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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Wow. 
28th-Jan-2012 01:44 pm
B5: End in Fire
I was on a gluten-free recipe blog (like ya do), and I noticed that the blogger had a sidebar linking to GF menus and chain restaurants. Chili's has one! Cool! I downloaded it.

Okay. For comparison, here's their standard menu.

So their GF menu is not so bad! Not hugely comprehensive, but okay, I can eat there and have some good choices. I'll reproduce it below the cut.


SOUPS: Chicken & Green Chile, Sweet Corn

A FRESH TAKE ON SALADS: (All Listed w/o Dressing, Croutons & Tortilla Strips) BBQ Smoked Chicken Salad, Caribbean Salad Chicken option only w/Honey Lime Dressing, Chicken Caesar Salad, House Salad
SALAD DRESSINGS: Citrus Balsamic Vinaigrette, Honey Lime, Honey Mustard

FLAME-GRILLED GREATNESS: (All Listed w/o Condiments & Sides Unless Indicated) Classic Sirloin w/o Garlic Toast, Flame Grilled Ribeye w/o Garlic Toast, GG Salmon w/ Rice & Veggies, GG Sirloin w/ Veggies, Grilled Salmon w/ Garlic & Herbs w/ Rice & Veggies, Margarita Chicken w/Rice & Black Beans w/o Tortilla Strips, Monterey Chicken w/ Mashed Potatoes w/o Gravy & Veggies

SIDES: Black Beans, Corn on the Cob, Fresh Vegetables, Mandarin Oranges, Loaded Mashed Potatoes, Mashed Potatoes w/o Gravy, Rice

NEW TACOS WRAPPED IN FLAVOR: (All Listed w/o Cilantro Sour Cream) Tacos: Seasoned Ground Beef w/ Corn Tortillas ONLY

SLOW SMOKE IN-HOUSE RIBS: (All Listed w/o Sides) Original

BIG MOUTH BURGERS: (All Listed w/o Bun & Fries & O Strings) Bacon Burger, Ground Peppercorn Burger w/o Bleu Cheese Dressing, Mushroom-Swiss Burger, Oldtimer Burger

PEPPER PALS: (All Listed w/o Sides & Bun) Grilled Chicken Platter, Grilled Chicken Sandwich, Little Mouth Cheeseburger

SAUCES & EXTRAS: Avocado Slices, Bacon, Guacamole, Mixed Cheese, Original BBQ Sauce, Pico de Gallo, Salsa, Sautéed Mushrooms

STUPENDOUSLY SWEET ENDINGS: Chocolate Shake

Not bad, not bad.

But then I see that they have a soy-free menu, too! Awesome! I scroll to that, and...

...I'm not even gonna bother to cut this.

SOUPS: Sweet Corn
A FRESH TAKE ON SALADS: (All Listed w/o Dressing, Chicken, Shrimp or Steak) Caribbean Salad, House Salad w/o Croutons
SALAD DRESSINGS: No Fat Honey Mustard, Salsa
FLAME-GRILLED GREATNESS:(All Listed w/o Sides & Garlic Toast) Classic Sirloin w/ Nothing on it, Flame Grilled Ribeye w/ Nothing on it
SIDES: Corn on the Cob w/ Nothing on it, Fresh Vegetables w/ Nothing on it, Mandarin Oranges
SAUCES & EXTRAS: Avocado Slices, Bacon, Mixed Cheese, Original BBQ Sauce, Salsa, Sour Cream

Those? Are the only things you can get at a Chili's without soy. You can't get a burger. You can't get chicken. The chocolate shake has soy. The sauteed mushrooms have soy. The mashed potatoes have soy. I do not even understand *how* the soy got in half this stuff.

Y'all. Soy is a toxin. Also, a GMO nightmare. When I was first diagnosed with the soy allergy at 14, it was already hard to find prepackaged foods that didn't have soy. These days it's close to impossible, and getting worse. Soy is not compatible with human bodies, long-term, and it is in more and more things every year.

HOW IS THERE SOY IN THE SHRIMP, you guys. What is this I don't even. Notice that you can't even get plain grilled chicken - it's not in the marinade, it is in the meat. Or, well, "meat".

The foodpocalypse is coming, y'all. I will be over here in the corner rocking gently and eating food I cooked myself from safe unprocessed ingredients.
Comments 
28th-Jan-2012 07:04 pm (UTC)
Soy is not compatible with human bodies, long-term

Can you link me to something that explains this? The Chinese have been eating soy on a daily basis for 5000 years or so, which is fairly long-term.
28th-Jan-2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
They've been eating fermented soy, which is different from what shows up in processed foods over here; also, over here, lecithin is a common additive. The Chinese consider that a toxic waste product left over from processing soy.

