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    Archive for the ‘tamari’ Category

    You Ask, I Answer: Gluten, Soy Sauce, and “Wheat-Free” Labeling

    sanj_gluten_free_tamari__45649_stdLast Thursday, I got the results of my gluten panel.  Verdict: I have celiac disease.

    Today I had lunch with a coworker at a “health food” restaurant.  We specifically chose it because their menu lets you know which entrees contain soy, gluten, and nuts.

    The dish I wanted (which had baked tofu) had a “gluten” sign next to it.  I asked the waitress where the gluten in the dish was coming from.  Her response was: “We marinade our tofu in soy sauce.”

    I’m still very new to this gluten thing, but I don’t understand how soy sauce can contain gluten.  Isn’t it just soybeans?

    I know I have seen some wheat-free soy sauce, but everything I’ve read so far says that “wheat free” and “gluten-free” are not the same thing.  So, is soy sauce a condiment I can never have again?

    I would REALLY appreciate any help you can give me.

    — Estelle Nardelli
    (City Withheld), NJ

    I can’t say I envy you.  As if managing food labels without allergies wasn’t its own Rubik cube, tacking on gluten insensitivity heightens the challenge.

    As many people living with celiacs soon learn, there is a long list of preservatives, additives, and wheat byproducts that sound absolutely harmless, but can cause severe problems when consumed.  Soy sauce is one area where I find many individuals with celiac get confused, and sometimes go overboard with restrictions.  Allow me to provide some clarification.

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    Quick & Healthy Recipe: Spicy & Decadent Satay Marinade

    peanut-sauce-lrgThis delicious Thai-inspired marinade is extremely easy to make and imparts wonderful flavors.

    Although traditionally paired with chicken, I have only had this marinade with tofu and tempeh, where it works wonderfully!

    Don’t let the long ingredient list dissuade you — preparation is super quick.

    YIELDS: 1 cup (4 servings)

    INGREDIENTS:

    2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    1 Tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
    1/4 cup + 2 Tablespoons nut butter (peanut, almond, or cashew; natural and unsalted recommended)
    2 Tablespoons canned coconut milk
    2 medium garlic cloves
    1 Tablespoon dried ginger
    2 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
    2 teaspoons Thai chili peppers, chopped
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/4 cup basil leaves
    2 teaspoons chili powder OR cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon cumin
    2 teaspoons honey or agave nectar
    2 Tablespoons lime juice
    1 Tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    5 teaspoons water

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until evenly combined.

    To get optimal flavors, marinade food for at least 4 hours, covered, in refrigerator.

    NUTRITION INFORMATION (per serving):

    198 calories
    5 grams saturated fat (see note, below)
    300 milligrams sodium
    2 grams added sugar

    Excellent Source of: Manganese, monounsaturated fat, niacin

    Good Source of: Magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin E

    NOTE: The saturated fats in this recipe come exclusively from the nut butter and coconut milk. Coconuts’ saturated fat is less atherogenic than that of full-fat dairy. Additionally, if using peanut or almond butter, their saturated fats are packaged along with extremely heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

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    You Ask, I Answer: Tamari

    A friend lent me a cookbook that features a lot of Asian-inspired recipes.

    I noticed that many of the dishes call for tamari, but there is no glossary defining it or explaining what it is.

    Was wondering if you knew?

    — P. Baldwin
    Virginia Beach, VA

    Tamari is a thicker, condensed form of soy sauce.

    Traditional soy sauces are made from either hydrolyzed vegetable protein or a soybean and wheat combination (with approximately 40 to 50 percent of the product being wheat.)

    Tamari, meanwhile, consists almost entirely of soybeans. Although most commercial varieties also contain wheat — albeit in much smaller percentages than traditional soy sauce — you can also find wheat-free varieties of tamari.

    This high soybean percentage results in a richer flavor as well as the need to use lesser amounts of tamari than traditional soy sauce when cooking.

    From a nutritional standpoint, this means less sodium in your meal.

    Traditional soy sauce and tamari both contain 340 milligrams of sodium per teaspoon, but you may need three or four teaspoons of the former to match the intense flavor in just one of tamari.

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