Tag Archives: soy free products

Review: Tasterie Mail-Order Allergy Friendly Treats

Tasterie

If you have been anywhere on the web, you have seen advertisements for mail order companies that will send you a box of gourmet foods each month directly to your home. While they look delicious and seem tempting, anyone with food allergies knows that there could be lots of potential problems with a subscription to one of these services. Not only do most of them not offer allergy-friendly options, but you do not have much control over what is sent to you each month.

About four months ago, I found Tasterie, a company founded by a pediatrician mom of a child with food allergies. There are a few options to choose from in your monthly package: Top 8 Allergy; Gluten & Wheat Allergy; Gluten, Wheat & Dairy Allergy; or Nut Allergy.

At first, I kept trying to convince myself that it was a frivolous expense. Eventually I came to realize that food allergies can take a lot of the “surprise” and fun out of your food, and I wanted to get some of that fun back into my life. I subscribed to the Top 8 Allergy box.

I have to say that I was excited when my package arrived. It was great to see real foods that I could actually eat, and the great part was that none of it was in my local stores. I was really seeing treats in my box that I would not have found anywhere else, and that was exciting.

My Tasterie box helped me to realize that there are a lot of options out there that are waiting to be discovered.

According to Tasterie’s website, the company goes to great lengths to find allergy friendly products, but as far as ingredients go, there were still a few items on the label that concerned me. I would say that they worried me not because I did not trust Tasterie, but because I know how many times companies have given out wrong information about their products. I did try to reach out through Facebook and ask some questions about a few items, but I did not receive a reply.

I have been receiving my box for about four months now, and I have received an assortment of cookies, chips, sweets, pastas, and drinks. Baking mixes have included muffins, pizza dough, cakes, and cookies. You also receive product information and a recipe with each box. Everything I have tried is delicious and I have not had any problems with any of the products so far. As always, everyone is different and it is always best to reach out to the manufacturer if you have any concerns.

I now look forward to my Tasterie box each month, and every time I open my box throughout the month, it gives me joy. Tasterie is an expense, but if you are looking to add some variety and surprise to your food, I would highly recommend it.

 

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Soy Free Dishwasher Detergent

Guess what most dishwasher detergents contain? You guessed it…soy. Some of you may find that this is not an issue for you, but I do not want to take any chances. I have actually heard of folks becoming sick after changing their dishwasher detergent to one containing soy.

I believe that any time you can get rid of soy from any product, it is worth it.

Many brands that you would think are soy free may not be. If you are using anything you can find in a store, including Method, Seventh Generation, or Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day, do yourself a favor and call them. You may be surprised at what they tell you. In fact, many “green” or “natural” products contain more soy since the company is going for plant-based ingredients.  Click here for tips on how to call companies about their products. As always, I strongly encourage everyone to call the manufacturer before using any product including the ones mentioned on this site, since product ingredients can change at any time.

There are two brands of dishwasher detergent that I will review here.

Earth Friendly Products Wave Auto Dishwasher Gel

This product is a liquid, and I would not recommend. The directions say “Fill just one detergent cup. If excess sudsing occurs, use less.” Unfortunately I learned the hard way what “excess sudsing” meant. Granted, I do not have hard water, but I used about half of a detergent cup, and my dishwasher overflowed with suds. It was a mess. After several loads of trial and error and more excess sudsing, I finally realized that I would have to use as little as a teaspoon (yes, really!) to keep my dishwasher from overflowing.

Earth Friendly Products has new Wave Automatic Dishwasher Packs that could be worth a try, but I will not be purchasing any more of the gel.

Sun & Earth Dishwasher Detergent Concentrated Pacs

I have mentioned before that I use Sun & Earth for everything from hand soap, laundry detergent, cleaning wipes, carpet cleaner, and everything related to the kitchen. They were also rated as Best All Natural All-Purpose Cleaner by Good Housekeeping.

Sun & Earth’s “dishwasher pacs” clean my dishes far better than any of the store-bought products that I have used. The packs are convenient and leave no mess, although I would recommend keeping the package away from moisture or heat since they are “quick dissolving.” I would recommend buying several packages at a time, because sometimes you will find that some of Sun & Earth’s products become temporarily out of stock for a few weeks at a time, and I like them enough that I do not want to run out.

