Category Archives: Encouragement & Helpful Hints

Encouragement for soyvivors.

Book Review: Food Allergy Guide To Soy

UPDATE as of 4/29/17: Amy’s website no longer offers a search feature for soy free meals. It does offer allergen information for each product, but it does not offer customized search options for specific allergens.

I was really excited to see a new book dedicated to soy allergies on Amazon! It’s called Food Allergy Guide to Soy: How to Eat Safely and Well Soy-Free by Bill Bowling. It’s available in paperback as well as a Kindle edition. I immediately started reading so that I could pass along my thoughts, and I believe this is a “must read” book for anyone allergic to soy. Even if you have been dealing with your soy allergy for a while, I believe there will be something new for you in this book that makes it worth the purchase.

Bill Bowling’s wife has been allergic to soy for quite some time, so this book contains a lot of great information based on research. The author refrains from “bashing” soy, and gives you an unbiased view on the history of soy and its relationship to our food supply. His ingredient information is thorough, although as we all know, it is almost impossible to list all soy ingredients and their derivatives. Glycerin and Citric Acid are two that I have personally dealt with that were not included in the book, but the list is more comprehensive than most I have seen. I believe it will be helpful to everyone.

There is a great practice section where you are presented with a real product and its ingredients, and you have the opportunity to test your knowledge to see if you can tell if there is soy in the product or not. Then the author explains the ingredient list and explores whether or not the product contains soy. This is a great section for those that are new to soy.

The author also includes discussions on soy in medications and non-food products, which are items that have been big issues for me. There is also a discussion on how it seems that once you find that you are allergic to soy, you start questioning the ingredients in all of your products. I have definitely found this to be the case for me, and it was reassuring to see that others were also shocked by the number of unknown and harmful substances in our food supply.

The final portion of the book contains a resource section on everything from helpful books to websites. I actually had an “Aha!” moment when the author mentioned the Amy’s website for food products. I had always loved Amy’s products, but had not had the time to research soy free options. Amy’s website allows you to search for a particular allergen and generates recommendations for you. I had one of my favorite Amy’s dishes for the first time today since my soy allergy diagnosis and it was a great feeling. I believe that the resource section alone makes it worth purchasing the book.

There are a couple of items that I would like to see in the next version of the book. In the Kindle version, there are some formatting and grammatical issues. I would also like to see more discussion about soy free non-food products and medications, and a mention that medications are not required to label for the top allergens (as I found out the hard way with more than one medication.)

Overall, this book was very informative, and yet it was a quick and easy read. If you would like to purchase, here’s the link to my Amazon Store.

Calling All Soyvivors: Are there other books about soy allergy that you would recommend?

Enjoying A Soy Free Summer

Enjoying a soy free summer can require a lot of planning, packing, and patience. My husband and I plan out-of-town day trips a few times a month, and it can be stressful but worth it. We are going to be taking a week’s vacation in August, and I am already planning! Below are some of the tips that I have learned that will hopefully save you some time and planning.

Items You Will Need

  • Coolers and ice packs are essential. You can even buy electric coolers that have an adaptor for electricity and your car, but I just use an old-fashioned cooler.
  • Storage containers
  • Silverware: I stash any unused plasticware that we get at fast food chains and keep it in my car’s glove compartment for emergencies.
  • Other soy-free summer traveling essentials: sunscreen, bug spray, hand sanitizer, travel soap; Note: most commercial products contain soy. See my reviews below for product recommendations
  • A good chain restaurant available at your destination just in case the food you have packed isn’t enough. For me, I eat a garden salad and baked potato at Wendy’s. Occasionally I will eat chili with my baked potato, but beware that the chili contains soybean oil for those that are allergic. And for those of you looking for dessert, the Frosty is soy free (and who doesn’t want dessert?!)

Food

Freezing complete meals is great, but I also try to cook and freeze some items that can be used in many different recipes.

