• Note: I am adding this note to my original post which you’ll find below – I am deliberately putting this edit at the top of the post because I want to make sure you read it before you read the original post below. This paragraph you are reading is written today, April 19, 2008. The paragraphs below (the rest of the post), were written on the date of the original post. Today, I am responding to some of the comments people have made. I want to be clear. I have no bone to pick with Bob’s Red Mill. They have many products that are great and I use on a regular basis. I have no idea whether the steel cut oats I reacted to were from a bad batch. I’m more inclined to think that for some reason, my body doesn’t tolerate the steel cut oats. I do fine with the rolled oats. So, I think it’s just me. Please don’t think anything bad about Bob’s Red Mill – as I said, they have really done a splendid job of providing us with lots of great gluten free foods. Now…..on to the original post….

    I’m curious to know whether others have had this or a similar experience.

    A few months ago, I purchased several bags of both Bob’s Red Mill steel cut oats and several bags of Bob’s Red Mill rolled oats. I used the rolled oats to make granola – loved it. Delicious, no problem. Then I tried the steel cut oats. Soon after I ate them, I noticed a reaction that was vaguely familiar – vague only because it had been awhile – I hadn’t had this reaction since going gluten free in Jan 06. How to describe it? Let’s see…..anxious, out-of-breath sort of, heavy feeling in my chest. I spent much of my life like that, not knowing what it was until it disappeared after going GF. This reaction was a general across-the-board reaction to much of what I ate. Along with the bloated stomach ache which lasted for days, sort of like one endless stomach ache that never went away. I look back on it now and wonder how I put up with it. I think I was just so accustomed to feeling that way – I must’ve thought it was normal. Until my hair started falling out. That’s when I started connecting the dots. You can read more about my story here. But I digress….

    Could it be that the steel cut oats were from a contaminated batch? Could it be that for some reason I can’t digest the steel cut oats, even though I’m fine with the rolled oats?

    I have no idea. But suffice it to say, I won’t be eating the steel cut oats any longer. Too bad, they are such a delicious breakfast alternative. Oh well, I’ll have to make a double batch of my gluten free bagels this afternoon!

    In any case, I’m wondering if anyone else has had similar experiences with oats.
    • Gina Perry

      I’ve never tried the Bob’s oats. I have been eating Lara’s Cream Hill Estates rolled oats for over a year. I started out slow, per their recommendations. At some point I was eating them daily for several months with no reaction. I even had some repeat celiac blood testing done and was negative. The ONLY issue I’ve had with them is that they changed machinery making the rolled oats too thick to cook properly/nicely. They have since corrected this issue but I’m still working through a big box of the ‘thicker’ stuff. Perhaps the issue you’re having with Bob’s is due to non-dedicated machinery??? FYI, You can get the Lara’s products on glutenfree.com

    • kyrie

      Bob’s has pulled their steel cut oats (we can’t get them in our co-op anymore) because they had problems with processing. our co-op has a letter from Bob’s stating that, but i couldn’t find it on their website.

      but both the steel cut and the rolled are definitely GF, just processing issues with the steel cut that makes them not okay for some.

      we use the rolled oats to make GF granola! yum.

    • Sherry

      Right now we’re on a grain free diet. But I look forward to adding grains, especially oats, in the near future. I’m not sure I’d trust Bob’s Red Mill oats (contamination-wise.) Our doctor told us that actually the steel cut oats would be better for us to try then the regular. I was thinking he mentioned they’d be less likely for contamination because of processing, but now I’m not sure his reasoning.
      I’m wondering if oats can be soaked in water for awhile before cooking to help with digestibility.

    • vickyg

      Bob’s Red Mill has a new oats product that just became available in my local store. It is labeled “Whole Grain Rolled Oats” with Gluten Free at the top of the label. Although I have eaten a couple of Bob’s other hot cereals that are GF, I still missed the taste of simple oats. These are delicous but I also thought I should go slowly at first. I have only tried them one time, with no reaction. These are produced from oats-only fields and processed in a dedicated plant. Maybe you will be able to find them soon. Good luck.

    • Ellen

      This is obviously one of those hot topics, as I’ve gotten several replies within hours of posting. Clearly, there are others who love oats the way I do!

      Gina – I haven’t tried Lara’s, though have heard about them. I’ll have to give them a try.

      Kyrie – The steel cut oats SEEM fine, at least in terms of how they look, but they definitely don’t agree with me as well as the rolled oats.

      Sherry – I agree with you – I wonder about your doc’s reasoning?

      VickyG – the rolled oats you speak of are exactly those that I’ve eaten successfully (from Bob’s Red Mill). It is their brand of steel cut oats that I’m wondering about. I LOVE them – they’re a nice textural change from the rolled oats, but I’m not going to eat them any longer. Not worth the tummy aches.

    • Hilary Baumann

      You might try soaking the steal cut oats overnight and then rinse them before cooking them. If you don’t have a problem with milk, you might also try lacto fermenting them (add a little milk to the water and let them soak for 12-24 hours.)

      Both soaking processes should help to break down the oats so they are more digestible. Check out a book called “Nourishing Traditions” for more info on this.

