Learning to live without soy

November 30, 2009 § Leave a comment

My wonderful husband has a soy allergy. We don’t know yet how serious it is, except that his allergist recommended that he avoid eating soy or soy derivatives of any kind. And it’s true that after many meals, he’ll feel not only full but unwell. Tonight he and I did our weekly grocery shopping, and we became immediately aware of how many of our favorites were cooked either in soy (or soy derivatives) or were cooked with instruments that came in contact with soy. (I’m just thrilled that type of information is available on packaging–I had never noticed it before.) We spent longer than we ever have at the store, reading labels, putting things back, and moving on. At first, the mood was lighthearted and simply awestruck. But as we continued to put more and more of our favorite foods back on the shelves, Robert became discouraged. And why shouldn’t he? It really hit the hardest at the cookie section. Everything is baked with either margarine or vegetable oils (which uses soy protein), so the message he got in the cookie aisle was: You’re Not Allowed.

I realize that we’re both going to have to make this change together, and I’m ready. If I were the one with the food allergy, I would probably tell him to keep eating whatever he wanted (just like he told me), but I would secretly feel resentful and deprived. Not that I think he would feel that way toward me if I started munching on all the cookies I wanted, but I don’t think it’s fair to do that to him anyway. We found some ice creams that would work for him–one is dolce de leche (Breyer’s), which is a caramel-based ice cream. It turns out that the chocolate chip-based ice creams have soybean derivatives in them. We also found that our regular spaghetti sauce has soy derivatives in it, but we found out that Bertolli doesn’t. I think we’ll manage to get by. I know we will. It’s just a matter now of shopping smarter.

I’d like to learn some soy-free recipes so that he and I can eat similarly to how we used to without him feeling sick afterwards. So, for instance, I would like to find some cookie recipes that would be really yummy. He should be able to eat cookies and milk if he wants to. This is going to be my new project.

For tonight’s dinner, I’m making baked chicken with Panko breading (dredged in olive oil instead of margarine) and marinated with Lea & Perrin’s chicken marinade (garlic and herb–turns out all other dressings are soy-based). I chose Panko because the Progresso Italian bread crumbs that I had originally planned on has soybean oil in it. Panko bread crumbs have less than 2% (if even any) of soy in it, so we’re going to try it. I seasoned the breading with cracked black pepper and savory because it just smelled so darn good. On the side, we’re having Mahatma yellow rice with olive oil instead of margarine. (Extra virgin olive oil, of course, hehe.) It smells really good. I hope it tastes really good, too.

Well, that’s the timer. Fingers crossed! 🙂

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