Recently diagnosed with a sensitive soy allergy (July 2011) with an anaphylaxis reaction and diagnosed celiac/gluten intolerant in February 2009, I’ve had quite the ride over the last few years. Here’s the short story:
It’s August, 2008. Little did I know, I’d began a steep downhill slide at the hands of gluten and soy. Dizzy spells, anxiety, unexplained weight loss, stomach pain, indigestion, brain fog, ADD, and nervous system disorders plagued everyday life until the breaking point. With a diagnosis of celiac/gluten intolerance in early 2009, I began to feel relief and definitely more vibrant. Though I had reached a much better level of health, I was still experiencing some troubling and scary symptoms. Random bouts of dizziness while driving, increased heart rate, inability to gain healthy weight, and some indigestion continued. Over the two years that followed, these symptoms increased to daily occurrences and were joined by some other frightening events….
In spring 2011 just after graduating from the University of Michigan Dearborn, my health took a nosedive. I developed a lump in the throat and throat swelling sensation with difficulty breathing, which sent me to the emergency room three times over a few weeks (not a cheap thing my friends!). I even received a CAT scan and had a camera stuck down my throat, which revealed I was having an allergic reaction to something; but doctors couldn’t tell me to what. My chest had developed an unsightly swelling and sensitivity to the touch, which I now know was attributed to soy overload. I began to track my food intake, and realized that each trip to the emergency room corresponded with consumption of soy milk just before. It’s true that I had implemented soy very heavily into my diet after going gluten free and I can now look back and link all symptoms to the soy consumption.
My new allergist recently told me it was very possible that I’d developed an adult onset soy allergy, as the only other thing I was allergic to after being poked and prodded for a few hours was perennial mold (not uncommon). She told me I would have a new best friend named Benadryl, and to avoid soy completely. I now know she really didn’t do all that she could as far as testing goes. I was never tested for the IgA or IgG reaction (delayed allergic reactions) and only the IgE (severe, immediate). My believing is that I went so long having a delayed allergic reaction that my body developed a stronger, potentially life threatening IgE reaction to cope. I would love to advocate for regular IgA and IgG reactions to be given by all allergists in the U.S., not just by holistic health practitioners.
After attempting to cut out the soy, my body became more and more sensitive to trace amounts. Here’s an example: I share a desk with a vegan at work. Since her diet consists more heavily of soy products, the keyboard we shared sent me into anaphylaxis and stomach convulsions after typing then eating my own allergen-free snacks using my hands.
It is much more difficult to find adequate and complete information on the internet regarding how to manage intense soy allergies than it is on how to live on the gluten free diet. Through my own research, uncomfortable trial and error, and lots of support from my loving boyfriend, I’m beginning to feel much safer. I really feel for others that have had to go through this with little help or direction, as it seems soy has contaminated our whole society! You have only to pick an aisle at the grocery store at random (minus the fresh produce section) and take a look at each product’s ingredients; and not only in the food section. Shampoos, soaps, makeup, deodorant, toothpaste, and more contain soy derived ingredients. It can be totally scary and overwhelming, especially when soy or soy derived products are not labeled as containing soy. It’s maddening at times!! But I know it’s all worth the trouble, as my symptoms are waning rapidly. Can I get a hell yea?!
I’ve decided it’s necessary to get as much information on soy allergies on the internet as possible, so I’m officially dedicating this page to Soy-free, Gluten-free living. Here, I plan to share information, advocate for proper labeling, and provide a type of forum for the Soy-free, Gluten-free community. It’s time to roll with the punches. And um…punch some soy while we’re at it
Stay positive, focus on what you can eat, know that your body will heal from this, and embrace the day!
See the “About” tab for more information!! Also, please use the “Connect” tab for discussions on topics not yet covered in blog posts. Stay strong, be healthy, and let your little light shine!
Lots of Love,