What I Learned From Too Much Tofu

I wrote this over the holidays, but I never got around to posting it then. I still really want to share these thoughts with you though, so I’m posting it now.

The short version of the story: Soy and I don’t get along.

The long version of the story…

If you follow me on Instagram, you may know that I have a slight pumpkin pie obsession. I made at least 10 pies over the holidays, and devoured them all myself. Instead of waiting for bananas to ripen for my banana pumpkin pie or cooking up a stove-top pumpkin pudding, I got lazy and turned to the simplicity of silken tofu.

During November and December I ate way, way too many tofu pumpkin pies, and finally my body had had enough.

Whispering, telling, SHOUTING! Our bodies try to be subtle–little hints here and there. We don’t always listen. My body whispered to me in the form of little doubts and mental reminders that soy should be a sometimes, not a staple.

When we ignore the gentle nudges, our bodies become more adamant with gentle shoves and shakes. My face had a few mini breakouts and my tummy wasn’t feeling too spectacular.

If we continue on in our unperceptive ways, our bodies resort to shouting at our seemingly deaf ears. After two days of feeling like a bloated balloon, I had had enough of this shouting match and was ready to listen to what it had to say.

My body reacted to soy with terrible bloating and very poor digestive flow. Soy sensitivity can cause a number of symptoms including gas, cramping, bloating, abdominal pain, or diarrhea (a.k.a. nothing pretty). My discomfort came on slowly. For a week or so I didn’t notice a thing. But eventually all that tofu caught up with me. Here’s a helpful article about soy sensitivity if you’re curious.

The good news is that it may have taken a couple of weeks to trigger my soy-related symptoms, but after just two days of soylessness I already felt SO much better! You can be sure I’ll be staying away from the tofu for a while (or forever).

I know many others who have adopted a soy-free diet and feel much better after leaving behind those little beans. For some reason I just never thought I was one of those people. My body had other ideas though, and I need to respect it and be perceptive to it.

Don’t fear the fermented beans! I didn’t write this with the intention of making you afraid of ever eating tofu again. Many people can eat soy without angering their digestive systems, and even I could probably eat it from time to time without feeling too bad. Moderation is probably a good idea when it comes to soy products, and it’s definitely something that I was forgetting in my pie-gobbling fury.

Is it restriction? I’ve heard people say that cutting out foods like gluten and soy when you don’t have a true allergy is just another form of food restriction. I understand that perspective, but on the other hand, when I feel bloated then I don’t really want to eat anything. Cutting out soy seems to be optimal for my digestion and overall physical well-being. I’d rather avoid one food and be able to eat all the others with more enjoyment than feel bloated and uncomfortable constantly. In the end I think this choice is enabling me, not restricting me.

I also don’t think that soy is in any way necessary for a healthy diet when there are so many other plant-based protein sources out there.

The true moral of this soy-filled story is to be aware of what your body is saying before it has to shout at you.

Since this was in December, I’ve now been soy-free for over a month and still feeling good. I’ve also been exploring the gluten-free thing, and that seems to make me feel better as well. So in the pursuit of optimal digestion, my diet and recipes will be shifting in the gluten-free and soy-free direction.

And my friend Rebecca (a gluten-free pro) over at StrengthandSunshine.com recently posted an awesome guide to gluten-free flours with a DIY oat flour how-to, so if you happen to be a gluten-free newb like me, or just GF-curious, then you should definitely check it out. Plus all her recipes are gluten and soy free!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on food sensitivities. Have you ever ignored your body’s clues because you really wanted that slice of bread, or that scoop of ice cream, or that piece of pie?


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