Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Does it cost more to eat a soy-free diet? The short answer is: we don't think so. The long answer is: we probably spend a little bit more on food now than we used to, but not by much. Over time, we've changed what types of food we buy (more vegetables, less pre-packaged food) and at the same time we've also started buying smaller amounts of higher quality ingredients (which are more expensive). Overall, we spend about the same amount of money to eat soy-free as we used to when we didn't restrict soy.
To give you a sense for what changed financially, below we've listed a couple specific areas where our spending has changed since we've started avoiding soy. Some changes increased our food spending, and some decreased it, but overall our spending has remained relatively consistent.
- In the pre-Beyond Soy days, we would buy a lot of pre-packaged foods, even when we made food at home. Things like boxed cake mix, Rice-a-Roni, and frozen pizzas. These pre-packaged foods appear to be pretty cheap, but this is not always the case. It is often cheaper to make the item from scratch at home than it is to buy the ingredients in a box. As we've started making more things from scratch at home, we have ended up saving a bit of money.
- When we started avoid soy, we also started eating more vegetables. Vegetables are cheap! (Also delicious, especially when oven roasted) By eating vegetables as a larger component of many meals, we have decreased what we spend on food.
- Even though we've been eating less of it, we spend more money on meat than we used to. This is mainly because we've been buying fancier cuts of meat. Instead of only ground beef and chicken breasts, we now also buy things like steak, pork shoulder, and fish. Along with the fancier meats, we've really been enjoying eating "fancy" cheese more regularly, which means we spend more money on cheese than we used to.
- We now spend more on snacks than we used to. Good soy-free snacks like dried fruit and nuts tend to be more expensive than the not-as-good-for-you-but-still-so-delicious snacks like cookies or crackers from the snack foods aisle at the grocery store. That being said, we definitely still buy potato chips (which are often soy-free!).
- We spend a little more money to buy specific soy-free versions of items that we used to buy generic. Getting soy-free versions of products like bread or mayonnaise require us to spend a bit more money.
- We've spent a bit more money trying to make homemade foods that we used to buy at the store. For example, we've played around with making homemade sandwich bread. Long-term, making our own bread might be less expensive than a loaf of soy-free bread at the grocery store, but it has been more expensive up-front as a one-time cost to try it out.
We didn't consider the costs of going soy-free when we tried our elimination diet, and we didn't try to go soy-free to save money. As it ended up, we haven't altered our food budget since we've started eating soy-free and spend about the same as we used to.