  • Soak, cook, and freeze dried chickpeas to make hummus. Then, when you’re ready to travel, you can just throw the chickpeas in the blender, add a little olive oil and some spices (garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper) and you are ready to go. You can make hummus roll-ups with tortillas or add veggies and chips to hummus for a complete meal. (Just a reminder that some folks that are allergic to soy are also allergic to other legumes like chickpeas.)
  • Bake a cookie sheet of organic chicken tenderloins and freeze them. When you’re ready to travel, add defrosted chicken to a green salad or see my recipe for soy free curry chicken salad with yummy grapes, apples, and celery.
  • Another great on-the-go recipe: Mozzarella, tomato, fresh basil and olive oil. Slice the mozzarella and tomato, top with fresh basil, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with a side of soy-free chips. It makes a great snack or meal.
  • Another idea that I want to try: Cold soups like gazpacho. They would freeze well, pack well, and be a great addition to your cooler.
  • Fruit: It packs well and is a great snack with a protein like nuts, pumpkin seeds, or string cheese.

Other items that do not need a cooler:

  • LARABARS (Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, and Soy Free)
  • Soy Free Nuts or Pumpkin Seeds (watch for “may contain” statements)
  • Travel Packets of Almond Butter
  • Rice Cakes or Rice Chips (Rice cakes and almond butter are great and filling!)
  • Corn Tortilla Chips or Popcorn

Sunscreen, Bug Spray, and Soy-Free Travel Kits

Sunscreen

My sunscreen of choice is California Baby’s sunscreen. It is highly rated through the Environmental Working Group and is free of peanuts, soy, and dairy. I also reconfirmed with CeraVe that their entire product line is free from gluten, wheat, milk, soy, nuts, and egg. Note as of 7/1/14: I no longer recommend CeraVe as a soy free product. I usually need to order my sunscreen, so it is good to know that there is a product in pharmacies and grocery stores that I can grab in a pinch.

Bug Spray

A great bug spray is also made by California Baby, and it has a great, light citrus smell. I haven’t tested it in mosquito-infested areas yet, but the reviews are very good.

Soap and Hand Sanitizer

Sometimes I think that I react just as badly to the soy in bath and body products as I do to foods. Commercial hand soap can be the worst for me. I carry a small squeeze bottle of soy free soap in my purse when I travel and go to work. My favorite soap is made by Sun & Earth. I also recently discovered that Hugo Naturals makes soy free hand sanitizer. I ordered two varieties and like them both, but if you are like me and are sensitive to fragrances, I would recommend the Lavender. The scent is a little milder than the Vanilla Peppermint.

Soy-Free Travel Kits

Gone are the days when I can run into a store and grab travel size products for my trip. Two companies to try: Hugo Naturals and California Baby.

I hope you all have a safe and soy free summer!

Calling All Soyvivors: Do you have other great travel foods or products? Please share in the comments below!

 

 

Which Ingredients and Products Require Soy Labels?

Label reading can come with so much confusion and frustration, and calling a manufacturer about a product can be even more frustrating. I cannot tell you how many times a company has told me to go read the ingredients and actually thought they were being helpful.

For many products, reading a label will not tell you everything you need to know.

I have read a lot of differing opinions on what legislation covers when it comes to soy allergy. I am no lawyer, but I am going to tell you what I believe it does and does not cover based on my own experiences with calling companies. Click here for tips on how to call companies about their products.

Label Reading

Whether legislation covers a label or not, you will need to read every single ingredient as well as watching for the “Contains: Soy” label. Sometimes you will see soy in the ingredient list, and other times you will see it listed underneath as a warning, but there isn’t a method to how soy is listed. Also look for long, technical words that contain “soy” somewhere in the middle of the word.

