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10 August 2005

oh, how I miss it


cream of rice in the morning, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

It’s the mornings when I miss it most.

I stumble into the kitchen, rubbing my eyes of sleep and heading for the coffee pot. It’s my most unguarded moment, when I don’t focus first on how much better I feel, how thrilled I am to be learning so much, how grateful I am to finally find out that I have celiac disease. In the glimmering morning, as the coffee is brewing, I still miss it.

Toast? Nah. I have good, gluten-free cinnamon toast from Kaili’s. Biscuits? Scones? No, those were only for special occasions. Pancakes? I had those on the morning of my birthday. I don’t miss them at all. Increasingly, I’m concocting decent gluten-free versions of all my favorite foods. And if I haven’t found the good ones yet, they’re lurking out there. I know it.

No, there’s something I miss in the mornings for which there is no decent replacement.

Oatmeal. Oh god, I miss oatmeal.

If there is any controversy in the gluten-free world, it’s oats. After much careful study, scientists have shown that oats do not contain gluten. They think. The proteins in oatmeal are structured differently than those in wheat, rye, barley, et al. So why can’t I eat them? The dreaded C word: cross contamination.

Apparently, if oats are planted in one field, and wheat in the neighboring one, wheat spores can waft over to the oats, glom onto them, and contaminate them with gluten. Worse yet, most oats, or oats products, are produced in plants that also produce wheat products. If the oats roll over machines that have recently touched wheat, I get sick. It’s just that insidious.

Sigh.

It’s not fair. I love oatmeal. For the past few years, I have eaten oatmeal every morning for breakfast. You’d think I would have tired of it, but I never did. Every morning, I opened up the cupboard with the coffee and pulled out my bag of Bob’s Red Mill organic thick-cut oats. On school mornings, I’d make it in the microwave, to save time. And while it heated and boiled and roiled, I’d ponder the toppings. Blueberries? Walnuts? Dried apricots? Candied ginger? How about all of them? (Those were on Sundays, when I made the oatmeal in the double boiler and coffee in the French press. And the time to spread out the entire New York Times. Ah, those mornings.) And when my spoon hit the bottom of the bowl, and the last oats were in my stomach, I always let out a little satisfied sigh.

Now, sometimes I pass oats in the bulk section of the PCC, and I pause to stare at them. If only...

Of course, no one knows for sure. In fact, this page will show you the multiplicity of opinions on the subject, along with more precise science than I can write here. And in Canada, celiacs are told they can eat oats. So maybe I should move to Canada?

In the meantime, I’m working on it. I’ve located this oatmealmade in Scotland, at a family business with a stone wheel that has only ground pinhead oats for 250 years. Surely they can’t have cross-contamination issues. Perhaps, but I don’t have an answer yet, so I won’t eat them until I know. My doctor told me that my intestines should take about six months to heal fully, on this gluten-free diet. And then I can slowly try oats, see how they make me feel. Maybe for Halloween, I’ll go dressed up as a bowl of oatmeal!

This morning, I had a bowl of hot cereal: Cream of Rice. With risotto for dinner last night, I’m calling this the 24 Hours of Rice. Smooth and easy, and blaringly white, Cream of Rice is labeled Gluten Free in big letters on the front. It heats up fast in the microwave and sits well in the stomach. And this morning, I filled up the bowl with sliced almonds, golden raisins, a dollop of this gorgeous maple syrup, a pinch of cinnamon, and a full tablespoon of flaxseeds. It looked so pretty I had to take a picture. And I enjoyed that bowl of lovely warmth.

Still, I miss my oatmeal.

17 Comments:

At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Laurel said...

Canadian celiacs have it made, man... they also get told they can have distilled alcoholic beverages, which my dietitian says is out of the question. :(
http://www.celiac.edmonton.ab.ca/alcohol.html

 
At 3:03 PM, Blogger Shauna said...

Laurel--

Maybe we could just pretend we're Canadians, eh?

Actually, I think your dietician has outdated material. Mine said I can drink whiskey, gin, vodka, etc. I'll look it up and post about it soon.

 
At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Laura Flowers said...

I get obvious rashes when I eat gluten, including oats. However there is one brand that doesn't do anything to me. It's Nature Path instant organic oatmeal. So who knows? Just thought I would pass that along. And you are right, that info is outdated about distilled spirits. There is almost no gluten in there, if you can imagine a cell of gluten in a gallon of water, that might be about how much gluten is in them if any. Also the same for white vinegar according to my allergist. Another thing, in Europe they get to eat Wheat Starch!! Now that makes me jealous. I am told their wheat starch is better washed than ours? Lol weird.

 
At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just read an article by Scott Adams at Celiac.com saying if there could be the possibility of wheat dust on your oatmeal, just RINSE it before cooking it. duh.
Now you can have your oatmeal again.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

As a Canadian, I can tell you that it is not true that we can eat oats here anymore than you can there. Health Canada still says that oats are not gluten free. The Canadian Celiac association released information that tests show that some celiacs can tolerate small amounts of PURE UNCONTAMINATED OATS. This means that we are not going out and buying Bob's Red Mill, or Quaker, or granola bars or other products made with oats, since most are of the regular, contaminated kind. There is one farm in Canada that guarantees uncontaminated oats (less than 10ppm, which is the lowest the ELISA test allows) known as Cream Hill Estates. There oats are not yet available commercially, but I hear you can order directly from the company. There is also a farm in the states that has uncontaminated oats. Check out www.glutenfreeoats.com.
As for alcohol, they say the distillation process actually kills the protein, but many company's add the mash back in. You should contact the manufacturer to find out if they do this. There is also gluten free beer out there made of buckwheat and rice flour. Contact Gluten Free Living magazine in New York.
Europe as much lower standards about what is considered gluten free. The limit there is 200ppm (that is 10X the limit in Canada which allows 20ppm and the USA which allows 50ppm - check FDA), so many gluten free labels there can use wheat starch and oats.

