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Are Oats Gluten-Free?

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The big question is :

Can people diagnosed with Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance can eat OATS?

Some studies suggest they can and others say they can’t.

So who is right? The short answer is, they both are.


Do you remember growing up and perhaps your mother or a loved one said to you, “It’s whats on the inside that counts, not whats on the outside.”?
With today’s topic we need to rearrange a few words,  because when it comes to oats, “It’s whats on the outside that counts, not on the inside.”!
Let me explain:

Oats do not contain the protein gluten the way wheat, barley and rye do. So, if oats do not contain gluten, why should a person with Celiac Disease may need to avoid oats? There are two reasons.

  1. First, oats are often grown in close proximity to wheat and barley, both of which contain gluten. In addition, farmers rotate their fields so oats are often grown in the same soil wheat and barley have been grown on. Farmers also use the same equipment on the oat, wheat and barley crops. This creates a cross contamination. So even though gluten is not found within the oat, it is on it and this can be just as harmful to a person with Celiac Disease. If oats were grown completely away from wheat and barely and farmers dedicated their equipment to only the oat fields, they should be gluten-free. It is possible to buy “uncontaminated’ oats from vendors who ensure their oats have not come into contact with gluten. But that does not mean that every person with Celiac Disease can start eating “uncontaminated” oats.
  2. The second reason a person with Celiac Disease may need to avoid oats is because they may also have a sensitivity to avenin, the protein found in oats. Numerous studies have shown that a number of people with a sensitivity to gluten also have a sensitivity to avenin. Thus, when pure oats are consumed, they still exhibit the same symptoms as if they had eaten gluten. One study done in Norway found that even people who ate “uncontaminated” oats and didn’t show physical symptoms, still showed inflammation in their intestines. This study was done with a small number, 9, individuals, so the results are definitely not 100% conclusive.

The bottom line, talk to your health care professionals if you think you might want to add oats into your diet. Most health care professionals recommend having your Celiac Disease under control before even attempting to add oats. Even then, they recommend eating just a small amount. They key is to make sure you are closely monitored.

Information from: Celiac Disease



Red Mill Oats – gluten-free but not raw

  • Our Gluten Free Quick Oats are pure. They are grown by over 200 farmers on clean, dedicated oat-growing fields. They plant only “pedigreed” seed stock. Each farm delivery is sampled hundreds of times and tested with an R5 ELISHA gluten test to ensure the absence of gluten. Advanced color-sorting removes undetected impurities. Roasting enhances that wholesome, robust flavor you expect. The oats are packaged in our 100% gluten-free facility and tested for gluten again to ensure their purity.

Prairie Oats – gluten-free but not raw

  • Read about there company here.
  • Because our Gluten-Free Prairie Oat is naturally hull-less, it requires minimal processing and has not been soaked or steamed. Bonus: there is no hull debris to remove prior to packaging. Additionally we’ve been really impressed with their 18 month shelf-life. (Possibly due to the lower moisture content)
  • This new variety of hull-less oats, developed at Montana State University, is also higher in protein than many other varieties. Most oats are approx. 13% protein, while Gluten-Free Prairie Oats consistently test out between 17 & 22% protein.

Go Super Life – gluten free raw oats

100% Organic Fresh rolled oats. These oats are cold-rolled in small batches using special equipment to retain nutrients and flavor. You can make great raw oat cookies, especially pleasing in colder weather and as holidays treats. Very suitable to serve to cooked foodists. This is a gluten-free product, however, cross-contamination may occur during harvesting and transportation.


Soaking Oats:

  1. Ratio: 1 cup oats / 2 cups of water / 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  2. Time:  8-24 hours
  3. Drain and rinse

It is always recommended that you soak any grains or grain-like seeds for a minimum of 8 hours. 24 hours is even better. Grains have phytic acid in them (as do nuts, beans and other seeds) that makes them difficult to break down in your digestive system. Since most people have weak digestive systems, eating grains without soaking them could cause symptoms of digestive upset. And as you are already learning, improper digestion leads to a toxic body.

“All grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorous is bound) in the outer layer or bran. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal track and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in unfermented whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first buy may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long-term, many other adverse effects. Soaking allows enzymes, lactobacilli and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid. As little as seven hours of soaking in warm acidulated water will neutralize a large portion of phytic acid in grains. The simple practice of soaking cracked or rolled cereal grains overnight will vastly improve their nutritional benefits.”

