It’s a shame, Soy

I don’t want to be harsh on the soy…

…but I think we need a break.

My temperamental GI system just is not feeling it at the mo. It’s one of the obvious culprits in my diet that I regularly consume and is problematic. How do I know this? Because I follow an individualised version of the FODMAPs diet. And if there’s one thing I know about interventions and treatments (including non-hippy ones) is that they need to be individualised. So, at least I’ve learnt something from my dissertation that may help the medical world: cardiac rehabilitation following any cardiac event or intervention needs to be tailored to the needs of the patient. This may mean individualising it to the patient, or if not, to their gender since apparently men and women have different needs (especially post-MI).

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, my fave topic. I’ve been playing with FODMAPs for the best part of the year and it’s taught me LOADS about my IBS and how to manage it. FODMAPs is my IBS saviours. The most problematic food group for me, aside from lactose, is the fructan group. Fructans are commonly found in wheat (and other gluten grains), onions (always game over for me), and garlic. However, as long as I limit these on a daily basis the occasional consumption is perfectly managable. I have a hunch that soy is part-fructan too as are beans and legumes. And since I eat a pre-dominantly plant-based diet I’d rather limit the fructans so that my stomach can cope with the part-fructans in beans etc.

Want to know more about the FODMAPs diet…

The FODMAPs diet is about the overall FODMAP load in your diet per day, roughly. There are 5 FODMAP groups and not all are problematic for everyone. So, once you figure out which ones are problematic (through a lot of trial and error, and patience) all you have to do is limit (rather than eliminate) that group(s) so you’re not overloading your system with foods it can’t handle. Got it? It sounds pretty complicated, and it is at first. And it’s miserable for the first 2-6 weeks because you have to limit all FODMAPs and then slowly add groups back in, one at a time, to establish which ones are tricky. Oh, and it means eliminating a load of fruit and veg at first too (that was horrid). But once you get your head around it it’s amazing. And it’s based on actual science. Not theory or some seemingly good hypotheses that appear sound but are really quite quacky (sorry, Patrick Holford, you are one of them. I loved you once upon a time, but I have learnt a lot since). It’s also been really helpful in my continual ED recovery (after my recent mini-reapse), as it’s taken a lot of the fear out of foods and what to eat that won’t aggravate my IBS. In turn, this has meant that since returning to a plant-based diet I’ve been able to stay a decent weight (high-five!).

Gosh, I was not planning to write all that. Hope it’s been helpful for anyone out there who suffers with GI issues. I’ll probably write more about IBS and ED in the future. For me, the two are inextricably linked. And whilst I’m not a certified expert on either, I have 10+ years experience of life with IBS and ED (most of those ED years have been recovered, thankfully), I’ve read a lot and I love sharing what I’ve learnt if it’ll help even just one person.

Feel free to email me or ask me any questions etc. Or share experiences.

Over and out. x


9 thoughts on “It’s a shame, Soy

  1. super interesting stuff! my ibs/gi issues have been acting up and i’ve been trying to figure out what’s triggering it.
    corn? soy lecithin? (the only soy i eat) stevia? *sigh*
    i’ve already eliminated gluten, dairy, casein, and eggs. something’s amiss and i’d love to find out what’s making everything so wonky.
    thanks for the FOODMAP info 🙂


  2. Wow very interesting stuff! I know I’m incredibly lucky to be able to eat pretty much anything without any adverse affects – I do still try and eat some things in moderation, including soy, to make sure I don’t develop any intolerances in the future. As much of the different stuff I’ve read on nutrition – and the fact that so much of it is contradictory – I basically eat what makes me feel my best and follow the theories that make sense to me and a line with my values and outlook on life, I think thats why I enjoy veganism and raw foods so much! Hope that limiting the soy helps!


  3. Great comment, Laura! And I agree; the best we can do is to eat what makes us feel our best regardless of the theories. And eating a vegan diet most certainly helps! Plus, I often forget that there is still so much we don’t know about nutrition, food and our bodies. xxx


  4. Thanks for this Sarah: you’ve done the impossible and actually made me understand most of the concepts and thinking behind FOODMAP.

    I would really like to give it a go, perhaps once I’m in a better state of mind as at the moment any form of elimination just seems to set off binge eating and cutting things out for a fortnight (particularly fruits/veggies!) might tip me over the edge. I will bear in mind when am ODing on certain combinations though, as once I find something I like I do tend to go overboard on it.



  5. I am really glad to glance at this blog posts which consists of plenty of helpful information,
    thanks for providing such statistics.


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