Recently, I started posting on the cookbook’s Facebook page that I’m going soy free. I’m not following the latest diet fad or eating trend, I’m following my body’s signals that soy isn’t right for me. Like most people, I assumed that a food allergy came in the form of hives, swollen throats and/or other such obvious physical signs. What I had forgotten about was that food effects us chemically just as much as physically.
After coming to the west coast two years ago, Bre’s doctor who was as baffled as all my previous doctors at my size versus my eating habits, suggested I stop drinking my favorite soy chai milk and lattes. I did and didn’t see a difference in weight though I did notice a difference in my energy levels; just not a significant one.
A few months ago as I was researching nutrition, something I do often, I came across an article about soy allergies and the symptoms. I was shocked to discover that soy can cause severe inflammation within the body, cause fatigue, mimic estrogen and other such things that rang true with my situation. So, out of curiosity, I dropped as much soy as I could from my diet for a month. The first two weeks nothing seemed different, by the third week I stopped being so achy and thus was more inclined to be physical but by the end of the month… I was down right hyper and unable to sit still; just like I use to be ages ago. This made me realize that without a doubt, soy was the culprit in the current state of things. Over the past few months I’ve been changing our diet and eating habits slowly so we don’t feel like we’re missing out on the things we enjoy. This is why I’ve worked on perfecting seitan, bread making and currently working on yogurt.
I highly doubt I would be able to completely eliminate soy as it’s one of the most common food ingredients, but drastically reducing it is a heck of a start. That “start” has already produced results with me able to take a short hike with Bre in the pouring rain this past weekend; a feat I previously would not have been able to do because of being so swollen around my injuries.
How difficult has it been to go soy free? Extremely! It’s in EVERYTHING! If you buy it from the store, it probably has soy in it. Things that you would never suspect to have soy, do! Soy, soybean, soybean oil, etc. If it’s something you’d like to consider trying to see how your body reacts, prepare to go at least a month or two of being soy free. This allows your body to adjust to a change in diet (which can tricker similar reactions of improved energy and such but only because your diet is different, not just because you’ve eliminated soy) and gives your body time to completely flush soy out of your system.
I suggest reading the labels of things you eat on a daily basis and searching for soy-free alternatives online or in the store. Give yourself plenty of prepping time to go soy free; remember, this is meant to be soy-free, not a diet to lose weight! Don’t change your eating habits (yet), just find soy-free alternatives that you can happily live with. Some things you’ll either have to learn to make (like bread if you eat it) or salad dressings (yes, even vinaigrettes have soy!).
Don’t expect this to be a cure all and that you’ll suddenly drop tons of weight without having to lift a finger or that it will cure all your ailments. This will ONLY work for people who actually have an intolerance to soy. Sorry, but that’s reality. Otherwise, you’re just eliminating soy from your diet and nothing will change other than possibly your estrogen levels (which can help bring up people’s energy levels but that’s really all). If you realize that your aches and pains disappear, that you have a LOT more energy, that you think clearer and notice a change in weight, then talk to your doctor and nutritionist to confirm a soy allergy.