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Friday, October 31, 2008


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A reader wrote to me last week and asked if it was possible to make a soy-free version of my vegan "turkey". So, I thought about it and told her I'd experiment and get back to her. I made a soy-free version, which we had for dinner last night, and it was great!

The "turkey" before roasting

The recipe will be in a new seitan book, probably 2012.

This roast slices beautifully!

Happy Halloween, BTW!


Veg-a-Nut said...

Thank you so much! Your meal post has got my stomach just a growling for food! Especially your food!

jennconspiracy said...

hate to pick on ya Bryanna - as someone who is allergic to soy (fermented is ok - tofu, soy sauce, tempeh) - that means all legumes. I can't touch chickpea flour - what would you sub for soy/chickpea flour?

jennconspiracy said..., and the cannellini beans...

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

jennconspiracy, I wasn't allowing for all allergies-- I was just going for the soy allergy problem, and my solutions work for anyone who is just allergic to soy and not other legumes, which is the majority of people with soy allergies. Being allergic to soy does NOT mean one is allergic to all legumes, and anyone who says so is misinformed.

Be that as it may, for legume subs in this recipe, all I can suggest is perhaps hemp flour for the chickpea flour.

The beans...hmmmm...perhaps a very thick "porridge" made from quinoa flour (which is high in protein), which is cooled until fairly solid, like polenta-- about 1 1/2 cups crumbled-- might work.

BTW, if you can eat fermented soy, you don't have a true soy allergy. This whole business about fermented soy being okay and non-fermented not okay is addressed here:

and it has nothing to do with allergies.

I recommend the book "The Food Allergy Survival Guide" by Vesanto Melina, Dina Aronson (both vegan registered dieticians), and Jo Stepaniak. It's on amazon and it contains recipes, too.

The authors explain the difference between an allergy and an intolerance and what you can do about it. There is much confusion about "allergies" these days. There are all sorts of books out there that scare you into thinking that you are "allergic" to this or that, when a true allergy is actually quite rare and can cause life-threatening problems.

More common are food intolerances, which can cause more minor problems. These can often be handled by a "rotation diet", where you eat the problematic foods only one day a week, or something like that. There are books on this type of diet, too.

You should be tested by a doctor before you make life totally difficult for yourself. Here is a definition by the British Allergy Foundation (there is also a good page about this by the UK Vegetarian Society here

"What Is The Difference Between Allergy, Intolerance And Sensitivity?

Although the word "Allergy" is commonly used to describe any unpleasant reaction to a drug, food, insect sting or chemical, this can be misleading. The word should only really be used to describe a reaction produced when the body meets a normally harmless substance, which has been "remembered" from a previous exposure and subsequently produces the "IgE" antibody.

"Sensitivity" is a reaction to a substance, which is an exaggeration of a normal side effect produced by that substance. For example, reliever inhalers used in asthma, if given at too high a dose in a particular individual may cause them to "shake".

"Intolerance" happens when unpleasant symptoms occur after eating a substance, which your body cannot handle because the digestive system does not produce sufficient quantities of a particular enzyme/chemical, which is needed to break down the food and aid digestion.

The causes of symptoms need to be correctly diagnosed so that the management and treatment for either allergy, sensitivity or intolerance can be appropriately taken."

You also have to be very careful not to believe everything you read or see on TV these days about foods that have sustained humans for thousands of years, such as soy and grains. Read my collection of reliable information about soy, for instance here:

jennconspiracy said...

Dang it! Blogger ate my reply. :(

I was diagnosed with SLE, JRA and ITP at 15 -- I had a lot of other issues that weren't directly attributed to those things, and problems I had with swallowing, food "repeating" and my throat feeling swollen were checked out with a barium xray and I was told it was all "okay" in the GI tract.

I spent the next 20 years taking 1000 mg/day of Naprosyn for arthritis and thinking, as I had my whole life, that it was normal to sort of throw up after eating - that food "repeated" as a matter of course. All this would have been resolved with food allergen testing or an elimination diet.