Quoted from: Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon & Mary G. Enig page 452.

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14 thoughts on “Are Oats Gluten-Free?

  1. Colin says:

    Hi There,

    Colin here from Dublin. Loving your website. Been thinking very strongly about increasing raw foods. I have always soaked oats but never added the cider vinegar. I have just started the low FODMAP diet as I have been having sever upper left abdominal pain 4-6 times a year and have had all the tests and was cleared for Chrons, Celiac etc. Perfectly healthy Im told! Chronic IBS Im told, I am a bit bewildered as from what I know IBS is a daily occurrence for sufferers and I go symptom free for months then bang, out for 2–3 days following a 6-8 hour sever pain episode? I was hospitalized 2 weeks ago for 2 days due to the pain. Having tried lots of different approaches I am giving the FODMAP Diet a go. Trying to find alternative less abrasive ways to eat protein and carbs. Would I need to soak all grains, Millet, Quinoa, Buckwheat etc and if so is it standard 8-24 hours for all grains plus the lemon or ACV? Many thanks for any advice or symptoms or soaking, Blessings, Colin

    • amie-sue says:

      Good afternoon Colin,
      I so understand your frustration in trying to play detective with your body/health. I suffer from digestive issues and it has been a long, drawn out process in trying to understand my body. I am not aware of FODMAP but I am interested in learning about it, I shall Google it. :) I have several friends who suffer from IBS and can go symptom free for a period of time and then they get hit with an attack. For some it seems to be brought on with stress. I was diagnosed with IBS about 6 years ago by one doctor, never again brought up by other doctors that I have seen in between, so I really don’t know if I have it or not. To be honest, I feel it is a “blanket” diagnosis for digestive disorders. Sort of the like the band-aide diagnosis rather than the understanding of the underlying cause. But then that’s a long topic for me to get into.

      I have done a lot of reading about grains and from my collective efforts on gaining knowledge about it them, it is recommended to soak Millet, Quinoa and Buckwheat in the same manner. These are actually seeds, not grains but are often referred to as such. Donna Gates strongly requested that you soak these seeds to ease up on digestion. Have you ever read her book, Body Ecology? If nothing else you can check out her site, http://bodyecology.com/articles/millet_nutrition_benefits_uses.php.

      Quinoa is suppose to be super easy on the digestive system and is a complete protein. Have you figured out what are trigger foods for you? In the past week I discovered a great article that I am studying about phytic acid. It’s a research paper called, “Phytic Acid: A Visual Summary Of The Research On Home Kitchen Remedies For Phytic Acid” She charges $11 to be able to download the paper. The gal who wrote it (Amanda Rose, Ph.D.) has a blog, here is a link to it… http://www.rebuild-from-depression.com/soaking-grains.

      I hope so of this helped to answer your questions. You can always contact me at amiesue@nouveauraw.com if you want to talk further about it. Have a blessed weekend, amie sue

  2. Darla says:

    FYI – I just read in the reviews on Amazon that Legacy Valley oats are no longer raw and will not sprout.

  3. Shawn says:

    Wow, what a beautiful website! I love your aesthetic. You you are a real artist: with the camera, with the cooking utensils, accessories, and of course with your food preparation and presentation. It is all so amazing in its good taste. You better not let Martha Stewart see it, she could be like one of Cinderella’s jealous stepsisters.

    I just have a general comment and then at the end a question. First the comment. My wife has Rheumatoid Arthritis and she has had it now for over 6 years. This past year we made a concerted decision to try and cure her naturally and in the least get her off the hard core medications given to nearly all people suffering from an autoimmune disease. She is 6 months into this natural cure and about 3 months without her powerful meds. I would like to say she’s perfectly healed, but that would be a huge exaggeration. It’s a little early yet to cry miracle, but we are both optimistic she will get better and she feels a whole lot happier energetically than before. Unfortunately, she is in a lot of pain day to day, but that too will eventually end.

