Nowadays, more and more people are embracing a gluten-free diet. The reasons are various: from being diagnosed with Coeliac disease and gluten intolerance to weight loss and a healthier diet. No matter the reason, the moment you decided to go gluten-free, you knew that you must deprive yourself of foods that contain gluten, such as wheat, rye and barley. But how about oats?
Oats are a hot topic within gluten-free communities. Although they aren’t a source of gluten like other grains, they’re not the safest gluten-free option. Read on to learn why oats and oat processing bring so much confusion. Also, learn about the most delicious certified gluten free oats alternatives, so you don’t have to give up on your favourite porridge recipe.
Are Oats Gluten-Free?
Plain oats are naturally gluten-free. The concern with oats is that they come in contact with other gluten grains during growth, harvest, transport and storage. This practice is called agricultural commingling. Such mixing allows for cross-contact, which means the gluten gets in non-gluten foods. It’s a valid concern; most, but not all, people who are intolerant to gluten can tolerate oats.
As oats aren’t a top allergen, many countries don’t consider them a source of gluten. So, what’s the standard in Australia?
What’s the Gluten-Free Oat Certification Standard in Australia?
Most European countries, as well as Canada and the US, allow oats in products that are labelled gluten-free. They accept the use of gluten-free claims for gluten-free oats and products that contain them as ingredients. As long as the oats are specially grown or processed and tested to ensure they are gluten-free, they consider them safe for use in gluten-intolerant communities.
However, Australia and New Zealand are an exception to this rule. Along with wheat, barley and rye, they restrict the use of oats in any gluten-free products produced and sold here.
Although certified gluten free oats aren’t available, uncontaminated oats are. Many studies confirm that most people with coeliac disease can tolerate pure oats well. But in a few, they can still trigger a harmful immune response. That’s why the general recommendation is that oats shouldn’t be a part of a gluten-free diet in coeliac people. However, they can be suitable for people with intolerance only.
It might be hard to read this if porridge is one of your favourite meals. The good news is that there are plenty of gluten-free substitutes for oatmeal. They’re delicious, so you don’t have to give up on your favourite porridge recipe.
Gluten-Free Porridge Options
Porridge has a long history. Its usual definition is a bowl of oats or oatmeal cooked in boiled water or milk. However, if you take the time to look a little deeper into world food history, you’ll find that people made porridge from different grains and seeds. Every culture and every era uses various crops for porridge based on availability. What’s common for every recipe is its preparation: a porridge is a thickened meal or paste made when hot liquid absorbs into flakes (grains or seeds). Such a meal makes the perfect base for adding extra ingredients and various toppings. So, it makes sense to use numerous oat alternatives to make gluten-free porridge today. You’re probably asking yourself: what can I use instead of oatmeal? These are some of the most delicious, nutrient oatmeal alternatives.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a superfood. It’s one of the primary plant sources of protein and essential amino acids. It also contains fibre, magnesium and iron. Quinoa comes in various colours, from black to red and darker beige. The darker it is, the earthier it tastes. Regardless of the colour, it’s supercharged with nutrients. If you love oats, you’ll likely enjoy its rice-like consistency and fluffy yet crunchy texture.
Quinoa may be rising in popularity lately, but it can’t beat a classic like brown rice. Its made flavour makes it the perfect oat substitute. Brown rice is full of phytonutrients. It also contains plenty of fibre, which can fill you up.
You’d think buckwheat is a kind of wheat, but it would be too obvious. It’s a fruit seed in the shape of a heart full of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium. Roasted buckwheat provides an earthy, rich flavour, while unroasted tastes more subtle.
Chia seeds are small yet mighty. They’re packed with protein and low-carb, making them an exceptional oatmeal alternative. Their texture resembles classic oatmeal. Chia seeds contain heart-healthy fats like omega-3 and lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber. You can make an overnight chia pudding or prepare one in minutes first thing in the morning.
Amaranth is a grain with a nutty taste and a slightly sweet yet intense flavour. Its key ingredients are protein, fibre, iron and manganese, and it works well in place of oatmeal. You can combine it with almond milk for a soft and creamy texture.
If you haven’t found your winner alternative yet, you’ll most likely love millet. It’s versatile; you can prepare it with a fluffier rice-like consistency or decide on a creamier texture like mashed potatoes. Either way, it’s a great source of minerals, such as magnesium and phosphorus.
The Importance of Preparation
The majority of online recipes suggest boiling the porridge on the stove. Yet, this may result in getting gloopy yuck instead of a bowl of loveliness. Texture matters a lot to our senses; therefore, you need to find the perfect ratio of ingredients for the porridge to your taste. Also, boiling isn’t always necessary. If you look into the various gluten-free porridge ingredients, you’ll notice that many of them can be eaten raw. It means you don’t have to boil them to destruction. All you need is to add hot water to the mixture and wait for it to absorb.
All it takes to find the perfect oatmeal gluten free alternative is a quick online search, a little recipe trial and different kinds of milk and toppings. Finding your favourite porridge, nutrient and gluten-free, is worth all the effort.