Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What is THAT?

This weekend presented some interesting new gluten-free challenges.  Avoiding beer on a roof-top deck, passing up chips and pretzels on a boat and thowing a baby shower without cookies, cupcakes or pastries sparked a lot of social conversation about gluten.  At one point a friend pointed out that my challenge looks a lot like a complex-carb free diet (Not a terrible thing right before the summer season).  But today I'm going out in search of crunchy and satisfying gluten free treats.  I can not only munch on fruit and nuts for an entire month!

On Saturday I stopped at the gas station to pick up a few snacks before heading out on the water.  The only thing I could find was a small bag of almonds and a bottle of water.  Chips and crackers contain wheat.  The candy bars contained a strange, off-limits ingredient called soy lecithin.  It got me thinking....what the heck is that?

Soy lecithin a substance that is extracted from soybeans using a solvent such as hexane, and it’s a by-product of soybean oil.  It is an additive found in many everyday foods, but it’s normally used in such small amounts that it rarely exceeds more than 1 percent of the weight of any food product. It works as an emulsifier in candy bars, keeping the cocoa and cocoa butter from separating. Soy lecithin also can be used in baking to make the dough less sticky and help it rise. It works as a so-called wetting agent, too, making cake mixes easier to spread into a pan when liquid is added.

Despite this new information, I still don't know how wheat, barley nor rye fit into that answer.  What makes it contain gluten?

When a chocolate craving hit last night, I scanned at my chocolate stash and everything contained soy lecithin!  So I marched my butt to the store about bought a beautiful bar of organic dark chocolate.  My eyes feasted on the pure and simple ingredient list.  Chocolate has never tasted so good.


  1. Now a friend just told me that soy lecithin is gluten free. Now I'm not sure what to think! Help!?!

  2. It's official. Soy lecithin doesn't contain gluten. Eat away!