More and more people are developing soy allergies. Could this have something to do with the fact that soy is used in over sixty percent of all processed food and accounts for over seventy-five percent of Americans’ consumption of vegetable fats and oils? It isn’t an exaggeration to say that soy is present in almost every aspect of our lives, and that it is extremely difficult to avoid it.

So what does a soy allergy look like? It depends on the severity of the allergy and how the person’s immune system reacts to the allergen. People who are allergic to soy can have minor symptoms like hives or a rash, or severe symptoms like anaphylactic shock, a drop in blood pressure, and even death.

Possible soy allergy symptoms:

  • Hives
  • Rash
  • Flushed face
  • Swollen eyes, lips, throat, tongue, or face
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • A feeling of faintness and anxiety
  • A sudden impending sense of doom and weakness
  • Extreme paleness
  • Drop in blood pressure
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Vomiting
  • Severe cramps or diarrhea
  • Extreme hyperactivity in children
  • Delayed reaction (read Kristy’s comment below)
  • Debilitating migraines (not usually acknowledged as a symptom but for many people, including myself, severe migraines are the MAIN symptom)

If you or someone in your family has a soy allergy, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to check product labels every single time you purchase anything. Just because a product hasn’t contained soy in the past doesn’t mean it doesn’t contain soy now. Ingredients lists often change, and we’re finding soy in many places now where it wasn’t before.

Also, don’t trust the new allergen labeling completely. It can be helpful when soy is clearly stated on the label, but there are still a variety of ways that soy can be present in the product without it being stated on the label. Calling the manufacturer should result in accurate information, but we have found that many customer service representatives (even the “lab experts”) have no idea of the many ways that soy can be present in a product. We’ve also had customer service representatives insist that their product does not contain soy in any form, and then add that just to be on the safe side, they would advise not eating the product if the allergy is life threatening. Not very reassuring, is it?

First, obviously anything with the word “soy” in it is to be avoided:

  • Soy, soybean
  • Soya, soyabean
  • Soy protein, soy isolate
  • Textured soy flour or TSF
  • Textured soy protein or TSP

There are many other names for soy:

  • Textured vegetable protein or TVP
  • Tofu (soybean curds)
  • Edamame
  • Miso
  • Okara
  • Tempeh
  • Nimame
  • Kinako
  • Yuba
  • Kouridofu
  • Natto

Next to look for… the ingredients that are usually made from or contain soy:

  • Lecithin
  • Monosodium glutamate or MSG
  • Mono-diglyceride
  • Hydrolyzed plant protein or HPP
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein or HVP
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetable shortening (like Crisco and the other solid white shortenings in a can)
  • Vegetable broth
  • Protein
  • Protein concentrate
  • Protein isolates
  • Guar gum, vegetable gum
  • Gum arabic
  • Glycerol monostearate
  • Natural flavorings
  • Thickening agents
  • Stabilizers
  • Liquid smoke (some brands)
  • Vitamin E
  • Citric acid (can be derived from fruit, corn, or soy)

Note: Although guar gum and gum arabic are made from legumes that are closely related to soybeans, the real problem is the soy added during the manufacturing process. (Guar gum, for example, sometimes has up to ten percent of added soy protein.)

And then there are those products containing soy as an emulsifier, a flavoring agent, additional protein, etc., etc., etc.:

  • Almost all commercial bakery items (breads, cakes, cookies, doughnuts)
  • Cake mixes, cookie mixes, pancake mixes, any baking mixes
  • Breakfast cereal (check label carefully… some cereals contain no soy but have a cross contamination notice)
  • Anything breaded
  • Self-basting turkeys (call the company for ingredient list)
  • Canned tuna (even the tuna packed in water is almost always flavored with vegetable broth)
  • Canned meat products unless otherwise stated
  • Processed and prepared sliced meats (deli meats)
  • Ham or smoked anything (check ingredient list)
  • Hot dogs, packaged cold meats, sausage
  • Imitation crab meat, imitation bacon bits
  • Canned soups, broths, or stocks
  • Dried soup mixes (the flavor packet)
  • Frozen vegetables with sauces
  • Almost anything labeled as vegetarian
  • Sauces: teriyaki, Worcestershire, soy, shoyu, tamari, sweet and sour
  • Gravies and marinades
  • Bouillon cubes
  • “Dairy free” products
  • Half and half (check ingredients)
  • Fresh cream (a very few heavy creams are soy free)
  • Dairy topping in can or packaged mix
  • Some yogurts
  • Ice cream (a few of the gourmet ice creams are OK, but most supermarket ice creams are not)
  • Purchased pizza
  • Peanut butter (look for 100% peanuts only, with or without added salt)
  • Baby formula, baby foods
  • Most seasoning blends (again, check label carefully)
  • Spices (some manufacturers are adding smoothing agents and anti-caking agents that contain soy… I have had problems with garlic powder, ground cinnamon, and chili powder)
  • Margarine
  • Butter substitutes or anything with “butter flavor”
  • Salad dressings
  • Mayonnaise
  • Ketchup
  • Almost anything “diet”
  • Crackers
  • Potato chips, corn chips, and just about any kind of chips… if you’re lucky, you might find some potato chips without soy
  • Popcorn
  • Unpopped popcorn (not all, but check the label)
  • Soft drinks (not all, but check the label)
  • Energy drinks, energy bars
  • Beverage mixes like hot chocolate, instant tea, or lemonade
  • Most candy and most chocolate (exceptions: some baking chocolate and chocolate made with cocoa butter instead of lecithin)
  • Chewing gum
  • Cooking sprays (except one 100% olive oil spray that may or may not contain soy)
  • Carob
  • Microwaveable meals
  • Restaurant food
  • Fast food
  • Herbal teas

Many non-food items usually contain soy:

  • Craft products like glue
  • Inks (newspapers, magazines, books)
  • Cardboard
  • Paints and stains
  • Carpets
  • Flooring
  • Pet food
  • Vitamins
  • Many non-prescription drugs
  • Cosmetics
  • Lotions and other skin products
  • Soap and soap products
  • Shampoo
  • Sunscreen
  • Candles (soy wax and scents)
  • Plastics
  • Cleaning products
  • Automotive waxes
  • Air fresheners or other scented products
  • Adhesives
  • Fertilizers
  • Pre-seasoned cast iron cookware (some are seasoned with soy oil)
  • Some fabrics, some yarns

Food or non-food items from other countries may contain soy without it being listed on the label. Also be aware that cross contamination can cause problems… any cross contamination possibilities should be listed on the label but often are not. Cross contamination occurs when a product that usually does not contain soy comes into contact with a product that does contain soy. Even though the cross contamination might be slight, for a person with a serious soy allergy, the dangers of eating the product are significant. Products can be cross contaminated during the manufacturing or packaging processes when the same equipment is used for soy and non-soy products. Watch what happens in stores, too. A soy-free cheese sliced on the same slicer as a cheese containing soy, for example, is not safe for a person with a soy allergy to eat. The same applies to soy-free food being stored next to products containing soy… this happens often in bulk food bins.

You may have seen official sites stating that a soy allergy in an adult is rare and that most soy allergies are outgrown. However, recent new information verifies that soy allergies can last for a lifetime and that reactions often can be so severe as to result in death. I am glad to see that finally soy allergies are being taken more seriously.

Obviously a soy allergy is nothing to fool around with. I have a huge problem with the recipe sites and cooking shows that advise sneaking tofu or other soy products into foods for their supposed nutritional value… this is just stupid… and this silly deception could lead to an emergency medical situation or even death to an allergic person. PLEASE don’t ever serve ANYONE anything containing soy without first making sure that the person eating it knows that they will be eating soy. Another point I would like to dispute is the often repeated advice that soy oil is safe for someone with a soy allergy because “most of the protein has been removed”. For a person with a soy allergy, this is dangerous nonsense… any exposure to soy in any form should be avoided.

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Comments

Judy

Great Article. I am new to a no soy diet and I am starving. Any suggestions I would grreatly appreciate. I didn’t know about citric acid. I thought that was from citrus foods. I am afraid to eat just about everything. So I am not coping very well. And soaps, shampoos, lotion? No one says anything about them and the companies won’t tell you, that is propietary info.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Citric acid is one of those “iffy” ones… it’s naturally derived from fruit, but it also can come from corn or soy. The soy kind is made from a fermented soy residue called okara. Labels SHOULD state the source, but I have never found that they do.

About the best advice I can give you quickly is to stay with as fresh a diet as possible… fresh or frozen vegetables, meat, rice, bread and baked goods you make yourself. I’m hoping to expand this topic in future posts about how to eat soy-free, because it IS possible (although not easy) to have a varied no-soy diet.

SueEllen

I did not see this on your list but if I missed it I am sorry.
Unsalted butter usually has soy by way of “natural flavors”

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

I always buy the salted butter, and the only ingredients for the type I buy are cream and salt. But yes, you’re right… most (if not all) unsalted butter has the added natural flavors. Makes you wonder why they feel the need to add all this stuff, doesn’t it?

Alyssa

Wow, that’s a much more extensive list than anything I’ve seen. Also, the reactions you list are more severe than I’ve seen to, a sense of impending doom and anxiety, that’s scary. I’ll be printing the lists and putting them on our fridge.

I am the mother of a 2.5 year old with a soy allergy (so far he breaks out in hives and excema, and reacts to contact as well as ingestion). He’s also allergic to eggs and peanuts, so our diets are very restricted. We’re still nursing, which means I have to restrict my diet as well.

We shop mostly the outsides of the grocery store, there are very few processed foods that are safe for him to eat. I make everything from scratch, that way I know what all of his meals contain. Right now, the rest of the family is on the same diet as well (my husband and 5 year old son), although my husband eats fast food and junk at work.

It’s hard, the day we got the diagnosis I came home and went through my pantry and burst into tears, almost everything in there had ingredients that had been hurting him.

We’re crossing our fingers that he outgrows it, but preparing for this to be a lifelong battle.

Rachelle

My soy allergy got me today because manufacturers aren’t required to put soy warnings on food if it contains only a food additive like “natural flavor”. This is ridiculous! I am now suffering excruciating abdominal pain because they believe such a small amount doesn’t require obvious labeling. Usually I am very careful but I was hungry and misread the tiny print at the bottom which said “natural flavor”.
Given soy is one the top 8 allergens it should be listed if ANY form of soy is in the product. That’s all I ask for: accurate and obvious labeling.

I also agree that the advice about soy oil not causing a problem is wrong and Doctors need to stop saying this. I cannot have soy oil. If I do I end up with vomiting so severe that I’ve had to be hospitalized previously.

In North America avoiding soy is difficult because of the US subsidizing soy production. In other countries wheat, rice or corn derivatives are used more often and it’s easier to find a wider variety of foods to eat. When I’m at home in Canada I have to be so careful with everything. I have a list of restaurants I frequent and am a regular so they know the deal.

For those that have just discovered their soy allergy there are a lot of foods you can eat, it’s just requires an adjustment in your diet. I always ate a lot of fresh foods, rice and salmon, so for me it wasn’t a major change. I just had to find places where I could buy the occasional treat.

Thanks Shirley for a great site!

Sally

Thank you, thank you! It’s so great to see that I’m not alone with this problem!

I manage fairly well because I cook from scratch for dinner and leftovers lunch, using olive, canola, or butter (not so good for chloresterol). More crackers are being made without soy, but the only sliced bread is some local sourdough. Our local restaurants are excellent, so I can avoid chain restaurants and fast food.

To make shopping more efficient, I limit my selections to a very few, previously-safe products and check each label each time for changes. Then, every few months, on a non-rushed trip, I will carefully check out new options, buy a sample of each, and then save the labels to make finding them easier for the next trip. I will also keep checking this site for helpful hints. Thanks again!

Sherry

This is a wonderful page to find, I have a Soy allergy too, and sometimes its not a fun thing to deal with. I have learned though to eat simple and fresh foods, raw as much as possible. I cook everything from scratch so I know whats in it, I seldom eat out and if I do its a salad and meat, which I ask how they cook it and request no oils added in the cooking. and I use lemon juice on my salad because dressings almost always have soy unless you make your own. Thank you very much for the list of different names soy shows up under. Great Site….

Adriana

I’m glad you are writing about soy allergies. Sometimes I feel so left out from all the fun because of my allergy to soy. I dislike having to order a salad when going out with co-workers just because that is the only safe thing to order. I strongly agree with you that doctors should stop telling people that soy oil is safe. I have had reactions from foods that were soy free but then fried in soy oil. I now bake all my own breads (a bread machine is a great gift for a food allergy sufferer). This is a great site.

Lydia

Thank you for this site. Beware of organic, herbal teas. For whatever reason, many brands now have soy lecithin. I was shocked and appalled. Can’t stop reading labels.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Thank YOU for the reminder… herbal tea should have been on the list. I’ll add it now. I found this one out the hard way a few winters ago when we had the flu and thought herbal teas would be nice for our sore throats. I can’t remember the brand, but one orange tea in particular gave me a very severe reaction. THEN we looked at the label. I usually read all labels, but for some reason never thought that herbal tea would have to have so much “stuff” added.

Melanie

WOW! I am new to anaphyllactic reactions, soy being one of the “demons” to avoid. I am learning more each day, but your article was so insightful, and I will be making a list of all you mentioned to carry with me! I am not dealing very well, for one thing, it seems I have a reaction about every other day, and I feel very drained and sick. I will get it all together soon, I hope. I am terrified to eat, and although I do need to lose a few pounds, this is not what I had in mind! Thanks for all of the awsome info, I had no idea about the vast majority of these lables.

Doug Sutherland

I found your blog while searching for “monotropa” on google. I find your discussion of soy allergies fascinating. Since I suffer from food allergies also, I am always glad to hear that I am not he only one. Or, maybe I shouldn’t be so glad since I know how miserable food allergies are

Soy had remained low on my list, since I didn’t eat too much of it anyway, I generally didn’t worry about a little soy sauce or tofu here and there. But over the last several years I started eating more veggie-burgers, which are chocked-full of soy, and also like you state, the general levels of soy have increased in everything, because it is a cheaper ingredient to use.

So I started having lots of stomach and chest pains, and digestion issues every time I ate anything. I because so sensitive that even things that were mild allergens before (like strawberries and peanuts) just tore my insides up after I had been weakened by the constant exposure to soy

After leaving the veggie-burgers behind and also starting to label-watch avoiding all soy products, I have been feeling lots better – but it seriously took a few months for the soy-effect to diminish

I was kindof shocked by the whole thing, because like you say so many of these products are labelled as “all-natural’ and healthy. I guess tobacco and alcohol are all-natural too when you look at it that way :)

Interesting blog I enjoyed reading it :) (and I also never use microwaves for cooking, either :)

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

I know what you mean about being glad that you’re not the only one suffering from this soy allergy. It is so difficult to eat soy-free these days. I think all of us are happy to know that we’re not the only ones with the problem!

