What's up with Allergies: Soy is in....

I once heard (or read; I'm really sorry I can't remember where to site this from) that soy is in 80% of our food that's in the grocery store. If your child has a soy allergy, this can be daunting. When my daughter was diagnosed with food allergies, we had so many allergens that our primary option for food was fresh and homemade. Naturally, this eliminated soy from our foods.

I've found that soy in foods is usually in one of three forms: proteins, fats, or emulsifiers. Obviously, all of your soy bi-product used in prepared foods is from the soy bean. This bean is very common in the United States since it's a subsidized crop. For the sake of keeping this discussion short, we won't talk about those politics!

If you're a parent of a soy allergy kid, you are in luck! In 2006, the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA) went into effect requiring all packaged foods to disclose if they used any of the top eight allergens, including soy. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network can give you way more information about this act. Basically, it boils down to this: if the product contains soy, it will clearly say on the label that it contains soy. It will be obvious enough for a literate child to read. This is huge help for parents since most of us don't have a chemistry degree to help us know what ingredients are derivatives of soy.

If you're a friend of a family with soy allergies, you can easily read labels in your house to see what does and doesn't have soy. My friends are usually surprised by how obvious some things are, though. I always think it's fun to share!

1. Vegetable Oil - this should be called "Soy Oil" as it's soy oil.
2. Tuna - most tuna in the grocery store that's packed in water is actually packed in vegetable broth with soy
3. Mayonnaise - soy, soy, and more soy!
4. Chocolate - soy is in almost all chocolate on the market as an emulsifier
5. Store bought bread - often times the oil is soy based and there's an emulsifier that's soy based

If you're looking for soy-free foods, here are a few that I like:
1. Oils - Canola oil, Olive Oil, and/or butter (unsalted for baking)
2. Tuna - Whole Food's or Trader Joe's tuna
3. Mayonnaise - Spectrum Canola Mayonnaise
4. Chocolate - Enjoy Life chocolate products, Trader Joe's Dark chocolate at the register
5. Store bought bread - good luck! I find mine at Whole Foods but it's very regional

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