      This is assuming that there wasn’t a problem with the batch of oats you got. I’m not 100% gluten free so I don’t have the extreme issues with wheat and gluten – I only have problems when I eat it too much. I did wanted to mention the soaking option in case you want to try it. :)

    • Anonymous

      I think we reacted to the Steel Cut Oats too. Haven’t tried the rolled.

    • Jen

      I was GF back when I started reading your site. Always had issues with oats, though – far to easily contaminated. Currently in my second pregnancy, I have started responding to corn, soy, and rice – really I had no idea how to pinpoint it. My GI doc suggested a book which is all about the Simple Carbohydrate Diet, something you ought to keep in mind just in case because sometimes GF isn’t enough.

    • Michelle

      I have eaten both the GF rolled oats and the GF steel cut from Bob’s and had no problem with either. Love the steel cut!

    • Ellen

      Hilary – possibly soaking them would help, but honestly, it’s not worth it. I’m grateful that I can handle the rolled oats. But thanks for the suggestion.

      Jen – good luck with finding suitable and safe foods during (and after) your pregnancy. It’s a good thing that babies are so delicious – the havoc it can wreak on your body takes getting used to!

      Michelle – glad you could handle both the rolled and steel. As for me, I’ll stick, at least for now, to the rolled oats!

    • Jess

      I am not sure about oats yet…
      At first I seemed fine, but then started noticing that I was exhausted the days that I had oats, my mouth was itchy and my stomach bloated the days I had oats, my basic glutened reaction.
      I am willing to try them again, after I defend my thesis.

    • jenniferk

      just found your site…I cant figure out if i can eat oats or not. the steel cut oats from bob’s red mill are labeled as certified gluten-free, but they definitely seemed to make me sick!! i had previously eaten some certified gluten-free rolled oats and thought that i was ok with them…now i am confused and a bit scared to try any more oats at all. i am disappointed because oats were one of my favorite grains. it is interesting that you seemed to have problems with the steel cut as well…but you will continue to eat the rolled oats, yes?

    • ChelB

      Hi..I’ve just found this website and saw your posting about oats. Ugh..I have such a love/hate relationship with them. :( I like them so much, but they don’t like me back.

      My fixation with oats was pretty bad at one time because I actually dreamed about eating them a few years back. From what I read, I thought steel cut and rolled oats were pretty much the same thing overall? In reference to Bob’s I’d also heard about the processing issue/problems they were having too. Personally, I’ve had both the steel cut and rolled oats as well. I tolerated the steel cut oats much better than I did the rolled oats. The reactions to different types of oats seem to be a very individual thing I suppose because each person is different.

    • Beth

      How disappointing to become sick. My GF Aunt was using some of Bob’s flours (like soy) that did not contain gluten but also were not certified gluten-free. She started feeling ill and contacted Bob’s, I think by snail mail. They responded and told her only the GF certified products were processed in their GF plant. Others, like the soy flour were processed in the plant with gluten containing products. I understand they were very helpful and I wouldn’t hesitate to contact them with questions. FYI, she found out there were other products she was eating that contained gluten so the soy flour may not have been the culprit.

    • Dana

      It is my understanding that only SOME of Bob’s Red Mill oats are gluten-free! They have gluten-free oats (rolled & steel cut) and NON gluten-free oats!!! I hope everyone is making sure they’re buying the right ones!!!!!!!
      GF Oats
      REGULAR Oats

    • Catherine

      That’s really disheartening. I was looking forward to trying the gf steel cut oats.


    • Jeanne

      Yeah, our co-op pulled all of the gf Bob’s oats until they Bob’s could check on the purity of their gf line. They are back in our store now, leading me to believe that they fixed whatever problem it was. I love their gf steel cut oats, so I was bummed for awhile there.

    • Nellie

      Gluten-free oats are certainly a blessing and have been a great addition to many celiac diets! I think it’s important, though, to remember that some celiacs won’t be able to eat them, even if they are certfied gf! I know how super-sensitive celiac I am, so I just don’t go there… I do eat lots of Bob’s Creamy Rice Cereal though:)

    • Karen

      I have tried both typed of oats with no reaction to them- it makes me nervous to think they are selling the steel cut oats if some of them are a “bad batch” . . . I actually like the Bob’s rolled oats because it is a much better value- the Lara’s brand are great but pricey.


    • Li loves David

      I just read your original post and the update. I want to agree with you and several of the other posters – the oats are probably 100% safe, but you may have a problem digesting the steel cut ones. I’ve tried Lara’s Cream Hill Estates ones, and can eat them occasionally. But if I eat them too often, I start reacting, like I do to soy. At least the rolled oats agree with you! :)

    • jonathan’s people

      Hi. I am going to send the following questions to Bob’s, but thought everyone here would appreciate as well. I run http://www.greenhome.com, so I know about the danger of making incorrect product claims. Therefore, any reactions to these helpful.

      I purchased a package of your steel cut oats (UPC: 39978-00373) and have a few questions:

      1) What does “pedigreed pure seed” mean? Is that the same as “Identity Preserved” and if so, why not use the more standard term? What is the actual oat variety you are only using? Is there a problem with other types of oat varieties? My understanding is that there are hundreds of oat varieties, so you are saying all the oats you use are only of one specific exact subspecies.