    The doctor and nutritionist she is working with both think much of this problem is/was exacerbated by a “leaky gut” as well as other pathogenic infections that were only encouraged by the leaky gut. We now eat a very clean plant based food diet that is mostly raw, however, we have learned through eliminating many food groups that “sugar” and this can be natural sugars form all grains and pseudo grains, to sugars found in fruit especially fructose from dried fruit and even many fresh fruits like apples that cause an arthritic reaction that first starts in her gut and then spreads to some joint or another where inflammation ensues and then pain.

    The gut is the origin for these arthritic attacks or flares and supposedly the reason why is that sugar (from all sources man-made or raw) feed gram stain negative bacteria in the gut that in turn helps grow or nourish these infections. When all types of sugars are reduced or avoided, my wife does better and her arthritic flares are minimal. She can eat raw, fresh ground buckwheat (no more than a cup total each week) made into low heat pancakes, but not quinoa and not any other pseudo grains. I bring this all up because I think a natural raw plant based diet is awesome for the body, but also maybe some of your readers (like Colin) with IBS should consider reducing all sugars for awhile (not just for a week, but maybe 6 months) to see how the body responds.

    Finally, my question: It is so hard to find any vegan and or raw food recipes for snacks or desserts without the additive of sugar or sweeteners (natural, dried or refined) in them. Your foods look SO good, but we can’t consume dates because there is way too much fructose sugar in even one. So too with any recipes featuring Agave, Stevia, honey and dried fruits. Our best bet so far has been nut butters like a mix of either raw walnuts, raw pecans or raw almonds mixed with raw cocoa nibs in the food processor. So, if your artist’s intuition and sensibility has any ideas for sweet tasting non-sweet desserts or snacks then we would be so deeply indebted for your help. Thank you, Shawn.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Shawn,

      First of all thank you for sharing your story and your wife’s. I have done quite a bit of reading regarding leaky gut, rheumatoid arthritis and the avoidance of ALL sugars. I went through your comment above and put the items that she can’t eat in bold… just to help me sort this out. As you both have been enduring this journey, have you compiled a list of foods that she can and can’t eat? I know you gave me a basic outline but just wondering if you have anything more detailed that I could “chew” over. :) This would help me tremendously so I don’t end up spending time on foods that she can’t have in the end.

      I have to admit this will be a great challenge and one that will require some thought and time. Ideas for “sweet tasting non-sweet desserts” causes my head to spin. hehe You can either continue to comment here or you can email me at amiesue@nouveauraw.com. I would like to know if and what nuts, seeds, fresh fruits, etc that she can eat and foods that she clearly voids.

      I would love to help. I look forward in hearing back from you… many blessings to you both, amie sue

  4. stuart says:

    with reference to soaking oats in water and cider vinegar ii am confused as to how you go about draining and rinsing the oats. I soak my oats in boiling water for ten minutes and there is no water left to drain.

  5. Jan P. Lopez says:

    Good info to share with others , I am trying to educate on raw veganism.


    Jan P. Lopez

  6. Kanti Pike says:

    I was cured of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia at Optimum Health Institute near San Diego on the Ann Wigmore Hippocrates diet. I so fatigued and in so much pain and stayed a while to really heal. I had a new body (18 again at 45…now 60 and feeling good!) in 1995 and saw others helped or healed of arthritis, cancer, diabetes as I stayed on for 2 years. I also just finished “Clean Gut” by Dr. Alejandro Junger and would recommend it to everyone who needs to get their gut restored. He healed himself and changed his outlook on medicine!

  7. Helen says:

    Check out Sunrise Flour in MN. . .raw unpasterized oat groats, etc!! AWESOME company :)

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Helen. I will do that. I appreciate the heads up. Have a wonderful evening! amie sue

  8. arianne m izquierdo says:

    Good afternoon everybody, thank you all for sharing all the information. I’ve been suffering from cadida albicans already for alot of years. Is been painful and crazy, still is. Is hard to find anything without sugar or sweeteners, with flour etc. Not being able to eat fruits, rices, beans, breads etc etc is so horrible but well what can i do. Keep researching and looking for alternatives. I wish you all to get better and find your best posibilities. Thank for sharing, have an amazing day

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Arianne,

      I am so sorry that you are suffering. I can totally relate though, it is tough to find foods for ones self when we are faced with dietary restrictions. I am in the same boat, so your not paddling alone. :) Never forget that by taking care of your body and eating what foods you can… you are healing and honoring it. I am here to help if possible. Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for sharing. amie sue

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