Dory Tressler

Here is another reaction you can add to your list. Severe hyperactivity in children. If my son get anything with soy in it, you would swear he grew wings and became a bird. The hands start flapping and he starts spinning circles. Thanks for all of your time and research on this page. What a blessing.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Dory, I have added the hyperactivity to the list. Soy adversely affects people in so many ways, and for most people there is so little awareness of the dangers of all the soy in our food.

Bianca D.

I’m glad to know that I’m not in this soy allergy thing alone, however, I wish none of us were. It is amazing how soy has taken over the food industry and the “health and beauty” isle at the local grocery store. I was diagnosed only a week ago and I’ve been looking for soy free anything since. I don’t have a lot of time to cook, but I guess I’ll have to make time for it as everything prepared has soy in it
Thanks for your website. I need all the help and encouragement I can get.

Cathy

ANY HELP IS APPRECIATED – I just finished taking 50 mg of Benadryl – ? – my lungs have been filling up and the coughing is so bad I am afraid I will tear the lining of my stomach. It started with an allergy to a soy-based cream months ago, but now if I even eat soup with soy as a preservative within minutes my throat is itching INSIDE and my lungs start to fill with clear fluid – I get a terrible cough and have to hack and spit the stuff out – sorry to be so specific. This evening, I opened a cardboard box from China which had inside an item wrapped in that white foam-like material? As it got on my clothing, the attack started – hives, throat itching, lungs filling up and that awful hacking cough to get it out. Has anyone heard of soy being used in packing materials? Any help is appreciated – I recently relocated to a city 7 hours from where I lived and have no doctor. Hate to go to the emergency ward ! I had no food at all today, so that’s why I’m asking about packing material. Thanks to anyone with an answer !

Maria

It certainly could be the packing material. The symptoms you described sound like what happens to me when I’m exposed to soy. My lungs fill up and it’s terrible.

Gina P

Just in the last year my allergy to soy has been diagnosed. I have had issues with food forever and been labeled with nervous stomach, anxiety, IBS and many other diagnoses. I live in Maine and we are lucky up here, there are many more foods are available without soy since we are farther away from where the production is being done. The closer you are to Canada, the better choices you have for soy free foods. I went raw for a while after finding out what the allergy was for the fact that I was actually afraid to eat anything. I have slowly added cooked food back into my diet, but only things I make myself. We are a mostly soy free household, with the exception of the few indulgences that my husband brings home from the grocery store (only he eats them). My daughter is 8 and she shows the same signs that I did at that age, I just happen to know what it looks like. After going soy free she is relieved of almost all of her symptoms. We both have ADD and I think that adds to it but that can be managed. We are both medication free. I have been off of Prozac for almost one full year (for anxiety) after becoming soy free, it really is amazing what a food allergy can do to you.

Gina P

I just thought to add this, my VERY WORST reactions are when SOY OIL is included in what I am ingesting.
Just another thing for thought: Soy is one of the foods that contains the highest levels of nickel, I am also allergic to nickel. Rings, bracelets, earrings immediately break me out in a red, scaly, itchy, painful rash. I wonder if there is any connection?

Kathy

A number of years ago I took soy capsules sublingually for menopausal symptoms. I started having huge symptoms of burning after using them for a few weeks. The doctor increased the amount possibly thinking that they were hotflashes. (I knew they weren’t hot flashes, but wanted to trust a doctor’s care). Then I really hit bottom. It just HAD to be those pills. I went to an allergist to be tested and he confirmed I am allergic to soy. I told the other doctor and he still insisted that the pills would not harm me as a processing was done to the soy to make it unharmful. Needlesstosay I overdosed on soy and now suffer from even a small amount.

JD

I am soy intolerant and am mostly vegan, so I sympathize with all of you.

And in case you are wondering, it is possible to be soy free and still be a vegan/vegetarian. You have to do most of your own cooking and also a bit more creative, but it is possible. But it does force me to be lacto/ovo vegetarian away from home.

I also think that now that making things glutan free is trendy, might soy free not be to far behind. Especially since I have discovered that people with celiac disease also react to soy quite often.

Sue

I just found your website and the great (and somewhat alarming) information about soy allergy. Last month I had a very serious reaction to soy binder in the 100% cold water fish oil capsules I was prescribed by my physician. Last week, my rheumatologist recommended that I add gluten to the rapidly expanding list of forbidden products. I jokingly told my rheumatologist that all that was left to eat was the cardboard boxes that food comes in. Now I find out even the boxes contain soy and are now added to the forbidden list. Seriously, soy allergy is the pits. Thanks for the info. And I am now checking with the manufacturers of my other medication to see if it is soy free.

Phyllis

I was diagnosed with soy and peanut allergies not too long ago. After a lifetime of eating chocolate bars and every sweet smelling pastry in sight I now have to reframe from all my favorite treats. I do not understand why there is soy in so many products. It seems like when there is no soy, there are peanuts and when I almost get happy there is always the warning below the ingredients list that says it is manufactured around peanuts and or soy. This sight gave me some comfort to know I’m not alone.

Helen

Hello, I’ve just found your website whilst browsing about Soya allergy. I was diagnosed in November last year and like a lot of people here hit rock bottom. Since being pregnant 15 years ago I have slowly developed more and more allergies, starting with apples I am now allergic to raw fruit, raw vegetables, peanuts, tree nuts, and soya plus the other non-food allergies like cats, feathers, cigar smoke etc. Tomorrow I am visiting the allergy clinic to see what else I am allergic to.

I work in health care and recently was sent a sample of a gel type substance which is used to cushion bony parts to prevent pressure sores, on inspecting it I started to get an itchy nose so contacted the supplier, when they sent me the data sheet guess what the main ingredient was – Yes, soya bean oil, I was packaging it up last week to take to the clinic with me and had an asthma reaction -very scary.

I have managed to find one loaf in a major supermarket that has no soy or potential contamination with nuts, but otherwise I make my own in a breadmaker. Luckily I always enjoyed cooking but it does make eating out a problem, especially as I live in England, so short holiday trips are to non-english speaking countries, I carry little cards with my allergies translated into different lanuages and now I have a MedicAlert braclet.

My teenage son has found my allergies very useful, how do you stop your mother kissing you in public? – eat a peanut butter sandwich!! Don’t you just love them.

It is lovely to find a site like this just to hear about how others cope, all the others just give lists of don’t eats and symptoms, this is much more friendly, thank you for setting it up.

Christy

My toddler was diagnosed with a soy allergy shortly after we introduced solids. It was a process of several months finding what foods were safe to eat. I’ve been cooking a lot more from scratch, of course, but I’m finding certain “raw” ingredients have to be monitored carefully. Certain brands of eggs, milk and other dairy would trigger a reaction. It wasn’t until someone told me that organic soybeans are cheaper than organic corn, so an “organic” “all-vegetarian feed” hen, and the eggs it lays, is probably fed a diet of soy and this can cause trouble. It’s so frustrating!

Unfortunately, my mother doesn’t “believe” in allergies, and every time she visits, my son breaks out in a rash where she’s kissed him. Her lipstick, you know…

Kristy

I have a corn and soy allergy. I wanted to let you know that it is possible to have a delayed reaction. After living in KS for a few years, where both corn and soy is grown all around, I started to get ill. Started with asthma. Then, severe (I do mean severe) fatigue, body aches, and numerous other general symptoms that could fall under a number of illnesses. Eventually I was too sick to work, which is a big deal since I’m a high energy person. I had to quit a job I loved and move – getting rid of the asthma was a priorty at the time. We discovered that living in SLC seemed to relieve the asthma. This was before we realized the corn and soy connection. (No soy and corn farming in SLC.) But, I was still severely fatigued and had lots of brain fog as well as random other symptoms like body aches, forgetfulness, immune system issues, weakness, etc. Come to find out, the corn and soy allergy carried over to food as well. Once I ridded them from my diet, I got better rapidly. Within a week, all symptoms were essentially gone! If I eat corn or soy now, it’s not an immediate reaction, but within 2-8 days (I think up to 8 days due to my intestines moving slowly.), I react with the fatigue, body aches, etc and am in bed for up to a week! So, please record that in possible symptoms as well. Not many people think to connect such symptoms with food allergies. Took me three years of being desperately ill to figure it out!

Jennifer

Hello,

Thank you for this website! We are new to soy-free. My husband recently developed an autoimmune reaction to soy, as tested through Enterolab.com. He has been gluten/casein free for three years, then after receiving a dtap vaccine containing MILK, he developed a reaction to soy among many other problems. I do just want to warn those that visit your site, many vaccines also contain soy. SO please read the labels on vaccines yourself. Doctors are not educated on ingredients.

Piper

I just found out today after 12 months of suffering that my 14 month old son is allergic to soy and dairy. We had thought he was allergic to diapers and a bunch of other things, but today after test results came back we were told soy and dairy and that soy is in his cloths like polyester and also in his diapers as a bonding agent.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Piper, I’m so sorry that your son is having these allergy problems. At least now that you know what you’re dealing with, you can start to work towards a new “normal” for him that doesn’t contain soy and dairy. I wish you the best.

Cicelly

I was just diagnosed with a soy allergy during a skin test in my allergist’s office after breaking out in hives every morning for 6 months straight..Trying to find foods i can safely eat is a challenge considering i also have a tomato allergy as well.

Clementine

IT’S NOT EASY WHEN YOU FIRST FIND OUT, BUT IT DOES GET BETTER.
Never allergic to anything in my life until 2 1/2 years ago. I had an anaphyllactic reaction in a meeting with 10 other people after a business lunch, which was followed by a trip to the emergency room. 4 1/2 hrs later, alot of medication and instructions of what to do if the symptoms return I was advised to see an allergist within the next few days.
It turned out that suddenly (or more likely I had been having suttle reactions over the past few years, just not so severe that benadryl didn’t take care of it) I am allergic to Soy, Shellfish and Tree nuts! The advise is to avoid Soy, be very careful of cross contamination with any Fish and oh yes, serious cross contamination with nuts so I might avoid alltogether! Hmmmm!
Well, as most of you can imagine, I was at the emergency room on a regular basis for the first 8 months (every 4-8 days). Just when I thought I had this Soy thing figured out, it was in something else that I never would have imagined. Then, the real fun… A lady I worked with was eating cookies, touched the printer, I came behind her, not realizing and touched the same buttons – and had a reaction which sent me to the ER! I ALSO HAVE contact anaphyllactic reactions, so, while I had been being wisked away to the ER for the past few months trying to identify what I ate??? it turned out that by simply touching a door knob after someone who had used hand lotion with Soy, eaten a cookie, candy, slice of pizza, etc. and touched a surface or door handle or shook my hand, I was on my way to the Emergency Room by way of Epi-Pen and 125 mg benadryl just for starters.
Let’s face it, just when you think you’ve figured it out…things change; a product that you’ve been able to eat now contains SOY!
It’s not easy when you first find out, but it does get better. Soy is in everything. No more sweets unless you make them from scratch. It is easier than you think. Start cooking again. If you’ve never been much of a cook, start! Food taste so much better. Live by simple ingrediants; wine, olive oil, garlic, pepper and sage can conquer any meat! Butter, garlic, parsley, pepper any potatoe, and balsamic vinegar, olive oil, italian seasonings with suprise cheeses atop any salad. Pasta is a great food as well.
Junk food isn’t good for you anyway, find a few recipies, all-bran muffins to make and have around when your sweet tooth is calling! Homemade fudge!
Good luck and God bless.

Anne Marie

I’m 36 just diagnosed in March with a soy- tree nut allergy. I’ve been trying to pretend it away, but I don’t feel good. Lethargic, itchy, stomach cramps, diarrhea, flushed face, etc. I was thinking of just eating rice for the next few days to see if I could start feeling better. I miss being able to eat out or have a cookie! Thanks for your site. Glad to know I’m not alone!

Kathy

Having a soy allergy affects my quality of my more than any other allergy because it is a mystery ingredient in so many things and not clearly labeled. Part of the reason it is so awful is that I end up avoiding things that maybe really don’t have soy. So if I cut out the vast majority of American food (by eliminating such things as “Natural flavors” I’d like to know for sure if I need to avoid them or not. Perhaps in many cases I’m avoiding soy but missing some food I could really eat and enjoy!

Kathleen

Great site! I seem to only be allergic to soya oil and raw soya such as tofu, soya milk etc. I can tolerate any fermented soya such as miso, tamari and tempeh. Just wondering if anyone has reacted to “natural” spray foam insulation which is made primarily from soya oil. Expect that during the wet spraying process it would be a problem for first couple of days. It is supposed to be inert after that, but I am afraid to install in my attic.

Keri

I am so glad to find this site. The info you gave is so thorough. I have an adult-onset soy allergy that now causes anaphylaxis. I don’t have to tell any of you how terrifying that is! I had my third trip to the ER in 3 months, even though I’ve gotten good at reading labels, I obviously missed a few. I seem to usually have a delayed reaction..several hours, but sometimes I can tell immediately because my mouth and lips tingle. Weird. Anyway, thank you for posting all this info. I’m very grateful!

WB

Does anyone have any ideas about getting the Food and Drug Assoc. to listen to all these problems people are having with soy lecithin and hidden soy now being added to almost every food, vitamins, drink, etc. I’ve had a terrible time avoiding soy, and soy oil and lecithin definitely make me ill (vomiting, sometimes hives, extreme tiredness) no matter what the doctors say. Now I’ve just found out that my estrogen replacement is made from soy. I had to call the pharmaceutical company to find out that most birth control and replacement hormones are made with soy, because it’s not listed and even the doctors and pharmacists don’t know this. My new vitamin says “no soy allergens” but I just found out that doesn’t mean no soy – it just means no soy protein. Lemonade, tea, even the Olive Oil Mayo has soy (natural flavoring – again I had to write the manufactuer to find out.) HELP. There has to be a way to let the FDA know how many people out there are suffering.

Cat Rennolds

this is very extensive and informative. I have avoided obvious soy for years because I tend to have stomach problems with it, but I also have similar problems with certain other vegetable foods such as fennel, cilantro, and most peppers. Oddly enough I could eat tofu, though.

One thing that I wonder is how much of this may be related to the fact that almost all soy grown in the US is genetically modified, ditto corn, and anything that doesn’t have soy in it is pretty certain to have the corn. Now I avoid soy even more carefully than I did in the past. And genetically modified ingredients do not have to be labeled as such at all. The FDA is not listening on this issue either. Anyone with suggestions on how to reach them?

Audrey

Thank you for your site. I have been soy intolerant for over seven years. My symptons are severe vomiting and a deep pain under my left shoulder blade about 5 minutes after I eat anything that has any soy in it. I have also found that I have a reaction to foods that the producer had been fed soy such as eggs that the hen was given feed that contained soy or meat from a animal that was feed soy. Thank goodness for grass fed animals!

Another item that I stay away from that I did not notice on your list is modified food starch.

My first reaction when I found out what was making me sick, was “Oh my, I don’t know what I will be able to eat. All the food has soy in it.” I started to slowing change that idea to “yes I can eat this, I just have to make it myself from scratch!” I always take safe snacks with me because I never know when I am going to be delayed doing errans.

