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From: Marie Oser (marie.veggiechef.com)
Subject:         Re: Enlightened Kitchen question
Date: May 23, 2007 at 8:03 pm PST

In Reply to: Enlightened Kitchen question posted by Sharon on May 23, 2007 at 7:56 pm:

Hi Sharon,
Thank you for your comments.

Certainly you may substitute various kinds of tofu, tempeh, or wheat gluten for ingredients such as soy ground beef or veggie Canadian Bacon, in any recipe. I believe that preparing traditional style meals, especially for non-veg or mixed company, is widely accepted. Even among long-term vegans, these products add texture and variety to our diet.

However, the issue you reference can be a source of confusion.

Hydrolized soy protein is not a form of MSG. It contains "free glutamates". Chemically, MSG is one of these, a family of substances derived from glutamic acid, which in turn is one of the building blocks of protein.

"Free glutamate" like MSG is released by breaking down protein molecules. Some foods, including fresh tomatoes, tomato paste, and Parmesan cheese, naturally contain free glutamates. MSG is the monosodium salt of glutamic acid, an amino acid that is found throughout the human body.

It is also naturally present in protein-rich foods such as cheese, meat, fish and human milk, and also in vegan foods such as peas, corn, potatoes, spinach, carrots, onions, and mushrooms. Free glutamates are what add rich "umami" flavors to foods, such as in the case of miso, soy sauce, mushrooms, etc.

"Free glutamate" also is present in various flavorings, including hydrolyzed vegetable protein, calcium caseinate, sodium caseinate, soy sauce, and autolyzed yeast.

I hope this information helps.

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