There's a good article here, and another here - "Asians do eat soy. However, they eat soy in small quantities, usually as a fermented condiment, and usually with an animal protein, such as fish broth, to make the soy digestible. Perhaps the most dangerous myth the soy lobby spreads about the Asian diet is that soy is a main source of protein. Soy is simply not a substitute for animal foods in traditional Asian diets. According to KC Chang, editor of Food in Chinese Culture, the total caloric intake due to soy in the Chinese diet in the 1930s was 1.5%, compared with 65% from pork."

There's more, but I'm on my way out the door!
28th-Jan-2012 07:17 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Shoo. Out the door with you. Talk later...
(Deleted comment)
29th-Jan-2012 04:18 pm (UTC)
Putting your tofu in fish broth isn't really an option if you don't eat meat.
(Deleted comment)
30th-Jan-2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
And delicious. (Adding enough iodized salt to make a difference would probably result in some vile soup.)
28th-Jan-2012 07:10 pm (UTC)
Soy may be GM in the US, but it's not everywhere. Also, all GM food sold in the EU MUST be clearly labelled as such. Is it not so in the US these days?

Generally, GM soya is grown the most in the US, Brazil and Argentina. Most Chinese soy nowadays is GM free.

I know that doesn't help you with your allergy. However, if you're avoiding GM food, leave the US. :)
30th-Jan-2012 05:53 am (UTC)
I've recently learned that it's not the case. If something's been declared safe by the FDA, it doesn't necessarily have to be labeled.
30th-Jan-2012 07:58 am (UTC)
Do you mean that they don't have to be labelled in the US? If that's what you mean, that is sad. :( As I said before, if you want to escape GM food, you may have to leave the US. :(

Here's the EU law regarding labelling:
"The labelling should include objective information to the
effect that a food or feed consists of, contains or is
produced from GMOs. Clear labelling, irrespective of the
detectability of DNA or protein resulting from the
genetic modification in the final product, meets the
demands expressed in numerous surveys by a large
majority of consumers, facilitates informed choice and
precludes potential misleading of consumers as regards
methods of manufacture or production."
28th-Jan-2012 07:15 pm (UTC)
Soy gets injected into meat for--uh. Plumpness. Or something.

Other thing I don't understand: why plain Puffins cereal now lists an ingredient as "Corn (contains soy)". How? Hoooow?
28th-Jan-2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
How = cross-pollination in the fields? Maybe?
28th-Jan-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
No. Not biologically possible. They're not even closely related - soy is a dicot and corn is a monocot.
28th-Jan-2012 11:02 pm (UTC)
I am no biologist. I have no idea how it could happen, then!
(Deleted comment)
30th-Jan-2012 05:54 am (UTC)
Could still be cross contamination, though? Or possibly grown in the same areas? Or soy is being used as a fertilizer on those fields.
30th-Jan-2012 07:41 pm (UTC) - My own wild guess
on this and the paucity of items on the original menu has to do with processing the stuff on the same equipment. If they aren't strictly segregated then it's entirely possible that one would contaminate the other.

But I have no evidence, just guessing.
28th-Jan-2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Lecithin as a preservative, I'm guessing.
28th-Jan-2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
Hm. Usually I see lecithin as its own item on ingredient labels, but I suppose if it was just a preservative in the corn and not added during the cereal-production step?
29th-Jan-2012 06:56 pm (UTC)
It's a hassle to get a big commercial grinding mill really clean, with no trace of anything from the previous batch. The bigger the machine, the more expensive it is to make sure it's thoroughly clean. So the first batch of cornmeal that goes into the mill after they make soy flour is going to get contaminated, if they aren't taking special precautions against allergens. Someone probably thought Puffins' customers wouldn't pay a premium for soy-free cornmeal.
(Deleted comment)
28th-Jan-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
The easiest vector I can think of for soy on shrimp would be soy sauce.
28th-Jan-2012 11:03 pm (UTC)
Or that they grill it with soybean oil?
28th-Jan-2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
This is why we want to open our own cafe... You just can't find anywhere that makes real food anymore... It's all prepackaged modified who knows what... I want to be able to say "these are the ingredients in this dish" and that's it... No preservatives, no additives for "freshness" or whatever else... Just what is supposed to be in the food, period.
28th-Jan-2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
I will note, though, that the items they put on a soy-free menu will be the items that they can *guarantee* do not have soy. This does not necessarily mean that all the other items have soy, only that Chilis (or any other restaurant offering such a menu) cannot beyond a shadow of a doubt guarantee there is no soy in it. So in the case of the chicken, since some processors use soy in processing, or process in places where there might be soy used (ie, the old Processed in a facility that also processes standby), and some do not, they cannot be certain that there is no exposure, so out it goes.
28th-Jan-2012 11:27 pm (UTC)
One of my friends is allergic to soy (and many other things).