Calling all Soyvivors: Are there other soy free dishwasher detergents that you use? Please leave your favorites in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

Time Saving Tips for a Soy Free Lifestyle

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:
  1. Soy-Free Bread (check Out Rudi’s options), Justin’s Almond Butter, and pure Honey for sandwiches
  2. A Soy-Free Pizza (Try Amy’s Soy Free Options)
  3. Salad Mix with Some Sliced Almonds
  4. A baked potato with toppings
  5. A high-quality frozen lunch option (Amy’s has some great soy-free options)
  6. Quesadillas (Udi’s has a soy free tortilla, but not all products are soy free)
  7. 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:
  1. 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.
  2. Bake some fish using the method above for 10 minutes. Freeze.
  3. 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.
  4. Cook a large package of rice and freeze using the method above.
  5. 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!

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Allergic to Your Antihistamine?

This week, my project was to call several manufacturers of over-the-counter antihistamines to find out which products I felt comfortable with adding to my allergy friendly store.

I wanted to make these calls because, when I had my first reaction to soy, I took an over-the-counter antihistamine a few hours after the reaction, and suddenly my itching got worse and remained for another 12-24 hours after that.

Based on my conversations with the manufacturer, there was soy in the antihistamine that I took that day.

That is very frustrating. Why a company would allow one of top 8 food allergies into an allergy product is baffling to me. However, the fact remains that this is reality and something Soyvivors have to deal with. In fact, MANY over-the-counter and prescription medications contain soy. My pharmacist actually told me that it was rare to have a prescription drug that had soy in it.

Unfortunately I found out the hard way through an allergic reaction that some prescription drugs (including tablets and capsules) do in fact contain soy.

You have to call the manufacturer before you know for sure, and even then they can’t always tell you where the ingredients are derived from. Sad, isn’t it?

We are putting products in (and on) our bodies that have been manufactured from unknown sources!

I have had manufacturers of everything from medications to hair products to bath products to basically say, “I don’t know where these ingredients come from.” Manufacturers do not even have to list soy as an ingredient in non-food products, and even in foods, there are some ingredients (soybean oil and soy lecithin, etc.) that they are not required to list.

Most companies encourage patients to call them immediately to report any allergic reactions. This is critical.

If more of us call to report adverse events, manufacturers will be more likely to listen and make soy free products.

Always check the inactive ingredients in any medication. Some potentially soy-derived ingredients in medications include glycerine, polyethylene glycol, cellulose, and magnesium stearate. Check out my soy ingredient list for more ingredients.

Visit my allergy friendly store to see which antihistamines I would use myself and then use that to do your own research to find the product that is right for you. As always, I highly recommend calling the manufacturer to verify ingredients and ask that you also seek advice from a medical professional before using any product. Manufacturers can change the ingredients in their product at any time, and products may even vary depending on the distributor.

 

Soy Free Candy for Easter (Or Your Sweet Tooth)

Peepsmyphoto

Update: 4/29/17 Please note that this article is more than two years old. It is highly recommended to call each manufacturer and double-check ingredients.

I would also like to add that Surf Sweets is also a great option for candy that I have found since posting this article.

One of the things I struggle with the most is the frustration of reading labels in a store when all you want is a quick little soy free treat. So today, I spent the afternoon in stores reading labels and making phone calls in hopes that it will save you some time.

One note about this list: I have heard a lot of folks say that ingredients can change at any time, so what is on my store shelf may not be what is on your shelf. Because of this, and because some of us have other allergies (myself included), I am adding the ingredients listed on each package. I have not received any goods, services or any other payment for any of the items below:

Update: New Candy Added 4/19/14 (YumEarth Organics)

YumEarth Organics

I recently found some YumEarth Organics gummy bears at TJ Maxx and love them. Most of their products are certified organic, and their lollipops, drops, bears, fruit snacks, and sour beans are soy free plus no gluten, tree nuts, peanuts, dairy, eggs, shellfish, high fructose corn syrup, and articificial colors or flavors.

Red Vines
Ingredients: Corn Syrup, Wheat Flour, Citric Acid, Artificial Flavor, Red 40

Red Vines look just like Twizzlers, except that Twizzlers contain soy lecithin. The company that makes Red Vines confirmed by voicemail that Red Vines do not contain soy. Enjoy!

http://www.redvines.com/

Marshmallow Peeps
Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Gelatin, Contains less than .5% of the following ingredients: Yellow #5 (Tartrazine), Potassium Sorbate (A Preservative), Natural Flavors, Carnauba Wax.

