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Is it Possible to be a Soy Free Vegan? - The Vegan View



The Vegan View "I am a well seasoned vegetarian and have thought about going vegan again, I still eat yogurt and regular milk and honey. I've tried to go vegan before and had serious problems with soy allergies (this was what my family doctor has told me). Is there anyway to avoid soy and still get a good protein/meat substitute?" The Vegan View Answers
VegFamily readers reply:

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Lynn
I am a vegan and am allergic to soy and wheat (so no seitan, either). I have been eating this way for over 25 years and can attest to the fact that it is possible, and every year is easier.

I make my own yogurt from almond milk and use either rice or almond milk when a recipe calls for milk. For protein, I eat nuts and most types of beans--not as versatile as soy, but plenty delicious. Also, there are veggie burgers available that don't rely on either soy or wheat--Sunshine Burgers come to mind, and I've also been eating Asherah's Gourmet burgers (if you can find them, try them--really good!). There are also vegan/non-soy cheeses on the market now, if you look around.

My favorite cookbook is "World Vegetarian" by Madhur Jaffrey--it isn't a vegan cookbook, but there are lots of vegan recipes within the book and most of them don't rely on soy. Every recipe I've tried from this book has been delicious, and I don't feel deprived when eating this way at all!

Good luck--with some research you will find foods that you love!

Charlene:
I would recommend getting a allergy test done to confirm if soy was the problem. Most likely even on a veg diet you are still consuming a lot of soy if you eat any processed foods at all.

Tanya:
You may want to check out the Halleluja Acres website. They are vegans who do not eat soy.

Susan:
Assuming that you are able to eat gluten, there are plenty of soy free alternatives. Seitan, Stir 'Ems and Field Roast come to mind. Plus, you can do a lot with legumes.

Claire
Yes! I'm a vegan, and I eat very little soy by choice. You can get enough protein from beans, lentils, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. I highly recommend vanilla unsweetened almond milk, and as for meat substitutes it's no problem to find soy free veggie burgers, they wont be like 'real meat' but still delicious, and great on a bun. I also believe they have soy-free coconut yogurt. Good luck!

Dom
Absolutely. If you eat a whole food diet it is very easy to avoid soy. Beans and Legumes contain high amounts of protein. Black, adzuki and garbanzo beans are excellent sources of protein. As are nuts and seeds (be careful not to make them [nuts and seeds] your primary source of protein as there will be too much fat in your diet). Hemp, brown rice and sprouted grain proteins are very tasty and can be added to smoothies and juice. Rice, Oat, hemp and almond milk are great alternatives to soy milk and many of the aforementioned milks can be made at home. Do you see how easy it is to have a soy free diet?!

Honey
Hi! I'm a vegan & have been for 9 years...before that I was vegetarian since high school. During my last pregnancy I became allergic to soy. I did add salmon into my diet since I was found to have a clotting disorder & salmon had natural blood thinning properties. I felt it was better than a bunch of chemicals & I had already miscarried 9 times so...bring on the fish. After the baby was born I stopped eating the nasty fish..and found I was still allergic to it & so is my Sunshine. We tossed the soy & we've been doing coconut milk inadditon to the rice, almond, oat. We've ate a lot more beans, utilized sea weeds more for our seasoning than just the extra minerals(braggs was used previously) and I've made more seitans. Getting into the habit of making seitan myself is a bit hard. I've a family of 5 so seitan only goes so far with hollow children to fill :) I also LOVE the uncheese cookbook. It has lovely recipes that seperate allergies like soy, corn, nuts so you can make something easily and soy free. They're also tasty. Bob Red Mills has gluten to make your own seitan.

Roni
It's so easy to be soyfree nowadays. Purely Decadent makes divine coconut 'ice cream' and coconut 'yogurt'. There are a number of yummy 'milks' out there from rice, almond, hemp and of course you can always make your own nut milks by blending soaked/drained nuts with fresh water then squeezing the the mixture thru cheezecloth. Add in some flavors when you're done...vanilla extract, cocoa powder, agave...yum! It's really easy to be a soy free vegan. Good luck!

Martine
Considering protein is actually ideally a product of your body's use of amino acids, your OPTIMAL protein substitute would be living greens. Get your daily green juices and/or green smoothies (60% greens to 40% fruit) and you'll be AMAZED at how functional your Body becomes.