My closing thought: I lost over 60 pounds and have keeped it off for over six years. I feel better and I know that my family is eating healthier because of my soy problem, so deep down this life changing problem is a blessing in disguise. However it takes a lot of work to keep it under control!!

Liz

Great website! I’ve been avoiding soy for some years now but never realized food companies didn’t have to list a soy ingredient as “soy”. They do this with corn and msg and other things. It’s just not right. I’ve just found out I’m allergic to soy and corn and some other things. Your site makes it much easier to avoid products containing soy. Why add soy to a natural product like butter? It’s beyond comprehension.
Thanks so much.

Marianne

I was just recently diagnosed with a soy allergy, and I am so happy to have found a site with so much information. I was wondering if anyone has had a problem with certain flours. I made some bread the other day with wheat flour made just for breads and bread machines, and seem to be having a reaction to it. I was wondering if it might have smoothing agents in it or something. Thanks again for all your research, and information!

Elizabeth

This was great to see. I am suffering from this and it’s hard to find anything that wont make me sick. I throw up when I eat soy. Sunday I put a cracker in my mouth then saw that soy was the 5th ingredant and spat it out. I then got a horrible headache and through up 5 times. I was out of commission all day and today I am really weak. Welcome to soy hell everyone. Well at least with this information there is some help. Just read everthing and stick to fresh foods…I would love to get any soy free recipies and thoughts. At least I will be really skinny! LOL!

carleen

My symptoms are bleeding with mucas (was diagnosed with colitis but I know it is soy). I also have the rapid heart beat with the overwhelming sense of weakness and gloom – one time went to the emergency as I didn’t realize at the time it was soy allergy. My heart beats fast for several hours. Was well for quite a while until I started buying a cheaper olive oil and then took a while for me to read up on how many olive oils fraudently have soy in them to make them cheaper.

susie

This website sure lifts one’s heart to see others fighting the same battle. Soy allergy/sensitivity for almost a year (probably was before but finally went full blown). My reaction is horrible migraines – sometimes within 15 minutes of just eating something that has hidden soy, amazed at all the products that has hidden soy – especially the natural flavors (they are the worst). Another one is thiamine mononitrate that they add to flour – it is made from corn or soy (mostly soy). found that out when I tried to make home made cinnamon rolls. flour is trial and error. Tried to make navy beans and think they are a problem too – related to soy bean family as is the guar gum bean. Our favorite tomato soup – one that is used my millions – just changed their recipe in 2009 and added the dreaded natural flavors (changed the taste as hubby said it tastes yucky – 56 years of a soup that we can no longer eat – sad). I read labels on just about everything (as are others now). toothpaste also has the flavors – I did find one in a vitamin store that I can use. Also by getting soy out my blood pressure returned to normal (unless I accidentally eat hidden soy). thank you all for your stories. If I find more hidden soy – will add it.

E.O.

This post and the comments are very, very helpful. Many thanks. My own allergy was finally confirmed just today with a biopsy, though I have long suspected it. My symptoms, too, include severe headaches and nausea, and I, too, seem to react quite seriously to soy oil, which is very easy to ingest accidentally. For example, prepared Italian salad dressing often contains no olive oil but instead is made with soy oil or vegetable oil that is mainly soy oil. I wonder if anyone else also has this peculiar reaction: I have bleeding under the skin. A painful nodule forms that is blood-filled and looks purplish or blue-red. Soon the blood seeps out of the nodule into the surrounding tissue,and after a couple of days the area bled into turns yellow, as a bruise does. (Biopsy of one of these nodules confirmed an allergic cause.)

Andrea

I’m nursing a soy allergic baby. It’s a hard thing to do. I’m scared to eat eggs, corn, and nuts, because I know that corn and soy crops are rotated, and nuts are often coated in soy oil.

I do eat things with corn starch and corn syrup and sometimes he seems like he’s reacted to something I ate, but it’s so hard to know because it takes so long to go through me, then through him.

I’m also dairy free too… so my food choices are seriously limited.

Nuria

I am allergic to soybean oil, until now I was able to eat soy, but last week I had a bad allergy with my tongue swollen, I think it was the dijon mustard which had soybean oil. I am sure about the soybean oil but not sure about the soy part. Is it possible to be allergic only to soybean oil? Or this is only the beginning (I have been allergic for five years). I try to check all the label and eat fresh but still since last week I am afraid of eating anything, there is soy on everything. Thank you for this website.

Karen

Thank you for this post. My daughter has soy and some legume allergies, along with diary and tree nut and cinnamon. Thankfully she seems to have outgrown her reaction to peanuts, although we do limit those too. Your list is the most comprehensive I have seen. I am still nursing her, so my diet is limited, too. But I have had doctors INSIST that she would do better on hypoallergenic formula, and the 2nd ingredient is always soy oil. When I say no, I am not giving her anything with soy oil, it makes her sick, they ARGUE with me. I know what makes my child sick! Thank you for stating that soy oil is JUST as bad. And I never knew about citric acid, liquid smoke or thiamin mononitrate (from another poster) Now I have to double check all my foods, because my daughter still has reactions I can’t pin down

Mel W

Hi this is really useful I’ve been searching ‘citric acid’ and to find that is related to soy really helps I’ve got a very hyperactive child and just recently cut out milk and gave him soya milk and yogurt and now he’s had 3 horrendous days its like he’s posessed. I’ve been searching his limited diet for additives and this is in all 3 of his main products. Keep putting up more info. What a great site.

susie

Found another item with soy – who would have thought! bought a seasoned cast iron skillet – it is seasoned with soybean oil, baked at high temperatures to soak it in. Took it back – fortunately I looked it up before using.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Susie, I have added pre-seasoned cast iron cookware to the list. Thanks for mentioning this!

catcamus

I’ve recently identified soy as a most-probable problem-food, and thus have gone soy free (my symptoms are typically 2-day delayed severe fatigue, but I also have unexplained hives and rashes, and sometimes I have a flu-like skin sensation shortly after eating a problem food). However, I have been having trouble completely eliminating soy (as you all well know how hard this can be). I therefore really appreciate your very comprehensive list and for all the supportive comments.

One question I have: I know that the general ingredient label “natural flavors” is bad, but what about specifically listed flavorings? For example, if a label says “natural vanilla flavor” (or “artificial vanilla flavor” or just “vanilla flavor”) is it at risk of containing soy? I tried asking a manufacturer and they sent me back a “our sources aren’t required to label this” and we are covering our legal butts letter that was not in the slightest bit informative or helpful to me.

Sincerely, frustrated in seattle!

Ruby

I did not see this on your list collagen casing.
Collagen got me yesterday like everyone else allergic to soy I read every label before I consume anything.I found a turkey snack stick I thought was safe.It didn’t contain vegetable protein,msg,soy oil or natural flavor.About 5 mins after eating it came back.My reaction was traced back to the collagen casing the snack stick was made with.My husband found that collagen casings are a blend of food grade acid and vegetable cellulose fiber.

irene

I am new to this soy allergy and am having a very difficult time finding anything without all those listed… if I buy a bread machine, can I make bread? I noticed that THIAMINE MONONITRATE is in all flour? Please help?! Thanks

Jessica

I have been in denial about soy allergy until
I broke out into an itchy rash on my face after
eating a cookie made with crisco. I also have
gi reactions,dry eyes, and get extremely cold,
especially my hands. Does anyone else experience
these symptoms? Is benadryl the best medicine
to take after a reaction?

Diane

I am allergic to soy also. But I started reacting to milk eggs, chicken, and beef. I found out that the chickens and cows are being fed soy. So, I can no longer eat these things including also cheese or anything made with milk or eggs. Has anybody else that is allergic to soy been experiencing this?

Svetlana

Shirley, your article is very well documented and very useful. I have also read all the comments posted so far, and I must say this: People! Where is the American fighting spirit? All of you are so nice and polite, trying to find alternatives to foods, supplements, and cosmetics that contain soy. I do not perceive anger, which all of us suffering from soy allergies should rightfully display. No more being victims. Why should we restrict our diets, not be able to eat in restaurants occasionally, be admitted frequently to emergency rooms ,a.s.o, when those responsible for this soy disaster are reaping higher and higher profits because they are replacing time-honored ingredients with cheap extracts from soy (most of it genetically modified soy, at that)? Have we not had enough?

AF

I am 36 years old, no children and I was diagnosed with a soy allergy 3 months ago. I was feeling dizzy and waking up with severely swollen lips and fingers for over a month. After a day that included a vanilla soy latte from Starbucks in the morning and a sushi lunch, I went into anaphylactic shock. I now carry an epi-pen.

I come into contact with small amounts of soy and my lips swell. So far, my reactions are mild discomfort and severe ugliness. So, I am grateful it takes a lot of soy to make me stop breathing. Nonetheless, I am furious that the FDA in the US and other similar government entities in other developed countries are asleep at the wheel. There is enough evidence to warrant further study into what’s causing all of these widespread allergy issues. Peanuts, wheat, soy, etc. The most significant clue to this sudden problem is genetic modification of crops. Food is life. It shouldn’t mame and kill for the sake of profits.

susie

in reference to thiamine mononitrate – I sent an email to the flour company (flour I like to use) and asked about it – they actually checked theirs out and it is one not made from soy and so far I had used it and one other flour and they are fine so far. So far there has only been 2 flour brands I found I react to. So if I am not sure about any product – I have been checking with companies and they are really good to get back and it is amazing that they don’t know about hidden soy so they also get educated. I also found two local bread companies that make bread without any soy additives hidden or otherwise – really good.

TH

I recently developed an allergy to soy oil. I have been sensitive to soy for a few years, but was able to avoid issues by simply avoiding soy as a major ingredient. Now I react to even trace amounts of soy oil. My allergist does not believe the you can be allergic to soy oil and I find this very frustrating.
It was a laundry detergent that triggered my first sever reaction. It had a soy based fabric softener. I inquired with the company and it turns out that soy oil is used as the fabric softener. I had a sever case of hives for 5 weeks. I now fear staying at people’s homes or in hotels because I don’t know how their linens are laundered.

Jan

I was diagnosed with a soy allergy in August 2009 but was told to avoid soy protein. I still had problems with asthma, rashes, flu like symptoms (fever, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold sweats). Depending on the source ingested my symptoms were occurring within 15 minutes or were delayed for up to two days. I went soy free 7 months ago, and have not been this healthy in 10 years. The first two weeks of being soy free were the hardest, but as soon as my fatigue lifted and the joint pain that resulted from inflammation eased off the change in diet became much easier. My asthma was so bad that I spent three days in the hospital after a trip to the ER. One thing I have to avoid is soy based ink on many publications, as this can cause the asthma to flare.
After removing soy from my diet, I have been able to get off all maintance medications for asthma. I still carry a rescue inhaler but have only had to use it if exposed to soy ink.
I was only recently diagnosed but after doing some research and reflecting, I believe that I have some issues for my entire life. Even as a young child I was never able to eat “BACOS” which are flavored soy flour. Also the chili beans (which have soy protein for added nutrition) from the school lunches always gave me “food poising.” My allergy has progressed to the point where my tongue swells and I have difficulty breathing which requires medical attention.
The result of this allergy has made my life very difficult; I travel five days a week for work.

Carla

Thank you so much for this post, and for allowing people to make all the helpful comments. We’ve been dealing with a soy allergy for about a year and a half. I’ve been feeling pretty alone in this, until finding this post!

Birdi

First of all, I have to agree with those that say this is an awesome site. Thanks for being here. I very happily wiled away some time with you..and that doesn’t come easy for me. I do not have a soy allergy nor do anyone around me, but I discovered things accidentally from other avenues. I made a commitment to rid this from my life and I realized how much it is in everything…back then. This has brought me to being more frugal and simplistic…because I do everything from scratch. I get asked on a regular basis on how you find time(I work full time off of the farm)..the answer very simply is careful planning. You have to want the results and with an allergy..the commitment was made for you. I understand the challenges that all who are soy free are facing…but it is possible to have a very full and delicious life without it. Thanks, Shirley for sharing your message. People like you and others who read you may finally one day get soyfree choices.

M.A

Hi, I have been sick since the weekend. i have been recently employed and wanted to celebrate it with my husband by going to a well known Japanese restaurant. I got so sick that I couldn’t go to work for three days. I felt so dizzy and had kind of a brain fog. I could not think straight and had terrible palpitations. Best luck to you all…

Kimberly

Looks like I’m not the only one dealing. I also have heard from my doctor that it’s not common in adults. I found the issue on my own and after much trial. Thanks Sooo much for this blog. My biggest issue is skin care…hair care in particular. I’m still searching and will share any info I find. I’ve even lost a couple sizes from making all my own food. There’s always a positive side to everything. Let’s get the word out and maybe more complanies will comply. Thanks everyone for speaking out!

WB

Just found out after a trip to the ER that all gelcaps are made with soy/soy oil!

Christa

Truly is amazing to find so many people with the same problems I’ve been suffering with for almost seven years.
Please be aware that some forms of Bendryl contain soy, the fast melts and capsules. I have to have mine made at a compounding pharmacy. Toilet paper and other products that are “extra soft” may contain soy. Water or juice in plastic bottles may have soy based products leach into the beverage. Olive oil that I infuse with essential lavender oil is my moisturizer.
There is a soy free sales website that is a great chocolate resource. Bare minerals make up is the only makeup I have found to be soy free, even their lipsticks. Their creams do have soy. Hair color is hard to find. There is a natural henna product from Green Mountain that smells strong but works. Some Hagen Daz ice cream is ok. Muir Glen products are pretty safe.NewMorning Grahm Crackers are safe.Organic Valley dairy products tend to be safe.kitchen basics beef and chicken broth are soy free.beware of flavored coffees, many do have soy. Also beware of the newspaper and many other printed products, the ink contains soy, as does many hand sanitizers and bronchial inhalers, and baby wipes, soaps and frozen potato products. Ingredients change often so please read the labels on all the products I mentioned.Also a product that you can eat in this country like lays potato chips, may use different oil in a different country.also be aware of really shiny fruit like apples from Costco that are sprayed with a glaze to help preserve them. Hope my years of learning the hard way helps you.
Christa

Christa

Shirley,
What a great page, thanks so much for all the useful information.
Christa

Sharii

I have recently discovered that all my health problems that I have sufferred from for the last 2 years are related to soy. The doctors think I’m crazy because alergy tests do not reflect any alergens. When I eat soy, it cuts off my breathing, I have brain fog and severe pain in my left neck and shoulder. The symptoms have been so severe that I have been unable to work.

I am happy to have fine your site to see that I’m not alone.

Thank you

Vanessa

Thank you for all the wonderful information. I recently found out that I have a soy allergy in addition to lactose intolerance. My baby boy has also shown signs of both allergies as well. I found this site to be very helpful. I just wanted to share with everyone to be aware that if you are very sensitive to soy that eating meat which has been feed soy may also give you an allergic reaction. I have an allergic reaction whenever I eat meat such as poultry or pork that has been feed a steady diet of soy. I try to buy free range/grass fed meats, but that doesn’t always help. My next idea would be to visit some local farms to inquire about their feed and purchase meat from them. My allergist suggested that because I have a soy bean allergy that I may also be allergic to other beans/legumes. Sadly, he was correct, and I found out that I react to other legumes in the bean family- such as green/string beans, chick peas, lima beans, pinto-while the reaction is not as intense as the soy bean reaction, it still causes problems. On the bright side, now that I am bean free I feel wonderful! My health is improving and now I’m better prepared to help my son with his allergies. Thanks so much for all the wonderful information.

