Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Soy is a “health food”, right? A soy latte just sounds healthier than a regular latte. So, the perception can be that by avoiding soy Ashley actually ends up eating a less-healthy diet. While this isn’t true, this mindset can actually cause some difficulty in finding soy-free foods. You see, soy tends to be added to foods to make them seem healthier. A regular salad at a restaurant becomes a healthy salad by adding tofu. That regular trail mix becomes healthy trail mix by adding edamame. Those vegetables are fried with soy sauce and olive oil to make them even healthier. You might notice a pattern here: the original food was healthy! (and soy-free!)
This problem of unnecessary soy additions can limit the foods that Ashley can safely eat because it takes foods that were originally okay, and then adds soy. Adding to the complexity, this soy is often difficult to remove and can’t really be eaten around. In the examples above, Ashley can order the salad without tofu, but soy can’t be removed from the trail mix and vegetables. This occurs most often in pre-prepared foods and restaurant dishes. By cooking at home frequently we avoid the bulk of these scenarios. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t high up on the list of difficulties in eating soy-free. But, it sometimes does limit Ashley’s food choices.
The healthiness of soy actually swings the other way too. Sometimes we hear things like: “Oh you can’t eat soy, so you must eat really healthy all the time, right?” Nope. This isn’t true. (If you need further proof, we recently posted about making corndogs.) Some people have a perception of who a soy-free person is, and that person is super-duper healthy. We probably do generally eat healthier than we used to, but it isn’t strictly because we avoid soy. It’s because we cook at home more often and avoid pre-processed foods. These “side effects” of avoiding soy are generally better for us, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that we eat much healthier now than we used to.
The presence or absence of soy doesn’t swing the healthy equation to one side or the other. Eating soy doesn’t make someone healthy, but neither does avoiding it. The food requirements that we have (or the food choices that we have to make) don’t define our health; our lifestyle choices do.