Tag Archives: coping soy allergy

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!

 

 

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Soy Free Product Reviews: Hair Care

Update 6/28/14: I have now tried the Acure dry shampoo and LOVE it. Most dry shampoos contain fragrances and make your hair sticky, but this one is fragrance free and makes hair feel and look natural. This is a must have for a busy soy free lifestyle!

I was shocked when I first found out that most shampoos, conditioners and styling products contained soy. Finding soy free hair care products was challenging, but it was worth it when my once oily, itchy scalp became calm and needed less care. I have always been advised to alternate hair care with two good sets of products, but finding soy free options took some time. Below are three unbiased, unsolicited product reviews from companies that make hair care products and lot of other great soy free products that I plan to review in the future.

As always, I encourage you to do your own research, as companies can change their ingredients at any time.

Best All Around: Hugo Naturals

Hugo Naturals has a great line of soy free products, and I have not found anything that I have tried from them so far that I do not like. Since I have highlights in my hair, I use their Color Protecting Shampoo and Conditioner in Mango. It has a great tropical smell and I find that I can go longer between washes with this shampoo. The price is incredibly reasonable compared to the other soy free hair products I have had experience with. I follow my shampoo with the Medium Hold Styling Gel, and my hair always looks fantastic. Definitely give Hugo Naturals a try!

Honorable Mention: California Baby

Whenever I am a part of conversations about soy free bath and body products, California Baby is always mentioned by several folks as being their go-to brand. I use their Super Sensitive Shampoo & Body Wash and the Super Sensitive Hair ConditionerThen,  I follow with the Calming Jelly Mousse for my styling product. The downside to this product is that it is more expensive, and I find that I can get a little more time between washes with Hugo Naturals. I will definitely keep buying this product, but I will likely use it more sparingly.

One more mention for California Baby since it is time for beach season. California Baby has great sunscreen! Check it out!

Great All Around, But No So Great Shampoo: Acure Organics

Acure Organics was the first line of products that I tried, and they really do have a lot of great products, including soy free skin care, body wash, and sunscreen. I am currently using many of their products that I will review later. For hair care, I tried their Moroccan Argan Stem Cell + Argan Oil Shampoo, their Lemongrass + Argan Stem Cell Conditioner, and their Leave-In Conditioner. The great thing about Acure is that, at least in my area of the country, their products are prevalent in health food stores. The downside is that the shampoo left my hair dry and frizzy, which isn’t normal for my hair. My husband also tried it, and he thought the same thing. I would recommend their conditioner and leave-in conditioner if you are looking for those products, and they also have other shampoos that may be a better fit. I am also anxious to try their dry shampoo as well.

Calling all Soyvivors: Are there other products that you would recommend? Have you tried any of the products above?

 

 

 

 

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.

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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?

Soy Survivor Manifesto

Hi. I’m Alanna, and I’m a soyvivor. If you do not have a soy allergy, the term “soyvivor” may seem a bit dramatic, but trust me, those with a soy allergy know that learning to survive and thrive is no small feat. I will share my story in future posts, but that is not the point of my blog.  If you are here because you have a soy allergy or are trying to eliminate soy for other reasons, then like me, you may be frustrated that there is so little information out there when it comes to:

  • What products are soy free
  • What products should be eliminated
  • How to cook soy free (and actually like it)
  • The emotional, spiritual, & physical effects of coping and thriving with a food allergy
  • How to discuss your soy allergy needs with a business, school or restaurant
  • How to deal with folks that just don’t understand (or don’t want to understand)

This blog will not offer medical advice. If you think you have a soy allergy or are planning to eliminate soy from your life, PLEASE see your doctor before making any changes. There are serious nutritional and medical issues that should only be addressed by your physician.

My hope is that this blog will give you hope, encouragement, and a community of like-minded soyvivors that will be willing to also share their stories, ideas and experiences.

Author: Alanna Waldrop