Tempeh – Friend or Foe?

I feel a million times better since going gluten and dairy free. Those were easy choices, really. The reactions were clear and relatively immediate. I’d have to be stupid not to pick up on them. But, there have been days where I’ve questioned other things in my diet, soy being one of them. Soy sauce and soybean oil seem to not be major factors. But, tofu and soy milk? Not sure they like me. (And, frankly, I’m not such a huge fan of soy milk either. That’s right – I’m talking to you, oh thick and bland one.)

But, I’ve been reading a lot about fermented foods and all the wonderful things they can do for you. They’re easier to digest, they contain good bacteria that beneficial to your intestines, they reduce allergic responses and they even reduce risks of certain cancers. Tempeh, in particular, seems to have some great things going for it. Apparently, the fermentation process makes the amino acids more readily available, and increases several key nutritional components – Riboflavin, vitamin B6, nicotinic acid, and pantothenic acid. Yay! And, to me, it just tastes better than tofu. Look at this gorgeous meal my hubbie cooked for me last night – tempeh, broccoli and asparagus stir fry with lots of ginger, sesame, wheat-free tamari, and garlic:

Tempeh Stir Fry

Tempeh Stir Fry

So, that’s the good news – yummy, good nutritional value, happy bacteria.

This morning, though, I woke up and took off my jammies only to discover a giant swipe of dermatographia across my chest – a classic sign of an allergic reaction. For those not in the know, dermatographia is an over reaction of your skin cells to any stimulus. So, apparently, I scratched an itch and it resulted in “hives” all along the scratch lines.

Now to be fair to the tempeh, I’m not sure there’s a cause and effect relationship going on. The pollen count is really high here right now, and my allergies, in general, have been a bit out of control. And, so, the jury is still out.

Do you react to soy? Is fermented soy okay? Or, do you need to avoid all soy?

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2 Responses to Tempeh – Friend or Foe?

  1. Ricki says:

    So sorry about the skin rash! I hope it’s not due to the tempeh–tempeh is one of my all-time favorite foods (even before I was vegan). I love it plain, or in vegan pasta carbonara, or salads. . . yum. Maybe if you wait a bit and try again? And just added your blog to my blogroll–sorry for the oversight! :)

  2. Deanna says:

    Thanks. The good thing with dermatographia is that it’s short-lived, as long as I remember not to scratch. (Seems I don’t remember to do that when I’m asleep.)

    I’m definitely going to try tempeh again. I haven’t given up on it yet!

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