Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!
It took awhile after we first diagnosed Ashley’s soy intolerance, but we’ve finally gotten used to the idea that most pre-packaged snacks at the grocery store contain soy. When we first started searching for soy-free food, we checked all the products we could find. Could we eat Oreos? How about graham crackers? Ritz Crackers? Wheat Thins? Goldfish? The answer always seemed to be “no”. As we know now, these sorts of pre-processed products almost always contain soy. We’ve learned to avoid them and we’ve stopped assuming that these sorts of products will be soy-free. Instead of checking every package, or trying to find something in that aisle to eat, we assume that everything similar is off limits. Instead of processed food, we found other snacks that are soy-free (things like cheese and fancy crackers) and settled into a routine of soy-free snacks.
Since we’ve been in this routine, we are sometimes surprised by the availability of a particular food. We recently remembered that pretzels are frequently soy-free. Sure enough, the next time we went to the grocery store we found some soy-free pretzels and brought them home for a special treat. Still, the underlying assumption that everything contains soy unless proven otherwise has taken some of the fun out of grocery shopping. We don’t get that experience of trying something new without lots of research ahead of time or in the moment. Additionally, this research usually ends by finding soy on the ingredient list, so we’ve turned away from potentially fun new snacks.
Recently, Ashley and I have started a new habit in the grocery store: we’ve started going through the imports section and picking out a treat each week. Our grocery store offers a fair-sized selection of imported products, and many of them are European in origin. Since European products are much less likely to contain soy, we have pretty good success picking out imported soy-free snacks to try. We’ve both loved doing this the past few weeks! Ashley gets to eat things like chocolate-coated cookies that normally contain soy, and we both have a chance to experiment with new foods. The imports selection isn’t huge, but at one item a week we’ll be able to keep trying new things for a while before we run out of options.
If you are feeling frustrated or limited by a food intolerance or allergy, try breaking out of your habits a bit. It doesn’t have to be risky (we still always check all the ingredients), but finding a place to try new foods that are more likely to be soy-free can provide a welcome relief from the limitations of our regular daily food experiences. Happy snacking!