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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Proliferation of Soy

Coping with a child's food allergy is a difficult but necessary task for alot of parents these days. As a child growing up, I only knew of one kid in the whole wide world (in my elementary school) who carried an epipen for his peanut allergies. Nowadays among my circle of friend, counting the ones with kids age 5 and under, I count 10 kids with nut, milk, egg or gluten allergies. Sometimes I have trouble figuring out what to do if I have to invite someone to my kids' birthday party. Fortunately I had a mom offer to bake gluten free muffins for her son to bring to the party and share with whoever; that's very nice! Another time, a mom told me not to go to great lengths to buy or bake an egg free cake but suggested that she would bring along Chapman's ice cream, peanut free and egg free. (Since when was EGGS included in ice cream?)

The whole threat with food allergies is that even trace amounts can be dangerous, even deadly. Most ingredients like nut, milk, egg or gluten just take some common sense or rapid ingredient-label reading to avoid. My friend told me, as odd as it may seem, potato chips or corn tortilla chips and most junk foods, were the only safe snack for her son. However, by far the most prolific, unassuming but prevelant ingredient in nearly all processed food that humans eat these days contains a very serious three letter word, soy.

My 2.5 year old neice was recently diagnosed with an allergy for soy and pretty much every chemical or food additive that is made from soy.  You would think it to be rather sad for a Chinese kid to miss out on soya sauce and tofu. But it's not as simple as avoiding Chinese food.  Leah cannot even eat regular snacks, candy and desserts because of the common ingredient Soybean Oil.  What will she do at a friend's birthday party; just stick to the Veggie platter I suppose but avoid the dip.  MSG is somehow derived from Soy.

Even a trace amount of soy or even touching it causes a serious breakout of eczema rashes on all areas of her skin. The itching and scratching is so intense that my brother and his wife expect a bout of four sleepless nights to prevent the scratching. They've gone to emergency once or twice because of the sudden flareups and infection to open wounds. It's just so sad. They go to great lengths to avoid soy.

An unexpereinced player in the game of Soy Searching … will  definitely be overwhelmed by the amount of Soy used in all foods. Leah's parents read labels on literally everything at the store.  Usually Soybean Oil, Soy Protein is more obvious and will cause an obvious  reaction.  I don’t understand what Soy Lecithin is, but is found in countless products as well. She seems to be able to mildly tolerate that. Well I want to be that farmer who grows Soy Beans as a cash crop!

Vegetable Oil , 60% of the time it is Soybean Oil or a mix containing Soybean oil.  Avoid products that do not specify what kind of Vegetable Oil. Oil.  If you look at the find print on a jug labelled as Vegetable Oil, it will most likely be Soybean Oil.

Oils that are acceptable are Olive, Conola, Palm Oil; really heavy in saturated fat but does not cause a reaction

Cooking Oil used at home – Must be labeled as 100% Pure Canola Oil, or Pure Exrtra Virgin Olive

- Margarine – almost every brand contains soybean oil or unspecified Vegetable Oil. Olive Oil Margarine seems acceptable.
- Salad Dressing,  Mayonaise,  - Helmanns brand is ok.
- Peanut Butter – all cheap ones contain soybean oil,  Just Peanuts is ok.
- Bread.  Yes BREAD straight from Superstore.  Wonder Bread products, the most common hot dog and burger bun is made with Soybean Oil in the ingredient. 
- Multi-grain bread – Soy is a bean, and is ground up and used in multigrain bread.
- Chocolate . contains unlisted oils. ..
- Cake from Sobey’s,  Costco,
- Ice Cream Cake from Dairy Queen
- Flour can be mixed with Soy Flour.   So almost any unknown baking is avoided. Any baking from a store can contain soy flour.
- Margarine used in baking – margarine is made from unspecified Vegetable Oil .. most likely Soybean oil
- Campbell’s Mushroom soup and most canned soup
- Chips
- Prepackaged cookies and crackers
- Cheese
- Cakes, muffins, and cookies from a bakery can contain Soy Flour, Soybean Oil, and likely Soybean Oil in non cream based icing.
- Most definitely bakery buns, chinese bakery buns, muffins, danishes,
turnovers from a grocery store.
- Frozen Pizza – most brands.
- Tortilla Wraps. – most brands.
- Regular Snacks:  chips, dip, oreo, fudgee-o, most off the shelf cookies, crackers and snacks.
- Regular Chocolate bars: kit kat, coffee crisp, kinder-surprise

- hot dogs
- burgers
- Chocolate
- Bread
- Off the shelf cookies,  Oreo etc…
- Chips

- fruits
- plain steamed or boiled vegetables.
- selective cheese
- pasta with selective sauces
- chicken with little seasoning
- home made cream sauces
- tomato based sauces
- Helmann’s Olive Oil Mayonaise is acceptable
- City Bread brand Rye Bread from IGA/Sobey’s
- some Tortilla Wraps, PC Flat Bread
- Apple Sauce
- McDonald's plain burger (no ketchup no nothing!) and French fries
- McDonald's ice cream without the cone

This quote from my brother summarizes that whole daily struggle in a nutshell.

To be more fair.  Soy isn’t really hidden from us.  It’s perfectly normal to contain soy products in everything.  It’s just that it’s a problem for us, so it seems like a game that we’re trying to find all the hidden soy.    If Soy wins, Leah pays with massive itching for 2-4 days, and we pay with no sleep and fighting her itchiness.

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