commercial oats products on the market are cross-contaminated with wheat, barley or rye which occurs during harvesting, transporting, storing, milling, processing and packaging. The good news is that there are companies in the US, Canada and Europe who produce pure, uncontaminated specialty oat products. The North American companies are Bob’s Red Mill, Cream Hill Estates, Avena Foods (Only Oats™), Gifts of Nature, GF Harvest (formerly Gluten Free Oats) and Legacy Valley (Montana Monster Munchies).
People who regularly eat whole grains have a lower risk of obesity, lower cholesterol levels and a reduced risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer. The USDA and the Whole Grains Council recommend 3 to 5 servings of whole grains per day. Look for the yellow Whole Grains Stamp (http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grain-stamp). Eating three whole grain food products labeled “100% Whole Grain”–– or six products bearing ANY Whole Grain Stamp––satisfies the need for 3 to 5 servings per day. ©Carol Fenster and Shelley Case, April, 2012. This document may be photocopied in its entirety. 2 Culinary Benefits and Ways to Add Whole Grains to a Gluten-Free Diet Whole grains add chewy texture, intriguing flavor, visual appeal and greater variety to gluten-free meals. They can be an extra ingredient... or a replacement...or stand alone, as shown below: