Are you a high-fiber cereal junkie? I was. Before I started a GF diet I thought the most healthful part of my diet had to be the bowl full of high-fiber cereal and 2% milk that I had every morning. Boy, was I ever wrong! The wheat in the high-fiber cereals was creating chronic back pain, IBS, and migraines and the milk was…..well, I’ll just say that it was slowing the latter part of digestion down to glacier speeds.
So what is a cereal junkie supposed to eat on a gluten free diet? That’s the questions that I’m answering in today’s reader mailbag post:
Hi Mary Francis,
I am just considering trying a gluten-free lifestyle to find out if it helps with chronic back and neck pain caused from degenerative disc disease. I am interested in giving it a go for 2-3 months, to see if it will reduce the pain and the need for narcotics.
My question. I have issues with constipation type IBS and the best solution I have found is whole flax seed in the morning sprinkled over bran flakes, topped with fresh fruit. I use anywhere from 3-5 mostly heaping teaspoons on my cereal every morning depending on how things have been moving. I was looking at an oatmeal label but it said it may contain wheat. I not sure how to incorporate that much flax seed on a daily basis and still have it be palatable. Any suggestions? I don’t eat bread and don’t miss it and I do gluten free pasta on a limited basis.
Robyn, first off I want to encourage you to go ahead with the gluten free trial. I have degenerative disk disease and a gluten free diet has helped tremendously. I used to have to go to a chiropractor 3x a week justto be able to work. Switching to a gluten free diet let me gradually work down to 2x a month maintenance visits or less, with no narcotics.
I also discovered when I went gluten free that a gluten free and dairy free diet cured all of my IBS symptoms. But even if you don’t need the flax seed to keep things moving, it’s still a great way to increase your fiber intake and get Omega 3 fatty acids to help with inflammation from the degenerative disks.
Cereal is a great quick-breakfast option, so let’s go over a few high-fiber GF options. For a quick reference, Post Bran Flakes contain 5 grams of dietary fiber in each 3/4 c., 30 gram serving.
Leading the pack based with 9 grams of dietary fiber per serving Bakery on Main offers two very high fiber cereal options – Cinnamon Raisin and Triple Berry. The serving size is 1/2 c., 57 grams. I haven’t personally tried this, but I’ve loved every bag of Bakery on Main granola I’ve ever bought, so I’ll definitely try it when I see it. These Bakery on Main’s products are certified gluten free and are also non-GMO and dairy and casein free.
For the true high-fiber cereal aficionado, there is Perky’s. If you like fiber in your bowl, and not much else (me, me!) this is the cereal that you should try first. It’s very tasty in a way that only high fiber cereals can be and it gives you 6 grams of dietary fiber for each 3/4 c., 57 gram serving. Crunchy Flax and Crunchy Flax with Chia (5 grams dietary fiber) are both certified gluten free and also free of the top 8 food allergens, non-GMO verified, and kosher pareve.
One of the new products that I’ve been wanting to try is Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Muesli. I love uncooked oats, and am excited to have a gluten free cereal option that features them. The dietary fiber per serving is not impressive – just 2 grams for a 1/4 c., 29 gram serving. However, I know that I would eat at least 1/2, if not 3/4 c. for breakfast, so I’m counting this as a high-fiber cereal option.
Cereal options are not always the best choice for a gluten free breakfast. My personal experience has been that grains noticeably increase my back pain, so I avoid eating grains on a regular basis. That raises the question of how you can eat a quick and healthful breakfast with an added dose of flax seeds.
My go-to option in this case would be a fruit or green smoothie. You don’t need any fancy equipment to make these. A Vitamix is nice, but you don’t have to have one to enjoy smoothies for breakfast. If you’re in a super hurry, prep your ingredients before bed so that all you have to so is turn the blender on in the morning.
One of the problems with quick gluten free breakfast options is that they are vastly more expensive than their gluten containing counterparts. While I was writing this article today, I was reminded of several money-saving tips that my Patti, my gluten free, super-duper budget shopping friend, has shared with me.
If you find yourself looking at a $5 box of gluten free cereal and thinking, “There is no way in H E double-hockey sticks that I’m paying $5 for a box of cereal!”, and then completely dismissing gluten free cereal as a feasible breakfast option, then YOU NEED TO READ THIS EBOOK.
I say that, because I am that person who would have walked away and never given these cereals a try. But now I know that there are ways that you can buy good GF cereals at a reasonable price, and that makes my gluten free life less restrictive than it would have been. That’s always a good thing!