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There’s soy in that? What do you mean?
Most people don’t realize how much soy is hiding right in the food, cleaning and personal care products that we use every day! Today we are talking about all the other names for soy and some of the common hiding places for soy.
I remember trying to go out to dinner when I was first diagnosed with a soy allergy. I explained to the waitress that I have a soy allergy and asked if they would be able to accommodate me. She said, “Yes, of course we can. We don’t use soy.” Unfortunately, in most cases, US restaurants use soy all over the place.
Now, don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t lying, being malicious, or trying to give me an allergic reaction. The reality is that most people hear soy and just think of tofu, soy sauce, or soy milk. So, in their minds, they don’t use soy in their restaurants.
This cannot be farther from the truth. In this day and age, soy is being used EVERYWHERE!
So, how do we stay safe and avoid soy?
There are no “cures” for food allergies, so avoidance is the best way to stay safe and not suffer from potentially life threatening reactions. To successfully avoid soy, you need to know the other names for soy and some of the common hiding places .
Common Names for soy
Ingredients and Foods that contain soy
|Soy (Soya, Soybean, Soyabean)
|Soy Lecithin *
|Soybean Oil **
|Soy Protein, Soy Protein Isolate
|Bean Curd (dofu, kori-dofu, soybean curds)
|Textured Soy Flour (TSF)
|Hydrolyzed Soy Protein (HSP)
|Textured Soy Protein (TSP)
|Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP)
Ingredients that “might” be contain Soy
There are a bunch of ingredients that might be derived from soy or use soy as a component of the ingredient.
The following ingredients should be investigated before using:
|Hydrolyzed Plant Protein (HPP)
|Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)
|Natural Flavors, Natural Flavorings
|Vitamin E (Tocopheryl, dl alpha tocopheryl acetate, tocopherols)
Natural Flavors: Natural Flavors is kind of a catchall phrase that could include pretty much anything. Anytime Natural Flavors is listed, I do additional checking to make the the item is soy free.
Guar Gum: Guar Gum can contain up to 10% soy. Need to check this ingredient if you are highly sensitive.
Xanthan Gum: Xanthan Gum can be derived from corn, wheat or soy.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E may be derived from many different sources. However, soy seems to be the most common source. Look for Vitamin E derived from Sunflower. In personal care products, I like to use sunflower oil as it is a good source of vitamin E.
Soy Lecithin: According to Food Allergy Research & Education (F.A.R.E) some people with a soy allergy can tolerate soy lecithin. Consult your medical professional and use your own best judgement to determine if soy lecithin is safe for your own situation.
Soybean Oil: The FDA does not require labeling of highly refined soy oil. Supposedly, there have been studies indicating that most soy allergic people do not react to highly refined soybean oil as the proteins have all been removed. I have not been able to find any credible evidence of these studies as of the writing of this post. From soyconnection.com by United Soybean Board,
Commercially, the soybean oil refining process uses extraction with hot solvents, bleaching and deodorization, and these processes serve to eliminate almost all soy protein, and thus allergens, from the oil. Although highly refined soybean oil contains extremely low levels of detectable soy protein, FALCPA provides an exemption from source labeling.
Unfortunately, I do react to both soy lecithin and soybean oil. Also, extracted with hot solvents, bleached and deodorized sounds perfectly disgusting not healthy! Yuck!
For me, being allergic to soy means that even a tiny amount can trigger a reaction. When I was first diagnosed, I was really surprised about all the different names for soy. Even more mind blowing… all the ingredients and foods that could contain or be “derived from” soy. In recent years, use of soy has become more and more prevalent in the US and around the world. Some of the places soy can be hiding is in your shampoo, face wash, coffee creamer, bread, seasoning mixes, and even meat and eggs.
What?!? Soy can be in our meat?
Yup, the majority of our meat supply in the US-beef, chicken, pork, etc-is fed soy. This soy can then be present in eggs and meat products. Even most of the organically raised meat and egg products list “vegetarian feed”. If you research this “vegetarian feed”, 9 times out of 10 I have found that the vegetarian feed contains soy. I recently found a local farmer in SW Washington that raises their animals completely 100% grass fed, pasture raised, and specifically uses soy free feed-♥love you Botany Bay Farm♥. Another option I have heard of, but have not personally tried, is Tropical Traditions.
