- Food and Cooking»
- Food Safety»
- Food Allergies
Soy Allergy Hidden Derivatives
Soy Allergy: The Root Cause of Everything
Avoiding soy if you have a soy allergy is kind of like sitting in traffic. You really don't want to but you know you have to. Not much of a choice there unless you decide to sing along to the next song at the top of your lungs to make the best of it.
That's kind of how I look at it now. Make the best of it.
For years I was able to eat soy sauce and soy derivatives. Even after going into anaphylactic shock from tofu (the concentrated form of soy which is a legume) I indulged in those melted, disgustingly sloppy Taco Bell Nacho Bellgrandes with extra cheese and no meat at 2AM just like most in their early 20s. My cravings for those MSG excitoxins we now know as soy lecithin, soybean oil, natural flavors and guar gum would not accept any alternatives and the after-effects of gorging myself on something I knew full well I shouldn't be eating was taking it's toll on my hands in the form of severe hand eczema for the next forty-eight hours along with a yeast infection that I had just gotten rid of. Over time, I discovered on my own that every time I ate soy derivatives or soy sauce, I would develop the same familiar symptoms. Then an itchy mouth rash would show up the next day, which would eventually peel off. Having a soy allergy became my greatest teacher about health and allergens because I soon realized that soy was really the reason behind so much of the suffering.
This is my favorite supplement to use during and after an allergic reaction, not only to supercharge the immune system, but it helps rid the body of candida overgrowth. I do 3-5 drops under tongue every 6 hours (make sure to talk to your doctor first). I got my family into it as a cold and flu preventative during the winter, too.
Ninety percent of People Are Allergic to Yeast
I was seeing my gynecologist sometimes twice in a week. When we have allergic reactions to foods or yeast, the release of certain hormones causes a change in the PH levels which in turn, causes acid to burn out any good bacteria that exists in the gut. This whole cycle causes candida overgrowth and/or oral thrush. It turns out, these chronic yeast infections were causing extreme fatigue and making me gain a lot of weight because the hormones flooding my body were throwing my thyroid out of wack. I was also craving sugar and carbs like crazy because self-control while having yeast overgrowth is almost impossible. You need supplements like Mediterranean oregano oil to kill the candida while you wean off of sugar and starches. For years, my weight fluctuated between 165-175lbs, which my doctor said was a bit high for my height of 5'6". Over the years I loved to workout but the weight wouldn't budge...much.
At age 20 I was diagnosed the gamut of psychiatric conditions including borderline personality disorder and slight manic depression also known as bipolar disorder. What I did not realize at the time was that my food allergy to soy had everything to do with the anxiety and depression. For a decade, I was put on antidepressants, one after another, each of which seemed to make anxiety and panic attack symptoms worse. Others numbed me out so much I needed espresso after espresso so I wouldn't fall asleep. Over the years, I read studies like this one which talked about how the most severe psychiatric symptoms, such as schizophrenia could be caused by allergies. I told my doctor, "I don't think I need medications." But what happens when you are hopped up on Starbucks talking like the micromachine guy's daughter to your psychiatrist saying the medication seems to be making things worse?
You guessed it. You are not taken seriously. I could read him like the back of my hand.
"Let's try Wellbutrin and some low-dose Risperdal to calm the anxiety," he says with a smile.
The Dawning of An Epiphany
I went through about ten other antidepressants for the next twelve years.
To make a long story short, my mental and physical health got worse. I developed severe gluten intolerance and my soy allergy became worse. In 2013, I had an upper endoscopy procedure which changed my life. It was after 6 months of not being allowed to drive because doctors thought I had a seizure disorder. I knew I didn't and that it was an allergy to something they gave me.
It turns out, I was right. I had an allergic reaction to the sedation and had a seizure.
I did a ton of thinking and I realized I was perfectly sane before the medications. I was never actually mentally ill. My mood swings and emotional outbursts were perfectly normal for someone who was still eating the thing they were allergic to. All of this time, I was being given medicine that my body was rejecting. And yes, I realized later on that many of those medications probably also had soy allergens in them, I just didn't realize it.
If you could still eat soy without getting a reaction, would you eat it?
How Am I Today?
