Today’s topic is about everything soy free! If you have a soy allergy, you probably already know avoiding it can be quite difficult. The biggest issue with going soy free is that it’s found in many common foods. And reading food labels can be difficult. Let’s not even talk about dining out!
Soy allergies are becoming more common these days, affecting 1.5 million children and adults every year. but what does soy free mean and is it even possible to eat a soy free diet and still enjoy life?
Yes, its possible and I’ll show you how!
It all starts with understand what soy free really means and how it’s produced in America versus other countries.
What is a soy allergy?
A soy allergy is an adverse immune response to soy protein and foods that contain soy, a product of soybeans. The body mistakenly assumes the proteins found in soy are invaders and immediately creates antibodies against them. Soy allergies are not just limited to soybeans however. Unfortunately, a lot of the foods we eat on an everyday basis contain soy, such as processed foods, meat products, baked goods, and cereals.
Allergic reactions can be mild and limited to the skin, such as hives or a rash, or severe and life-threatening, such as anaphylaxis. Severe symptoms are typically rare.
A person with a soy allergy may experience:
- stomach pain
- trouble breathing or swallowing
A severe allergic reaction can lead to low blood pressure and shock as well as swelling of the throat and tongue. In some cases death may occur if not treated quickly enough.
How long does it take for someone with a soy allergy to feel sick?
People usually start feeling symptoms within minutes to a couple hours after eating foods that contain soy protein.
A person with an allergy will start to experience experience symptoms like fatigue, dizziness or lightheadedness within an hour of exposure to soy because their immune system is still releasing histamine into the bloodstream. This type of reaction can be triggered by ingesting any amount of soy or coming into contact with products that contain soy—including makeup, shampoo or toothpaste—so it’s important to read labels carefully.
How many people in America have a soy allergy?
Soy allergy is one of the most common food allergies in children, affecting about 0.4% of the population under age three. It’s more common in younger children than older, because they often outgrow it.
It is also increasingly becoming more prevalent in older generations, affecting 2-3% of adults. Among those with a soy allergy, about 20% are estimated to have severe reactions.
What causes a soy allergy?
Based on my own research and studying as a Holistic Health Coach, I’ve come up with my own theory on what causes a soy allergy.
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO)
Companies create GMO’s by genetically engineering the DNA of one species of living thing with another. Genes are swapped from one organism to another without regard to biological constraints.
Companies use GMOs for many reasons:
- the crop becomes insect and herbicide resistant (which actually cause stronger more harmful pesticides being used)
- farmers can produce more per acre
- bigger product that can yield more revenue
It’s estimated that 75% of all grocery store food is GMO and 95% of all soy found in America is GMO. Even though the FDA approves GMO foods, studies continue to show adverse health effects through animal studies.
- cancer promoting
- affects reproduction
- hinders immune system
Overall digestion issues
A healthy digestive system is not only about avoiding constipation, diarrhea, and the abdominal pain. It means having a healthy gut which means a strong immune system because your body’s largest organ is an important part of your defense against illness. Your gut communicates with every part of your body.
What does this have to do with soy?
People with digestive issues have a harder time breaking down soy proteins. The digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins is pepsin. Pepsin can become ineffective if your stomach acid levels are low or you have an overgrowth of bacteria called Helicobacter Pylori . A deficiency in zinc, iron, vitamin B6, and calcium can also lead to bad digestion. All these deficiencies contribute to the poor breakdown of the soy, which can lead to an allergy.
GMO Soy versus Fermented Soy
This is the big one. People with a soy allergy aren’t actually allergic to true fermented soy, usually. They are allergic to the processed GMO version of soy. Put simply, you’re not getting real soy in America.
Fermented soy improves digestibility, increase nutritional value, and provides beneficial bacteria to the gut. The fermentation process itself helps make the isoflavones, a powerful antioxidant, more readily available for absorption. Antioxidants are known for fighting free radicals (cancer promoting) in the body.
What foods is soy in?
- Processed meats like cold cuts, hot dogs, bacon, and lunchmeats
- Processed foods
- Infant Formulas
- Protein energy bars
- Vegetable Broths
- Seasoning mixes
- Processed vegetable oils
Soy Ingredients to Avoid
- Hydrolyzed Soy Protein
- Soy Sauce
- Soy Flour
- Soy Grits
- Soy Milk
- Textured Vegetable Protein
Potential Soy Ingredients to Avoid
- Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein
- Hydrolyzed Plant Protein
- Natural Flavorings
- Vegetable Broth
- Vegetable Gum
- Vegetable Starch
What can you eat on a soy free diet?
You can eat soy free foods that comply with your other diet restrictions. For example, if you’re vegan and soy free, you can still enjoy a wide variety of animal-free foods. You can also stick to a plant-based diet by eating beans, quinoa, brown rice, buckwheat, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.
Stick to whole foods and and limit processed foods as much as possible.
Do you want a FREE meal plan that can show you how to make simple, delicious recipes that will support your soy free diet? Or learn how to implement a whole foods approach?