Debating oatmeal for gluten-free

  • JudyraeKruse / Herald Columnist
  • Thursday, March 1, 2007 9:00pm
  • Life

If a recipe is labeled gluten free, is it? Or – gasp — isn’t it?

Lynn Jefferson, graphic designer here at The Herald, says, “My son was recently diagnosed as gluten intolerant, so I made sure to read the Feb. 19 Forum.”

(This column included gluten-free flour mixtures, proper measurements of xanthan gum to be added, and a recipe for “gluten-free” peanut butter oatmeal cookies.)

It’s the recipe itself that raises concern. Lynn tells us, “This recipe is not gluten free because it calls for oatmeal. While the grain itself might not contain gluten – the scientific community is still debating – it still can cause problems for true Celiac folks. The reasoning is below. Just thought I would share this since there might be comments from some readers.”

Now for that “reasoning,” which goes like this: “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 most gluten-intolerant folks eat them? Because of the recent dreaded C word – cross contamination.

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

Next, we have a letter from Greg Gifford of Glutenfreeda Foods in Burlington, who writes, “Did you know that you have one of the nation’s foremost experts on gluten-free cooking right here in your neighborhood?

“Yvonne Gifford has been speaking nationally for years on a gluten-free lifestyle and has put together the largest resource site on the Web (over 4,000 recipes) for the gluten intolerant.

“In fact, the Web site is doing a 90-day free promotion right now. Please take a moment and check it out: Thanks for the interest in gluten free.”

SOS: Lynnwood reader Darla Bauman writes, “I’m hoping someone can help me. Many years ago, Taco Bell carried a ground beef mixture on a hamburger bun. I just loved it. I do not know why they quit carrying it. I would love to know how to make it. I also wish they would bring it back! Thanks a bunch.”

If you can share the how-to for this beef mixture, please write to Judyrae Kruse at the Forum, c/o The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206.

We are always happy to receive your contributions and requests, but please remember that all letters and all e-mail must include a name, complete address with ZIP code and telephone number with area code. No exceptions and sorry, but no response to e-mail by return e-mail; send to

The next Forum will appear in Monday’s Time Out section.

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