Many Soyvivors were leading a busy life before they found out about their allergy. They may have been working full-time, raising children, caring for aging parents, or many other of life’s challenges that keep us moving constantly. A food allergy discovery can be devastating to those that have absolutely no time for the hours and hours of research, shopping, phone calls, cooking, medical appointments, emotional turmoil, and self care that all arrive simultaneously like a big slap in the face.
If you have just found out about your allergy, or you have been struggling with the enormous amount of work involved in dealing with your allergy, know that taking some time off from your busy schedule could be critical to the rest of your life. If there is any way that you can take some extensive time off, you definitely need to, and even if it’s a day off, do it NOW. You need time to learn to cook again, learn to shop again, memorize soy ingredients, call manufacturers about food, household, beauty, and medicinal products, and take time to connect with other soy survivors that can give you invaluable advice.
I have a few tips for all of us on our quest to live a happy, soy free life:
- If you just discovered your soy allergy, you must seek help from a medical professional right away that can give you long-term care and advice.
- Until you have time to research all of the products you need and test how you react to products, stick to this simple rule of cooking: Only cook whole foods that have not been fed any soy with 100% pure spices and non-soy oils (coconut oil, olive oil, grapeseed oil, etc.) This basically means cooking from scratch for now until you can research and connect.
- Try to have at least 2-3 soy free items in your fridge or freezer at all times that can be eaten quickly and with little “fuss” that don’t require cooking from scratch. Here are some ideas:
- Soy-Free Bread (check Out Rudi’s options), Justin’s Almond Butter, and pure Honey for sandwiches
- A Soy-Free Pizza (Try Amy’s Soy Free Options)
- Salad Mix with Some Sliced Almonds
- A baked potato with toppings
- A high-quality frozen lunch option (Amy’s has some great soy-free options)
- Quesadillas (Udi’s has a soy free tortilla, but not all products are soy free)
- Applegate Natural Uncured Hot Dogs (Applegate has a lot of soy free options, but not all are soy free. They can provide you with a list of items with soy.)
- Take 2-3 hours each week to cook a batch of something for your freezer that you can use on busy evenings when you do not feel like or have time to cook. Here are some ideas for this:
- If you can tolerate chicken, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil (no clean-up!) and bake on 350 for 15 minutes. You can put individuals tenderloins in sandwich bags and then put all sandwich bags in a larger freezer bag. Freeze and reheat when needed.
- Bake some fish using the method above for 10 minutes. Freeze.
- If you can tolerate beans, cook a package of dried beans and freeze. You can try putting a cup of beans each in sandwich bags and freeze all in a large freezer bag.
- Cook a large package of rice and freeze using the method above.
- Cook a large batch of some of your favorite recipes. My lentils recipe, my slow cooker curry chicken, or my tomato-less spaghetti freezes well.
You will be surprised at how quickly you will fill your freezer with meals that you can use when you just don’t feel like or have the time to cook.
You may also find one or two restaurants in your area that can offer a soy free carry-out option. For me, I love plain wings and a tossed salad from Mellow Mushroom, or a baked potato and a garden salad from Wendy’s with some sliced almonds added for protein.
Planning your meals a week at a time can also be a huge time saver. I have four weeks worth of meals on a spreadsheet along with the shopping list for each meal. I copy and paste what I want for the week which creates my shopping list from there. It keeps me from having to spend precious time and energy during the week stressing about what I am going to cook and making unnecessary trips to the grocery. I will share my meal spreadsheet in upcoming blog posts.
Also take some time to think about how others in your household can help you. They may be more than willing to help you when they find that it relieves a lot of stress and creates more harmony in the house. For instance, because of my reflux, I have to eat early before my husband arrives home from work. We have an agreement that I will cook and he will clean up. You may find that some of your children can help with the dishes or your older children may be able to help with soy product research. If your nearest health food store is a bit of a drive from your home, ask others to pick up items from you if they are visiting, and offer to do the same for them when you shop.
I would love to hear about your time saving tips for thriving with a soy free life! Please share in the comments below!