I’ve been trying Nairn’s new gluten free oat snack range and I think I am hooked. Seriously….. I don’t leave the house in the morning without a bag in my hand. I know that at sometime during the morning (and usually before I reach the office), that little bag of goodness will be just what I need to keep hunger from knocking.
As a company, Nairn’s have always been one of my favourites for oats and long before I needed to be gluten free, they would be my natural choice for oat cakes. I trust them. Their products have always been straight forward and great-tasting….. so being gluten free, it is a relief to see Nairn’s on the free from shelves too….
Oats can be tricky little beggars if you are Coeliac and I am often asked the question ‘so how are gluten free oats different from ordinary oats and are they really a problem?’ So here’s a quick and dirty explanation :
Oats themselves do not contain gluten, but they do contain a similar protein called avenin, to which about 5% of Coeliacs are intolerant. If Coeliac, it is important to know whether you are one of the 5%. It used to be that you would need to completely remove oats (gluten free or not) from your diet for 6 to 12 months after diagnosis, whilst your body healed from gluten-poisoning, before a gradual reintroduction and monitoring of impact. Recently, gastroenterology guidelines for coeliac management have changed to allow oats to continue to be eaten from the point of diagnosis, but it is important for you to check the best process with your consultant to be sure.
If you can tolerate oats, great! Why then do you need gluten free oats? It’s simply a matter of cross contamination and that’s a big risk if you are Coeliac. Have you ever looked across the top of the average oat field? You will be amazed at what else is growing in there! You can pretty much guarantee there will be some sneaky wheat, barley or rye sharing ground space and it will still be hanging around waiting for harvest and milling with the rest of the crop and ready to contaminate. So if you want to be safe, you have to eat gluten free oats.
How can you be sure they are safe? Producers of gluten free oats have to comply with strict conditions and at Nairn’s, the oats are carefully farmed, being checked in the field to ensure there is no contamination during either the growing and milling process, and making sure they test every truck which enters and leaves the mill.
They now have a dedicated gluten free factory to bake their gluten free oats safely too, tested and approved by Coeliac UK…… Just make sure you choose from the gluten free range and check for the crossed grain symbol and gluten free labelling for reassurance.
What’s so great about oats? Simple! If you are one of the 95% of Coeliacs who can eat them, they are full of good stuff essential to your diet. A great slow-release energy food, they are low GI and a fantastically versatile source of soluble fibre, which is essential for good digestion. Proven to help reduce cholesterol, keep blood-sugar levels stable and decrease high blood pressure, they are also rich in minerals and B-vitamins, which are important for good bone health.
We get through loads of them at the Gluten Free Alchemist, both as straight gluten free oats and added to our flour blends (it’s really easy to make your own oat flour). Great food. Versatile. Great taste!
What of the Nairn’s range? It seems to be getting better all the time…… In addition to gluten free oats for baking, their range includes oatcakes, muesli and instant porridge with no added sugar and also lower-sugar biscuit breaks, wholegrain crackers and oaty snacks. Their new Gluten Free Astro Bites contain 40 to 50% less sugar when compared to other similar kids biscuits, which has to be good right?
Did I say kids? Nah! These have no restrictions! I loved the Astro Bites (which come in 3 flavours : Berry, Choc Chip and Cheese) as much as Miss GF. Sure they are shaped into spaceships, shooting stars and cute little spacemen, but we grown ups can devour a universe as much as little people. These snack-bags of oaty fun are perfect at any time of the day….. and that little rebellious streak in me brings a wry smile when I munch them at work whilst sitting amongst the great and the good!
Beware though…… the Sea Salt and Balsamic Vinegar Snackers are way too addictive. The salty-sweet tang on the tongue has you dipping in the bag until it is empty and then rummaging around the depths of your drawer, wishing you could find more…….
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With thanks to Nairns for providing samples of their Gluten Free Oat Snacks to try. I received no payment for this post and was not required to write a review. All views expressed here are my own.
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