Becky C

My husband and I discovered a severe soy allergy when our second daughter was making a transition to solid food. She never had issues prior because she was breast fed. My daughter would react with skin rash so bad it would be raw and seep (under her arms, in the pits of her elbows behind her knees, around her ankles and wrists and of course her face and belly. Little did we know that the chronic tummy aches our eldest daughter had were also a sign of soy allergy. Now that they are older (19 and 11) it is more evident that any soy contamination brings about not only the skin afflictions mentioned, but hyperactivity, depression, anxiety and an overall sense of dread in them. 11 years of educating ourselves on what contains soy has still left us defeated as more and more foods are infiltrated with soy. Our youngest son, unfortunately, has a corn allergy and cannot eat any dairy or beef, some pork or chicken as they are all fed corn. Your website and many more like this have made a legitimate arguement for those that have been suffering with this allergy and have been poopooed by physicians. I thank you for your work and look forward to checking in more often to see what else has been tainted with this poison. My husband and I have learned, as a consequence, to make our own foods from scratch in order to be sure our kids eat healthy. it is a constant battle to reclaim our food supply; many of which has already been genetically modified and no longer has any value to humans whatsoever. I and my family value the work you do here for all of us!

Sincerely,

Becky C. in AZ

Becky C

PS. soy is called tocopherol in lotions soaps and shampoos. Also, some plastic wraps, paper plates, plastic cutlery (spoons, forks, knives) and plastic bags or disposable plastic ocntainers could be coated in soy or corn to protect the surface.

Bethany

I was just diagnosed five days ago. Very frustrated like most of you. I have a tree nut and sesame allergy along with soy now. I’m started on a new medicine to help control my asthma, which I feel is how my body is reacting to the soy allergy. I’ve been avoiding the nuts and sesame for a year now. Thanks for all the posts, I will follow closely.

Christa

Be careful of your inhalers, soy is in most of them. Very interesting that many of you had neck pain. I used to have severe neck pain before I knew I had a soy allergy. I also had strange muscle spasms in my arms and face. It’s been a while since I had that happen. I thought I was going crazy, I’m so glad to hear there is a common reaction. Not glad to hear it keeps happening.

Kris F

I came across this site by accident, but I am so glad I did. I thought I was alone in my struggle with not eating soy and having such strong reactions.I was having doubts that maybe it was really all in my head. Thank you for getting the word out there and educating the rest of us. I agree with what everyone is saying about the difficulty in going out to eat, finding makeup and lotions, soaps and shampoos with no soy. thanks again.

kae g

What a great blog on soy. Soy is blight on our lives. From food additives to meds to printed labels, mail, catalogs,newspapers, gel caps, we really don’t want to live our lives with exam gloves on. Staying out of soy in foods works if you cook everything yourself,read every label with gloves on. Its the rest of your life where the sneaky soy gets you. BUT WE WILL MAKE IT SOONER OR LATER. keep on blogging for us so we’re not alone in this.

jill

Hey all, Thanks for posting. I went in to the allergist’s office last week, but the skin test was inconclusive. I was suspicious of a nut allergy after eating some “healthy” nut mixes most of which were soy nuts. My tongue started to tingle, the inside of my cheeks burned, my gums swelled, and my throat felt thick and “funny”. I got sores on the back and sides of my tongue. I had no idea what was happening! A few days later, while eating pistachios, the same thing happened. This is what prompted the trip to the allergist.
Because of some of the meds I’m on (and getting injections of cortisone and anti-inflammatory meds). I have to get a blood test…problem is, I have a “reaction” almost every day because I am still finding out what I can and cannot eat! And I’ve learned that Benadryl (liquid, children’s) does the trick at relieving the discomfort….but nothing towards the allergy! In 4 days, I’ve gone thru a whole bottle! UGH!!
I keep thinking, “well, this HAS to be safe!” only to find out that I have a reaction…after reading your list, the light has started to go on as to WHY! EVERYTHING I eat contains some sort of soy! Not all of it gives me a reaction, but it answers a lot of questions! THANK YOU! Question is, ‘WHAT CAN I EAT??!!!” Any feedback as to the kind of diet some of you adhere to would be very helpful!! Thanks!

Elicia

First, your site is incredible and so resourceful. Like many others on here, I have recently been diagnosed with a soy allergy among my other food allergies to shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, raw fruits/veggies. I’m a senior in college living in Boston, so it has been rather difficult adjusting to this new lifestyle. I’m definitely missing my mom and wish she could help me be creative in the kitchen! For the most part I have been managing OK with the exception of Lunch. I have absolutely no idea what to eat for lunch, especially when I’m on the go. I’ve suffered from colitis for the past 2 years and I’m now wondering if it is in any way related to my soy allergy. Because of the colitis, I have found that salad makes me extremely sick, so salad for lunch is out of the question as well. Does anyone have any ideas for lunch recipes? I’d really appreciate any help I can get.
Also, SHIRLEY – could you elaborate on soy being found in half and half?? I haven’t found any other information on this outside of your site. Is it all half & half? Or maybe due to what the cows are being fed? I drink one cup of coffee every morning and always use half and half. For the past few weeks I’ve been using half and half that I bought at Whole Foods, which I’ve never used before, and have noticed that I’ve been getting terrible stomach pains after drinking my coffee in the morning. I’m thinking it could be related to the half and half. Again, I really appreciate your help! Thank you! :)

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Elicia, it really depends on the half and half. Some of the brands do contain ingredients that are stated soy derivatives but do not use the word soy. The ones that claim to be cream and milk may be problematic too because if you check the labels for cream, you will find that most creams have mono and diglycerides added, and these are soy derivatives. In this area, for example, it is impossible to find cream that does not contain mono and diglycerides (soy) unless the cream comes directly from a farm. I would wonder if the creams are labeled, but once the cream is put into half and half, the mono and diglycerides are not mentioned.

It is also possible that there are half and half products that are truly non-soy… so I will put a “check the ingredients” notation on that listing… but after doing a quick check on ingredients, I found several brands that still have soy derivatives. If you’re having problems that you think are related to the half and half, you might want to quiz the company if soy is not listed on the label… although don’t be surprised if they have no idea of the answer.

P.S.: Some people do feel that what the animal eats does come through in the product, so that might be a possibility for you.

Penny

I find that anything with”enriched” flour is enriched with soy. There is an organic baker, in my town that makes wonderful bread. I only use organic flour that is not “enriched”, to make everything.

Michelle

I’m so glad I found this site. Now, I’m not alone!! 4 years ago I was diagnosed with a soy allergy. I used to be able to eat things that contained soy. I suffered for about 2 years before my diagnosis. All I knew was it was something I ate. Avoinding soy is very hard when you don’t have family that supports the avoidance. My allergy has now gotten so bad that I have severe problems breathing if I accidentally consume or come in contact with soy. Soy is in Tylenol Cold (my face swelled up and I had an ER visit), Pepto, and any kind of medicinal syrup out there. I’ve be come very strict on what I eat now and I find this website is very helpful. I’ve forwarded it on to my friends so they can help me. I’ve just told everyone that they shouldn’t be offended if I don’t eat what they offer. My allergy really scares me and it is everywhere. Thanks again for this site. Now I have lots more hope!!

beth

My 6 year old son is in the beginning process of being diagnosed with a soy allergy. I *think* his allergy must be sort of mild because the reaction only came to light after he drank Ensure for the first time which includes ‘concentrated soy protien’. I didn’t know he was allergic to soy at the time I gave him the drink. He was wheezing, red/itchy eyes and nose, vomitted the whole drink, hives. That’s what brought on the testing. He eats soy sauce at least once a week before this whole thing and has never had a reaction, as well as green beans, chocolate, crackers, and well just about everything he eats has soy in it! Now that we have the initial diagnosis, I’m trying to steer clear of soy as much as possible but it is next to impossible. He already is underweight- I feel like he’s going to starve to death!! The only other ‘reaction’ I’ve seen from him in the past is from McDonalds and all other types of chicken nuggets. He hasn’t had any of those for a long time because it always gave him a stomach ache. (no vomiting or gastro issues beyond a belly ache-but I’m guessing that was the soy).
Is it possible to have a soy allergy that is only triggered by certain soy foods or super concentrated soy? I’ve read that a lot of people with a mild soy allergy can tolerate low doses of soy in their foods. I’m hoping this is the case with him!! It’s so scary!! And I just picked up the epi-pens today from the pharmacy after getting the prescrip last night. That thing is never leaving my side again!!

Pat

I had another reaction today; this time after having a small Starbucks Pike Place Roast coffee w/ peppermint syrup and two packs of Sugar in the Raw and some organic milk (from home). Almost immediately I developed severe stomach pains and nauseousness. About thirty minutes later I developed additional allergic reactions including blotchy skin on my arms and thighs to my lips and scalp tingling to my cheeks tingling (first time) to light asthma symptoms (first time). My cheeks and lips are still tingling eight hours later. My doctor recommended 20 mg. of Predisone and 2 tsp. of Children’s (cherry flavor) Benadryl. My local Walgreens said they pulled it from their shelves. A call to J & J (maker of Benadryl) said the plant that makes this was shut down and they have not decided when to resume operations. The nearest store that may have some is more than twenty five miles. I asked the csr. svc. rep. to mail me some but was told no; even though I kept reminding her I am allergic to the soy in their Benadyl tables.

AC

I’ve been allergic to soy for years, so I’ve been very careful reading labels. Last night, I had a package of pasta with vegetbles and cheese sauce (all organic). One of the few ingredients was corn protein which should have been no problem for me. Two hours after eating a small portion, I had trouble breathing and then I had severe palpitations. This is my usual response to soy ingestion. Is corn protein related to soy? I’ve had corn products in foods before and nothing happened?

Pat

Another reaction today… from Walgreens Wal-phed (generic Sudafed). I took 2 tablets at 6:30am, I still have blotchy skin 12 hours later. I had to call a local store as there is no phone # on the box. I s/w a pharmacist and stated I wanted to report an adverse reaction to the product. She contacted the manufacturer and came back and said YES, there is soy in the product. I called the manufacturer and requested the amount of soy in it as I need to know how severe my allergy is. I could tell the woman was not to thrilled with me because she had to report this to the FDA. I am going to report adverse reaction to each company (shampoo, body soaps/washes/scrubs, lotions, etc.) where I have had reactions.

Christa

Pat,
I have my dipenhydramine( key ingredient in Benadryl) made at a compounding pharmacy, I also have my ibuprofen made there. Those are the only two meds I really need. From what I understand, steroids may be soy based, be careful. I would like to ask all of you what haircare and beauty products you use? Shampoos, creams, sunscreens,etc.
Christa

Felicia

I just found this site. I’ve had a soy allergy for about 3 years. It didn’t develop until I was an adult. I’m so glad I found this site. It is amazing. All these years I’ve been making my own lists, and just recently had a reaction to soft drinks. Now it’s water and milk (sometimes chocolate Hersey’s chocolate SYRUP, not powder, hasn’t bothered me). You really do have to watch out for the lotions and soaps (especially at the soap in public bathrooms). It really makes me mad how many companies are not clear on their ingredients. And/or may contain soy, natural flavor!!! Please, just say SOY.

Pat

I have eliminated all foods that list soy (oil, lecithin, soy sauce, etc) on the label. Unfortunately, I still have severe allergic reactions to other foods including:

Carrington Tea (Green Tea Lemon- (ingredients Green Tea Leaves & Natural Lemon Flavor); (company was very responsive)

Starbucks Pike Place Roast coffee w/peppermint syrup (ingredients: SUGAR, WATER, NATURAL FLAVORS, PRESERVATIVE: SODIUM BENZOATE, CITRIC ACID) (company was very responsive)

Senseo (Sara Lee) French Vanilla pods (ingredients: ground coffee, natural and artificial flavors)(Senseo representative had an attitude and was not cooperative)

All companies denied their was soy in their product. Unfortunately, because of my reactions, I do not believe them.

Shirley, do you know if soy only has to be listed on a product label if there is above a certain amount of soy in the product, therefore, making it “legal” not to list soy on a label? If so, do you know the amount?

Thanks again for the website.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Pat, I think the law is that any amount of an allergen is supposed to be listed on the label. BUT… we all know they don’t actually do this, and I have been told that legally there are a lot of loopholes (if a formula is proprietary, etc.).

It is frightening that many of these companies seem to have no idea what is actually in their products. If the ingredient does not have soy in its name, they don’t realize (or won’t admit) that soy is present.

In all the products you listed, I would suspect the flavorings, because even if the flavoring itself isn’t made from soy, soy is often used as a “carrier.” Also the citric acid, which can come from either soy or corn.

Sarai

I have been living with a soy allergy for 10 years, but only recently found out the true cause. I have a list going that is just as big as yours. I wish I could have found this list when I first found out. My allergy is severe and it’s getting to where I can’t even touch things with soy without having a bad reaction. I usually get HUGE acne like bumps all over which last for months.

Rosanne

I got diagnosed with a soybean allergy about 6 weeks ago. My allergist sort of acted like it was n’t a big deal – he said it was mild although I’ve had stomache issues for years and years. I have been on acid blocers for 8 years and have chronic stomach aches, nausea and diarrhea. I’m so glad I found this site! I started looking at things and realized soy is in everything!!!! For the past couple years, I’ve been having anxiety attacks, getting short of breath, etc. After reading this, I have to wonder if this is all related to my soybean allergy. I’m not sure what to eat either. My family is not very willing to change their habits and I work 2 jobs and have 2 kids who are very busy with sports and things. Any help would be much appreciated. I am also allergic to beans and to peanuts, although not severely. Did you all find out you had soy allergies through a blood test or through the skin tests? Thanks!

annie

i was reading a content lable at wendys and could not believe what i read it said that the fda did not reconize soy as an allergin i have many allergies both food and mainly medications i wonder if these fda people ever suffer from anything how closed mined are they soy as we know is in everything why/ cause it’s cheap at the expense of everyone’s health i always think of the large amount of children today with authium could be from mother eating soy products and then its in mother’s milk it’s a thought i am known by doctors to be atoxin

Lisa

was diagnosied with EE after endoscopy last year. food gets stuck in esophagus on regular basis. sometimes spasms on even liquid. Can’t even eat out anymore and the inside of my lips break out. weird huh? long story short. went to allergist and am allergic to soy and glycerin products. could a soy allergy cause EE or the lip break out? choking scares me to death and i never know when it will hit.

Sue Ellen R.

Thank you so much for this site! I’m going to print out your list of ingredients with soy and take them with me when I go shopping. Another idea I’m going to start implementing is taking my own dressing/sauce when eating at a restaurant and only order veggies and meat steamed or cooked in olive oil. I’ve had too many times where I’m guaranteed that something is soy free and I react to it.

