On a whim, in August 2018, I made a decision to cut soya out of my life. “Why?” People ask. My reply: “For the craic.” Or, “To see what happens, or doesn’t happen. To see if I feel any difference in three or six months.” Or even, “To write a blog post about it.”
Think how the standard western diet has changed in the past 30 years. Go into any supermarket, look at prepared food – that is, not bags of spuds or frozen spinach – anything with more than a couple of ingredients. You’ll most likely see one, two or all of the following things: palm oil, some kind of milk product and some kind of soy product. That was not the case a couple or three decades ago. Countless millions of bodies consuming processed food are having their gut biomes shaped by pressure to give ever-larger dividends to shareholders.
Fortunately there’s a requirement to list soy as an allergy. A daughter’s ex-partner serendipitously read an article about soya allergy and gave it up. Guess what? Her complexion improved enormously and visibly and she lost weight.
As far as I know, I’m not allergic to it. We’ll see.
Its ubiquity in processed food means you can’t take anything for granted, like the salt and vinegar Tayto crisps that contain milk. Why on earth….?
So in August I started making myself aware of that ubiquity. I examined all food in the house, so as to eliminate soya before 7th October 2018, my birthday. We had a Clive’s pie and a box of Fry’s curry pies, both of which contained it. We had a jar of Vecon, a bottle of tamari sauce, a pack of tvp mince, a pack of tofu, a jar of Plamil mayonnaise. All are now gone. Some of Clive’s frozen pies don’t contain soy, which is a relief, because they’re excellent. Fry’s do at least one frozen burger without soy. Vecon can be replaced by yeast extract, tvp and tofu by seitan (so long as it’s not marinated in soy sauce) or jackfruit or Quorn. The mayo? There’s a soy-free version from Biona. It’s so-so. I decided to make a cashew sour cream instead.
A company called Wheaty do lots of alternatives to soy sausages and burgers, using seitan. And there’s a lovely vegetarian haggis from McSween’s. Dee’s make a soy-free sausage too. But in reality, we try to stay away from processed food generally, preferring loads of steamed or roast vegetables with nutty sauces and salads. And beans of course. So no shortage of fibre, calcium, good fat and protein.
I’ll do an update to this in a few weeks’ time.
Post 0029, 06/10/2018