The Place of Oats In a Gluten Free Diet Part 3

Are you ready for your THIRD serving of oats in this blog ! ?

I want to start by saying that we have some potentially shocking scientific references in this article that may open up a whole new world for you.

The “Cereous” Business Behind Preparing Oats Properly.
In PART 2, I was “monkey-ing” around a bit, attempting to get the point across, that traditional wisdom has a lot to offer us in terms of how we can prepare our day-to-day foods. That this age-old approach may hold valuable keys to have contemporary consumers THRIVING instead of just surviving.

Using our oats theme as an example, today’s article weaves in some of the many scientific studies which confirm the transformative processes of soaking, fermentation and cooking.

Oat_wheat_label_largeFor the celiac, or those concerned with the contamination of their oats with other gluten-containing grains, it has been suggested that “rolling your own” oat grain is the ideal solution. This way you can not only sort through and pick out any offending, alien grain, but you also gain the added benefit of freshly rolled oats.

The hand-picking idea sounds great in theory, but how practical is it ?

Even for the most adventurous, this task may prove to be more of a challenge than at first thought.  Have a look at the photo comparing the whole oat kernel with that of the wheat kernel. Can you pick the difference? The contrast between these two grains would also vary depending on the varieties used. My guess is, though, that this example would be fairly representative of the challenge you’d face.

Think about it. Would you be willing to sort through ¼ cup per person of whole oats, looking for the odd stray gluten-containing grain? If you were cooking only for yourself (and you had the time), maybe you would be motivated enough to give it a go.

Rolling Your Own Oat Flakes
Taking the time to work with basic, raw ingredients, definitely has its advantages in the gluten free way of life. Flaking our own oats is an especially satisfying process that I love to do myself. I created a little (2 min) video here to show you how it is done in our home. Check it out.

To start, just click the “play” arrow at the bottom left of the little TV screen below.

Upgrade your Flash Player to version 8 to view this video! (Click here for the download)

Do I REALLY have to resort to this ?
Will picking through every grain and making everything from “scratch” guarantee a totally gluten free meal ? You’d like to think so, but this is not necessarily the case. As those who are extremely sensitive to gluten can attest, mistakes happen, undesirable influences can creep in, and new circumstances can arise at any time. 

Eliminating certain grains from the diet is not the only strategy available to deal with potentially “abrasive” foods in the gluten free kitchen.

What else can I do then ? 
Draw upon the wisdom of past generations. Start to discover and experiment with certain cooking and processing skills developed over thousands of years. In fact that is what this whole series on oats has really been about. You could say that we are promoting a “culture-al revolution” (pun intended). 

What I mean by this is a return to the use of fermentation and natural culturing techniques to assist us in preparing and processing our foods.  Doesn’t it just make sense to use everything we have at our disposal to transform the raw materials into foodstuffs suitable for human digestion ?

As I have emphasized in Parts 1 and Part 2, traditional cultures have known and practiced these techniques for centuries, but now modern science is finally confirming their value and identifying many of the mechanisms involved.

It is my personal belief that this information is
not just for the celiac and those with
compromised digestive and immune function, but, ultimately,
for anyone and everyone who wants to be truly nourished.

What About The Science?
Here are a couple of brief extracts from scientific studies, of particular interest to the celiac, providing strong evidence as to the value of these traditional practices.

Study 1
Sourdough lactobacilli and celiac disease – Gobbetti M, et al., Food Microbiol. 2007 Apr;24(2):187-96. Epub 2006 Sep 12.

Extract …… “As shown by studies in vitro on celiac intestinal tissue and in vivo on CD patients, the bacterial proteolytic activity is rather promising not only as currently demonstrated for eliminating traces of contaminant gluten but probably also in perspective for the manufacture of tolerated baked goods.”