Packaged foods

Packaged foods are covered if they directly contain soy, but NOT if they contain soybean oil or soy lecithin, and not if the ingredients are “derived” from soy. For example, if your spaghetti sauce has the words “spices,” “natural flavors,” or “artificial flavors,” then that could be a red flag. Where did these ingredients come from? Soy could be included in the processing.

This is where my one-page soy ingredient list is helpful when label reading. If you aren’t familiar with an ingredient, do not buy it, and if the ingredient is on the soy ingredient list, you will need to call and verify that the ingredient is not derived from soy.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh fruits and vegetables are not covered and can contain coatings with soy and other chemicals. Buy organic whenever possible, but know that soy can be organic too, and therefore could still be on your fresh fruits and vegetables. If you find that you are sensitive to fruits and vegetables, try thoroughly washing them or peeling them. I use a spray bottle with one cup of water to 1 tbsp of white vinegar to wash my fruits and veggies.

Medications

Medications are NOT COVERED, and I know this because I have had reactions from undeclared soy in both prescription and non-prescription drugs. I think that this is one of the biggest food allergy atrocities that I am aware of to date. I spent a lot of time calling over-the-counter antihistamines a couple of weeks ago to find that some of them are including soy without labeling. If an allergy manufacturer is doing this, you can bet others are too.

I also had an experience with my pharmacist in which he told me that most prescriptions do not contain soy and I had nothing to worry about. WRONG. I had an allergic reaction a few days later only to find that my prescription acid reflux medication contained soy.  No wonder I had acid reflux. 🙂 I have now been able to completely eliminate the prescription acid reflux medicine and rely solely on over-the-counter remedies. It all goes back to the fact that you can read an ingredient label all day long, but that will not tell you if the glycerin, the magnesium stearate, the glycols, the cellulose, etc. is derived from soy.

Below are just a few medication categories that you should be aware of, but there are many more:

  • Antihistamines (even dye free)
  • Acid Reflux Medications
  • Hormonal medications, such as birth control (soy is a phytoestrogen)                                
  • Pain Relievers
  • Any type of liquid medication or inhalant
  • Decongestants and Expectorants
  • Cough Medications and Throat/Cough Lozenges

I would also recommend researching heat patches or general bandages. I put a antibacterial bandage on my finger for a cut a couple of days ago, and I received a tell-tale rash.

Bath, Body and Household Products

I have spent countless hours researching this area, and I would estimate that 98% or more of the bath, body, cosmetic, and household products that you will find in a mainstream grocery or pharmacy contain soy and are NOT labeled. In fact, because soy has a lot of benefits (to those not allergic), many cosmetic companies specifically add and even market soy as an ingredient. Most of the products that I use are ordered online through my Allergy Friendy Store although you may be able to find some soy free products in health food stores.

Below is a list of products that you should beware of:

  • makeup
  • shampoo/conditioner/hair styling products
  • soaps and body wash
  • moisturizers and lip balms
  • laundry/dishwasher detergents and dishwashing liquids (including fabric softeners and scent crystals)
  • toothpaste
  • contact solution
  • household cleaning products
  • razor blades with moisturizing strips
  • Some toilet paper and baby wipes
  • Fragrances
  • Hand Soap (I carry soap with me in public because of bad reactions.)

Other Surprise Sources

Below are a few other items that you should look for that may not be labeled for soy:

  • Pesticides
  • Liquid Smoke (Does eating barbecue make you sick?)
  • New Cast Iron Pans (Can be seasoned with soybean oil).
  • Plastic Bags and Bottles
  • The actual cans and plastics in which foods are stored
  • Pet Food
  • Craft Materials (glue, paints, candle making kits, etc.)
  • Soy ink (found in magazines, newspapers, packaging, wrapping paper, fabrics, desk calendars, etc.)
  • Cardboard boxes (includes those file folders at work!)
  • Carpets, Upholstery, Mattresses, and Cars
  • Clothing
  • Biodiesel fuels
  • Soy dust from bakeries, the bulk bin aisle at the health food store, or shipyards.