Before she moved away, I was making an applesauce/raisin cake to take to dinner at her place. Double-checked the label on the vegetable oil I'd gotten at the food bank; yep, has soy. Had no other oil. Ended up melting butter.

Also, she likes tea; I'd found some mango black tea bags at Trader Joe's. And there's soy in that tea. IDEK. (Not in most of their others; I've checked.)

I used to get safflower oil, but have had trouble finding it the last few years, so I use canola. Costs more than plain "vegetable oil" but at least I know what's in it. (Maybe.)

And how is there soy in grilled chicken? (Unless... maybe they brush the grill with oil, and that oil has soy? IDEK, again.)

I don't even have food allergies, and I prefer stuff I've cooked myself, just because I know what's there. (Though TJ's is usually pretty good about things like that.) This can be a problem, what with the CFS, fibro, chronic daily migraine, yadda yadda, and no spoons to use to actually, y'know, cook. *very wry*
28th-Jan-2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
Between the soy allergy and the celiac, I read the hell out of every label ever. Also I do a lot of Googling - McCormick's spices don't say gluten-free on the bottle, IIRC, but the website verifies that they are.

Most vegetable oil is totally soy; we use olive oil whenever vegetable oil is indicated. And butter instead of shortening.
(Deleted comment)
29th-Jan-2012 04:16 am (UTC)
I read the hell out of every label ever.

Ditto. It isn't technically an allergy, they say, but within 20 minutes of consuming anything with aspartame, I have a level 10, I should go to the ER but won't because of how I'd be treated as a drug-seeker, migraine. And the things it's hidden in... *shakes head*

The foodpocalypse is coming, y'all. I will be over here in the corner rocking gently and eating food I cooked myself from safe unprocessed ingredients.

Finding and affording those safe unprocessed ingredients, especially if you're on fixed income and getting some stuff from the food bank, can be... problematic. *very wry* *very grateful I don't have food allergies, and am not diabetic. Oy.*
29th-Jan-2012 05:56 pm (UTC)
Funny you should post this -- I just spotted 2 free celiac kindle books on dining out:

http://www.amazon.com/Gluten-Restaurants-Coeliac-Allergies-ebook/dp/B004EEOIFG/
http://www.amazon.com/Allergen-Italian-Restaurants-Allergies-ebook/dp/B004EEOI6U/

Don't know if they're any good or how long they'll stay free, but I nabbed 'em & I thought you'd be interested.
29th-Jan-2012 06:05 pm (UTC) - re: soy in everything
My understanding is that it's the primary cooking oil used in many restaurants. (I really try not to think about this.) It's probably what's used to mop down the grill to make sure things don't stick.
29th-Jan-2012 06:11 pm (UTC)
Like many adults, I'm lactose-intolerant and have replaced cow's milk with soy milk in my diet. Should I stop doing this? If so, what should I use instead to put in my coffee and cereal?
29th-Jan-2012 07:05 pm (UTC)
Many people can eat small amounts of soy without difficulty. If you're in good health, it's probably not worth worrying about...but if you've been feeling vaguely sick in ways that are hard to figure out, you might want to try a few weeks without soymilk and see if you feel better.

If you're not allergic to nuts, almond milk and coconut milk are good alternatives to soymilk. They're lower in protein (though I don't think that's a concern for you), but are a good source of calcium. Coconut milk has a very nice creaminess that makes it especially good for ice cream.
29th-Jan-2012 08:44 pm (UTC)
http://www.joyofkosher.com/recipe/pareve-dairy-free-coconut-ice-cream/

Figured I'd share a recipe for a French style non-dairy "ice cream" made with coconut milk since you mentioned it.
30th-Jan-2012 01:51 am (UTC)
If you ARE allergic to nuts, or if you find the almond or coconut milks are too strongly flavored, there's also rice milk.
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