Discouraging week

Alyssa Bozzuto

Aug 14, 2018
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To start, I am transitioning.
This past week I got hives for the first time in my life. Naturally I assume it’s from the new vitamins I started taking. What else could it be?!
Today I am 98% positive it is not the vitamins and it is SOY. My absolute favorite non-dairy substitute, which is found in pretty much every vegan food i have been consuming thus far. Not to mention how amazing it is in coffee.
Yesterday almost all of my hives were gone and I had no flare ups.
Today I introduced soy milk back into my coffee after switching to almond creamer for the past 2 days and BAM hives.

I am extremely discouraged and feeling hopeless. I am lactose intolerant, attempting to be vegan and now allergic to soy? Kick me when I’m down why don’t ya!
Does anyone have any advice or is anyone in a similar situation. What do I do?!

Alyssa :(
HI Alyssa. I have not had your experience but I am aware that many alternatives to animal products contain isolates of plants, and soy extract/soy protein isolate/concentrated soy etc is one of them. This substance, in it’s extract/concentrate form has been shown to promote inflammation and raise IGF-1, which is a cancer promoting substance. Whether it is responsible for acute allergic reactions is not something I’m aware of.

Alternatives I use include Tahini milk (tahini mixed with heated dates and water, then blended), almond milk I occasionally make myself, and oat milk that is easily made as well with a good blender. If you like almond milk, you can blanch and gently heat lots of almonds to keep in bags in the freezer, then take out what you need and blend with water on the spot. Quick and easy. Nut butters like Tahini easily blend with water if you want a more fatty milk, and oats are easy as well, just blend them into flour first then add water and blend.

My personal experience with meat alternatives is that although the manufacturers often succeed in making them tasty and include some vitamins and minerals, many tend to be heavy on the protein from isolates and heavy on the oil as well. They usually leave me hungry or somewhat hungry. As a new Vegan, you will find that it is the fiber/resistant starch rich whole food that satisfy you – oats, brown rice, whole wheat with high fiber, whole potatoes, whole corn, whole fruit (enough of it, and not just juice), whole barley, whole beans (including soybeans) etc, that are properly treated (usually by soaking overnight) and cooked in some cases (some will need both soaking and cooking - like soybeans, some just cooked (like potatoes) and some neither, like fruit).

Some bloating occurs at first as your body will not be used to the amount of fiber, but this does pass and your body will adjust. With some foods, like brown rice, bloating and discomfort can occur if it is not soaked/cooked long enough. I have had this experience well into my Vegan journey and have learned to soak my grains/legumes overnight and apply tricks such as Nixtamalization with some of them to speed up the process.
It probably is the soy.
But you might not be full-blown allergic. Next time you go see you doctor, tell him about this. They have a pretty simple and cheap food allergy screening that they can do. They do it one day and the next day they read the results.

I've heard that some people who consume a lot of soy sometimes develop a "sensitivity". and I've also heard that the sensitivity can just occur nonorganic GMO soy. So check to make sure you are getting organic beans.

There is also a small chance its the soymilk and the multi combined. Some people will get rashes and other strange things by taking too much B2 or B6 or Niacin. It could be that the multi and the fortified foods are just a little on the high side. Did you try not taking the vitamins for a few days?

Meanwhile, almond creamer or coconut creamers are pretty good alternatives.

but there is some things that are worth checking.
and I've also heard that the sensitivity can just occur nonorganic GMO soy

I'm surprised you can even buy non-GMO soy for human consumption in the USA. I have not seen even one non-GMO brand on the shelves here, including tofu.
I've seen it in a couple of places, At my local grocers, and at Safeway, they have some very inexpensive brands. Some Asian name that I can't remember. It's like 3 bucks a pound. I was going to buy it but then I noticed it didn't say organic on the label. I suppose that you could have a non-organic non GMO soybean.