Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
When you are eating with food restrictions like an intolerance, allergy, or sensitivity, it is important to have as much control over the food that you eat as possible. We advocate for planning ahead, doing allergen menu research, and bringing a backup snack to ensure that you are never stuck without options. We found this to be especially vital during our elimination diet a few years ago; when we didn’t have any options (especially when we were hungry), it was easy to resort to eating soy. Making sure we have some soy-free options available (i.e., staying in control of the food around us), keeps us eating soy-free even when we are tired, cranky, and hangry.
But what happens if you go somewhere that specifies “no outside food or drink”?
First, see if they are serious. Read yelp reviews, do a little research, and try to find out if you can still bring a backup snack. Frequently this policy is to prevent people from bringing in large meals and they may not care (or enforce) a small Larabar. If you conclude that you can bring a small amount of food in, do it! At minimum, having a backup snack can go a long way toward ensuring that you have some guaranteed soy-free food available.
Next, research the food options available within the food-restricted area. This is a good idea even if you can bring in some outside food. If you figure out what kinds of food are available for purchase, you can identify possible soy-free food options and get a sense for how easy or hard it will be to eat soy-free. Even if you don’t find any guaranteed soy-free options, doing this research ahead of time allows you to plan a strategy for finding out about the ingredients and takes away some of the stress of eating.
Third, eat before you go (or before you go inside). Eating right before you enter the “no outside food area” gives you the most amount of time before you’ll need to eat something. This way you won’t have to worry about eating something right when you get inside. Eating beforehand might hold you over for the entire event or at least give you some time to scout out the food options once you are inside. Entering hungry can make you desperate and keep you from making smart food choices right off the bat.
Fourth, it is always an option to leave, eat outside the venue/event, and then go back inside. This definitely isn’t ideal, but should the need arise, it is always an option to go and get some soy-free food (from a restaurant, or even just from your car) before coming back into the food restricted area.
A “no outside food or drink” situation. While these aren’t all ideal outcomes, a “no outside food or drink” sign doesn’t have to be a deal-breaker. With a little creative thinking and some flexibility, you can still enjoy the event/venue and not be starving at the same time.