So, as I decided to write my blog about the morning breakfast I cooked my daughter, I realized that I needed more information. Of course I decided to go straight to the source . . . I called the GF Havest Company from whom I purchase my wonderful GF oats that don’t make me sick! I had this wonderful talk with Seaton Smith, the owner of this small, Celiac-family run company. I learned so much about the processing of oats and the scrutiny his oats go through to make sure there is no cross-contamination. I wanted to share what I learned and why I’m in love with GF Harvest:
1. Owner & Operated by Celiac Family: The GF Harvest company began when Forrest Smith, (son of Seaton Smith), as a teenager, became determined to develop uncontaminated gluten-free oat for him and his three generations of family diagnosed with Celiac Disease. His desire led to an FFA entrepreneur project which became Gluten Free Oats, LLC.
2. Goes through Intense and Thorough Screening for Cross-Contamination: Seaton Smith, the owner and president, makes sure that there is mandatory family activity in the growing fields. Since the fields rotate crops, all fields must lie fallow of any gluten grains for 2 full years before use. Once the oats are grown, every field is walked by the GF Harvest inspection team, in addition to a QC (quality control) inspection by the University of Wyoming Seed Certification Service. By doing an inspection of the whole field it is not like some of the other GF oat milling companies that just test a small sample (2-3 pounds) from each field that can be from 100 to 1000 acre and statistically call it GF. Depending on the growing conditions, a 1000 acre field could produce over 5 million pounds of grain, so this is not a very good statistical sample of the field. GF Harvest tests a much larger percentage of their oats in comparison. After the field passes inspection by the University, the product can then only come in contact with grain bins, augers, and combines that are certified by the University to prevent cross-contamination as well. When it is time to harvest the grain, the farm trucks harvest the raw oats, and each truck batch is tested before it is allowed to unload at the mill. (Farm trucks are smaller than industrial size trucks, carrying only 16-25 thousand pounds of grain, which means a larger percentage of their grain is tested compared to larger operations). Once the oats are rolled, they are tested again in GF Harvest’s own lab in addition to a preset regiment of 3rd party inspections by the University of Nebraska and GFCO (which is the GF certifying organization under the Gluten Intolerance Group (GIG)). Needless to say, these oats are the safest you can find out on the market, and the highest quality!!
3. A Quick Cook: Their oats are super fast to cook over the stove-top, which amounts to about 2 minutes.
What are Oats?
Oats are a type of grain grown in fields. The oat seeds are harvested from the field and then chaffed to pull of the hull (an undigestible part of the grain). Once the hull is off of the oat seed, it is now called a raw groat. Raw groats are then processed in some way (read below to learn more), which are then made into the oats we buy on the shelves today.
Old-Fashioned Oatmeal vs. Instant Oatmeal
Instant Oatmeal is oats that are cut super fine, then pre-soaked and dried (according to Wikipedia). Quaker Oats instant oatmeal, a typical example of instant oatmeal, has been “enhanced” with: SUGAR, NATURAL FLAVOR, SALT, CALCIUM CARBONATE, GUAR GUM, OAT FLOUR, CARAMEL COLOR, REDUCED IRON, VITAMIN A PALMITATE. Because the grain is smaller, the body digests it quicker, adding to glycemic (how quickly carbs convert to sugar) index. To cook, all you do is add boiling water.
Old-Fashioned Oats fall into 2 categories: rolled oats and steel-cut oats, both of which have a lower glycemic index level than instant oats, because the grain isn’t cut as small.
Rolled Oats are raw groats that are steamed to stabilize* their shelf-life and then rolled (according to GF Harvest). These just take all of 2-5 minutes to cook over the stove top.
Steel-Cut Oats are raw groats cut into 2-3 pieces and then steamed in the steam chest to stabilize. They can take 20-30 minutes to cook.
*NOTE: If the raw groats are NOT steamed/stabilized, then they will go rancid within the week.
Benefits of Oatmeal
1. Reducing Cholesterol: According to the Mayo Clinic, Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad,” cholesterol. . . Soluble fiber can reduce the absorption of cholesterol into your bloodstream. Five to 10 grams or more of soluble fiber a day decreases your total and LDL cholesterol. Eating 1 1/2 cups of cooked oatmeal provides 6 grams of fiber.
2. Reducing Risk of Heart Disease: By adding fiber from sources rich in beta-glucan, once can reduce the risk of heart disease (Effect of beta-glucan from oats and yeast on serum lipids. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 1999 Mar;39(2):189-202.)
In a research study published in Nutrition Journal in 2007 (6:6 doi:10.1186/1475-2891-6-6) found that ” . . . a practical dose of β-glucan can significantly lower serum lipids in a high-risk population and may improve colon health.”
Blueberries and Cream GF Oatmeal
1 cup GF Harvest Oats
2 cups water
1/4 cup of cream, milk, or dairy substitute
1-2 TBSP Maple Syrup
1/8 – 1/4 cup of fresh or frozen blueberries
1. Put all ingredients except the maple syrup in the pot. While constantly stirring, bring to a boil over medium/high heat. (I also smashed the blueberries as they warmed up).
2. As it begins to thicken up, add in your maple syrup to taste.
3. When it is the thickness of your liking, remove from heat and serve.