Saturday, January 24, 2009

Soy Allergy Awareness

Allergies are becoming more and more of a hot topic these days, especially food allergies. Just about any type of food you can think of can be an allergen, from some of the most feared, peanut and seafood, to some of the lesser known, broccoli and bananas. From a dairy allergy, one of the fastest growing allergies, to a gluten allergy, one of the most widely recognized by food manufacturers, there’s no denying food allergies are quickly becoming an epidemic in this country. Then there’s soy, a food that holds a place on the list of the 8 most common food allergies, yet it doesn’t seem to receive nearly as much attention as it should. A food that in some way shape or form is in nearly all prepackaged processed foods, despite it’s increasingly growing numbers of those being diagnosed. Just like the late Rodney Daingerfield, “this allergy gets no respect”, but why?

For starters look what it’s up against. Name one other allergen that’s marketed as some sort of wonder food by nutritionists and advertisers alike. It’s even marked as a healthy replacement for another popular allergen, dairy, despite being a very serious allergen in it’s own right. There are hundreds of products marketed as “gluten free”, yet I can count all those marketed as “soy free” on one hand. The soy industry is so enormous and profitable, and its product so widely used for so many different applications, that only one other food can challenge it as being more diversely used; corn.

Isn’t it ironic that for such a supposedly “healthy” food, the products that use soy so readily are absolutely NOT healthy? If your diet is high in prepackage precooked ready-to-eat meals, if the grocery store aisles you do most of your food shopping down are the cereal aisle, the snack aisle, and the freezer aisles, if you eat out frequently then your consuming soy in every bight. It’s the oil used for frying (vegetable oil), it’s the preservatives, additives, and fillers used in all processed foods, and this association makes it a part of some of the biggest causes of death in this country; obesity, heart disease, and high cholesterol. This is soy, the “wonder food”. It’s no wonder a blind eye is turned to such a serious allergen. Money trumps all, and there’s obviously plenty of it to be made with this bean.

So what if anything can be done change this way of thinking? What can be done to shed a light on such an overlooked allergy? It takes people like me, like you, or anyone who suffers from the excruciating sometimes-unbearable pain caused by this allergy. It takes the voices of many to stop such deep pockets, and all they buy. The truth is though your health is in your hands, so take control. A healthy diet rich in fresh organic produce, organic whole grains, and other minimally processed organic foods will not only provide you a soy free diet, but will put you in the best health of your life. So what are you waiting for, eat soy free!

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