14 Nov 2012

The Author

Sheryl Goldstein
Sheryl is the founder of The No Gluten Solution: Feeding Family and Friends, which is the culmination of her talents, skills, and her personal desire to develop an effortless style of cooking good food, making her guests comfortable, and always having an excuse for a dinner party.


Soy Sauce=Soy Sauce?

I need to vent.  Met a friend for dinner at my favorite local sushi restaurant.  Of course I know not to use the soy sauce, but little did I know that gluten infected ingredients were concealed in so many dishes.  It is hard enough to live without take-in Chinese food, but now there are too many restrictions in this cuisine to make it worth the visit, not to mention the price.

Before I continue, I want to ask the question, if there is gluten-free soy sauce readily available in stores and some Japanese restaurants offer it as an alternative, why don’t the restaurants use it in their cooking?  It would make us gluten-free people happy and others won’t know the difference.

This distressing information was communicated to me by a caring waitperson, which took the time to listen when I said I was Celiac and needed to eat gluten-free, and then review the menu with me to insure my safety.  What was revealed to me was astonishing.  I have been eating Japanese food with care, or at least I thought I was, for the past seven years and had no idea I was making myself sick.

When I reflect on the times I ate Japanese food, I guess there were times that I felt sleepy, foggy and had stomach issues.  We all live with these reactions on a regular basis, so I probably figured that the plate or cutting board was contaminated, but did not make it a big deal.  It is amazing what we will do not to give up certain “questionable” foods.  At least it wasn’t obviously made with gluten.

So Good Yet So Dangerous

Here is a more researched list regarding her warnings:

  • Miso can be gluten-free but only when it is made with kome koji-a rice starter.  If it is made with mugikoji-wheat or barley starter, obviously it is not gluten-free.  Now I ask you, how could we possibly know this and how can we ask and more important, how do we know that the answer will keep us healthy?  The only choice is to pass on anything with miso.
  • Not all seaweed wraps are gluten-free.  One would assume that a seaweed wrap is made from seaweed, but beware.  Japanese nori is just dried seaweed, but Korean and Chinese nori is often processed with shoyu-soy sauce.
  • Soba noodles are made from buckwheat, a grain that is naturally gluten-free, but most times it has wheat flour added.  Unless you see the package with the list of ingredients, don’t touch it.
  • Ikura or salmon roe is not necessarily in its natural state.  More often than not is is cured in soy sauce to keep it from spoiling.
  • Unugi or eel is dipped in sauce made from soy sauce.
  • Tobiko-those crunchy fish flakes that are sprinkled on rolls may be processes with wheat starch.
  • Imitation crab (and who really wants imitation crab) used in California rolls contains wheat.

What is left to order, Sashimi and sushi with only fresh fish?  I may just take a pass on Japanese restaurants for near future.


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