Study 2
Proteolysis by Sourdough Lactic Acid Bacteria: Effects on Wheat Flour Protein Fractions and Gliadin Peptides Involved in Human Cereal Intolerance – DiCagno, et al., Applied and Environmental Microbiology, February 2002, p. 623-633, Vol. 68, No. 2

Extract ….. ”this study is the first to show that selected sourdough lactic acid bacteria have hydrolyzing activities towards prolamin peptides involved in human cereal intolerance

Study 3
Sourdough Bread Made from Wheat and Nontoxic Flours and Started with Selected Lactobacilli Is Tolerated in Celiac Sprue Patients – Raffaella Di Cagno, et al., Applied and Environmental Microbiology, February 2004, p. 1088-1096, Vol. 70, No. 2

Extract …… “After 24 h of fermentation, wheat gliadins and low-molecular-mass, alcohol-soluble polypeptides were hydrolyzed almost totally. ……… The minimal agglutinating activity was ca. 250 times higher than that of doughs chemically acidified or started with baker’s yeast. …….. These results showed that a bread biotechnology that uses selected lactobacilli, nontoxic flours, and a long fermentation time is a novel tool for decreasing the level of gluten intolerance in humans.”

In other words, certain ferment cultures essentially neutralize the toxic aspect
of the gluten molecule that is at the core of the allergic reaction in the celiac.

I have listed only three of a series of similar studies confirming the extraordinary transformative powers of these natural fermentation processes. Combine the findings of these with results from the 2007 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology (mentioned in Part 1 of this series of articles) and it is easy to start developing an interest in considering the possibilities.

A Strong Case For Oats In A Gluten Free Diet
What do you think NOW about the appropriateness of oats in a gluten free diet ? Especially if this food is prepared according to the traditional methods mentioned throughout this series of articles ? 

As an aside, I must say, that these results have not been surprising to us. During the many years that we taught and practiced traditional sourdough bread baking and sold these same breads from our store, we have had very positive feedback. On numerous occasions, individuals who were gluten sensitive, reported to us that they did not have a negative response when eating these fermented breads. 

I realize that anecdotal evidence like this, on its own, is nothing to prove any particular point conclusively, but, when supportive scientific evidence as compelling as those mentioned above, are on the rise, then … 

I’d say it is definitely cause for more than just optimism.

Amidst the climate of a dramatic increase in allergic and other food and chemical sensitives, I regard this information as a clarion call to encourage a re-evaluation of our reliance on modern food processing methods in favor of traditional, self-empowering methods ready and waiting to be used in our own kitchens.

Traditional fermentation methods help 
Make available more nutrients and
Sublimate or eliminate more of the anti-nutrients.

For the celiac, gluten intolerant, or others who have some other form of compromised digestive or immune function this is an especially important message.

As we have strayed more and more from the nurturing arms of our own traditional kitchens into the clutches of a plastic food society, mega-corporations, MediCare, MedicAid and HMO’s, it is becoming more obvious that there is an urgent need in many areas, to re-orient our life direction and daily priorities.

Why can’t I just rely on the food manufacturers to take care of Human Nuturingit?

It is not likely that manufacturers will commit the resources needed to come up with cost effective, large scale, processing and packaging facilities that can harness and nurture these natural fermentation processes.
                     Why is this ?

In one word it boils down to “economics”. In order to stay in business they need to profit. In order to profit they need customers. In order to create the demand necessary, potential customers need to be aware of the value of moving in that new direction. They need to be willing to make new and different choices. This movement would need to be big enough and loud enough for big business to take notice and act. Only then will big business respond.

Till that time, it is up to the individuals and small groups to start supporting one another in making new choices. All this boils down to self-education and sharing with friends and family. This is what you and I are in the process of doing.

The BIG question to ask now is,
how can your life be organized
in order to take advantage of this information
and make use of these natural processes? 

We have millennia of traditional wisdom available to us, and a powerful, transformative alchemy that can be performed in our very own kitchens. A return to this, can not only add to the health and wellbeing of those we care about, but also nourish our very soul in the process.

An openness and a willingness to explore and practice new ways of doing things and to gradually let go of non-supportive habits and systems, is all that’s needed. One step at a time.

This is about learning to move more in harmony with the natural forces of life. Despite many uncomfortable “learning experiences” along the way, this has always been a prime motivating force for Karen and I in our personal lives. It naturally, also spills over into this blog and our Internet activities.

We invite you to stay in touch with us as we continue along on this adventure.

That’s it for today’s “cereal”.

As always, “To your Health and Gluten Freedom”.
Warmly, Sven

PS: (joke of the moment) 
What was the cause of the massive supply shortage of oats in Scotland during the early 1800’s ?  Give up ?

THE ANSWER To this question is …… There was a Cereal killer loose at that time !!!
(Jokes like this are a clear result of my inherited genes. I am not responsible!)

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