The company that makes Peeps assured me that they are committed to providing a clear listing of all of the Top 8 Allergens and their peeps are soy free.

Rolos Minis
Ingredients: Milk Chocolate (Sugar; Cocoa Butter; Chocolate; Milk; Nonfat Milk; Sunflower Lecithin; Milk Fat; Natural Flavor); Glucose Syrup (Wheat); Sugar; Sweetened Condensed Skim Milk (Skim Milk and Sugar); Palm Oil; Contains 2% or Less of Milk Fat; Salt; Natural Flavor; Sodium Carbonate.

(Note: Rolos contain soy lecithin, Rolo Minis do not)

Jolly Ranchers
Ingredients: Corn Syrup; Sugar; Contains 2% or Less of: Malic Acid; Natural And Artificial Flavor; Artificial Color (Red 40; Blue 1; Yellow 5; Yellow 6).

Below is the link to Hershey’s Allergy Statement (maker of Rolos Minis and Jolly Ranchers)
https://www.thehersheycompany.com/nutrition-and-wellness/nutrition-information/labeling/allergen-information.aspx

Starburst
Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Less than 2% of: Apple Juice from Concentrate, Citric Acid, Acacia Natural and Artificial Flavor, Sodium Citrate, Colors: Red 40 and Blue 1, Titanium Dioxide, Carnauba Wax, Confectioner’s Glaze.

Skittles
Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil; less than 2% of: Citric Acid, Tapioca Dextrin, Modified Corn Starch, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Colors (Red 40 Lake, Titanium Dioxide, Blue 2 Lake, Red 40, Blue 1, Blue 1 Lake, Yellow 5 Lake, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Yellow 6 Lake), Sodium Citrate, Carnauba Wax.

I called the makers of Starburst and Skittles (Wrigley), and they assured me that neither contain soy and they clearly label for the top 8 allergens.

Sour Patch Kids

Ingredients: Sugar, Invert Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Tartaric Acid, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavoring, Yellow 6, Red 40, Yellow 5 and Blue 1.

Swedish Fish
Ingredients: Sugar, Invertsugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Corn Starch, Citric Acid, White Mineral Oil, Artificial Flavors, Red 40 and Carnauba Wax.

I called the makers of Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish (Mondelez), and they also confirmed that they clearly label the top 8 allergens.

Hot Tamales

Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Contains less than 0.5% of the following: Artificial Flavors, Dextrin, Confectioners Glaze, Artificial Color, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Carnauba Wax, Fruit Juice From Concentrate (Pear, Orange, Strawbery, Cherry, Lime, Lemon), Sodium Citrate, Pectin, Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Fumaric Acid, Red #40, Yellow #5 (Tartrazine), Yellow #6, Red #3, Blue #1.

Mike and Ike
Ingredients: Sugar, Corn Syrup, Modified Food Starch, Fruit Juice from Concentrate (Pear, Orange, Strawberry, Cherry, Lime, Lemon), Contains Less Than 2% of the Following: Citric Acid, Malic Acid, Fumaric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Dextrin, Confectioners Glaze, Carnauba Wax, Medium Chain Triglycerides, Red #40, Yellow #5 (Tartrazine), Yellow #6, Blue #1.

Just Born Foods (makers of Hot Tamales and Mike and Ike) also confirmed by phone that these products do not contain soy.

Soy Free Sales, LLC
One note about a website that sells soy free candy. I do not have personal dealings with this site, but I wanted to mention it: Soy Free Sales, LLC advertises chocolate and candy free from soy, tree nuts, and peanuts. Their link is below:

http://www.soyfreesales.com/

And Now For Two of My Go-To Sweet Treat Brands:

Enjoy Life

Enjoy Life has committed to and advertised for making products free of the 8 Common Allergens and are Non-GMO Verified. They make chocolate, cookies, cereals, and more. I have found them in several local grocery stores. I have tried their chocolate morsels, bars, and snickerdoodle cookies, and they are all delicious. They also have great allergy resources and links to allergy sites on their website. Visit their link below:

www.enjoylifefoods.com/

So Delicious
So Delicious is my hero. They are known for making all kinds of products made from either coconut milk, almond milk, or soy milk, and they have a statement on their website about batch-testing for allergies. With that in mind, make sure that you are getting their products that are labeled “soy free.” Their website will not only give you all of their product information and help you determine which products are soy free, but they will tell you which stores carry specific products. I highly recommend their Coconut Milk “Ice Cream.” I have tried their chocolate, chocolate mint, and mocha almond fudge. They also have Almond Milk “Minis,” which is an “ice cream” bar, and they are out of this world. Visit the So Delicious website:

http://sodeliciousdairyfree.com/

Hope you enjoy some soy free treats!

Calling All Soy Survivors: Did I leave anything off the list? Please leave more candies in the comments below so we can keep adding to the list.

Author: Alanna Waldrop

Soy Ingredient List

There are lots of sites with soy ingredients listed on them, but there is one thing I have learned: I could spend all day, every day listing every hidden soy ingredient, and I probably still wouldn’t be able to find them all. I have added as many as I could find to my one page soy ingredient list. Feel free to print this page and take it with you when you shop.

It’s best to call the manufacturer and ask, but I realized early on that customer service agents that don’t have a food allergy don’t realize that reading an ingredient list is not enough. You have to explain to the person answering the phone that there are a lot of hidden soy ingredients or ingredients that are derived from soy that are not obvious. In my early days of phone calls, I got all kinds of customer-friendly responses that basically said, “You idiot, go read the ingredients for yourself.” That’s when I started explaining up front that I had already read the ingredients and explained I needed their identifying hidden soy ingredients. I will have upcoming posts on how to deal with businesses and restaurants that don’t have a grasp on food allergies.

Please be advised that companies can change their ingredient list at any time, so even though it’s a total pain, you will have to read ingredients each time you buy a product.

Also note that the FDA doesn’t always regulate everything in an ingredient list. Most packaged foods are required to have soy clearly labeled (unless it’s from another country), but that is not true for restaurants and household/beauty products. For instance, some fast food chains will say that a food does not contain soy, but when you read the ingredient list, it will note the use of “soybean oil” or “soy lecithin.” They are not required to note the use of these two ingredients, because most of the soy is no longer present in the “material” they are using. Some folks with a soy allergy do not react to those two ingredients because of the trace amounts of soy, but there are others that do (including me.)

Here’s my rule: If I see anything in an ingredient list that doesn’t sound familiar or is not found in nature, I either don’t buy it or call the manufacturer. I assume it contains soy until proven otherwise.

Below are some names for soy in food that may not be obvious. I am NOT going to include names of ingredients that contain the word “soy,” because those will be clearly stated in the ingredients. Or you can find my one-page printable soy ingredient list by clicking here.

Soya, soja, shoyu, tamari, tempeh, tofu, kyodofu, yakidofu, edamame, yuba, okara, bean curd, bean sprouts, kinako, kinnoko, miso, natto, nimame, hydrolyzed soy protein (HSP),  MSG (monosodium glutamate), teriyaki sauce, textured vegetable protein (TVP), carob.

There are a lot of ingredients in food and in household/beauty products that COULD be derived from soy, and this is where those lovely phone calls to manufacturers come in handy:

Anything with glycerin, -glycol, or -glycerides in the name, such as mono- and di-glycerides and polyethylene glycol (PEG); citric acid; spices (beware of the spice aisle!); natural or artificial flavoring; bulking agent; hydrolyzed plant protein (HPP) or hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP); Anything with “gum” in the name (arabic, guar, xanthum, vegetable”; lecithin; anything with “tocopherol” or “Vitamin E” in the name; stabilizer; thickener; vegetable starch,shortening, or oil; isolates; olean; emulsifier; protein or protein extender; anything with alkyd or alykl in the name; anything with quarternary or quaternium in the name; linseed oil, styrene, ethyl sulfates, morpholinium compounds, glycine max, methylcellulose, ascobyl palmitate, tocotretrienols.

A word about bakeries: (Thanks to Louisa for her comment below!) When purchasing bread from a bakery, make sure you ask what type of bread improver they use. Many use an improver made from soy flour, and the most common is S500.

Calling all Soyvivors: Please help me add to this list!

Author: Alanna Waldrop

 

 

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