Soya Schmoya

I know that I can’t be the only person who suffers from a soya allergy…so why is it that companies are ignoring the fact it’s the 7th most common food allergy and making MORE food that contains it?

Today, with the plans for January in mind, I started looking for meal replacements. They aren’t my ideal diet solution – nor should they be. However, they are a great place to start if you, like me, have a problem with eating three regular meals a day.

Anyway, I spent about 45 minutes searching, starting at my usual source Protein Works, only to discover that not only do all their meal replacements have soya in them, but so do their normal blends, something that I don’t recall from the last time I purchased powders from them. I asked for advice, the person I spoke to was called Liam, and he was incredibly helpful and very quick. Of course, the only options they had available without soya were the most expensive products on their site.

Okay, I know that this is a pretty common occurrence, even commercially-produced breads in the UK are made using soya flour these days (I did write to several bread companies to find out why they had started using this highly common allergen only to get a link to their essays/articles about the use of eco-friendly palm oil!). What I find most frustrating is the fact that it’s not considered a problem.

Until I developed an intolerance I didn’t realise that soya/soy is actually in the top 10 of food allergens, yet companies are developing more and more foods with this in, making it increasingly difficult to avoid. The fact that I can’t even buy a loaf of bread in the supermarket is ridiculous.

Anyway, back to the task at hand…protein shakes!

After being directed to the most expensive products on the Protein Works website I did a bit more searching, I want to buy a good product but I don’t want to buy something which breaks the bank. A colleague suggested I look at another website, so I did, but the list of ingredients was incomplete on the products they had and I didn’t want to take the risk that I was going to buy something containing the dreaded soya, so I had to move on again.

The most frustrating thing was that when I did a parameter search on Google for ‘protein shakes without soya’ (my actual original search term) the first items on the list were actually FOR SOYA PROTEIN!!!

I finally found something close to what I was looking for, but only close. I just hope the flavours live up to the hype.

What I have realised is that I won’t be able to get an actual meal replacement – even SlimFast meal replacement uses soya protein. Hopefully, this new protein shake option will fill me up a little bit and help me to kickstart my weight loss plan in the new year.

I guess what I wish is that allergies and intolerances to things like soya were taken a little bit more seriously. This one is more common than I realised and I suffer from it. The fact that bread companies (Hovis, Warburtons, Kingsmill, I am talking to you here) have started to use it as an ingredient in every product on their shelves says that they either don’t care, or are just looking to cut costs without considering the consequences for a rather large number of people.

There are other sources of protein that could be used for meal replacement and diet shakes, and other flours to be used in bread and bread products on the longer-life shelf, so why aren’t they available as alternatives? I know it’s not a nut allergy or shellfish, but the consequences of this ingredient can be just as severe, and it appears in even more foods than either of these two products.

Does anyone else have this issue or one like it? I would be interested to hear if you’ve been able to source an alternative meal replacement without soya, or something that is an alternative to a food you can’t have.

As an addendum:
Today we worked out how much we need to lose to get close to the ‘winning line’ in our little interdepartmental competition and I have to drop 31lbs…In the scheme of things, that’s not a lot (especially when it’s only a quarter of what I need to lose to get into the healthy weight category) but it’s a great start and over the 16 weeks until the end of the challenge it’s a realistic goal.

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