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Our son is allergic to peanuts and soybeans.

We knew about the peanuts and thought it was fairly straightforward to avoid peanuts, namely checking to see if are there peanuts in the food and finding out if they fry in peanut oil (Chick-fil-a being the only chain that we have found that fries their chicken in peanut oil — the fries are fried in canola oil).

We’ve just found out about the soybean allergy after a trip to the ICU due to asthma. Now the doctors are telling us for the time being (months, years) to avoid soy in all forms.

Avoiding soy is a lot easier said than done.

Fortunately, my wife and I were already very skeptical of the supposedly wonderful soybean*, so for his whole life, we had never intentionally given him soy and always avoided soy whenever we bought items at the grocery store.

Now that we have to consciously restrict soy from all of his food. We were stunned to find out how often soy or soybean oil is used in restaurants. It’s even trickier because often restaurants will have a disclaimer similar to this one taken off of Taco Bell’s allergen page:

Soybean oil is not indicated as an allergen. According to the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network, studies show that most soy-allergic individuals may safely eat most types of soybean oil (foodallergy.org). If you have any concerns pertaining to consumption of soybean oil, please consult with your doctor.

So what we end up discovering, is that many restaurants will not list an item as containing soy because it merely contains soybean oil and not “actual soy” and “most people are okay with that”. Wow. Thanks for the help. They tell us to consult our doctor, but don’t even give us the information as to whether or not the items in question contain soybean oil. To a lesser degree, we’re finding this is true with soy lecithin, also.

Needless to say that we’re having to do an awful lot of research and making a lot of phone calls. My notes were starting to get awfully disorganized. I figured that if I’m going to go through the trouble of organizing my notes, I might as well publish them online in case it can help anybody else.

If this has been helpful, or if you have any research to contribute, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Bill Forsyth III

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*Having read articles like this series, that talk about how soy contains substantial quantities of estrogens, we were already avoiding soy before our son was diagnosed with a soy allergy. I’ll try to collect our pre-allergy reasons as to why we were avoiding soy, but the one that always stuck with me was that giving a baby a serving of soy formula was like feeding them 5 birth control pills. Along with my allergen research, I’ll try and collect those note and put them on this site.