You're not alone with your soy allergy -- I can ONLY eat cultured, fermented soy products (namely: miso soup) so I simply don't eat any processed vegan foods, at all. I eat 90-100% living vegan foods, and I am THRIVING.

I'm also pregnant, rid my body of severe Endometriosis, and healed daily migraines. I give most of the credit to the fresh, organic, living greens!

Keep it green, keep it vegan.

Jeff
I would say, "yes," but with the qualification that it's going to be challenging--not to discourage you, but just to prepare you.

If you really need to have a meat-substitute, you'll probably be having a lot of vital wheat gluten and you'll have to do some research on recipes with enough variety so you don't get bored.

Going out will pose a challenge as well since oftentimes the first thing a restaurant will provide a vegan is tofu.

If you're willing to forgo the idea that you need a meat-substitute, you could be a very happy and healthy vegan by eating a well-balanced diet of plant food. There's plenty of literature and studies out there to show that if you eat your grains, your veggies, your fruit, and your legumes, you easily get enough protein a human needs. The key is to be well balanced. Start with John Robbins's books--he's done some excellent research and resource gathering.

Your question is inspiring and I may just take my own advice and try doing the same. Good luck!

Josie
Definitely! While I started my vegan life eating a lot of soy products, because they looked like the meat products I was used to, I quickly transitioned to a purely plant based diet, sans much if any soy. The only soy I get in my diet now is the occasional soy milk, though we generally opt for almond milk. Otherwise, our meals are heavy in fruits, veggies, rice and grains, and we are very healthy and fulfilled. Every once in a while I'll take a women's supplement, though I'm not good about taking them. I don't really feel the need to - I'm healthy, happy, energetic and never sick. I feel I get everything I need, just by eating real foods!

Sarah
Of course you can be a non-soy-eating vegan! In fact, I know many vegans (myself included) that intentionally avoid soy, due to it's mucus-forming nature. If you are hoping to include dairy-like elements in your diet, I recommend products made from coconut, almond, or hemp milk.

Ana
I am a vegan and also have problems with hypothyroidism - so I don't eat soy. There are so many options that are soy-free on the market now, that it has not been a problem at all. I use rice milk for smoothies and soy-free meat substitutes and veggie burgers. I think that the taste is actually better than the soy versions.

Nino:
Avocado is a whole protein unlike meat or soy you can get all the protein you need from them add some veggies into the mix and you are sorted. do not full into that protein hype it is what the meat and dairy industry want you to believe.

Heidi:
I have the very same allergies to soy, many humans do. Facts are, they don't even know they have them. Soy is just one of the 5 most reactive foods that cause such problems for humans, the others being wheat, corn, milk and eggs. Being Vegan clears out two right away. The surest way is to only eat fermented soy which the body is really only well equipped to handle. The saddest part of this whole discovery is how long it took for me and that no supposed "specialist" or doctor I trusted knew, I found out on my own through (gasp) internet research and health/raw/veggie books. I had gone through years of pain ( I mean real pain not just the psychological )and many a soiled pair of underwear, invasive tests and being afraid to even leave my home from the fear of not being able to even make it to my destination. What we as a vegetarian/vegan population are not being told is that a vast majority of what is being sold to us, is a byproduct, the left overs. The processed fake meat burgers are full of soy that cows don't even want to eat. Tamari, Tempeh and Miso have had a place in the Asian diet for years, but the way the western vegetarian is gobbling up soy, even edamame and tofu, it is doing more harm than good. I have felt better sans soy these past few weeks than I have felt in years, and if you knew my health history, that is saying something close to a miracle. So, yes, you CAN be a vegetarian or a vegan without soy, and a happy one at that.

Katie:
My family has soy allergies and celiac disease. We follow a vegan diet. I have found it necessary sometimes (with my son,who won't eat legumes either) to supplement with rice or hemp protein powder in his smoothies. I also put coconut oil in for healthy fats. We use alot of nuts and nut butters as well. It is not always easy but you can be a healthy soy free vegan.

Jamie W:
Folks living in India have survived hundreds of years as vegetarians without soy products, haven't they? I think as long as you include plenty of nuts, seeds and beans in your diet, you should be fine.

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