Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
This week, we are talking about how to ask if a food is soy-free. On Monday, we talked about asking about food at a restaurant. Today, we will focus on how to ask about food ingredients at a friend's house (or with family). Ensuring your food is soy-free is the only way to eat safely with a soy allergy or intolerance.
Eating with friends or family can be more challenging than eating out because your friend may not understand what you are asking. While restaurants are familiar with people asking about ingredients, your friends or family may not be. When asking them about food, it is important that you don't question their cooking or ingredient choices. Don't imply they did something wrong and don't put the burden on them to figure out how to cook soy-free food!
Your friends and family are likely less educated about what foods have soy. They will never intentionally cook you something with soy (assuming they know about your soy intolerance or allergy), but can still accidentally cook food with soy in it. For example, a friend who bakes you chocolate chip cookies may intentionally use real butter, but then put chocolate chips with soy lecithin in the cookies. The common places to find soy (vegetable oil, butter, and bread) are very important to remember here.
When asking friends and family about ingredients, don't be afraid to explain why you can't eat something. Ashley and I have had intentional conversations with many of our friends about what we can eat and the reasons why. You might be surprised at how much work your friends will do to accommodate you! We are constantly blown away by how far our friends go to make sure they make us a soy-free dinner. They often recognize that they don't know what foods are soy-free and are comfortable asking us for guidance.
In general, we've had excellent experiences with our friends and family helping us be soy-free. However, sometimes friends and family may be well intentioned, but they forget about soy, or don’t take the time to check the ingredients. Because this does happen, it is always a good practice to ask about ingredients when eating food that you didn't prepare.
Asking with friends is a little different than asking at a restaurant. Here is how it generally goes:
Ashley: Hey Melanie, do you mind if I ask what the ingredients in this are?
Melanie: Sure, I used XXXX. (Ashley listens for problematic foods)
Ashley: Thanks, you said you used butter. I don't mean to pry, but did you use real butter or margarine? I actually can't eat margarine because it has soy.
Melanie: I used real butter. I had no idea that margarine had soy.
While you should be polite, there is no need to be embarrassed by asking about ingredients, and you should never feel ashamed for ensuring that you can eat something safely. Even if you can't eat something, always be gracious! They made food for you, and they may have even tried to make it soy-free.
If you missed it, be sure to check out Monday's post on asking about food at a restaurant.