Gluten Free Porridge, Alara

I am a self-confessed porridge-monster. There’s something slightly rah and very comforting about even an ordinary bowl of the wholesome hot stuff in the morning. Porridge is the  cosy eiderdown of breakfast. I have munched my way through so much of my favourite porridge from Perkier that I needed a top up, so decided to try this new addition to the Ocado Free From shop. This box ticked a few of my boxes, being one of the few oat-free options* on the mass market, and having some rather nice new branding. (I’m a sucker for bright colours and clean lines).

The Alara branding promises ‘luxurious’. So is it? I used it to make this Ottolenghi Bircher Muesli recipe – great to have ready in the fridge if you have no time to make hot porridge in the morning. The flakes hold up well to soaking, absorbing milk and juice to give a nice consistency without being like baby food. The colour is very pale, but the flax seeds give a nice speckle. Unfortunately they also give a nails-on-blackboard-cringe crunch which always makes me worry about losing a tooth! On the downside the flavour is a little thin when compared to oat porridges, so this definitely needs added fruit and spices to live up to the richness implied by the brand promise; and the texture is a little on the sawdusty side. More of a scratchy blanket than an eiderdown.

GF Nomability: 6/10

Alara Gluten Free Porridge is £2.35 for a 500g box from Ocado.

Bircher Muesli made with Alara Gluten Free Porridge (they’re dates in case you wondered)

*A word on oats: There are mixed opinions in the medical community about the inclusion of uncontaminated oats in the coeliac diet. Coeliac UK advise that they can be tolerated by ‘most’ coeliacs, but I have been excluding them to see if it addresses some residual symptoms. Meanwhile many of the supermarkets have gone a bit stir-crazy with oat-containing breakfasts and treats – you can’t move in Sainsbury’s for granola at the moment!

This is a very personal decision, and one that should be approached in consultation with a medical professional such as your dietician, but it seems that many of us get quite different advice. As someone who works in pharma, I am drawn directly to the evidence (where I can find it). If you are interested, a synopsis of some of the clinical studies on oats in the coeliac diet can be found here.

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