I learned I was sensitive to soy almost a year ago, and it’s been a hard journey learning to avoid it. Because my digestive system has such a hard time with soy, I’ve developed quite a few other food sensitivities and now have to avoid all the major food allergens. The new discovery for me is that many teas even black ones have soy lecithin. One major tea manufacturer says this, “soy lecithin, is a sub-ingredient in some of the flavors we use. Soy lecithin is present in trace amounts of these flavors and is used as an emulsifier that helps the flavor disperse into the brewing tea.” I used to work at a tea house and the importer did not list soy as an ingredient, but I’ve started reacting to their decaf-black tea.

Pat

Rosanne,

I have had allergy symptoms related to soy for at least six years though I only had it diagnosed the beginning of 2011. I had three allergy tests (one solution, one fresh (soy milk) and the blood test) and did not react. I only reacted when two drops of soy milk were placed on my tongue.

At home I eat 95% organic and unprocessed foods. I do my cooking for the week on Sunday and portion it out for the week. I bring my breakfast and lunch food to work as my company cafeteria can not accomodate my soy allergy; this does not bother me because they do not have organic food anyway. I am fortunate in that I can and do it the same food three days in a row. Depending on the age of the kids I would get them involved in shopping for soy free items and in cooking healthy at home. Maybe the trade off is that they can eat what they want when they eat out.
Good Luck.

Pat

We have ice cream parties every few weeks at work. I do the shopping because I do not want to put anyone else through the chore of checking all labels for soy.

A co-worker suggested ice cream from a company in Maine as they list the food allergens next to each flavor. Some of the soy free flavors listed “natural flavors” and “Mono-diglyceride”. I called the company and questioned the source of these items. The woman did not know but promised to check and get back to me.

The next day I received this email reply from her “I’m afraid that after talking with our COO, I’m going to warn you off all of our flavors. Soy is present in many of our flavors as an ingredient or the ingredients that make up a single ingredient and all of our products are made on/in the same equipment. Our packaged product includes a statement to this effect and after our conversation today, I will be adding that to the information sheets I sent to your co-worker.

In our conversation, my COO said that it is particularly difficult to find ice cream that is soy-free and then he actually recommended Breyer’s and only the Vanilla, Strawberry, and Coffee flavors. (I do eat the Vanilla, never tried the Strawberry or Coffee.)

I’m sorry for the confusion and truly thank you for alerting me to the shortcomings of the ingredients listing that I’ve been using.– WOW, so refreshing to hear this.”

Marissa

When this year began I came back from Europe and noticed I felt sick after nearly every meal. Having plenty of experience with allergies including foods (milk, corn, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and a few years ago shellfish was added) I immediately suspected a food allergy. I figured out it was only when soy products were an ingredient, and like many on this site, all soy products, not just those with proteins remaining. I’m 32 and although I’ve lived with allergies all my life I’ve been pretty depressed with this one because every meal is a battle. I’m so glad I found this site, such great information, I’m sure I’ll be able to avoid soy much better with all the advice. I’m also glad to hear about other adults with this, everywhere I looked made me feel alone. I’ll definitely start cooking and baking again but I’m worried about when I travel. I’ve always been a label reader but it’s frustrating how few labels and restaurants (I can’t make everything) are clear what exactly is in their food. Thank you so much for this website, I feel reassured and ready to face my new food limits.

Anna

Wow, I just found out I am allergic to soy, and what an over whelming task to change ones eating habits. everything contains soy. I have had a problem with constant ear aches and ringing in ears that they believe is associated with soy allergie. any and all help is appreciated on learning to live with this. It is almost like you have to become a vegatarian because it sounds like they even use it in meat.

Martha

I have been diagnosed as a celiac as well as allergic to wheat for the past seven years. Then peanuts became a huge issue as I stop breathing around them. All the bean and pea family also went onto my no-no list but the worst of all is the soy allergy. Combined these make it so hard to even find ingredients to cook with. The difficultness of absorbing protiens and calcium because of the soy allergies require that I eat meat protiens often. I stopped asking myself what I wanted to eat months ago and now just eat what I can find that wont hurt me. The nearest store that carries items I can eat like ketchup is over 2 hours away. My eggs and chickens are 6 hours in one direction and my milk and beef is 4 hours in the opposite direction. I spend hours every week just trying to find food, nevermind how many hours I spend cooking every single thing from scratch. Soy is the toughest thing to keep away from. Its everywhere. I can’t even go to the theater to watch a movie anymore because of the soy contamination on the seats and in the air. I am moving to a more northern community because all the farmers here grow soybeans. What a journey this has been so far. I am hoping to get a good handle on it all and lead a somewhat more normal life again. Please include the inability to absorb protiens, calcium and potassium as symptoms of soy allergy here. I ended up in the hospital with each and it took the doctors some time to realize what was causeing those problems. I am so glad I found this site. its so comforting to know I am not alone.

Alli

Does alcohol and caffeine act as an irritant if you are allergic to soy?

Kimberly T.

Thank you for this article! It is so nice to know that there are so many others living with this allergy! We discovered my soy allergy about two years ago, after thinking I had various other issues ranging from IBS to seasonal allergies to hormonal imbalance after a hysterectomy. It was like hearing an angelic chorus of ‘Hallelujah” when we figured it out. Additionally I also have experienced delayed reactions to soy pollen. One thing that I have also noticed having an issue with is the dreaded, yet popular soy candle. I had a terrible reaction at an Earthfare grocery store. Once my throat started to swell, we headed for the door. Manager asked me if we found everything alright and I said politely, albeit a bit hoarsely, “No, sir. You see, I have a soy allergy and the soy candles you are burning throughout the store are making me ill. Maybe, since the soy allergy is on the rise, soy candles shouldn’t be burned.” He told me, and I quote “That is your problem lady. Maybe you shouldn’t shop here”. Believe me, I don’t and a few of my friends don’t either. It’s a very small boycott, but a boycott nonetheless.

Thanks to everyone before me for posting their stories and some helpful suggestions and tips.

NJR

Just diagnosed with soy allergy after a very long two weeks of major symptoms. 57 yrs. old. Going to be on a fast learning track. Glad to find this site.

NJR

Only 48 hrs. following my Dx of soy allergy. Still 57 yrs. and thinking about how this happened at my age. Guess I set up the perfect storm by overexposing myself to known pet allergens, blooming grasses on a trip to Mt from AK and then returning home to drinking chocolate soy milk and soy nuts. Hard to believe. Guess my immune system was on overload. Have now read nearly every site on soy on the Internet and cleaned out the pantry. Working on the refrigerator and cupboards. A big job when still learning. Sitting here watch the waves and wanting to cry. Also company arriving tomorrow for a week to fish. That is the good part-I live on Kodiak with tons of fish. Thank goodness no fish allergy. Life could be worse. The Dx could have been something worse. Thanks for your great site. I am sure many others like me will find the help they need.

Victoria

Hi, after reading everyone`s experience with soy,I`m wondering if anyone has ever experienced the “itchies” with soy allergies? My allergy is driving me mad with the itchies which go away with Benadryl, but nonetheless, drive me insane…I had been using soy as a replacement for my dairy allergy and I guess I hit my limit, cause now, I get the same reaction to soy as I did to milk proteins…not so much breathing or swollen throats but the itchies…anyone else?

Karen

Thank you for posting this article. It has been a life saver for me as I have been allergic to soy for 6 years. Many of the things on your list I did not know contained soy. No wonder I have been so sick despite being so cautious.
Today, I found out that the one and only medicine I take (for low thyroid), contains magnesium stearate which can be made from either palm oil or soy bean oil. I had been wondering why I was so sick after taking my thyroid medicine and now I know. I need to find a different formula.

Hollye

I have been living with a soy allergy since I was a teenager. I am 41 now. I can sometimes tolerate eating soy if it is pretty far down on the ingredient list, but if it is in the first few items I break out in hives and have severe gastrointestinal problems. In one instance I ended up in the emergency room. In small amounts the soy only causes my skin to itch. The comments about soy oil not causing reactions are nonsense. I had been eating at Kentucky Fried Chicken all my life. I ate there a few years ago and immediately started itching like crazy. I came home and went to their website. Low and behold they had just started frying their chicken in soybean oil instead of vegetable oil. No more KFC for me unless I have it with a Benadryl chaser! :)

Mary

Great site! To help others like me, I, too, would like to see migraines added to the list of possible soy reactions. In my experience, most doctors, neurologists and allergists even, don’t recognize this possibility. However, migraine is my most obvious symptom. Ingesting just small amounts of hidden soy will trigger a migraine either within minutes or hours. This is how I learned to avoid most of the types of hidden soy on your list. As careful as I tried to be, when I awoke at 4 AM with a migraine, I headed down to the kitchen to figure out what ingredient I ate the night before that triggered it. I would be very interested in supporting a group making a case to the FDA for banning this wholesale poisoning of our food supply with hidden soy. I never sought out soy-based foods, never drank soy milk as a “healthy” alternative, never ate more than a few edaname. Even so, my life style and health have been compromised by the ubiquitous presence of soy in our food supply. It might as well be rat poison…

sarah

I have been living with the soy allergy for almost a year now and my elderly mother came down with it, too. Its hard to live with in the heat of the summer when you don’t want to do too much cooking as it will heat up the already hot house. It’s easier during cold weather. I have noticed a few symptoms not mentioned here. The ‘natural flavors’ and the ‘gum’ in products make my face tingle oddly – it’s very annoying really but it does let me know soy is in a product. It feels similar to the ‘pins and needles’ except it’s more of a crawling sensation. I have also noticed that soy can make me sweat heavily, even in winter. I guess my allergic reactions tend to be weird! Oh, they use soy wax on most fresh apples and I’m suspicious of other ‘waxy’ looking vegetables as well. Soon even fresh fruits/vegs won’t be safe. Why must they put it in everything? And self basting frozen turkeys have it, too. I was at the store the other day and they were handing out free samples of some granola bars ruined by soy additives…sigh. And they’re feeding it to our pets as well. :(

Alaina

I am recently diagnosed with a soy & beef allergy enough said, ugh. For the past 3 years I thought it was wheat. With all the swelling hives & migraines, I knew it was at the very least, food related. With reducing my wheat intake I was avoiding a lot of soy based foods which reduced my allergy symptoms. Now knowing that I have both soy & beef, what’s left! Since milk comes from a cow, (even though I tested negative for dairy) I still may have an intolerance for milk, YIKES! I have been consuming almond milk but I am willing to bet that too has soy derivatives. I am running out of protein staples. I love eggs & I buy organic/free range. I just hope I don’t become allergic to poultry too!!

Beth B.

Well, I don’t know about yall, but finding makeup and cleansing products that don’t have soy, metal, and parabeans is so very difficult!!!!! Life is so hard when I have to completely limit what I am able to eat!!! Wow, This list really helped me.

TK

Finally! I thought that I was the only adult with a SEVERE soy allergy. I am now carrying multiple epipens, an albuterol inhaler, and benadryl. I have to read everything. My anti-hives body wash was made with soybean oil. I disagree that all soybean oil and soy lecithin is safe.
My social life is nearly gone because eating out with people not taking me seriously has turned life-threatening several times. I AM A PHYSICIAN and still could barely get my own allergist to believe this was possible. I am very interested in raising awareness about this.

Rose

hi what an excellent website, information is great.
I have had symptons for a long time but just recently I had a skin test done and reacted to SOY. I took SOY out of my diet for almost 3wks. My breathing has improved so much, I feel much better, I suffer with Vocal Cord Dsyfunction. It is similiar to asthma but nothing cures this , it adventually goes away. You can master the breathing techniques that get in the way when I get an attack. However I was not getting any better . NO lie…. last session I was able to run and talk while exercising for 16 minutes straight. This has never happened in the past yr and 1/2. NO inhaler for three weeks . My breathing , my moods, and no energy has totally changed since I took SOY out of my diet. I feel so much better. The cough that drove me nuts , game on today when I went by someone who had a grill light and was cooking outside. Smoke triggers my cough. However , my cough has totally lessen and isn’t as loud. It is amazing how great I feel being off SOY.

Rose again

I might also add. I demanded a FOOD CHALLENGE test since no allergist totally believed SOY was my problem. I became very ill. I had an allergic reaction. The test was postive. Most of all ,being on the treadmill and my breathing and feeling much better by removing SOY from my diet for three weeks so far is the positive reaction as well. SOy was the culprit for all these years. It has taken 2 yrs to get to the bottom of why I felt so lousy. The last reaction lasted 4 days, and I was so sick.
Your body knows, we just need to tell the doctors to listen to the patient.
I am so glad my mother was persistent and got the answers.
As bad as a soy allergy is and learning about SOY labels etc, I am glad I got the answer. I feel like my old self.

TB

I have dealt with the following allergies; SOY, CORN, PEANUTS, LATEX AND RELATED PRODUCTS, YEAST, PEA PROTEIN/STARCH, OLIVE OIL, oranges and really all citrus. AND OTHER VARIATIONS OF ADDITIVES. I am so cautious-I read every label, even after 4 years of this,can not trust what was on the label last week is ok for today. If I end up w/an allergic reaction, I have hives, redness, including swelling tissue around hives, face becomes very swollen/red and hurts. I had pneumonia 3 times d/t allergies.I also get the lingering effect of severe abd pain for days-including constipation followed by major diarrhea. It is in my best interest to eat things w/out these products. However, I live in the mid west; good luck not finding corn or soy beans. Fresh foods that are appropriate are not always available esp in mid winter. Currently looking for a place to go. Don’t mind winter at all-do mind that in winter can not get fresh, organic foods. Anyone out there find that they have moved and it made a big diff?

Richard Joye

Sudafed can provide temporary relief to an accidental soy exposure. Ibuprofen and Tylenol in combination with Sudafed can provide complete relief but the chronic use of Tylenol can be dangerous for the liver. This should be used only for accidental exposure and not to increase the tolerance of a soy allergy. Ibuprofen is safer for the liver but chronic use cause GI tract bleeding. If a severe reaction is experienced a epenepherine pen should be used. Good luck to everyone living with this allergy.

Mary

I called Phizer, the makers of Advil, to ask whether there is soy in Advil and Advil Cold and Sinus. YES, I was told there is soy in both! I suspected I was feeling worse after taking them…

SorensMom

My 10 yr old son has Severe Food Allergies-Soy is the worst. Upon diagnosis (blood tests)it seemed to only be Soy protein causing Anaphalactic reactions, however it is ALL SOY ITEMS! He also has Anaphalactic reactions to LATEX, Tree nuts, Peanuts, all Beans, legumes in general, peas, Lentils, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, fish, mustard, chili peppers, corn, barley, bananas, plums, nectarines, pineapple, All weeds, grasses, pollens. Penicillin. The EPIPENs and Benedryl are constantly with us. Luckily, our school nurse and Public school teachers here in San Antonio TX are amazing. I don’t leave a 10mile radius from the school for fear of him having a reaction. Having a child with constant headaches, and Anaphalatic reactions (throat closing,vomiting, hives)is definitely a challenge, but we are extra careful, obsessive really with preparing his foods and keeping him away from Latex items-Balloons, latex gloves, bandaids, halloween masks etc is my mission in life. Luckily, this little boy has an amazing zest for life and still participates in Taekwondo(red belt) and is on his Student Council at school. We found a Latex Free Dentist and keep latex free gloves at home, in case we call 911. (the paramedics and firemen often wear Latex gloves!) We have found that most hospitals here have gone LATEX FREE! My advice to others is be your own advocate and keep telling everyone because eventually someone is going to listen. You are not alone and it will get better. Write letters to those in charge. If we all write, eventually things will change! I’m not an expert just a concerned Mom loves to share our experiences to Help others from suffering.

