Beginning your day with a bowl of warm oatmeal can feel healthy. Notice I said “feel” rather than “is”. That’s because not everything that looks or sounds healthy is good for us.

Don’t put the ‘oat’ in ‘bloat’

While pure oats are naturally gluten-free, many oatmeal brands on the market today will combine their oats with gluten-filled substances like wheat, barley and rye, thus making most store-bought oatmeal a source of gluten. This is problematic for those with celiac disease or a gluten intolerance.

But whether you can stomach gluten or not, it’s still good to be wary of consuming foods that contain this sticky protein. Gluten is useful in that this substance helps hold your food together and can give you the feeling of fullness. However, consuming gluten has been found to disrupt the digestive process and decrease the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, resulting in a leaky gut.

According to

This can manifest itself in digestive symptoms, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, weight loss, fat malabsorption, and malnutrition like iron deficiency or anemia, low vitamin D or even osteoporosis.

Adding to the stickiness

In addition to gluten, many commercial oat products are made with food additives, like guar gum.

Guar gum comes from the seed of the guar plant and can be used as a laxative or to treat conditions, such as diabetes and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

However, when guar gum is used in foods, it is used as a thickening agent, much like gluten, and has been found to have negative effects on the digestive system. Some studies have shown guar gum to cause excessive gas and abdominal discomfort in humans.

To avoid experiencing the harmful effects of gluten and guar gum, it’s best to avoid these ingredients by turning to gluten-free and non-commercial alternatives like the recipe below. This healthy version of oatmeal is made with protein-packed quinoa. Quinoa is also high in fiber, which helps us maintain a healthy digestive system, unlike the ingredients mentioned above.

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This recipe is shared with permission from our friends at

Warm Ancient Gluten-Free Grain Porridge

This warm gluten-free cereal has the texture of oatmeal but with much more of a nutritional punch from all of the minerals and higher protein content found in quinoa, millet and amaranth, what I like to call “The Three Amigos”. You can add your favorite nuts and fruit to make this a complete breakfast.

Serves: 3

Prep time: 7 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1.5 cup water
  • 1.5 cup non-dairy milk, like almond or coconut
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/3 cup amaranth
  • 1/3 cup millet
  • 3/4 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup raisins or currants
  • ¼ cup slivered almond or toasted walnuts
  • Optional: fresh berries


  1. Rinse the quinoa with cold water in a fine mesh strainer and drain.
  2. Put the water, milk and salt in a pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Stir in the quinoa, millet and amaranth, turn down the heat to medium low, cover the pot, and simmer gently, for about 25 minutes.
  4. Stir the grain in the pot. The cereal is done when the grain is soft and has the consistency of oatmeal. If more liquid is needed, add more milk and continue to simmer another 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla and currants.
  6. Transfer to bowls and serve warm or cold with toasted nuts and fresh berries.


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