Sure, you look for soy or nut labeling, but do you know the other soy derivatives that could be in your cereal?
So Sunday, some of you know I figured out my soy allergy includes ‘tocopherol acetate’ also known as Vitamin E. I had been eating cereals for years, wondering why I was getting so exhausted and having major "brain fog" after eating (to the point of needing a nap or else I couldn’t function) while my fingers and sometimes my face would itch. If I ate it more than twice in a two or three day period, my (tocopherol) vitamin E from soy allergy would accumulate in my system and the area around my lips and nose would itch and peel so bad, no Vaseline or lip balm could help.
I attributed it for a long time to a slight wheat allergy; because when I was little, I was highly allergic to wheat. It confused me that currently I am able to eat pasta with (usually) no problems.
Upon re-examining the ingredients, I saw the “vitamins” section underneath the “ingredients” section. There is no warning for soy or nuts so I was under the false impression that this cereal was safe.
Allergic to soy and always sleepy or "out of it"? It could be from soy derivatives.
I checked my box of cereal, which happened to be Special K with berries. I saw “tocopherol acetate” and knowing that I am highly allergic to this ingredient in cosmetics, lotions and bath products, I realized that it is likely from soy. Most tocopherol acetate in foods and cosmetics is from soy because it is cheap to add and produce. Everybody with soy allergy should know the list of all “tocopherolacetate” names and possible alternative names to avoid, especially if you are highly allergic to soy. Note: EVEN IF A PRODUCT STATES SOY-FREE, IT MAY CONTAIN TOCOPHEROL-ACETATE OR OTHER SOY-DERIVATIVES so you must always find out the source of the derivative. If it doesn't tell you the source, it is safe to assume it is from soy.
Vitamin E is added to A LOT of cereals, cosmetics and bath products (touted as not only a vitamin but is also used as a preservative). It is prevalent in a lot of vitamins and supplements, so you have to read labels carefully to be sure the vitamin E is not sourced from soy.Upon trying to make my own lotions and creams last year, vitamin E capsules and pure soy-free vitamin E is almost impossible to find. The soy industry has pretty much weaseled its way into the vitamin market and I found one bottle Solgar - Natural Liquid Vitamin E, 100 IU, 2 fl oz liquid after researching the internet and several really frustrating hours at both Whole Foods and Vitamin Shoppe. The vitamin E is sourced from sunflower oil and wheat germ oil. Vitamin Shoppe carries it as well at almost double the price.
So while scouring the aisles at Whole Foods for a tocopherol acetate-free cereal, I came across No Nuttin All Natural Granola in Vanilla Caramel. I read the back which stated: "So what do you do with a child and husband with 6 different life-threatening food allergies? After much frustration grocery shopping, I started a company so that my family and others just like us could have tasty, safe and healthy food. I worry about the details so you don't have to." After an hour of reading the backs of cereal boxes and seeing the stupid "made on equipment with...." or "may contain...." or "tocopherol acetate (to preserve freshness)" I felt like this new company gave me a hug.
While they started off as a dedicated nut-free facility, as of last year, No Nuttin became a dedicated soy-free facility in September 2012, so every product sold on their site or in stores with a sell by date after June 2013 is SAFE for nut allergy and soy allergy sufferers. Don't forget to keep your receipts for tax time!
I just tried the Vanilla Caramel granola for the first time and I can honestly say it is the best tasting granola I've ever had. It has a hint of honey which gives it just the right amount of sweet, with a warm vanilla caramel-y taste...sooo delicious. I'm actually running out to Whole Foods later to buy two or three more to have in the house so that I can add it to my apple crisp recipe or make my own granola bars and add Enjoy Life Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips, Gluten, Dairy, Nut & Soy-Free Mini Chips(Pack of 6) when I feel the urge.
The other thing to avoid is 'natural flavors' which is common in (most if not all) Coca Cola Company sodas and so many foods. While looking for cereals in Whole Foods, I also came across Kashi Organic Cereal - Island Vanilla (Pack of 4) It is non-GMO Verified by the Non-GMO Project which tells me that the 'natural flavors' in the ingredients list is likely not from soy. (GMOs are always from corn or soy or a mixture of both) Update: If you like Frosted Mini Wheats, you will love this cereal; it has that same amazing mini-wheat texture that just seems to taste even better once a little soggy from milk. Upon first bite, the vanilla sweetness seemed like it needed more, but on the second and third bite, I decided the sweetness was absolutely perfect and adding stevia or honey might be too much.
I plan on also going into the topic of food allergen labeling because I know if its driving me crazy, its likely driving all of you crazy as well, so stay tuned! For now, check out this blog which really clarifies much of the misconceptions of labeling and gets our facts straight!
Hope this is useful for all of you!