Calling All Soyvivors: What have your experiences been with soy labeling? Leave your stories in the comments below!

How To Call Companies About Food Allergy Ingredients

Calling companies about soy ingredients can be tough. Most of the folks that you will contact do not understand soy allergies and will need some help from you to get the answer you need.

First, mentally prepare yourself for a positive interaction. Try to see this as an opportunity to educate others about food allergies, and harness the power of your inner charm and kindness.

There are horror stories out there of companies that refuse to speak to anyone but a professional, but I have not had this experience after making dozens of phone calls. Be prepared that the answer you receive may not be the answer you were hoping for, but by calling, you have reminded another company that they need consider those of us with food allergies.

Your phone call could have a much greater impact than you could possibly know.

Next, find the company phone number along with the active and inactive ingredients for the product. Be prepared to mention specific ingredients that are of concern. I would recommend calling, because many companies do not want to provide written statements about allergens.

A note about prescription medications: you will need to get the name of the manufacturer from your prescription bottle or pharmacy. Your pharmacy or doctor may not be able to give you an accurate answer as to whether prescriptions contain soy, because many soy ingredients are not labeled. A pharmacist once told me that I had nothing to worry about, and I had a reaction days later.

You may also want to Google the product, but only review product information directly from the company. I have had many blogs and independent websites to recommend soy free products that were not actually soy free when contacting the company directly.

Think about how you want to introduce your situation clearly and concisely before you pick up the phone. You are welcome to borrow my statement:

“Hi, I am Alanna, and I have a serious allergy to soy. I see your ingredients here for _____ product, but many times soy isn’t listed even when the product contains soy. I need to know if your product contains ingredients that are derived from soy.”

For me, the word “derived” seems to be the magic word, especially when it comes to items like medications and beauty products.

DO NOT initially tell them about any reactions you have had to the product. You can do this after you get the information you need. If you tell them about reactions in the beginning, they may not give you any information because for fear of a lawsuit.

When you call, you may be presented with a few “phone tree” options. Do not choose the option to report an allergic reaction, but use the option that allows you to ask about ingredients or product information. If you are actually having a serious allergic reaction, seek medical treatment first and then call the company.

When you get someone on the phone, you need go ahead and tell them that you have already reviewed the ingredients. Otherwise, they are likely to give you a customer-friendly statement that basically says, “go read the ingredients…you don’t need me for that.” It’s not that they are trying to be rude, it’s that they really don’t understand why you can’t just go read the ingredients. You may also get a vague answer at first (“I don’t see anything in the ingredients”), and you may need to explain again that many soy ingredients are not going to be obvious, and reaffirm that you need to know if the ingredients were derived from soy. Feel free to mention specific ingredients at this point in the conversation.

Sometimes this will be enough to get the answer you need, but if not, every manufacturer has a chemist or a researcher that the rep will need to contact to get the answer. Tell them that you are willing to provide your contact information for a well-researched answer if they need more time.

Once I had someone that kept telling me that she did not have any information about the medication and would not forward my message to a researcher. I went straight to the company Facebook page and told them about the unwillingness of the rep to be helpful. I had a direct answer within minutes and found out that the product was soy free.

The final answer you get may be a clear “yes, this is soy free,” but it may be much more vague. I get two common answers. The first is:

“While we do not intentionally add soy to this product, we do not test the final product to see if it is soy free.”

You will need to make an informed decision based on advice from your doctor if you are willing to take a chance on the product.

The other statement I get is much more troubling.

“While we will be happy to provide you with an ingredient list, there is no way to determine where our ingredients are derived from, because we have many distributors that use differing sources.”

When I hear this statement, it basically says to me that they have no idea what is in their product and I steer clear of anything they make. You will unfortunately get this statement a lot with beauty and household products.

The reason why this is so troubling to me is that we are turning our bodies over to folks that are filling our bodies full of unknown substances that could be harmful. No thank you!