I am now 143lbs and down to a size 2. I went for my yearly exam with my primary care doctor last month and when they asked for the list of medications I was on it felt like a release to say, "Nothing. Nothing except the hydroxyzine 25mg as needed for hives."
I am no longer on antidepressants, antipsychotics, thyroid medication or stomach medication. I don't take three different allergy pills per day anymore, either. Only an Allegra, once in a blue. And of course, I carry my Epi-Pens everywhere.
"How did you lose so much weight?" the nurse asked.
"I changed my diet completely. I realized I have a delayed allergy to dairy so I strictly cut it out, along with soy and gluten. Now I mainly eat Paleo and lots of homemade salads."
I also cook at home and I rarely eat at restaurants. Unless its sashimi. Or Chipotle and I've taken a billion precautions.
You should've seen the look of shock I got. I truly believe we can heal ourselves. It doesn't happen overnight, but by genuinely loving ourselves and observing carefully what our body does and doesn't need, we can eliminate issues one by one until we transform into the healthy person we were meant to be.
The Soy Derivatives List
Soy derivatives are not made up of twenty or thirty ingredient names. Oh, no. That would be too easy. This is the full soy derivatives list, which not only includes soy derivatives in food and drinks but also soy derivatives in cosmetics, hair products, bath products, skincare, household products and even school supplies. If you have soy allergy you can't even use soap from dispensers in public restrooms. I've found even the soap in hospitals contains soy.
What Are The Health Effects of Soy?
What many businesses don't realize is that many people are becoming much more savvy to the detrimental health effects of soy isoflavones. Much of this information cannot be found anymore by simply searching on Google.
I had to dig.
This is why many companies are beginning to omit soy and soy derivatives from their product ingredients. But not the companies that are looking for a good deal! Twenty tons of soybean oil averages about $300-400 on alibaba.com, while fifty tons from Thailand or Vietnam is about $400-500.
Ninety-Nine Percent of Soy in the USA is GMO Soy
If you're in the United States, the soy in your food or being consumed is genetically modified, unless the soy is USDA certified organic. Even foods from other countries have jumped on the soybean industry bandwagon so if they don't contain a stringent organic certification, you can bet it is genetically modified soy.
Soy: The Cheap Filler That You Can Turn Into Practically Anything
Soybeans are versatile and cheap. They are transformed into everything from newspaper ink to crayons. There are numerous soy derivatives in cigarettes in the form of lecithin, PEGs, guar gum and possibly others. Usually vape fluid is made from soy-based glycerin or contains natural flavors from soy. Basically it all boils down to the fact that companies are looking to always fill products with the cheapest fillers and binding agents most readily available.
Why is There So Much Soy In Everything? What About Food Allergy Labeling?
Sure, since soy is one of the Top 8 allergens in the USA, companies now label for soy ingredients in products but very few of the derivatives. Also, they are not obligated to label for cross contamination or if the product was made on the same equipment. Those labels are completely mandatory.
Currently, over 60 countries around the world label for GMOs in food...why not the USA?
If You Have Soy Allergy, Take Labeling With a Grain of Salt
If you or someone you love has soy allergy, you have to become somewhat of a detective. Companies are not aware of how the soy derivatives effect severe soy allergy people. To make matters worse, soybean oil is not considered an allergen because it doesn't contain the proteins which are in soy protein, soy flour or tofu. Apparently, most of the proteins are removed during the refining process but I couldn't find a single study involving those who are anaphylactic to soy trying refined soybean oil. So why does the FDA consider it and many soy derivatives safe?
I created a petition last year to get soy derivative labeling mandated. I sent it to the White House for tracking. I hope you will sign and share so that we can bring awareness to the FDA and powers that be.
This is my favorite Ester C which I take after every meal, three times daily.
Soy in Over-The-Counter and Prescription Medication and Vitamins
If you are part of any food allergy community like the Soy Allergy Group on Facebook, you've probably dealt with a mysterious soy reaction that you could not pinpoint. Sometimes the very thing that was supposed to cure you was actually the culprit.
One example of this is Zyrtec, which I later realized was causing severe fatigue for days and a cumulative allergic reaction which worsened for every consecutive day I took the medicine. I found out later on Zyrtec contains not one, but two soy derivatives:
- Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)
- Magnesium Stearate
Even many allergists are not aware of the soy binders and soy derivatives in medication, so it is us to notify each other through trial and error or get your medications compounded, however, medication compounding is not regulated by the FDA and there are no regulations with good manufacturing practices or anything like that, so there is a risk.
