Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
Ashley and I have become fairly adept at finding soy-free alternatives to our commonly eaten foods. This obviously doesn’t come without its own struggles (for example, we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time trying to find soy-free enchilada sauce), but overall we don’t feel too restricted by the presence of soy in food.
One of the things that we’ve noticed when finding these soy-free alternatives to food is that our options can be quite limited. Frequently, there are several options for any particular item in the grocery store. Let’s use salad dressing as an example: there are likely a dozen different varieties of balsamic vinaigrette dressing in your grocery store. These varieties could be slightly different flavors or different brands. Out of these twelve varieties, I would guess that only one is soy-free. When we need soy-free balsamic vinaigrette dressing we only have one option, not twelve. Now what happens if the grocery store stops carrying that particular brand of salad dressing? Very quickly, all of our soy-free options for balsamic vinaigrette dressing are gone.
In practice it is actually just a little worse than just losing our balsamic vinaigrette dressing because that one brand was likely the only soy-free option for several types of salad dressing. So, even though there are tons of options on the self, we might not be able to find soy-free vinaigrette, caesar, or ranch dressing because just that one brand is no longer carried by the store. Of course, this isn’t the end of the world. We are resourceful, so Ashley and I will find a store that still sells the soy-free dressing (or in rare cases we’ll make it ourselves). But this does add complexity to our food and we are reminded of how lucky we are to have soy-free options to begin with.
We had this happen to us recently with tortillas. For years we’ve only been able to find one type of soy-free tortilla. Our soy-free option is acceptable, but it’s not our favorite tortilla. Adding further complexity, the brand that makes these soy-free tortillas also make many other styles of tortillas, all of which contain soy. So we are a little concerned that one day, we could find soy on the ingredient list of our only soy-free tortilla option and we’d be out of luck.
Then one day, something amazing happened: We found another tortilla variety that was soy-free! We bought them, tried them, and liked them! …and then we could never find them again. Apparently, our grocery story had them in stock only briefly and then stopped carrying them. Once again we were reduced to just a single soy-free option for tortillas. We’ve looked online and we did find a place to buy these new (better!) soy-free tortillas, but we haven’t made the trip there quite yet since the store is a little out of the way.
Ultimately, seemingly insignificant changes to a store's stock can have big effects on us. This isn’t a huge hurdle to eating soy-free, but can be slightly inconvenient. We try to buy multiple soy-free options when possible, but it isn’t always feasible. At the end of the day, we are at the mercy of what the grocery store has on hand; we also, however, have the ability to make do by making things at home (realizing that it can be difficult to completely replicate some products).