I hope you find this to be helpful, and I hope that you will be successful in finding soy free products for your needs. Just remember that even if you get an answer that is difficult to hear, you have raised awareness for your allergy and are making the world a safer, better place by being a food allergy advocate. Visit my Allergy Friendly Store for product ideas, but again, I always encourage everyone to do independent research to find the product that is right for them.

Calling All Soyvivors: What Other Tips Do You Have for Successful Phone Calls? Please leave tips in the comments below!

 

 

Courage For The Climb

Cecil-20111008-00035

This is a photo of me taken two years ago. I thought life was good. Yes, I had a few health issues, but things were looking up, right? I had made it through a tough spot in my life, I had just climbed a mountain, and at 6200 feet in elevation, things were looking good.

I have always tried to be an optimist, but the woman in this picture didn’t know how bad she really felt, because she didn’t know what “feeling good” really felt like.

Last December, I had been dealing with a chronic sinus infection. One night, I awoke realizing that I was choking. I don’t mean I was having trouble getting my breath. I wasn’t breathing AT ALL. I waited for what seemed like an eternity, and just as I thought I would surely faint, I started to find a small gasp of air. At the doctor’s office the next day, they told me I was perfectly healthy. No problems with my throat or lungs. They also told me if it happened again that the best thing I could do was to try not to panic. It was probably just some weird thing that would eventually go away.

A few days later, I awoke to find that I was choking again. Same tests but a different doctor telling me that everything was fine. After seeing several more doctors, I was told that the acid reflux that I had been dealing with for years could have caused my choking, could happen again, and would require a very serious surgery to fix. After surgery, I would have to learn to eat and swallow all over again.

I was determined that I was going to figure out what was going on. Sure, I had acid reflux, but I had always been able to manage it successfully in the past. I was determined that this was my body, and I was going to figure this out on my own and fix it.

I started an elimination diet. For several days, I ate fruits, vegetables, rice, and proteins that were considered to be at low risk for a reaction. The thought behind this elimination diet was that, if my body became less inflamed, it would be more likely to show signs of an allergy when an allergic food was reintroduced.

The day came to reintroduce soy. February 23, 2014 to be exact. I smashed some edamame for chips and dip, and my husband and I began a day trip to the mountains with packed food in tow. As we approached our destination, I started to eat the dip. I remembered saying to my husband, “This elimination diet sure can make you paranoid, because I would almost think that I was starting to itch.” Within a couple of minutes I am indeed itching all over, my lips are burning and swelling, and I look like I am about 4 months pregnant. My acid reflux also flared. Knowing what I know now, I should have immediately sought medication attention, but I was so shocked that I was allergic that I went on about my day, trying to work through the shock and disbelief that I was feeling. The itching continued for over 24 hours, and little did I know that I had taken a trusted antihistamine that contained soy. I did go to the doctor a day later, and I was glad that I did.

What happened after that changed my life forever. At first, I thought that my life was over. I felt betrayed by my body, scared to even take a shower because every single product in my house contained soy, and completely unprepared to cook a soy free meal. I didn’t even like to cook, not less cook almost every single meal for the rest of my life! I suddenly found myself working 60-80 hours a week researching recipes, researching soy allergies, calling companies about their products, calling doctors, and cooking. To say that my life was consumed by my soy allergy was an understatement, but I had no choice.

The photo below was taken two weeks ago. While I will always have phone calls to make, and I will always cook most of my meals, there is something going on in this picture that is way more important than the difference in my weight and hair color. I am happy, I am healthy, and I am standing on the same mountain as I was two years ago with a hundred times more energy and vitality than I could have ever thought possible. I am now taking half of the acid reflux medicine that I was taking 6 weeks ago, and I am confident that I will eventually be able to manage my reflux solely through my diet.

