Soon after my new husband and I returned home from our incredible honeymoon, I started to notice something a bit odd about the love of my life. After every single meal, he would without fail complain of excruciating stomach pain and nausea. His discomfort came to a head after we celebrated my sister’s birthday one night and had to rush home before he got sick. The next morning, his physician called in an emergency prescription for Phenergan, an anti-nausea medication. Although the medication worked to relieve his nausea, it laid him out. He was worthless. We soon realized that he could not live on anti-nausea medication designed to make patients sleep through the pain rather than to take the pain itself away. He underwent a battery of tests over the next month, until finally we decided that his problem was lactose intolerance. I asked him to please get an allergy panel run, and we were shocked by the results. His was not a lactose intolerance, but a soy allergy. Of course, knowing nothing about soy (and only assuming that we just would have to avoid Chinese food and tofu), I hit Google. After crying over the number of names soy is referred to on food labels, we copied the names and went to the grocery store. We were near tears again. Everything, everything, has soy in it. At least, that was our initial impression. We went home dejected, disappointed, and distressed. I had a talk with myself. “A.Hab.,” I said, “You are a wife now. You do not depend upon soy to live. You will cleanse your pantry and refrigerator of soy. You will alter your recipes, and you will aim to feed your husband without fear of illness.” After a year, shopping is easier, and I approach new soy-free alternatives with a sense of excitement.
Consider this: gluten allergies have only just started to gain their own place on the shelves of bookstores. Soy-free cookbooks are a little farther off, but in the meantime let’s help each other. I will add to this list as I find new and interesting tips for the soy-free home. I invite you to leave comments as you discover websites, recipes, or ingredients that are not listed here.