Frances

I just found out that I am allergic to corn, soy, and nuts. I also have been reacting to earrings for about a year now and this all makes sense considering the nickel connection. I am desperately trying to find body lotions and make up that doesn’t contain these items. I have acne as a 36 year old which looks more like rash which I assume is from eating these things without knowing it. I also travel for work which makes it worse. So THANK YOU for have a great list of ingredients to avoid that I can keep in my phone!

Roseann

This is the most information I’ve found – Thank you! After cancer treatment my body has been hyper reactive to everything it seems. Allergist tested me positive for soy. My reactions include everywhere swelling – including what feels like my brain – giving me horrible headaches. My throat & tongue swell so I have trouble breathing. My asthma also kicks in if i don’t take medicine quickly. I also get the shakes so bad makes pouring Rx difficult sometimes. Allergist recently told me to take liquid Zyrtec so I won’t sleep after taking benedryl. Three ambulance calls in two years & allergist still will not give me an epi-pen, even with the ambulance crews stern warning that I need one. Very frustrating! My mom recently learned she has this also. I’ll be sharing this website with her. I too have found going all natural foods to be best. I’ll be traveling soon to CA to visit my son & have concerns about eating out -toughest thing to do for me.

Kathy

My daughter has been living with very severe soy allergy for 10 years. Doctors told me her infant food issues were due to colic and put her on a high soy diet. I didn’t know why she was so sick all of the time and I had no idea I was slowly feeding her something that was making her very sick. She was in first grade when she had anaphylaxis due to soy exposure. Since then, our family has been living soy-free and she has become a thriving teen. I have had to cook everything from scratch from antique cookbooks, but we have learned to live this lifestyle. I just wanted to offer encouragement to those recently diagnosed. It is upsetting to have to completely change how you make meals, but when you realize that eating this way is the way folks in the old days had to cook everything from basic ingredients, it just feels right. It is difficult for children and teens to have to carry their own food around, but it has made all the difference. I think she is healthier than her peers. Just wanted to share that once you get used to it, it becomes just another part of life.

MissyK

This list is great! Living soy-free is such a challenge. A quick meal is almost non-existent. I make allot of things at home from the purest ingredients I can find, even peppermint oil. I’ve also started growing and drying my own herbs instead of buying them pre-packaged in stores.

Peggy

For many years I have had what I was told was a “rubber” allergy. It is in the glue in shoes and binds inks and is in some cosmetics and hair products also. In the last year I realized that I am allergic to soy, a discovery I made while on a weight loss shake that had soy in it. After reading the list of what has soy in it, I am now wondering if my “rubber” allery is all part of the soy allergy. I’m wondering if other people have noticed having reactions to shoes?

Bill J

I have a severe alergy to soy and wheat. The symptoms you described above fit my wheat allergy to a T but not my soy allergy.

When I eat anything with soy in it my breathing becomes very difficult and I have severe shortness of breath. I don’t get hives like when I eat wheat. Wheat puts me in the emergency but with ingesting soy I have to take steroids (prednizone) to restore my breathing somewhat. It usually take some days until the soy is out of my system so I have to take the medicine every six hours.

If I don’t have medication it is a horrible few days where I grasp for oxygen every second sa if I am having an asthma attack so please add this symptom to this. My mother died from this. The doctors didn’t know what was causing her severe breathing problems and eventually she passed. I tried to tell my family to merely stop feeding her soy but the said the doctors knew best.

Pat

Thank you for this informative site. I never realized just how prevalent and life altering soy allergies were for so many children and adults. My adult son just had a sudden, life threathening allergic reaction to peanuts last week that caused him to need emergency treatment in the ER. He’s always eaten peanuts without any problem before so this reaction was shockiing. However, he has always had stomach issues, migraines and occasional hives, many of the same symptoms that have been listed by other people on your website. He will be seeing an allergist this week for tests and I am going to suggest that he gets tested for a possible allergy to soy products too.

Alison

I have been living soy-free for 5 weeks now, and have found it very difficult. Everyone from friends and family thought I was just crazy because pretty much every time I ate I thought I was having a reaction and now it seems as though everything I was eating had some soy or soy by-product in it! I am 22 years old and have never had an allergy until 2 years ago I developed environmental allergies and then in April 2011 I had an anaphylaxis reaction prompting me to get food allergy testing done. It turns out I had a classic case of “exercise induced anaphylaxis”, but I came up with many food allergies. Most are tolerable but I am supposed to stay away from soy, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, peaches and celery because of the severity of my reaction in skin as well as blood tests. I have terrible anxiety now about eating since I was allergic to 37 out of 55 foods tested for so I have begun to fear I am allergic to pretty much everything I wasn’t tested for. It’s hard to eat since I have a lot of fruit and vegetable allergies and I feel like I am starving everyday. Sometimes I wish I never got the allergy test- but since living soy-free I have noticed a big difference. I no longer have diarrhea everyday, I don’t have headaches (I have been taking ibuprofen everyday for 4 years), I don’t have panic attacks as much and I am not breaking out in hives as much! Anyway this site, as well as others, are helping to make me feel not so alone. Thank you all for your posts and especially thanks for making this site.

Lilly

I have been sufferening with what I now know to be is a severe allergic reaction to soy. For more than 10 years I have had severe rhinetis, reflux, migrine headaches, naseau, drops in blood pressure, unexplained hives, you name it, everything that is listed above has happend to me. Shopping at a supermarket is vertually impossible and now I am making a lot of meals from “scratch” and even then I have found hidden soy items. There are a lot of high end cosmetics, skin care, and body lotions that I can’t use because of the soy. It’s very very frustrating and I wish the FDA would address this problem. They should make it mandatory to label everything in plain ENGLISH and not hide the ingredients in all items of food, make-up, lotions, soaps,house cleaning supplies etc.

Pat

I had a reaction (blotchy red skin, few small welts, and throat swelling) last night after taking two generic (Clarithromycin 500mg)Biaxin tablets. I reported an adverse reaction to the company (Watson) but they INSIST that soy has to be listed in drugs. I know this is untrue because it is not listed on the Benadryl label. I called again for the source of all the inactive ingredients in their product. The FDA needs to wake up about “soy”.

Pat

I just spoke with a nurse at Abbott, maker of Biaxin and she said that Biaxin (250mg, 500mg and oral suspension) is not tested for soy but is is likely to contain soy.

Pat

Just received confirmation from a Watson rep that they recently switched the source of the Glycerol monostearate
in their Clarithromycin 500mg tablets to soy oil.

Sarah

I have finally realized that I have a soy allergy after many years of living with it. I think mine must be very mild compared to most of yours, because I can use soy candles, and even eat miso and soy sauce. (Having read this site, I’m going to take it easy on those things because I don’t want to sensitize myself!) Around age 11, I started feeling nauseous, shaky, anxious, and having terrible abdominal cramps and diarrhea after practically every meal. As I got older, I also suffered from aches and pains, fatigue, brain fog, and other vague symptoms that didn’t seem connected to much. Now I realize that when all this started was the early 90s – right around when they started putting soy into everything!

I’m also lactose intolerant so all those years I was eating soy milk and margarine – no wonder I didn’t feel much better! I have found coconut creamer, almond milk, and soy free Earth Balance to be godsends.

Janet

I was misdiagnosed for 18 years with an autoimmune blood disorder and treated for it with chemo 2x, 2 splenectomies, huge amts of steroid therapy (made me fat!)and IVIG therapy that most likely contained soy lecethin…. that I was allergic to SOY! Once I removed it from my diet – it is in EVERYTHING – gum, chocolate, candy, cereal, granola bars, now even the deli meat and some
of the fresh meat and chicken in the form of chicken broth….once I no longer ate it, all my symptoms went away and my body and platelets returned to NORMAL. Now I make all my own bread, get fresh cows milk, eggs and meats and chicken from soy-free fed farm, cook everything from scratch and am HEALTHY!!!!!!!!
I have no problem bringing my little cooler of food out to eat and explaining why I am only ordering hot tea… I thank God for helping me find my way through all that and if my 18 years of suffering can save one person, I would not change it at all.

Keri

First of all, I’d like to say THANK YOU! I came across this site, and it has really helped understanding foods I thought I could eat. I was also misdiagnosed for years. I had been going to a rheumatologist who thought either that I was crazy, or that I had some weird disease no one had heard of. My symptoms are SEVERE muscle pain, muscle weakness/swelling, fluid retention in the extremities and throat which is worst on my right side. I usually have the feeling of constriction in my extremities also (probably due to fluid retention) I am also allergic to milk whey. Also glad to know that I’m not the only one who is having trouble with their allergy issues!

Carol

A couple nights ago I had a violent reaction to carob chips. It knocked me out with vomitting and abdominal pain for a whole day and then a slight fever the next. To my knowledge, I have no soy allergy, but this certainly was a new one to me. Are carob chips a soy-containing product?

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Carol, carob chips can contain soy lecithin. Carob chips also are made with some kind of oil, which could be palm or coconut oil but sometimes the label only lists “vegetable oil”… and we all know what that means! Various sweeteners and binding agents are also listed on some ingredient lists. Some sweetened carob chips contain barley malt, which contains gluten, if you’re sensitive to that.

Michelle

Two and a half months ago I went gluten and dairy free for my boys and myself to clear up eczema and help with sensory processing disorder issues. A week into GF DF living and food journaling I noticed that my oldest son (9) with SPD went crazy HYPER 15 minutes after eating something with any type of soy and my stomach would cramp around the same time. After having the same result a few times I decided to cut soy from our diet. I was SO surprised to find that my fibromyalgia pain went nearly completely away after a few weeks of being soy free! It comes back within 15 or so minutes of eating soy (times when I’ve not read labels or been misinformed (not all restaurant online allergen lists are accurate).

So, for me fibromyalgia pain ( tenderness all over my body) has been a symptom.

Just thought I’d share our story. :)

Dave

Its just not foods with soy. medications have it too. Combivent uses soy and/or peanuts in their propelant. you can use the same medications in seperate inhalers, just not this one. most doctors and pharmacists dont seem to know this. you have to go the wesite for combivent.

James

Three years ago, I began to show these symptoms, corresponding to a moderate soy allergy. It took me two years to figure out what was going on.

Since then, living soy-free has become manageable. The biggest problems you’ll have is finding good bread (very simple to bake your own with traditional ingredients) dressing salads (you’ll get good at making impromptu vinaigrettes) and the occasional missed ingredient label.

Soy is in EVERYTHING. I’ve tried to point this out to people, expecting some sort of reaction, when I show them five different soy products in a loaf of bread that once had FOUR INGREDIENTS. It’s just one of those things about our culture that we’ve accepted as mmmmm good yummy science.

Not one doctor has taken me seriously, and each of the four I’ve seen has prescribed expensive antihistamines, referred me to high-and-mighty specialists with year long waiting lists, and told me controlling diet would not solve the problem. One even told me it was all in my head, and I should choke down my Benadryls and calm down. Not one was willing to confirm my self-diagnosis.

Do you have a soy allergy? Do your children have soy allergies? GOOD. Take it as a sign from God or evolution or nature or whatever you want that we should be eating healthier, questioning our food providers, and taking our time in the kitchen and the grocery store.

Then maybe some day we’ll begin to doubt the eternal wisdom of our industrialized food scientists and put them out of business.

Beverly

To Elicia

Have you tried your kosher aisle of your grocery store?

I have begun eating King of the Sea tuna after a mishap with the labelling on Bumble Bee tuna.
Also, Rudi Bread, made by a company in Colorado is very expensive, but does not appear to have any soy.
Enjoy Life makes a chocolate chip that I discovered this year so that I can make cookies again.

I attribute my cervical polyps and abnormal bleeding that I experienced over several years to my soy intolerance. I had also been diagnosed with an abdominal hernia which I refused to have surgically corrected because of the mesh. Once I realized that I was allergic to soy, the constipation that I had lived with for all of my life ended, the excruciating abdominal pain left, and I feel like a new person. The hernia was really caused by the constipation caused by the soy. YES, it a challenge living with this allergy and not being able to go out to eat ever, but it is the steadfast love and faithfulness of God that kept me when I didn’t have a clue about what I was suffering. I cook every day of my life. I have contacted the FDA on two occasions by phone, and communicate with the same person in the regional office. I had been trying to eat Kashi roasted garlic crackers until I decided to call the company to inquire about ‘plant sterols’only to find out that they are soy based. You have to read every label. There a few menu items listed on the Uno Chicago Grill website whose ingredients seem to be soy-free. I have never eaten there. I am wondering if anyone has, and how was their experience.
Also, be aware that the upholstery in some automobiles containes soy.

.PHYLLIS

CRIED WHEN I READ ALL THE COMMENTS BECAUSE I FOUND THAT I WAS NOT ALONE WITH SOY,CORN & PEANUR ALLERGIES. WHAT TO FIND TO EAT TAKES UP SO MUCH TIME IN THE STORES AND EVEN THEN I BECAME SO SICK BECAUSE OF A PRODUCTS NOT LISTING SOY. I AM SO HAPPY TO HAVE FOUND THIS SITE AS I HAVE WRITTEN DOWN MORE PRODUCTS THAT ARE TABOO FOR ME. NOW TO FIND OUT WHAT I CAN EAT TO GAIN SOME WEIGHT.

PHYLLIS

FOUND OUT TODAY THAT MOST RESTAURANTS BUY THEIR CUT FRIES FROM DISTRIBUTORS. I HAD A BAD WEEK TILL I FOUND OUT WHAT CAUSED IT. I WENT TO THE RESTAURANT THE NEXT MORNING AND ASKED THEM IF THEY CUT THEIR OWN FRIES AND WAS TOLD NO..I SAID I HAD A PROBLEM WITH SOY. THE MANAGER VERY NICELY TOLD ME THAT THEY(THE DISTRIBUTOR) COAT THE FRIES WITH SOY OIL BEFORE SENDING THE PRODUCT OUT TO THE RESTAURANTS. I JUST HAD A SALAD WITH OLIVE OIL SO I KNEW IT WASN’T THAT, BUT I ATE SOME OF MY HUSBANDS FRIES AND FIGURED IT HAD TO BE THEM. HE HAD ASKED HOW THE FRIES WERE PREPARED AND WAS TOLD IN CANOLA OIL..THE WAITER DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE SOY. I HAD THE SAME PROBLEM WITH ANOTHER RESTAURANT A FEW DAYS BEFORE BUT I COULDN’T PIN THE PROBLEM DOWN TILL NOW. I HOPE THIS HELPS SOMEONE ELSE.