Soy free eggs were one of the hardest items for me to find when I first became allergic to soy. I’m lucky that I have a few sources now, but that wasn’t always the case. After I told my mom how much trouble I was having finding soy free eggs, my little sister switched her chickens feed over to a soy free formula. My in-laws have also switched over their chicken feed to a soy free feed, which is really awesome. So, I am super lucky!
For those of you who don’t have access to family grown eggs, there are a few other resources as well.
Blue Sky Family Farms has a line of soy free eggs. I get these at my local Natural Grocers. Love them and super reasonable. As of August 2017 they are only about $3.59 a dozen. They have a coupon on their website for $.50 (cents) off a dozen as well. You could contact them directly to see where to purchase in your area. Note: Their website does not show the soy free line but it is available.
Mission Mountain Organic Eggs also has a line of soy free eggs. Available at Natural Grocers. I haven’t tried them yet so I cannot specifically endorse them, but they are another alternative. From my research, it looks like they are corn free as well. It looks like you can order them through Azure for about $9.95 dozen.
Tropical Traditions, Grass Fed Traditions, also offers soy free eggs. Currently the price is $37.99 for 4 dozen. They ship them to you but only ship in minimums of 4 dozen. Fair warning, I have not tried these eggs either so I cannot attest to the quality but I have seen great reviews and references to this companies eggs and meat on other sites. If I didn’t have other sources, I would give them a try.
I am super excited to be working on a Soy Free Database. The Soy Free Database will help you find soy free alternatives for your favorites products. If you want to be notified when the database is ready, sign up for my email updates below.
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Common Hiding Places for Soy in Foods
Pretty much any food product you can think of “might” contain soy. The following list illustrates some of the most common hiding places for Soy but is by no means 100% conclusive:
|Bakery Goods like cookies, pies, cakes
|Bread, Rolls, and Bread Crumbs
|Meats-packaged, injected with broth or solution, already seasoned or cooked
|Candy, Chewing Gum, Chocolate
|Nut Butters (some-watch the label carefully)
|Canned Soups and Broths
|Canned Tuna, Chicken, etc
|Chips, crackers, cookies, and other snacky items
|Sauces-Barbeque sauce, Dips, Ketchup, Mayonnaise, Mustard, Worchestershire
|Cream, half and half, etc
|Sausage, hot dogs, lunch meat
|Frozen or canned vegetable blends (especially blends with sauces)
|Seasonings-Taco Seasoning, Seasoning Salt, Seasoning Blends, BBQ Seasoning Rubs
|Frozen potato products-french fries, tator tots, hashbrowns
|Frozen prepared meals, burritos or pizzas
|Tea (watch out for soy inks and teabags made from soy)
|Imitation Dairy Products
|Infant Formulas, supplements, Follow Up Formula
|Vegetable Oil Sprays (Pam)
Common Hiding Places for Soy in other Products
Foods aren’t the only place this pesky bean is used! Cleaning products, personal care products and other household products also use soy as a binder, thickener, emulsifier, etc. If you have diligently removed soy from your diet and are still having reactions then you might be having a reaction to soy in your personal care items or even your cleaning products. I am one of the unlucky ones that is highly reactive to soy. Removing conventional personal care products and cosmetics and switching to confirmed soy free products or (even better) homemade products, really helped me a lot!
|Laundrey Detergent, Fabric Softener, Stain Treatment products
|Lotions, Moisturizers, Balms, Butters and sunscreen
|Craft products (like crayons, glue, and paste)
|Medications, Supplements, Vitamins
|Oils such as some blends of oils for aromatherapy
|Preseasoned Cast-iron cookware (can be seasoned with soy oil)
Other interesting uses of soy
|Home and Commercial Carpet
|Hydraulic fluid and rail flange lubricants
|Industrial lubricants, solvents, cleaners and paints
|Biocomposites (Building materials made from recycled newspaper and soy)
|Particleboard, laminated plywood and fingerjointed lumber made with soy-based wood adhesives
|Foams (coolers, refrigerators, and footwear)
- Food, personal care and cleaning products may contain soy.
- Learn the common and uncommon names for soy
- Familiarize yourself with the products where soy is likely to be hiding
- Always read the labels! Products change frequently and your favorites could change at anytime.
- Above all else, follow your gut, do your own research, investigate products and ingredients, and…
- When in doubt, just say NO!
I hope this information is helpful. I am working on some more posts for you about avoiding allergens and researching products, the Soy Free Database of products, and a bunch of other fun recipes for homemade cleaning products, personal care products, and FOOD! 😉