Category Archives: Blog

Gotta read the labels every time!

Unfortunately, when you’re dealing with allergies, you’ve got to read labels all the time… and not just once, but every time. We almost learned that the hard way today.

We had found an inexpensive pasta sauce from Little Italy Foods that didn’t contain soybean oil. There were 3 or 4 flavors and all of them were soy free. Which is another thing you need to look out for: Just because one flavor is soy free, it doesn’t mean that every flavor from the same manufacturer is soy free.

Well, imagine our surprise to open a jar today and realize that there was soybean oil in it. On closer inspection one flavor was “Traditional Pasta Sauce” and the other was “Traditional Flavor Pasta Sauce”. When I picked ’em up at the store, it never registered that they were different “flavors”. Well guess what “Traditional Flavor Pasta Sauce” has soybean oil in it, where the “Traditional Pasta Sauce” doesn’t (at least they had the decency to label soybean oil as containing soy).

In some ways I’m embarrassed that I didn’t catch the different label at the store, but the real problem is when the ingredients change and there’s no other indicator. With companies retooling for profitability, with companies getting purchased by other companies, there’s really no guarantee that what you’re buying now is the same as what you bought last time.

This exact problem is one of our biggest concerns at restaurants. Just because things checked out last time, there’s no guarantee that every ingredient of every component of every dish is exactly the same as it was previously. Carrabba’s has changed things recently, and Spaghetti Warehouse has yet to give us a consistent answer.

Gotta keep reading those labels!

2015-06-23 22.37.58
Close enough to the same, or so we thought.
2015-06-23 22.39.12
“Traditional Pasta Sauce” — Soy Free
2015-06-23 22.39.01
“Traditional Flavor Pasta Sauce” — contains soybean oil

 




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Bizarre form of entertainment

Okay, I must be getting jaded. I think I’m starting to experience twisted pleasure when I destroy a restaurant owner’s perception that they are soy free.

A week or so ago, we went to a Greek fast food-ish restaurant. I asked the owner if they had an allergen list as my kids were allergic to soy. He proudly stated that there was no soy in their restaurant at all.

Cue sarcastic smirking and let the enlightenment begin!

After explaining some of the common locations for hidden soy, I started having them check some of their ingredients. Lo and behold, their gyro meat, pita bread, hummus, and hot dogs all had soy in them. So the kids got Arby’s from across the street, and restaurant owner got an education in soy.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

EpiPen Discount

Our son is not anaphylactic to soy, but he is anaphylactic to peanuts. So he has to carry an EpiPen with him wherever he goes. It’s time to refill the prescription, and apparently the costs have just been going up and up.

Tonight I stumbled across a link that gives a $100 discount for EpiPen in all of it’s derivatives. Unfortunately it expires the end of this year (29 more days), but in researching it, it seems to be recreated each year, as it appears that this has been going on since at least 2012.

So, if you have anaphylaxis in your family, hopefully this will help ease the financial burden of having EpiPens around.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Birthday parties and other special occassions

A reader, Myah, expressed this sentiment and asked this question:

Our 6 year old daughter is severely allergic to peanuts and allergic to soy (high). It is especially difficult at birthday parties when they serve food and she can’t eat any of it. I’m just at a loss and don’t know what to do. She says she feels sorry for herself and I don’t want her to feel that way. Any information you can send or point me too would help!!!

I answered Myah directly, but I figured some of our solutions may come in handy for your family, so here’s the relevant sections of that email:

Probably the best advice I can give as far as special occasions is that we end up stockpiling and stashing foods (especially fun foods) that the kids can eat:

We have a bunch of “enjoy life” cookies that we found at the scratch and dent grocery store (they’re normally rather expensive) but we break those out for any parties or picnics.

We’ve got a stash of angry birds gummies in the church conference room for when there are snacks at church that the kids can’t eat.

Probably the most useful thing we’ve got is a plastic tote labeled “Kid’s Travel Food”. We put shelf-stable, individual servings, more-fun-than-normal food in there. We take that tote along with us whenever we travel, or know that we’re going to be away from our normal haunts for the better part of the day. In that tote, we have meat sticks, soups, fruit cups, single servings of kraft macaroni and cheese, soy-free cereals, and other “not so healthy stuff that mom wouldn’t normally approve of, but extremely handy in a pinch”. The first time we went on a vacation we had 26 pounds of “goodies”. When we stayed at a hotel that the kids couldn’t eat breakfast at, they were still happy devouring their Cap’n Crunch Berries. Ever since that trip, we’ve always tried to keep that tote stocked and ready to go at a moments notice.

Those “tricks” help us keep them from feeling sorry for themselves — and even looking forward to being able to dive into their special treats.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Soaps, Lotions, Medicines, and Vaccines

This doesn’t fall under the “food” category, but a reader named Susan pointed out problems she’s had with her son with hand/body cream and soaps. Because of eczema issues when our son was 6 months old, we’ve been very conscientious about all-natural soaps and lotions, so I’ve never really had to think about what’s in “ordinary” products. Apparently, soy is rather prevalent in soaps, lotions, medicines, and even vaccines.

Since Susan pointed this out, I’ve now seen soy candles. I’m not sure I even want to think about what ramifications that may have.

Just a reminder, if you’re putting it in or on your body, check it for soy, because it’s everywhere.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

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I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Reasons to not eat Soy

Fortunately for our kids, we were already avoiding soy, I just saw this slideshow on Mercola.com, that reminded me of some of the reasons that it was already mostly non-existent in our household.