Tatyana

My son showed a delayed reaction to soy last year. His reaction isn’t severe. It causes itchy nose and eyes. It also affects his ability to focus. I’ve already been cooking almost everything from scratch, but now have to do even more of it. Sadly, my husband thinks I’m making too much of a big deal out of it since the reaction is so “mild”. It’s unfortunate that the US products are so drenched with soy. I grew up in the USSR and didn’t even hear the word “soy” until late 90-s!

Erma

Shirley, Just found your site by looking for a soy free hair color. Great informational site. I learned a lot. I found two things that have helped me. One is charcoal pills from a health food store. When I have a reaction from soy I begin taking the pills and drink lots of water. I may be in bed for a day or two but it has kept me from the emergency room. Another is an an Acupuncture M.Ac. L.A.c. I went to four appointments and it has helped. I no longer have extreme reactions. Erma

Lorraine

My husband has a severe allergy to soy and all beans. His Doctor does not list it as an allergy along with his medicine allergies. I have insisted they do so with little results. Recently he had an operation and an hour later he developed his normal reaction to a soy allergy which lasted his normal 2 weeks. I am told soy is in almost all medicines and can not be avoided. If this is so what can a person do? Can the reaction be limited in some way?

Ellen

I’ve lived with soy allergy for 7 or 8 years now, but I’ve probably had it for more than 20 years. I have no problem cooking without soy (you get used to cooking from scratch, it’s easy after a while), but it’s hard on my friends and family. It’s hard to explain that this allergy is for life, somehow they assume it will pass. It’s hard when you have to refuse food, it’s hard to constantly have to remind them of the fact that you can’t eat everything. I sometimes bring my own food which some people find insulting, especially relatives that love to cook. But on the other hand they don’t put in any effort to cook without soy. The social aspect really is the hardest.

Marnie

I was diagnosed years ago with a soy allergy years ago. It is very overwhelming and I still don’t have a good handle on it. My teactions have been getting worse. I’m trying to make a complete lifestyle change and am looking for any tips I can. I had an endoscopy to check for Eosinophilic Esophagitis due to food allergies. They had to use a different type of sedation medication because the normal meds are in soy-based packaging! Why does soy have to be in everything?

Chris

I’m surprised that so many people are having the same reaction to soy. Through the past few years I’ve had nausea more often until it reached several times a year. Then the throwing up spells lasted longer and one time it went on for 12 hours. The next time it happened it was 10 hours. So when the third long siege got to 5 hours I went to the ER. They kept me in the hospital for 5 days conducting every test in the world. They discovered their is absolutely nothing wrong with me, in fact, I’m extremely healthy. They still didn’t believe it was caused by soy. However, the nutritionist in the kitchen was very careful about not giving me anything with soy. Now I’m like everyone else cooking from scratch. I have some medication they give to cancer patients after they have kimo and get very sick. It’s extremely expensive but I’ve had to take it occasionally. In reading your blog there are some things I wasn’t aware of so I’ll continue reading it from time to time for updates.

Tina

You call it: A sudden impending sense of doom and weakness.
I call it: sudden suicidal depression.

stevi lee

First off, thank you soo much Shirley for making this page! I’m freshly nineteen and found out I had a soy allergy last year, but never thought much about it. Recently, a friend told me that Krystal burgers are made of soy (after research, I found this to be FALSE) but I always felt sick after eating them so I gave into it and am starting to reevaluate.. I’ve gotten chronic migraines/headaches for years and often feel nauseous & abdomen pain for no apparent reason. My mom always cooked a relatively fresh diet but I went through a “vegetarian” phase when I was 13 and ate Boca soy burgers and chicken patties, so maybe this helped develop the allergy..? Regardless, it seems serious in a lot of the cases I’ve read about although mine isn’t too severe, but I don’t want it to get worse! I didn’t realize how many things had soy in them, it’s unnecessary!!! :( anywhoo, I’ll save this page to check in for new soy-containing products, update any that I find, and to use as a guideline for a new diet to see if any syptoms reduce. Thanks again! : )

janet

I was “misdiagnosed” with ITP, an auto immune disorder that kills off ones platelets (no known cause or cure) over 18 years ago and treated for it with surgeries, huge amts of steroids, chemo x 3, immunoglobulin…nothing worked until I found a local doctor that tapered me off all the treatment meds and gave me a blood allergy test…I was allergic to SOY and very sensitive to cornstarch. Within a week of removing it from my diet, I was fine…and then really started learning how SOY is in almost all foods…gum, chocolate…chicken…most everything has SOY lecithin in it…most likely the medicines and IV’s I was being given over those 18 years!
and then my platelets levels were normal and I no longer needed to even have follow up…so almost 5 years have gone by and I considered myself good to go…I have no idea what the treatments I received have done to my system or cholesterol levels, but the huge amts of steroids I was given caused my weight to go from 117lbs to 180+ and I have been trying unsuccessfully to lose it for years. I have seen several doctors and because of my soy allergy, I cannot tolerate medicines prescribed (they have soy or cornstarch fillers in them)
But,I have completely eliminated all processed foods from my diet – ALL, I bake all my own bread and tortillas, eat mostly vegetables, grains and some proteins, make my own pasta, only eat grass fed bison, beef or chicken and use olive oil and some real butter (all the margarines have soy in them and most feed for animals contains soy). I drink no soft drinks whatsoever, no beer or liquor and no fruit juices. I don’t use any ingredients that include MSG, sodium nitrite, chemical sweeteners such as aspartame, and of course artificial colors.
I have so much more energy and stamina than anyone I know…and run 3 online stores, plus babysit 2 grandchildren a few times a week, sometimes overnight and while I work….
I have been denied insurance because of my history and weight, now….
I listened to the best docs locally, Shands, Brigham and Woman’s in Boston, Mayo in Jacksonville and New York Cornell and was made sicker for all those years with most of the treatments/ diets I was given containing soy and soy lecithin. But, there is definitely a way to create your own meals from fresh locally produced foods, soy-free fed beef, chicken, bison, and fish…and have a joy-filled but soy-free Life!

lr

HI, I have not been diagnosed but believe I have a soy allergy. I have had stomach issues for several years, had nausea, headaches…I never linked those issues. I vomited after eating soy sauce so stayed away from it, not realizing all the other soy I was still eating. At work over the holidays, we did a mass printing on a color laser printer, it kept jamming so I was leaning over it pulling the papers out. The next morning I woke with a rash over all exposed areas. Recently was told that the ink is “green” and made with soy. Wow, nice to finally find out after years of headaches, stuffy head and general malaise that it could all be from soy. I am shocked by the challenges now posed… I know in the end I (and my family) will be healthier for the changes. The FDA really needs to make this easier.

JBR

Did not know that soy could cause so much trouble. I don’t have an allergy to it, but I did have breast cancer last year, thank goodness no chemo or radiation, just the surgery. The oncologist told me that I had a high estrogen level, even though I had hystercomy and ovaries remove yrs ago. She said body fat makes estrogen, so my diet changed to nearly vegan, and very little fat/oil. I told her I did use tofu, and ate soy beans. She said to stop that, the soy has estrogen. Not good for breast cancer. But I did not realize that soy would be used under different names in food!! I will be checking ingredient listings more carefully.

CLR

I have been searching for answers for quite some time. My teenage son had developed severe cystic acne after recovering from mono. We visited with his dermatologist every 4 weeks for the past year in which the doctor continued to ad/change/or increase his medications. My sons condition worsened with each change. I repeatedly questioned the doctors regarding his worsening condition. I finally insisted that he have blood work done to check for food allergies. The dermatologist stated that there was no such test. Well, he was so wrong! I took my son to a specialist who did the blood test. When the results came back, we were shocked and scared at how severe his allergies were to soy, all dairy, peanuts. After detoxing his body over the past 4 months his acne has cleared. Although, he does have breakouts and hives when exposed to hidden soy ingredients. We feel so blessed that someone finally listened to us and potentially saved my son’s life. Thank you for all the comments listed. This site has opened my eyes and has made me even more aware of the hidden uses of soy.

Amanda

I have suspected for some time now that I have a sensitivity to soy. I stopped eating anything where soy was a major ingredient but did not avoid it where it was probably a trace ingredient (like when eating out on the road). Yesterday I did not think and I ate tofu in a soy based sauce. I thought I was going to die. I had immediate chest pains, stomach ache, etc. I still feel horrible almost 24 hours later. Now I will be more careful.

Leslie

I have allergies to fresh fruit, fresh vegetables (oral allergy syndrome), soy, peanuts, tree nuts (including coconut), and sunflower seeds. I also have many related environmental allergies, which I am successfully treating with allergy shots. I also have an allergy to latex and penicillan. Most of my reactions have been very mild throughout my life, but after my daughter was diagnosed with a peanut allergy, I thought I should find out why so many foods made my mouth itch. I learned that any one of my food allergies could cause a life-threatening reaction and I now have to carry an epipen and inhaler everywhere I go.
The soy is probably the biggest problem, and the reason I no longer eat in restaurants, with a few rare exceptions. I can avoid nuts, peanut, fruits, and vegetables, but just try avoiding soy. It really is in everything. I do make my own bread at home with a breadmaker. I also make my own cookies, cakes, cupcakes, etc. I have found I can eat soy oil (so far) but I like to avoid it because it just disturbs me that it’s in my food as a cheap filler. Having these allergies has made me think long and hard about what I eat, and I am sure my diet is much more healthy now, although always eating at home is a lot of work. I shop for staples and ingredients, I buy few processed foods and almost no frozen, and I can really make a food budget stretch. I really read labels (my daughter has food allergies too) and I KNOW what I am eating. I’ve become partial to my own cooking, and often feel like I’d just rather do it myself, and why not? I know what I like best, and I know what’s healthy. However, my trust of other people who want to provide me with food is extremely low! Recently I went to a school barbeque and thought I was ok because I brought my own hamburger buns, but when I got there, I found out the so-called beef patties contained a high level of soy protein isolate! I wonder if anybody else at the barbeque realized that their hamburgers were a Frankenstein concoction of soy and meat? Well…it’s disappointing. Perhaps others can take the example of my recent workplace and serve baked potatoes with optional toppings (I did bring my own). I have found the plain baked potato is the only food I feel safe eating in a “potluck” type setting.
Yes, I miss restaurants and eating out and the old, innocent days, but knowing what’s in all that food makes it seem pretty unappetizing, even if I could eat it. Perhaps I am lucky that I found out.

Sheila Pool

I first diagnosed myself with a soy allergy in 1992. My boss would go to the supermarket and get the same cookies every Friday morning. Every Friday morning, I would feel like I was choking and I would have such a spastic cough that I would eventually vomit from the coughing. The stomach pains which eventually erupted into bouts of diarrhea were horrible. I took note of all the ingredients as I have had various allergies, to meds and chemicals in household cleaners all my life. I wrote down the ingredients and through the next week wrote down any ingredients for any product which prompted the severe coughing. At the end of the week, I realized that the only ingredient the products had in common was soy/soybean, etc. Prior to this experience I was working in a doctor’s office and on Fridays (seems to be my lucky day) they purchased doughnuts. My coughing and breathing difficulty got so bad that I was tentatively scheduled for an exploratory thoracotomy. As luck would have it, the surgeon had a family emergency and the procedure was postponed. Shortly after that I noticed that the Benadryl & Vit E I was taking at night seemed to make the coughing worse. After stopping them, I was a lot better and the spells were more sporadic. So I cancelled the surgical procedure.
Finally a pharmacist told me that soy is used in a lot of meds as even a trace element, especially in gel caps of any kind. I stopped my Vit E capsules, coughing & stomach got even better. At this point I can take regular vitamins that have Vit E, just not the gel caps. I have returned to regular butter as all of the margarines either have soy or corn in them and I have a corn sensitivity, too. Since all of this my doctor now is convinced that soy is in everything. He has been checking so many products in relation to my case. I am very careful; however, it does happen that I get an allergy reaction periodically and what bothers me now is that even though they are not as often, they seem to be even more severe. I have been told that I might have to eventually have my Rx meds hand mixed just for me to avoid any soy contaminants.

Stephanie Koch

Thank you for the great information. I have been living with a soy allergy for 10 years now (as well as any legumes, nuts, and a few fresh vegetables, as well as being a celiac) and though I’m super careful still have anaphylactic reactions a few times a year. I just had a reaction after using something with smoke flavor – hadn’t had that before, nor was I looking for it. I have also had reactions to fresh vegetables and fruits that have “wax” on them which contains soy. Even though I take off the peel if I even cut through a cucumber without using vegetable wash I will have problems. The “Veggie Wash” seems to help a lot.

Soy allergies surely encourage you to eat healthily and cook everything from scratch. I was so happy to find the Enjoy Life company which allows me to have chocolate again – yeah! :) Although there are days that are discouraging (especially shopping days), it has gotten better over time, and I have learned to celebrate events and not necessarily tie that to food.

Jordan

I developed my allergy to soy about two years ago and have been miserable ever since. I’m still a minor, and my parents have done nothing to help. They constantly forget my allergy, and they buy no soy free foods. I’m constantly ill with digestive problems and even anaphylactic shock due to eating something with soy. I can’t enjoy many of the foods I used to and this adjustment has been impossible. Any tips for cutting out soy? I only have one more year living here, but obviously holidays will be a problem. I must also add that my Dad has dairy issues so soy products are becoming even bigger in my house. Thanks

Michele

Very interesting list, thank you. I just developed a soy allergy a couple of weeks ago. Apparently my severe environmental allergies triggered it. Mouth gets tingly and throat starts to swell. My dr is getting me an EpiPen.

Trying to find foods without soy has been hard! I could not believe all the stuff that had soy listed, especially the soy lecithin! By the time I cleaned out my fridge, I had eggs and water, and a little meat in the freezer.

I am so missing my treats. :(

Coll

Yesterday I was shocked when after 80 + allergy shots, I was allergic to dust, certain trees and golden rod. I am OK with that, but then EGGS – Soy and Corn! I have never had an reaction and now I am all confused as to what to eat!!! Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Sharon

We have known my husband had an allergy to soy oil for 5 years after seeing soy oil to be a common ingredient in salad dressing and Pierre’s ice cream. We eat a restricted diet but found your site after using a new bottle of our regular Costco non salt spice. Found citric acid as the second last ingredient. Years before he could eat this.

We share the pain of trying to eat out or at social functions. Our best luck is at Italian made from scratch restaurants. Assume nothing and always ask how food is prepared. The new trend is to bring a dipping oil to your table that is really a blend of olive and soy. When we ask they will bring pure olive oil. Avoid fried foods and anything marinated.

I was suprised to learn about gel caps containing soy.

Karen

As someone with soy and other food allergies, I was pleased to come across this website. It makes me feel like I’m not alone in my daily struggles to find soy-free products and foods; I also learned of some new places to look on the labels to avoid hidden soy. Thank you for the information!

