Thursday, December 3, 2009

I Love... Earth Balance Soy-Free Spread

I knew I was allergic to soy at about the age of 12 or so when I ate some Tofutti at a Bar Mitzvah, and things did not go so well for me. This had never happened before with Tofutti. It was the same reaction I had gotten when I had tried to continue to eat fish at the age of 9 like I always had, but the Tofutti reaction was worse. From then on, I stayed away from tofu and isolated soy protein, but I let myself live in a fantasy world thinking that soy oils, soy lecithin, and soy sauce were different than soy protein. That is until two years ago when I took an actual allergy test (blood-test) as opposed to the oh so intuitive body-is-rejecting-it test and I learned just how allergic to soy I was. And it was a high number. I couldn't pretend it was okay to enjoy products laced with soy, and I now accept the risks when I occasionally ingest it, usually in the form of oil or lecithin. I'll admit it. It's the one allergy I have a hard time avoiding all-together because in the US, soy is in everything (especially commercial gluten-free baked goods/mixes.) It's as American as corn. Corn is also in just about everything. Hell, they're making cups, plates and silverware out of it now. According to most sources, soy is an excellent source of this and that, but it's also one of the top 8 allergens, and we can't ignore that what may be healthy for one individual is dangerous for another. I also believe this big conspiracy theory when it comes to price points, agriculture lobbying and the FDA and what ends up in our food or being praised as being good for you, but that's just my own brand of crazy.

When I was growing up, my family was totally into the health-food thing. When the sprays came out to replace greasers, we were all over that. When spreads came out to replace margarine, we were all over that too. Butter was a four letter word in my house. In fact, I'm pretty sure at one point in my little-girl mind I thought one bite of butter could give you a heart attack. I had to break my pre-conceived notions of butter about three or four years ago when I stopped to notice that vegetable oil had gone from blends to just being soy oil (in most cases) and spreads had all become soy oil-based. The soy was making me too ill to ignore it anymore. And thus I've learned how good fats in olive oil and yes even some organic butters and cheeses won't kill you; they might even improve your health.

I went home for Thanksgiving to cook a gluten, soy, corn and dairy free meal for the family. Wait, no dairy? What do you mean no dairy? This was a challenge for me. My parents are not meat/dairy mixers and I had to find another way of flavoring and greasing my dishes. I had olive oil and veggie broth at my disposal, but I really wanted the butter there too. THANK GOODNESS Earth Balance, a fantastic company producing buttery spreads to fill just about anyone's needs, recently came out with a soy-free spread. The spread is vegan and soy-free and can be used to do anything you would use normal butter for. The nutritional facts are comparable to that of 365 organic unsalted butter; however Earth Balance Soy-Free has less saturated fat and instead replaces it with some good fats. Earth Balance Soy-Free also does contain some sodium which obviously unsalted butter does not contain. All in all, this is a revelation for allergic bakers and cooks I think. I can attempt dairy-free baked goods easier than before and certainly without any concern for soy being present.

I thank Earth Balance for noticing that they had a gap in their massive product line and continuing to strive to serve all consumers, whatever their needs. Every time I bake with you when I'm home in December, I'll smile.

*Fantastic allergy chart on their website too showing they care about you and disclose info!


  1. hey suz!

    What a great post. So does the soy-free Earth Balance really taste like butter?

    I noticed on their website they have a recipe for ooey gooey soy-free brownies. Looks yummy!

  2. I'm not allergic to soy, but I don't digest it well so I avoid soy flour and tofu type things. You are right that soy and corn are in everything.

    Thanks for linking to my blog carnival. Please go back and link to an individual post with a gluten free food idea or recipe rather than linking to your home page. Thanks!

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