 
At 9:29 AM, Blogger Carolyn said...

As a Canadian, I can tell you that it is not true that we can eat oats here anymore than you can there. Health Canada still says that oats are not gluten free. The Canadian Celiac association released information that tests show that some celiacs can tolerate small amounts of PURE UNCONTAMINATED OATS. This means that we are not going out and buying Bob's Red Mill, or Quaker, or granola bars or other products made with oats, since most are of the regular, contaminated kind. There is one farm in Canada that guarantees uncontaminated oats (less than 10ppm, which is the lowest the ELISA test allows) known as Cream Hill Estates. There oats are not yet available commercially, but I hear you can order directly from the company. There is also a farm in the states that has uncontaminated oats. Check out www.glutenfreeoats.com.
As for alcohol, they say the distillation process actually kills the protein, but many company's add the mash back in. You should contact the manufacturer to find out if they do this. There is also gluten free beer out there made of buckwheat and rice flour. Contact Gluten Free Living magazine in New York.
Europe as much lower standards about what is considered gluten free. The limit there is 200ppm (that is 10X the limit in Canada which allows 20ppm and the USA which allows 50ppm - check FDA), so many gluten free labels there can use wheat starch and oats.

 
At 2:21 PM, Blogger vicki said...

Wow, firt time I have ever tried to leave a comment on a blog and you are either getting it 4 times or it is gone to cyberspace. anyway.....

Oat flakers are readily available for home use and they work well. If you use one of these you would eliminate the worry of cross contamination in milling. That way you would only have to find a farm that sells the gluten free grain and you could flake it yourself.

 
At 9:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife is on a gluten free diet due to chronic fatigue. I just ran across this link and thought I'd pass it along. No, don't work for them and we're still awaiting our first order.

http://www.glutenfreeoats.com/

We are proud to have been the first company in the USA to offer "SAFE" oats to the celiac community. We are one of you, so we understand issues if our oats are not pure and uncontaminated. Yes, from the President to the Production Manager we are on a gluten free diet. The mission of Gluten Free Oats® is to provide the purest oats available for people with celiac disease. Inspected by celiacs from planting to packaging, we understand the importance of avoiding cross-contamination from wheat, rye or barley. Gluten Free Oats® can be considered SAFE for people who are gluten intolerant because they are tested to be below 10 parts per million (ppm) by the University of Nebraska FARRP Laboratory

.
.
.

 
At 4:20 PM, Blogger Nancy Lindquist-Liedel said...

Bob's Redmill has Gluten Free oats advertized on their site. I cannot find it in the stores, so I may have to mail for them. It would sure increase our list of foods here.

 
At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Mexico so one distilled beverage I often enjoy without issue is tequila. Never have had a problem with it. Mezcal is also fine for me. Beer ... it's cheap and good down here, but bad news for me.

 
At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

About pancakes.. My husband makes me pancakes every Sunday morning with blueberries. He uses Arrowhead Mills All Purpose Gluten Free baking mix instead of flour. He also beats the eggs whites separate. The pancakes are wonderful and GLUTEN FREE! Also, I make cornbread using the baking mix instead of flour in the recipe. It's wonderful!

 
At 1:45 AM, Blogger Kaytlin said...

Im a Canadian and very new to Celiacs was only Diagnosed last year. I have been on the Diet since January 2008 with a treat once a month which I am now cutting back to every 3 months because ooowie my Tummy hates me. I only just discovered by reading your site that I can eat Oatmeal. So Thank You so much and I cant wait to read more on Your site. I also loooove Oatmeal. You should see if someone in Canada could mail you some *Laughs*

 
At 6:50 AM, Anonymous geminiswp said...

Oh lord, I read your blog and have been an oatmeal nut since I was 2....45 years later I go bonkers when I eat the organic stuff...I did not know that this was not gluten-free.

I have made everything from cookies to scones with oatmeal and have yet to find a suitable replacement.

There is a site someone posted here and I am ordering at least two 2 pound bags...

I NEED my oatmeal - I stay full for hours rather than minutes!

 
At 1:40 PM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

I am a Canadian....and I CANNOT eat oatmeal....and I miss it too!

 
At 3:36 PM, Blogger mokarena said...

I know what you mean. I miss oatmeal too. And homemade granola. I don't really care for that stuff at Trader Joes they call gluten-free granola. If it's granola, where's the oats? I tried eating the gluten-free oats, but I still react to them. I hope some day I will be able to eat gluten-free oats.
Karena

 
At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Jamie said...

Red Mill makes a Gluten Free Oatmeal that I actually think is the best oatmeal I have ever had. try it! Good luck and thanks for your blogging!

www.bobsredmill.com/oats/

 
At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Glutenfreda Instant Oatmeal. There are several flavors in a variety pack. It has flax in it, which I could do without. But it's great to have a quick oatmeal fix.

 

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