Soy: The Secret Ingredient in Basically Everything

Have you ever bothered to actually read the labels on your food? And by read, I don’t mean looking at the calorie content, maybe the serving size, possibly even the fiber/carbohydrate/sugar content.

I’m going to go ahead and take a guess and say no. Most people don’t actually have a reason to read their food labels. Sometimes it’s trendy, as it was for so long with gluten free, and it now is with paleo. There seems to be a stigma against the people you see standing in the aisle reading their food labels, trying to understand the intricacies of chemical names for ingredients.

What you may not always realize, is that for some people there is a legitimate reason to be an avid label reader. It’s not always some lady and/or man who is the obsessive ingredient jerk at Whole Foods. Sometimes, you’ll get the apologetic allergen as I like to call them. These people are otherwise known as individuals with legitimate allergies, who aren’t trying to be rude, but trying to avoid a hospital visit.

Now, it’s moderately easy to accommodate gluten free diets these days, at least in a state as health conscious/friendly as Colorado; but when you add in dairy, egg, peanut, and soy, reading labels gets much more difficult (as well as depressing).

Optimistically, it is possible find gluten free, dairy free, nut free foods (though these seem to be buried in the back of the freezer section). It’s difficult, but you can find them. Add in egg free? That is an ingredient that can seriously mess up any hopeful products you may find.

How about soy?

Now soy, that shit is in everything.

If you’ve never had a reason to look before, look now.

Soy can be found in the following non-consumable products:
-makeup
-Chapstick
-lipstick
-face wash
-lotion
-shampoo/conditioner
-medications (yes, I know you consume these, but they aren’t tasty, so they don’t qualify)

As for soy in consumable items? It’s almost impossible to escape. Almost, but not entirely so; however, it can be rather disheartening to read labels when looking for food.

Soy is used as a preservative, an emulsifier, for coloring, for added “health benefits”, and for what just seems to be general corporate desire to overuse one particular ingredient.

When reading labels, even if it states that the product is soy free, it is of vital importance to still read the ingredient list.

“But why Allison? Why would I have to read the label if the front of the package tells me it’s soy free?”

Companies can label their product as being soy free while it still contains soy lecithin. It’s of a general consensus that the amount of soy contained in soy lecithin is so minimal that even an individual with a soy allergy can still consume the product with minimal to no harm.

Now, this may be true for you, and to that I say “Good on ye’ mate!”

However, depending on the severity of your allergy, it should no be risked, because there remains enough soy content to still cause a reaction.

Sadly, soy lecithin is used in the processing of chocolate.

So what’s a girl to do in a world now bereft of chocolate, and the necessary equipment for pastries and baked goods? Cooking and baking free of soy, dairy, egg, peanut (all legumes in general, really) is definitely a system of trial and error.

The main idea here is, you need to be aware of what is actually going into your body, even if you don’t have allergies!

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