Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Here is our story about how we found out Ashley is soy intolerant:
One day, essentially out of the blue, Ashley's hands started to hurt. It was a dull, achy pain that would come and go. She found it harder to grip things and harder to hold things for long periods of time. The doctor said that it was probably stress related and that she shouldn't worry about it.
The pain didn't go away. She went back to the doctor, was prescribed medicine, and was referred to a rheumatologist. The leading possibility for the pain was rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis is generally something that affects older people as cartilage in their joints wears out, not something that she should have be struggling with. It wasn't abnormal for her to be the youngest person by 30+ years in the rheumatologist's waiting room.
Rheumatoid arthritis doesn’t go away. You can't just get better. The best you can do is manage the pain. Her hand pain continued, sometimes spreading to other joints. Lifting weights to strengthen her arm muscles helped a little bit, but nothing truly stopped the pain. At times Ashley was taking up to 2400mg of ibuprofen a day on top of other pain medication to manage the pain.
Over time other symptoms began to appear. She got rashes on her body and face, a specific spot on her finger would get very itchy (strangely, it was the same spot every time), she lacked energy and was always very tired. She was prescribed several new medications to manage her new symptoms (e.g., Zyrtec for rashes), but it was always focused on treating symptoms because no doctor could figure out the underlying issue.
After a time, Ashley started going to a new doctor. The new doctor suggested trying to reduce some of the pain medication. Ashley was able to reduce, but not eliminate, the amount of pain medication she was taking (but she was still taking up to 2400mg of ibuprofen a day).
One summer, Ashley and I talked about the possibility of a food allergy and decided to go try going gluten free for two weeks to see if it would help. We did not keep a food journal (mistake!) and did not plan our meals. Because we didn't have a good plan to eliminate gluten, and we didn't track how Ashley was feeling, the experiment was inconclusive. We couldn't tell if anything was better or not.
After seven and a half years of joint pain, we decided to try an elimination diet to see if any type of food made any sort of difference. We didn't think that all of Ashley's pain and symptoms would go away, but wanted to see if even a small improvement was possible.
We performed our elimination diet in January and identified soy as a problem food. When Ashley ate soy she felt bad, but when she didn't she felt great! After she stopped eating soy, Ashley's pain went away, her rashes cleared up, and she had more energy. This was a result beyond our wildest expectations!
The last step was to visit an allergist. The allergist confirmed that Ashley did not have an allergy to soy, indicating that she is soy intolerant. (What is an Intolerance?)
Now we are trying to live a soy-free lifestyle and Ashley generally feels great. Occasionally we slip up and eat something with soy in it. When that happens, her symptoms return, but since we know the cause, it is easy to identify and fix the problem in the future.
Our story is proof that it is possible to feel better after struggling with a food intolerance! Even if it has been years, it is possible to feel better!