You’ve heard me talk about the many reasons why there’s no joy in soy. In fact, when I was the health expert on Dr. Phil for two years, I met a young woman who was following a vegan diet and suffering mightily from constant soy exposure.
After eliminating soy by following The Virgin Diet, she lost over 100 pounds, and symptoms like joint pain and fatigue disappeared. Kicking soy out of your pantry can change your life!
But one of the challenges of going soy-free is spotting sneaky sources of soy found in everyday foods. It’s easy to avoid soy sauce and soy milk, but where else does soy hide?
Pay Attention to the Protein
When looking for hidden sources of soy, it’s important to make the distinction between soy protein and soy lecithin. The one form of soy that’s just fine to eat is soy lecithin, a thickener that doesn’t use soy proteins. Since it’s the protein that sparks allergies and sensitivities, those with soy intolerances can still eat soy lecithin without issues.
However, other forms of soy should be avoided, and that includes monosodium glutamate, or MSG. There's often a crossover with MSG for people with soy sensitivities or allergies because they have some proteins in common, depending on how the MSG is manufactured. So if MSG is in the list of ingredients, put the package back on the shelf!
And that isn’t the only place where soy can trick you! The 15 foods below are all names for ingredients that contain soy.
When going soy-free, be sure to stay away from the following:
- Tofu (soybean curd)
- Edamame (immature soybeans)
- Tamari (a type of soy sauce)
- Shoyu (another kind of soy sauce)
- Teriyaki Sauce (a cooking sauce made with soy)
- Miso (fermented soybean paste: just because it’s fermented, doesn’t mean it’s healthy!)
- Tempeh (fermented soybean cake)
- Natto (fermented soybeans)
- Textured Vegetable Protein (usually used as a meat replacement and often made from soy)
- Vegan Cheese (not all are created equal: trade soy-based cheese for nut-based cheese like almond ricotta)
- Vegan Fro-Yo (often contains soy)
- Veggie Burgers (frequently made with soy protein)
- Protein Shake Powder (soy is often a primary ingredient; look for versions without the 7 highly reactive foods like my All-In-One Protein Shakes)
- Soya (another name for soy)
- Bean Sprouts (some varieties are soybean)
Learning how to be a health detective helps you choose soy-free foods that aren't harmful to your health. Keep this list handy and say goodbye to soy in disguise forever!
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