When we first started on this food allergy journey, I totally took foods for granted. I didn’t ever look at what was in the food I was buying or eating. We ate a lot of pre-packaged meals and foods like coke and chips. Our allergy journey actually started with me, and the first thing I had to cut out for myself was gluten. I had a rash on my legs for about 3 years that just kept getting worse. I had an outpatient surgery once where the nurse asked me where I got flea bites all over (she was so concerned I thought she was going to report us to someone for unsanitary living conditions or something). I explained to her that it was from gluten and that it was actually getting better since I’d stopped eating it. She was amazed.
When my kids were born, we quickly found out that our biggest allergen and FPIES trigger for my daughter was soy. I was nursing at the time and had to cut out soy at her pediatrician’s recommendation. It was HARD. Soy is like corn – it’s in everything. And my daughter was so incredibly sensitive. Doctors told us that you couldn’t be allergic to oil or broken down proteins like soy oil and soy lecithin, but somehow she still reacted. I found out later that it’s really common for FPIES kids to even react to oils or hydrolyzed proteins.
I spent so much time reading through food labels, and I cried a lot of tears in the aisles of various grocery stores. It’s been almost 5 years, and occasionally I still find a new or hidden source of soy and I add it to my mental list. My mental list keeps growing though, and it’s getting to be more than my mom-brain can handle. So I’m putting this out there in hopes that it helps you guys (and me as well) know where to look for some of the most obvious and the more sneaky sources of soy.
- Butterscotch chips
- Breakfast Cereal – check the ingredient lists, each one is different.
- Spray oils – nonstick cooking spray
- Aluminum foil – some companies use soy oil on the rollers that roll out huge sheets of the foil to keep it from sticking.
- Dum dums – they use soy oil on the molds that they pour the suckers into to keep them from sticking.
- Almond bark – yep, say goodbye to melty christmas candies dipped in almond bark.
- Food Can linings (yes, even the BPA free ones) – this varies by company. We mainly shop at Aldi and I haven’t had any issues with their cans, but occasionally we’ve had issues with chili beans from the regular grocery store.
- Lipstick / Chapstick – so many of these have soy. Burt’s Bees – I’m lookin’ at you.
- Natural flavors/natural seasoning solutions – check your chicken! If it’s marinated in a preserving or seasoning solution, it could be soy.
- Washable Markers
- Soy Ink is used to make board books and games, newspaper ink (Uno cards and many baby board books have soy ink)
- Natural Cleaners (check babyganics in particular)
- Hair products, including natural shampoos, conditioners, and hair gel
- Chlorine used in swimming pools
- Peanut butter – a lot of the low fat peanut butters have soy but so does JIF brand.
- Canned tuna fish – every canned tuna I’ve seen in local stores has soy
- Crackers – some crackers are even made out of soy itself. Others use it as part of a seasoning blend or they use soy oil in the crackers.
- Soup/broths that are pre-canned
- Seasonings (particularly the ones from Aldi – usually have a may contain warning that has set off my soy allergic kid before)
- Mayonnaise – there are some that are ok. In particular I like the taste of the Just Mayo.
- Salad dressings
- Hot dogs (check the label) – we do ok with oscar mayer and some of the others, so not all of these have soy.
- Chewing gum – let me know if you know of one that doesn’t have soy. My kids are dying to try chewing gum.
- Cast iron pans (pre-seasoned ones usually come coated in soy oil) – this can be removed, but it takes time and a lot of elbow grease. Most of the cast iron pans now are pre-seasoned.
- MSG (Monosodium Glutamate)
- Vitamins – especially those that are in gelcaps
- Processed deli meats
- Vegetable oil and Vegetable shortening (crisco)
- High protein snack bars
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Textured Vegetable Protein (this is code for soy)
- Chips – particularly veggie straws, i’ve seen a couple of brands that contain soy.
- Wasabi beans
- Baby Formulas
More obvious sources of Soy – Most people already know to look for these, but I wanted to share just in case:
- Soy Candles
- Soy Sauce
- Plant based burgers like veggie burgers
Whew! That’s a long list. Originally I was going to call this 10 hidden sources of soy. But the more digging I did, the more I realized that 10 sources wasn’t going to be enough.
If you know of another source of hidden soy, please let us know by leaving a comment. This helps others be aware of potential danger spots for themselves or for their kids.