Three years ago, my sister did an elimination diet to see if that would help her lose weight. I was intrigued so followed her nutritionist's program. The result was astonishing - egg and dairy were clearly a problem for me (though I hadn't eaten much dairy for the previous 20 years, mostly cheese at the time of the diet, ice cream made me barf). I couldn't quite nail down other issues - and then had food allergy tests which confirmed that I was allergic to dairy, egg and soy.

What I have read notes that a high number of people with soy allergy are also allergic to legumes.

I cannot tolerate any soy protein or vegetable protein ingredients -- all processed soy food makes me barf, causes hives and joint inflammation.

Though I love legumes (my first cat's name was Ci-Ci Bean) - it always mystified me why I had so many problems eating them. I tried every method and supplement on the planet. I sprouted, soaked and slow cooked my beans til they were the most tender, scrumptious beans ever. I make the absolute best red beans and rice, white bean soup, lentil soup, black beans - you name it. When I lived in NOLA, my native NOLA friends were astonished that my beans were so good. I had friends say "I can never eat beans but your bean dishes never cause me any distress."

When I eat beans - I get nauseous, the food comes right back up my throat (gulp!), I get clammy, feverish, my stomach feels like it was filled with Quikrete and is dead silent, my energy plummets and no matter where I am or what I am doing, I have to go curl up in fetal position and sleep 3-6 hours. Then I spend the next 2-4 days feeling like I have the flu, dealing with diarrhea, nausea, and a very bad mood.

I've also read that introducing babies to soy or dairy at too young an age is correlated with increased risk of allergies or intolerances. As infants, my sister, brother and I were all "dairy reactive" but doctors didn't do much about it back then (breast milk was not entirely viewed with the same favor as it is now). I was on soy formula from 2 months old - I would throw up and then sleep for a very long time, but I guess that was preferred over being "colicky" when was given dairy formula (when I would throw up but stay awake and cry).

Per your essay in #11 - maybe there is something to the soy-homosexuality connection since I turned out queer (ha - just kidding! Can't blame soy for liking girls!)

Annie MG said...

wow, it looks so delicious. D:

instead of using soy/chickpea flour, can I use rice? I've had troubles finding them. :/

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Annie, I don't think that's a good idea because it needs to be a high-protein flour. Are any types of bean flour available, or do you have a grain mill that can grind beans into flour? I understand that there are a couple of health food stores in Monterrey-- would they not be able to get either of those flours? An Indian grocery would have chickpea flour (called besan). here is a page with some info abiut Indian groceries in Monterrey:

Annie MG said...

thanks! I did look in some local health-food chains; however, most of their products aren't vegan friendly.

so I'll try making mine if all else fails. (:

jennconspiracy said...

You can order a 1.5 pound bag for under $4 or a $25 pound sack for %27 on the Bob's Red Mill website -- they also have many other kinds of flours from black beans, fava beans and all other sort of things.

jennconspiracy said...

you updated the recipe with a note about legume-free... awwww! :)

snugglebunny said...

I know that you are not really supposed to change the size of a seitan recipe, but is it possible to make this in a half batch. From looking at the ingredients, they do seem to be fairly even, so no odd splits would occur.

I would like to do this, but I have a kitchen the size of a bathroom in my small apartment and do not have a pan large enough to make the entire recipe, nor two smaller pans to make it in.

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

Snugglebunny, I'm sure it would work to halve the recipe. You can probably cut the cooking time down by about 30 minutes.

snugglebunny said...

Now for question number 2. The only pan I have is a standard loaf pan that has no lid. Would covering it with aluminum foil do and is it to small?

Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

snugglebunny, it sounds like you should use Cooking Method #2 in the recipe, with just one pan. It utilizes a foil-covered bread pan.

The Burning Brain said...

Thanks for publishing the soy free version of this recipe, I'm a vegan since 3 years ago and now just discovered I'm allergic to soy. This recipe will be helpful to do some "turkey" slides for sandwiches, hehe.

What is Vegan? said...

Pure genius for a low sodium diet! Can't wait for the book :)