AlannaonMountaintop

The purpose of writing this story is simple: If you are beginning your food allergy journey, you should know that grief is part of the process, but you will one day stand on the mountaintop and know that the climb was worth it! It may be difficult at times, and you will need to give yourself time to adjust, but you will emerge stronger, wiser, and healthier than you ever thought possible. During the dark times, connect with other food allergy survivors and soyvivors and know that the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is just around the corner!

Helpful Websites and Apps for Food Allergies

When I first found out that I had a soy allergy, I was completely clueless, but these websites and apps have helped tremendously with my learning curve. I plan to update this website periodically based on your recommendations and on new apps I find.

I am also including some websites and apps that are important for ANYONE that is looking to buy healthy products and foods.

Environmental Working Group (and Skin Deep app)

EWG’s website is full of good resources. They have a searchable database (and app!) called Skin Deep that has all kinds of great information on which cosmetics are better for your body. They also have helpful guides on topics such as pesticides in produce, GMO foods, and healthy cleaning products. They also advocate for healthier products and will send you updates on the latest political happenings in regards to food and product safety.

Food Facts
The Food Facts website is a great resource that gives you information on allergies, nutrition, and ingredients of many products. A grade is assigned to each product to help you decide what to purchase. You can set up a free profile and choose which allergies should be considered in your searches.

AllergyEats (Also apps for iPhone and Android)

AllergyEats is the best place to go to find out if other food allergy diners have eaten at a particular restaurant, the level of accommodation they received for their allergy, and any comments they have about the restaurant. The diner making the recommendation has the option of listing which allergy they have, and that is helpful since someone with one food allergy may have a completely different experience from someone with another food allergy. This is a must-have app for traveling or trying new restaurants, and it’s free!

FARE (Food Allergy Research & Education)

FARE is a great website for anyone dealing with food allergies. They provide the latest news and research on food allergies, provide food allergy advocacy, and recently launched a new site dedicated to eating out. SafeFARE is a site produced by FARE to assist diners with tips and resources on how to eat out with a food allergy and even provides resources to restaurants. My favorite resource is the “Food Allergy Chef Card” which you can hand to your restaurant server or manager to assist you in having an allergy-free experience.

FAACT (Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team)

FAACT has a lot of great educational tools, provides advocacy assistance with government, civil rights and disability (ADA) laws. They also provide current news and information related to food allergies and product recalls.

Apps for iPhone

iAvoid

iAvoid is a simple app that allows you to program your allergies (peanuts, soy, fish, tree nuts, shellfish, milk, egg, wheat), and it will give you a list of the most common ingredients and other ingredients that may contain your allergy. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it does list a lot of common ingredients.

iCanEat (costs $$)

This is a great app, especially for traveling and meals on the go. Many common fast food chains are listed on this app, and it will give you allergen information based on your preferences. Just beware that because the FDA does not require anyone to list soybean oil or soy lecithin, you could still be getting some of those ingredients.

Other Apps

There are also a few other good apps listed on Healthline’s article called “The 12 Best Allergy iPhone & Android Apps of 2013.” Some of these are paid apps, so I have not purchased them, but let me know if you have found success with any of them.

A word on one app that may not be that helpful for soyvivors:

iEatOut (costs $$) is an app that helps you determine which items at ethnic restaurants are suitable for your particular allergy. It even tells you what ingredients to avoid in a particular type of food. The problem is that so much of ethnic food can contain soy that is basically rules out almost everything in the app. It’s certainly not the fault of the app, and I am sure it is great for other food allergies, but unfortunately as many of us will attest, it seems that soy is in almost EVERYTHING.

Calling all Soyvivors: Do you have any great sites or apps that I should add to the list? Keep checking back for updates!

 

 

 

 

How My Life Has Changed

The term “lifestyle change” has become a household term.

A lot of folks choose a diet plan,  join a gym, and suddenly they’re in the midst of a lifestyle change. For those of us with food allergies, a lifestyle change takes on a whole new meaning.