      2) What is “R5 ELISA CERTIFIED”? Why do you say “each farm delivery is sampled hundreds of times” – isn’t once enough? Or do you mean a sample runs the same batch of oats via the process hundreds of time to see variance in the results to get a sampling error? You add you test it only once more after packaging – why not hundreds?

      3) When you say a “new 100% gluten free facility” is it physically connected in any way to your existing non gluten free facility? Does it employ negative air pressure?

      4) When you say “DEDICATED FARMS” what does that mean? Wouldn’t any farm be dedicated? Do you mean that only oats are grown on the same land year after year? What about crop rotation? Are you really sure about that? Where are these 200 farmers? If they don’t rotate, how do they control pests? Do your 200 farmers use a lot of pesticides and herbicides?

      5) Why don’t you list the country of origin? Isn’t that required now for commodity food products? Where do your oats come from? Are they at least from the USA?

      6) Why do you label on the package “non-GMO” when there are no GMO oats? According to the FDA Guidelines for food industry:

      … a statement may be misleading if it suggests that a food or ingredient itself is not bioengineered, when there are no marketed bioengineered varieties of that category of foods or ingredients. For example, it would be misleading to state “not produced through biotechnology” on the label of green beans, when there are no marketed bioengineered green beans. To not be misleading, the claim should be in a context that applies to the food type instead of the individual manufacturer’s product. For example, the statement “green beans are not produced using biotechnology” would not imply that this manufacturer’s product is different from other green beans. (source: http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/biolabgu.html)

      7) My package best used by date is almost 2 years from now – is that standard for products like this without preservatives? Even your wheat bran has dates far beyond when wheat bran goes rancid, how do you do it?

      8) Do you get your oats from Grain Millers in Eugene? Are they organic?

      9) Do you do any of the “color-sorting” or “roasting” yourself to these oats or does another company do that and ship you finished bulk product to package into your little bags?

      ~ Lawrence Comras

    • Anonymous

      I know it has been awhile since this post but I was wondering if anyone or you knows if the steel cut can be subbed for baking? Thanks in advance

    • I Am Gluten Free

      Hi Anonymous,

      I can’t answer about using the steel-cut oats for baking. You might want to contact Bob’s Red Mill and ask them. I’ll be they’ll be able to answer your question. Good luck!


    • Jenson

      Try the Teff! It’s gluten free and delicious. Mash up a banana with it or combine it with the rice farina, cinnamon and raisins.

    • Anonymous

      Yesterday I bought Bobs gluten free oats at whole foods!!! I was so excited that they finally came up with a product like this…..I am a trainer and fitness competitor and oats are a staple in my industry. I was so excited ot finally eat oatmeal again this morning I had not had it since 2002….2 hours after eating them I was so sick…my stomach so bloated like i was 3 months pregnant and have felt so sick….5 hours later I am still not any better :-( I am so so so so bummed!!!!!!

    • I Am Gluten Free

      Anonymous – I'm so sorry you had a reaction. If you read the prior comments, you'll see that this is a hot button issue. Some people can tolerate oats and some can't. I'm fine with rolled oats but not steel cut oats. So, I think it's totally a personal situation. I might suggest trying rolled oats from a different company besides Bob's Red Mill. Maybe the way in which it was processed and/or stored had an impact on you. In any case, much look. And meanwhile, try some of the other wonderful grains like quinoa or teff or millet.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you for bringing this up. We just found it. She did not have trouble with rolled oats, but did with steel cut. Her symptoms were like yours. This probably affects more people than we imagine.

    • Anonymous

      I am suspecting Bob's GF steel cuts oats. Digestive issues since I started eating them, but didn't make the connection because I've had them before without problems. No wonder the cramps keep me up at night especially, I eat the oatmeal before bed. Can't prove the connection, but can't think of another explanation.

    • FireVenom

      Dear I Am Gluten Free,

      You aren't alone out there. My mom has some crazy food reactions. She has switched to using steel cut oats because of their supposed benefits over rolled oats. She soon realized how fatigued and achy she felt after every time she would eat them. She had her holistic practitioner muscle test the steel cut oats. The steel cut caused "global weakness" which is a short way to say that they impacted every major organ system in her body in a negative way. After testing the rolled oats, they found those to beneficial. Apparently, steel cut oats are not great for everyone. Hope this helps :)

    • Dawn

      Looks like I’m late to the party!

      I’ve been feeling horrible in the mornings, off and on for the past few months. It usually only lasts like maybe 30-60 minutes and then goes away. I eat a ton of grain products without issue, daily, so I don’t think I have celiac disease.

      Via process of elimination I believe it could be the steel cut oats, (PC Blue Menu 100% Whole Grain Steel Cut Oats), I had switched to on account I can no longer find what I used to eat, (Sally’s Cinnamon Plum Cereal), which actually has a tone more grains in it.

      So how bizarre is that? Why would steel cut oats keel me over when eating a mixture of oats, barley, quinoa, rye, and wheat (flakes), does not?

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