Living with Food Sensitivities: Soy

Having a sensitivity to soy can be overwhelming once you realize how many foods actually contain soy. Today’s blog post discusses how you can navigate a soy food sensitivity successfully, and also includes some soy-free vegetarian recipes we love.

Obvious sources of soy like tofu, miso, soy sauce, soy milk, soy nuts and edamame may be easy to remove. However, other food sources that may require careful reading of labels may be a little more challenging to avoid: broths, mixes, chocolate, protein shakes, protein bars, baked goods, vegetable oil is usually soy oil, dairy free alternatives  like yogurts, cheeses, spreads can be soy-based, “vegan” frozen options will likely contain soy. Something you may already know is that soy is one of the top eight allergens with specific labeling requirements under the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act. Under that law, manufacturers of packaged food products sold in the U.S. that contain soy as an ingredient must include the presence of soy, in clear language, on the ingredient label. This will make it easier to determine whether or not that food option is suitable or not for you.

So now onto what or how can you replace soy containing staples in your eating pattern:

  • Consider replacing soy sauce, teriyaki, and hoisin with Coconut Secret’s line of soy-free coconut aminos Asian-inspired sauces. Ingredients like sesame, ginger, garlic, umeboshi vinegar, and sea vegetables can also help replace flavors in your Asian flared recipes.
  • Chocolate is another tough option to find soy free. Brands like Enjoy Life make it easier to continue enjoying chocolate while avoiding soy. Also, too consider cocoa powder or cocoa nibs as these will generally be 100% chocolate.
  • Many individuals following a vegetarian eating pattern rely on soy as a go-to protein option. Keep in mind other plant based protein alternatives such as other beans/legumes, nuts, seeds (pumpkin, sesame, chia, hemp, sunflower), quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, teff that will nourish the body with amino acids and other nutrients like B vitamins, iron, fiber, and calcium.
  • When it comes to dairy free alternatives that are also soy-free, options nowadays are plentiful! Milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream alternatives sourced from rice, almond, cashews, coconut, hemp (and others) are available.

Check out these protein-packed vegetarian recipes that do not contain soy:

Lentil & Walnut Salad

Homemade Veggie Nuggets

Burrito Mason Jar Meal

Protein Pancakes

It is important to keep in other food sensitivities in mind and choosing what is best suitable for you. Like any change, going soy-free may be challenging at first, but with the right alternatives at hand, living soy-free can be done. To ensure individual needs are met, it’s best to consult with a nutritionist, such as the nutrition experts at PreviMedica. Call us at 855-773-8463 or email hello@previmedica.com for more information on our services.


Basilia Theofilou is a contributor on our blog as well as one of the nutrition advisors here at PreviMedica. You can read more about her here.

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