To those just diagnosed or getting fed up: hang in there. It’s frustrating, but eventually it does become second nature to have a sense of what to avoid on the shelves, and how to prepare foods yourself to accommodate the new diet. Keep checking the labels on things you think are on the ‘avoid’ list at the stores-sometimes you get a nice surprise and find a product you CAN use!

I hope that as public awareness grows, changes will be made to the way things are grown and labeled, especially if enough people report adverse reactions to the FDA and to the many companies out there trying to make a buck. (Who knew, for example, that eating meat from an ‘all-natural’ animal may not be safe because of the soy diet it was raised on? I learn something new everyday, as the saying goes.)

If you are like me, once you get past the ‘I miss donuts and all other manner of processed foods’ stage, the hardest part is how difficult it can make things socially, as many gatherings, from potlucks to a night at the movies, tend to involve food. Traveling also becomes more of a chore since you have to pack food and other products that may not be available outside your normal region. Be patient, be willing to educate others, plan ahead, and know you are not alone.

JB

I am new to soy allergies. In April I was diagnosed with Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). Basically what this means is when I come in contact with enough of the allergen my esophagus completely locks. This is scary and extremely painful. Sometimes it lasts for 15 minutes and then there are the attacks that proceed for five to six hours and I end up in the ER being pumped full of steroids. The doctors do not know what causes my EOE to trigger. I however, believe I have found a link to soy. I had six attacks from November to April, four of which resulted in ER visits. I cut out what I believed were soy containing allergens and went over five months until I had another attack. This doesn’t seem like much but before I couldn’t make it three weeks.

I just had another attack and am back on steroids and extremely frustrated! I have been so careful about soy but after reading your sight I realize that I have missed some soy containing products. For instance I have been drinking a Celestial Seasonings tea daily for the last few weeks that after reading your blog I just noticed that this has soy in it. I never thought to check tea. This latest attack was on organic chicken. Did you know that even in organic chicken, the chickens can be fed a diet that has soy grain in it? My allergy has become so sensitive that I am now responding to what the animals I am consuming have been fed. Now I am going to have to go out and interview farms ensure my meat is not fed soy and is 100% soy free. This is getting ridiculous!

The fact that this crap is in our food is annoying but the fact that it is called fifty different things and isn’t even disclosed most of the time is crazy! With so many people suffering from soy allergies, soy should be listed in the allergens warning. At least 80% of the time or better this is not listed as an allergen even though when you read the label it says natural flavorings or HVP. I am finding living with this allergy far harder than I would have ever imagined! Every meal out to eat is a huge struggle and even when I think I am making a good decision I find I am wrong. Food is socialization and I am struggling. I miss a good creamy dressing for my salad and to just be able to go out and have a meal with my friends or coworkers. I live in constant fear! I have to be on constant guard about anything I eat from a cough drop to a piece of meat, am having repeated high doses of steroids in my system to diffuse the reaction and am constantly ending up at the ER. My life has been turned upside down by this disease and allregy!! Something needs to be done so that allergens are properly listed as such in food products. We cannot help that we have a food allergy but we should at least be given transparency in what we eat.

Vanessa

this is so interesting because last year i was diagnosed with EBV ( glandular) soon after this i realised everytime i drank soy i would burn up i have also had extreme fatigue, body aches and was told i had chronic fatigue but soon after cutting out gluten i have had an improvement and im starting to see a link with soy! I think its time to cut out soy!

C. Laughbaum

Hello, I appreciate the information and personal stories, it is all very helpful. I am 28 years old and experienced my first allergic reaction three weeks ago. This reaction landed me in the hospital after the swelling progressed throughout my body. The swelling was mainly concentrated at my joints, wrists, elbows, knees, knuckles, ankles and feet were very swollen and painful. Leading up to this event I had night sweats many nights and what I thought was heartburn, which looking back now I think was possibly tightening in the chest/lungs (it was concentrated high up in the center of my chest)? I am going through the process of peeling layers back to discover the root cause of this reaction. I think I might have it narrowed down to possibly red dye and soy. I have come to this conclusion given the fact that since I have avoided those foods and products containing them (very difficult) my reactions have hardly existed. I find the whole situation scary, foreign, and confusing. I am glad to find a place to communicate with others who have had similar experiences. I am visiting an allergist on Monday, I’m not sure what to expect. Thank you for listening. I welcome suggestions and feedback.

Cassidy J

On frustrating days like this it’s comforting to read personal stories and see that you’re not struggling alone. Sometimes when you tell people you have a soy allergy they think you’re making things up. But my symptoms aren’t a joke: extreme fatigue, overeating (to make up for the fatigue), migraines, depression, irritable mood change, brain fog, an impending sense of doom, breathing issues, blurry vision, a strange rounding of the shoulders and tightness, and low blood pressure. This allergy almost makes me forget wheat and dairy are foes of mine as well.

At this phase of my allergy, the symptom strength and length depends on how much soy I’ve gotten in contact with. I can’t put Aveeno products on my face in the morning without being absolutely miserable and tired well into the next day. Allegra helps a bit to control symptoms, but who wants to be on allergy meds for the rest of your life? If I put just some Coppertone sunblock on my face which really only soys me via the tocopherol acetate, within 2 minutes I am a completely different person, but that reaction only lasts for about an hour. Since really confirming my suspicions a few months ago that I was allergic, I’ve had to get rid of every blasted skincare product of mine. Tomorrow I see a dermatologist to see if she has anything I can use–my face is dry as cardboard.

Perhaps the most frustrating part is people who don’t understand. They see you miserable or irritable or short with them and insist that it should be easy to cheer up via sheer willpower alone. They can’t understand that the allergy can really in the moment take you to a dark place that really seems bleak–but once you come out of it, you’re able to think rationally again. As someone who has suffered with depression for a good bit of my life, I only wish I had made a connection to soy from the very beginning so I could’ve known if that was the root cause all along. But whatever. Can’t go back in time. I’ve finally aced the food regime part of conquering my allergy (finding foods safe to eat, learning the disguise soy names), so now I just need to cover the skincare and medication angle. I’m just glad there are blogs and articles out there like this. Makes you feel like you can fight another day.

Jennifer B

My 11 year old Daughter has a severe allergy to peanuts and soy She suffers from horrible headaches stomach cramps and chest pains For years Drs told us her tummy trouble was constipation and her chest pains were growing pains After many tests and numerous Drs not helping her I discovered through sites like this that her symptoms were that of an allergy to soy She was tested and we have removed all soy and nuts from her diet Even the tylenol we were giving her for the headaches contains soy We have it made at a compound pharmacy now. Soy still sneaks in and she has had a few bad days My biggest worry is when to give the epi pen They say a reaction can go from mild to severe in minutes I am so scared every time she gets a headache and tummy ache Thank you for have such an amazing site

Kevin

Great site. I recently found out I had an intolerance to soy as well a dairy. For the past 7-8 years as a swimmer I was experiencing significant abdominal pains I attributed to swim mechanics. I went to a kinesiologist who tested me for numerous food allergies and dairy was the only one that showed. The abdominal problems persisted and worsened to where eating at all was a challenge let alone the pain I experienced from my swimming. We retested and soy showed as a problem. I eliminated soy and I am eating with much less pain and it is slowly abating. I have lessening pain from my swimming. This is even in view of being a Total Immersion swim instructor so being precise was a real mystery.

In addition, I am finding I have much more clarity of thought, in solving problems, in general much more intellectual awareness. My mind is sharp as it used to be. I did not realize that it had been inhibited at all let alone by soy.

Having always been an avid label reader, it is a habit that I do not have to build. I have printed the lists which are great and will take grocery shopping. For those who have them available, Whole Foods carries a lot of foods that you can find soy free.

What has caught me until now is where soy is called something else or is not labeled at all but by description it may. I have no problem avoiding them. For me it means just increasing my fruit and vegetable intake which is not a problem.

I am fortunate that my problems are not as severe as some of the contributors here. I have great empathy as it was a real struggle just with the smaller problems I was having.

Thank you for the site. It is a very welcome resource. For those who may be on the marginal edge of soy or other allergies sometimes an allergist will miss something. A kinesiologist is very thorough and can detect many times what a medical doctor or allergist is not able. I cannot explain the mechanics but have seen it many times. It is a resource many may not consider.

Terrie Gordy

I have been recently confirmed I have a soy allergy. Soy is actually a thyroid antagonist. I have severe and serious reactions to all thyroid antagonist where soy is the most potent. Mine was as far as severe and debilitating abdominal cramps, muscle cramps, knumb places all over my body and multiple sclerosis like symptoms. I was bedridden for over a year and almost completely unable to eat. My doctor put me on ensure at that time and before the allergy was known. Ensure is mostly soy. I was on an all soy diet. Thru a lot of research I figured out what the problem was and presented it to my doctor who confirmed the allergy immediately. Iodine that your thyroid needs is related to halide which also includes fluoride chloride and bromide. If any of these others are present they will sit where iodine is supposed to because they are stronger and seriously block iodine. Some antibiotics are formed from these other halides and carry part of that toxin with them. I have heard that soy is in ibuprophen, vitamins etc. Next to research to see. I have not only gone to long cooking foods but trying to find old recipes for shampoo, soap, conditioner, deodorant, cleaning products, etc. Also the crystal stone deodorant that claims no aluminum, which by the way antagonizes the thyroid, is made of ammonium alum. Which is aluminum with ammonium added which makes a crystal formed and covered with ammonium aluminum salts. Still aluminum which blocks the release of toxins notably from your lymphatic system. Before the soy allergy was confirmed they thought I was developing lymphoma. Finding the allergy was an accident.

Jayne

I’m from the UK and I’m intolerant to soya which causes IBS. More and more products are using soya all the time but I find the complete lack of chemical names for soya in a single database very frustrating. I am very lucky in the face that I don’t have to worry about trace amounts of soya. I wish government’s, companies and doctors all understood that together it is their responsibility to make sure we have the information we require. I’m having a mild skin reaction to shampoo and my Gp doesn’t seem to care. O just want to know ehat to aviod. Sorry the frustration came through :) thank you for this site.

Irene

Great site maybe I can finally weed out those hidden soy items that cause my eczema and the crawling itchiness that disturb my sleep. It helps me to know I’m not alone.

Amy

Please add polyester to the list. My son breaks out in hives to polyester, and we finally figured out that sometime after the early 1980′s they started making polyester out of soy. He can touch my old teddy bear just fine, but not newer stuffed animals….same goes for military items that we can date check being made before 1980.

Amy

Also, I get a delayed reaction (24 hours) of severe arthritis anytime I come in contact with any kind of soy…..polyester, plastic, glycerin, tocopherol, etc.

penny

Like a lot of you i’m scared to eat too. I can not cope with the pain. It has me stressed nervous and in tears. Getting nowhere with the docs. Noticed a while ago scratches werent healing just scarring. I think my immune system is that trashed. I hate waking up and I hate being out due to the inevitable “lunch time”
Quality of life is non existent right now. Nor has it been for the last 14-15 months

ari

found out something interesting today….kosher for passover food does not have soy****************and passover is in a few days…good time to stock up

Barbara Daniels

Think maybe GMO’s might have something to do with all this??? My sister was never allergic to corn until the farmer started with the GMO. Now she’s sick all the time. Hmmm.

Sherry Nason

I am severely allergic to soy. I have anaphylatic reactions to soy. One person stated below that you should stick to fresh vegetables and fruits or frozen. That is true but all fresh fruits are sprayed with a soy or citric acid light wash to work as a preservative. I have run into trouble with fresh fruits several times. I have even had a severe reaction from fruit after I had washed it and then rinsed it before even cutting it. I have had reactions to some fresh vegetables and lettuce served on salad bars. In the end I guess I have to follow the rule and that is: If I haven’t made it I should not eat it!

Gene

Very glad to learn I’m not the only one out there. I have been living with a soy allergy for 40 years. I rarely eat out, not worth the high risk to me, however, more places are trying to have an allergy menu if you request one or willing to have the head cook or chef come talk to you and prepare your food. I have learned over many years to cook soy free. I had to educate myself on cooking, reading labels etc. It’s not easy but very doable. Learning to make your own breads/cake, eating fresh veggies and fruits(beware that some frozen veggies are spray with soybean oil. Canned goods can be tricky too. Lecithin is use has a thicker agent. Some poultry is injected with chicken both. You guessed it! It has soy in it. My personnel experience with this is mostly turkey products. On the positive side I eat very health and know exactly what goes in to my food. Watching my wieght isn’t a big issues either any more. The old saying you are what you eat from your head to your feet.

Corinna

Thanks for the great article! I will print the list to put on the fridge.
My soy allergy developed after I moved to the US (I am from Europe). GMOs are mentioned in some of the previous comments – as GMO soy beans are not present in my home country but virtually all soy in the US is GMO, this is a connection that came to my mind, too, when I discovered the allergy.

Racheal

Thanks for the article! I have a question for you… About 3 years ago I found out I have celiac disease so I stopped eating everything that contains gluten and felt much better. Then 2 years ago I started to feel horrible again and the weirdest things started to happen to me. My symptoms are VERY strange and I cant find any info about them.. and after doing an illumination diet I found out the culprit to my symptoms is soy products (including soy oil and fava beans.) Because as soon as I stopped eating them I felt much better during the day and night. But I still get them randomly which I am wondering is due to getting secretly contaminated by some food with vegetable oil and guar gum.

Here are my symptoms: – Major brain fog (especially after eating anything with even the tiniest amount of soy)
- Anxiety especially when about to go to bed
- Waking up out of sleep with an inner shaking sensation which is then followed by bad anxiety.
- HORRIBLE short term memory
- slight confusion towards every day tasks such as counting money
- not being able to form a sentence properly
- extreme fatigue after eating anything with soy

Due to some of these symptoms I sometimes feel like I am a complete imbecile when I go out places and make a bit of an embarrassment of myself!
Do any of you know if this would be considered an actual allergy or something else? Also have any of you ever heard of this?

Monica

Great article! I was diagnosed 5 years ago with a soy allergy with my symptoms getting worse. The only symptom I have not had is the loss of consciousness. One additional item to note is that soy based inks can cause an asthma attacks. Make certain to read labels on EVERYTHING you consume because ingredients do change. And, while I did already cook from scratch, I upgraded all my ingredients using pure butter or extra virgin olive oil in all my cooking. Food actually tastes MUCH better without any soy products.

Dawn

I just recently found out that many of the benedryl elixirs now have highly processed soy oils in them. This includes the original Benedryl made by Johnson and Johnson. I was floored!!

I use benedryl liquid as my allergy is topical in my esophagus which swel!s shut if I am not careful and proactive. I carry an epipen which can cause me to have a skip in my heartbeat and I can pass out after use.

I was 50 when diagnosed formally and had spent a week in the hospital unable to swallow. I was seen initially by 2 Psychiatrists because the ER doc had never seen this before and diagnosed me with “anxiety”. I knew through food elimination myself that anything labeled with soy protein isolate caused me trouble in swallowing. I has benedryl chewables available. My throat swelled over one and I had to have endoscopy to finally relieve it and treat the chemical burn the tablet created.