Up and Up brand 'Zyrtec' from Target is soy-free and safe. Allegra is also soy-free and safe. I also have tried Up and Up brand acetomenophen without an allergic reaction.
As for vitamins, look for the soy-free labeling and read the ingredients very carefully. My favorite vitamin brands are Solgar and BlueBonnet, although not all of their products are soy-free so make sure to read ingredients carefully. Look out for stearates, vegetable fiber and stearic acid. Call companies if you have to to find out the source.
Soy is in Most Brand-Name Drinks
Unless your drinks are USDA Organic and from the health food store, its highly likely your orange juice or other drinks contain natural flavors, a sneaky GMO additive usually made of soy or corn. Juice companies finish juices with it to keep the flavor uniform.Soy waxes from the fruits also get in the juice causing hives or other allergic reactions for those who are sensitive to soy.
All of the big names like Coca Cola Company, Snapple, Arizona and even many 'natural' companies like Naked (shame on you and your natural claims for coconut water!) contain hidden soy. I didn't even have to call to find out; I've learned this the hard way. Go USDA Organic. Every time.
My favorite drinks that are definitely soy-free with zero natural flavors are the Q Kola by Qdrinks.com, Blue Monkey Organic Coconut Water and Vita Coco with pineapple (my favorite which I buy from Whole Foods)
This is my go-to USDA Organic Olive Oil which I buy from Costco but if you don't have a membership or Costco nearby, you can buy it on Amazon.
Is There Soy in Extra-Virgin Olive Oil?
I'm sorry if this is the first time you're hearing this, but if you buy imported olive oil, there is a very good chance it is faked.
Fake olive oil is big business Many companies in the USA don't know they are purchasing from suppliers who are using vegetable oil with chlorophyll or other cheaper oil mixes to give themselves a pay raise.
This means that you have to call any company that uses olive oil in their product to find out the source. The only time I trust olive oil in a product such as lip balm is if the ingredient listing for olive oil is USDA Organic.
Most Eggs, Fish, Meat and Poultry Are Soy-Fed
Since GM soy feed for everything from chickens to cattle is so cheap, it is mixed into the feed. It's customary for companies to practice 'plumping' on their chickens and beef, feeding them mixtures of GMO corn and soy or injecting natural flavors which include soy-based broths to make the products taste better.
Soy fed eggs do give me a reaction. I first noticed it with Eggland's Best, my go-to brand for many years. Now, I only choose Pete and Gerry's USDA Organic Eggs which are flax fed and I trust to be soy-free.
Coffee With Soy Wax and Tea With Soy From Natural Flavors
What!? Coffee contains soy?
Yes. Many food manufacturing practices are not required to label soy ingredients if the amount is less or the same as the amount of proteins in the oil. But really, who's measuring? Those of us who suffer from soy allergy reactions know within an hour whether the coffee we just consumed or the Celestial Seasonings tea contains soy (which they do, in the form of 'natural flavors').
Coffee bean producers want to sell their product for the highest selling prices so of course, they spray their beans before selling to the coffee manufacturers. This is why it might take forever and a day to get a response from that coffee company you just called.
When it comes to tea, I only trust USDA Organic tea because most natural flavors are made from GMO corn or GMO soy. USDA Organic Certification does not allow any GMOs in food, however, they do allow 5% nonorganic ingredients. If you are looking to completely avoid soy, make sure there is no tocopherol acetate or natural flavors.
As for coffee, I trust Starbucks Pike Place, Starbucks espresso, 365 Everyday Value Night Owl Ground Coffee (from Whole Foods) and 365 Everyday Value Balanced Ground Coffee (from Whole Foods, too).
You Will Understand It All Later
For now, just do the best you can to get to know all the places soy resides so you can avoid it. But don't fear it. Don't give it more power over your life and happiness. Meditate. Choose to be happy no matter what. Learn to cook. Go on Pinterest for new recipes, inspiration or humor. Keep your Epi-Pen and medications with you at all times. And live your life in the best way you possibly can.
© 2015 Maya Marcotte