Sadly, most of what you have been led to believe by the media about soy is simply untrue. One of the worst problems with soy comes from the fact that 90 to 95 percent of soybeans grown in the US are genetically engineered (GE), and these are used to create soy protein isolate. Genetically engineered soybeans are designed to be “Roundup ready,” which means they’re engineered to withstand otherwise lethal doses of herbicide.

The active ingredient in Roundup herbicide is called glyphosate, which is responsible for the disruption of the delicate hormonal balance of the female reproductive cycle. What’s more, glyphosate is toxic to the placenta, which is responsible for delivering vital nutrients from mother to child, and eliminating waste products. Once the placenta has been damaged or destroyed, the result can be miscarriage. In those children born to mothers who have been exposed to even a small amount of glyphosate, serious birth defects can result.

Glyphosate’s mechanism of harm was only recently identified, and demonstrates how this chemical disrupts cellular function and induce many of our modern diseases, including autism. Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and some dietary supplements.

Even if you are not a vegetarian and do not use soymilk or tofu, it is important to be a serious label reader. There are so many different names for soy additives, you could be bringing home a genetically modified soy-based product without even realizing it. Soy expert Dr. Kaayla Daniel offers a free Special Report7, “Where the Soys Are,” on her Web site. It lists the many “aliases” that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists — words like “bouillon,” “natural flavor” and “textured plant protein.”

Besides soy protein isolate, ALL unfermented soy products are best avoided if you value your health. Thousands of studies have linked unfermented soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.

The only soy with health benefits is organic soy that has been properly fermented, and these are the only soy products I ever recommend consuming. After a long fermentation process, the phytate and “anti-nutrient” levels of soybeans are reduced, and their beneficial properties become available to your digestive system. To learn more, please see this previous article detailing the dangers of unfermented soy.

Source: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/06/10/9-unhealthy-foods.aspx (slide #8 & article below slideshow)




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Stealth Soy

It’s bad enough that the world can’t even admit that soybean oil is made of soybeans, but there’s also a bunch of other weasel words that can be used to hide soy.

According to the Soy Allergy page of the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), here are other terms that may also imply soy ingredients:

  • Soya
  • Glycine max
  • Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
  • Lecithin
  • Miso
  • Mono-diglyceride
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Natto
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vitamin E contains soy bean oil

Glycine max? What’s that about?

We’re already familiar with many of the weasel words for hiding MSG. But, gee, soy is being touted as The Most Healthy Thing On The Planet That You Can Put In Your Mouth, why are they putting in so much effort to hiding it?




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.

Just tell me if there’s soy in it!

It is commonly stated that soybean oil doesn’t cause allergic reactions to people who are allergic to soy. I believe it was this study by the National Institute of Health in 1985 that is used as the basis to say that soybean oil doesn’t cause allergic reactions (urticaria, angioedema, wheezing, dyspnea, and/or vomiting) in people who are sensitive to soybeans. Oh, and that was 7 whole people they tested — the echelon of thoroughness.

If you visit the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), they say “Check with your doctor about whether you need to avoid soy lecithin and soy oil“.

Okay, so basically, soybean oil shouldn’t / most likely won’t / maybe could / but it all depends on you, cause an allergic reaction to somebody who is sensitive to soy, but why on earth has it become the standard for soybean oil to not even be considered soy? I ask you, what do they think soybean oil is made of?

If you review a food package, it will list at the bottom “CONTAINS: WHEAT, EGGS, DAIRY” or whatever potential allergen. But if that same product “merely” contains soybean oil, it doesn’t say that it “CONTAINS: SOY”. Just because it’s not supposed to cause an allergic reaction, SOYBEAN OIL is still to this day MADE OUT OF SOYBEANS.

If you review a restaurant’s allergen information, items are not marked as containing soy if they merely contain or are fried in soybean oil. Can’t we at least agree that SOYBEANS are one of the primary ingredients of SOYBEAN OIL.

Our son’s doctor told us to eliminate soybean oil in his diet. you cannot believe what kind of grief this has caused us in simply trying to figure out if foods contain soy. My first post-ICU adventure with a restaurant was buying KFC Chicken for my son because it was the only menu item in any restaurant near us that said it didn’t include soy. Imagine my total frustration to find out after he had eaten it that all KFC items are fried in soybean oil.

Regardless of what the expected reaction to soybean oil is, can’t the world be decent enough to admit that there’s SOY in SOYBEAN OIL?

******* Update since this was first written *******

I’ve posted an extremely non-scientific poll on this website (not that the original 7 person study could be called thorough, either). I’m seeing that a number of readers say they react to soybean oil. So I’ve discovered what the entire United States government was not able to figure out?

To answer a reader’s question as to “Why” they don’t list soybean oil, not to sound like a conspiritist (did I just make up a word?), I think it all boils down to the money. Soybean oil (from my research at the grocery store) is the cheapest oil out there. If that’s not the case, can somebody explain to me why “vegetable oil” is almost 100% of the time 100% soybean oil. Why not just sell it as soybean oil? Because it’s cheap, everybody wants to use it, and because of this bogus study in 1985, they use that as an excuse to not list soybean oil as an allergen, and therefore in their twisted logic, not even include it as an ingredient.

******* Update 11/26/2015 *******

Here’s the current results for the question “Do they react to soybean oil?”
Yes: 330
I Don’t know: 82
No: 35
(no response): 11

That really makes me doubt the National Institute of Health’s results.




I'm trying to track allergen information for every restaurant that we eat at. With my son's soy allergy, each time we eat at a restaurant, it can take up to 30 minutes to figure out what he can eat. Especially since most restaurants don't accurately represent their usage of soy.

We're tracking what soy free (including soybean oil free) foods our son can eat at all restaurants we go to. If you've got a soy allergy in your family and have any information you can share, please contact us.