Blog By carausher on 7 October 2017

Curious About A Soy-Free Vegetarian Diet?

You may be wondering, how can a soy-free vegetarian or vegan diet exist? If you are a vegetarian or vegan who struggles to get by without the consumption of soy, we are here to help!

There is a lot of conspiracy around soy – is it good or bad for you? Well, we are not here to answer this question, but we are here to offer you alternatives. Because, we know that soy isn’t for everyone. In fact, it is one of the main sensitivities or allergies the average person faces. But that’s the beauty of it – the difference between me and you – what may irritate you, may work wonderfully for me, and vise versa.

First and foremost, soy is commonly genetically modified, so please be sure that if you are in fact consuming it, you are purchasing and consuming only organic. Secondly, why is soy a common allergy today? Soybeans are apart of the legume family (lentils, beans, peanuts), but being allergic or sensitive to soy does not mean that you are allergic to the other members of the legume family! The good news is that allergic reactions to soy are generally mild, but as we all know, allergies and sensitivities can be unpredictable.

Now, if you are looking to cut soy out of your diet for allergy or health benefits, it is important to know where soy can be found:

  • Soy oil
  • Edamame
  • Miso
  • Soy (soy cheese, soy fiber/flour, soy grits, soy ice cream, soy milk, soy nuts, soy sprouts, soy yogurt)
  • Soy protein (concentrate, hydrolyzed, isolate)
  • Soy sauce
  • Tamari
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu

Of course, soy can also be found in unexpected places such as baked goods, chocolate, protein/energy bars, canned broths and soups, processed meats, and cookies/crackers. It is important to always read nutritional ingredient lists.

Many people believe adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet makes it difficult to get enough protein, especially if you are avoiding gluten and soy, that challenge may seem even more difficult. However, we are here to inform you that it is not as difficult as some may think! There are many other protein sources that can replace soy:

  • Quinoa & brown rice: delivers about 9 grams of protein per cup (and it’s gluten-free!)
  • Beans: one cup of pinto, kidney or black beans gives about 13-15 grams of protein.
  • Lentils: one cup of lentils cooked delivers 18 grams of protein.
  • Nuts & nut butters: a couple of tablespoons of peanut, almond, or cashew butter will get you 8 grams of protein.
  • Hemp, flax & chia seeds: around 13 grams in just 3 tablespoons.
  • Pumpkin & sunflower seeds: pumpkin seeds are great sources of iron and protein, containing 8 gram of protein per 1/4 cup.
  • Peas: one cup of boiled peas has 9 grams!
  • Broccoli: 4 grams of protein per cup.
  • Leafy greens: one cup of cooked spinach has about 7 grams of protein, two cups of cooked kale has 5 grams. 
  • Vegan protein powders: toss a scoop of pea, hemp, or other clean (& organic) protein powders in your smoothie and get about 11-20 grams of protein.

These items have plenty of natural protein, and are all rather versatile! You will find healthy (soy and gluten-free) sources of protein in every one of our meals. To sample any of our vegan and vegetarian meals, check out our a la carte menu here. If you’re ready to make a sustainable change, try a week of meals to really see what we are all about!

Resources

  1. https://www.foodallergy.org/common-allergens/soy
  2. https://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-4771/10-Vegan-Sources-of-Protein.html