Friday, April 3, 2009

Product Review: Natural Sea Dairy-free Wheat-free Clam Chowder

I love dairy. When I was trying to figure out what my health problems stemmed from I was mortally afraid that it would be wheat or dairy, or both. I was actually relieved that it was just wheat. While there are grains galore that you can use to make muffins or scones, there is really no substitute for dairy. However, when I went off wheat I became temporarily lactose intolerant. This is common for people recovering from gastrointestinal disorders, including celiac sprue.

It was in this period of secondary lactose intolerance that I discovered a dairy-free New England style clam chowder. It was only later, after reading virtually every clam chowder label out there, that I realized that this is one of the few canned clam chowders in existence that is also gluten-free. The only other one I've found is Progresso brand, but that one has MSG (which is possibly not safe for celiacs - can anyone give me a definitive answer on this?)
Down to the nitty-gritty: I really like this soup. Imagine my surprise when I didn't really miss the cream. The soup is not creamy in the sense of having a dairy substitute. However, it does have a very thick and full potato base, like a smooth potato leek soup. The clams are not over-cooked, so if you heat the soup slowly you get a good texture out of them. The consistency is thick and chunky, and I mean that in a good way. The soup is definitely well-seasoned and hearty. I found this soup at New Season's.

My quibbles: this product contains soy. I wanted to share it with a gluten-free, casein-free friend, but he is allergic to soy. Why, oh why would you make a product specifically for people with food allergies and then add another one of the top eight allergens? It also contains corn starch, which a lot of gluten-intolerant people can't handle, but perhaps that can't be helped.

Have you tried Natural Sea DF WF Clam chowder? What did you think? Do you have a favorite GF clam chowder? Where do you find it? Please comment below!


Linda said...

Thanks for the review, I'm going to keep my eye out for it.

MSG is gluten free. Go to and click on ingredients.