Since August 2022, I started undergoing some critical changes with how my body started reacting to my dietary staples: specifically anything with soy and a high amount of synthetic ingredients.
I’m talking skin redness and rashes all over my body. It’s as if Satan himself possessed an organ in me and slapped me red in the face (and then some).
Being the responsible young lady I am, I fully dismissed these physiological symptoms as pollution troubles and random outbreaks from skincare products I tried a couple of months ago. While these very well could have impacted my skin adversely, the rashes didn’t want to leave anytime soon. It reached a point where I couldn’t focus during the day and I couldn’t sleep at night. I had to be even more conscientious of what I wore because I didn’t want them to show. These skin problems were inescapable. This went on for months. Can you imagine? Months of looking in the mirror every day horrified to be in your body (and not just because of how it looks?)?
Cut to early January—I take a long, hard examination at my lifestyle and assess the common culprits: bed sheets, sharing towels, and a diet of soy and almonds (emphasis on soy). Can you guess which one was the worst of all evils?
So yes, I don’t consume very much soy anymore. It’s unfortunate. I miss it. My doctor informed me that the likelihood of an intolerance to soy due to my particular skin symptoms is extremely high. Oddly enough, I tested negative for the soybean antigen, so I’m not allergic. Still, after cutting soy out of my diet and not changing much else, I swear on my life than my skin rashes disappeared. Yes, people could argue that I should have weaned it off gradually. I tried a much smaller amount of tofu for dinner one evening—guess what? I woke up the next morning with skin rashes for the rest of the day. It’s not easy.
With the intolerance in mind, I can’t help but wonder if only certain concentrations of soy are the common denominator. Personally, I’ve found that small to moderate amounts of miso, soy sauce, soy paper, and even a spoonful or two of tempeh don’t present the same caliber of adverse symptoms. On the flip side, I notice that tofu (even soft and silken), soy milk, soy protein isolate, and soy-based meat alternatives aren’t so kind to me. I’ve tried beans and meat alternatives that are made with other legumes like pea protein (i.e. Beyond Meat), which don’t trigger skin issues, but cause other problematic symptoms, so I can’t consume them very often. Since they along with most protein powders aren’t cheap, this won’t be sustainable. Would this mean that I have to temporarily take time off of veganism? I’m not sure. It’s a possibility; if it’s what helps me even more so long-term, I hope the time off is as short as can be (<a year).
To be frank, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my daily eats on my platform as much. I would be more than happy to share what I genuinely enjoy that doesn’t force my body through a train wreck (or if I just need a good laugh). I don’t have it all figured out. I may be in a situation where I have to eat fish and I’d rather not exhibit a photo of myself eating it or establishing that it’s mine. I’ve spent six years as a vegan and I don’t want all the time to go to waste—I know, different conversation—because I found a lot of beauty in it.
The only upsides that I could foreshadow with not being vegan for some time is the convenience. It’ll be significantly easier for me to find white meats and seafood at restaurants or grocery stores as opposed to a plant-based protein that doesn’t have soy or synthetic ingredients. People wouldn’t question where I get my protein anymore. Not to mention—my non-vegan family and friends would thank me immensely.
At the very least, I’m glad it’s not gluten or almond butter.
Leave a Reply