When I met my husband, I was concerned with dating, my family and my career, and that was about it. While I could cook when I needed to, it was certainly not something that I could ever see see myself doing every day, not less three times a day. My husband still teases me to this day about a kitchen towel I had that said,

“Divas don’t do dishes.”

After we got married, I certainly did more cooking, but we enjoyed eating out A LOT.

I have known for years that I was allergic to red dye, sulfites, tuna, salmon, and cod. Those allergies didn’t change my life very much. However, It has been a mere few weeks since I found out I have a soy allergy, and I feel like I am leading a completely different life. This morning, I spent a good chunk of time looking through cookbooks to help me find something to eat other than the same 4-5 soy free meals in my rotation. What’s even more funny is that I was actually EXCITED about looking at cookbooks, because I knew this could be the key to unlocking a delicious and nutritious diet.

beforeAfter_img

Below are just a few of things that I have experienced so far in dealing with my
“lifestyle change”:

  • Throwing out every beauty product, household product, bath & shower product, toothpaste, hand soap, dishwashing and laundry detergent, and many medications.
  • Throwing out almost every pre-packaged food in my house.
  • Spending countless hours reading labels and making phone calls right in the middle of the grocery store, hoping to find something I can eat or beauty/household products I can use.
  • Learning to cook all kinds of vegetables that I didn’t even know how to pronounce, much less cook.
  • Spending countless hours trying to figure out if there is even one restaurant in my area that can make a soy free meal.
  • Loss of spontaneity. My husband and I would go somewhere every weekend at a moment’s notice, and now it takes hours of meal planning and preparation to take a day trip.
  • Figuring out how to carry soap with me so that I can wash my hands in a public restroom.
  • Worrying about how I will handle my new lifestyle when I start a full-time job and if my coworkers will think I am a weirdo. (“Sorry, I can’t go out for lunch.” “Yeah, I know it’s weird that I have to carry soap to the bathroom.” “Sorry, I would love to try your homemade cookies that everyone raves about, but I have to pass.”)
  • Answering all the questions from people that really do care, but just don’t understand. (Can’t you just take an antihistamine and eat/do what you want? Are you sure you are allergic to soy?)
  • Sitting in a restaurant while your friends and family eat something you still CRAVE while everyone in the restaurant stares at your home cooked meal like you’re a freak.

Here’s the thing though. For every ONE item in the list above, there’s TWO things that have made my life SO MUCH BETTER. Here’s a few of them:

  • I sleep like a baby.
  • I never have to get up during the night anymore, and I always did before.
  • My acid reflux went from needing surgery to being completely controlled with medication (and maybe eventually without medication.)
  • I went from needing sinus infection antibiotics every 2-3 months for the past 1.5 years to having completely clear sinuses in the middle of pollen season.
  • I feel INCREDIBLE.
  • I am getting to the point that I can cook meals that make restaurants look like amateurs.
  • Learning to see cooking as an opportunity for creativity and loving it.
  • The “chicken skin” on my upper arms is gone, and in its place is skin that looks way younger than I actually am.
  • I have lost enough weight to go down 2-3 dress sizes.
  • Having people walk up to you and say, “Wow! You look ten years younger!” (And feeling 20 years younger!)
  • I am empowered by knowing that I am aware of and am familiar with every ingredient that goes into my body.
  • There’s a lot of toxins and harmful chemicals that my body will never have to process again, because now I know what can happen when you eat too many packaged foods.
  • We have saved a ton of money by eating at home.
  • My husband is also eating healthier and losing weight.
  • I am in tune with my body, and I know now exactly what I need to be healthy.
  • I have started this blog, which gives me a great sense of purpose for helping others thrive with their food allergy.

Considering it has been a mere few weeks since I began my soy free lifestyle, I cannot even imagine how the list of benefits will grow over time!

Calling All Soyvivors: What other lifestyle changes have you experienced? What are the good things that have come from it?