Congratulations! It's an allergy or intolerance. Honestly, the first few months are horrible but then you figure out how to live with it and life goes on. In four and a half years I've learned a few things, first among them that milk and soy are hidden in strange places. Second is that I prefer to make new favorites rather than gag on unsatisfactory imitations of things I can no longer safely have. Here are some quick ideas to get you started. There really is plenty to eat.
Oatmeal. Flavor with real maple syrup, brown sugar, raisins, chopped apples, bananas, nuts, etc.
Cereal with almond milk
Pancakes. Substitute unflavored almond or coconut milk and 1 T vinegar for the buttermilk. Use coconut oil for the butter.
French toast. Be sure to check the bread for soy.
Meals at Home
Pasta with red sauce
Pasta with pan sauce. Use any non-cream recipe and substitute olive or safflower oil for the butter.
Pasta with homemade pesto. Leave out the cheese and reduce the oil.
Beans and rice
Beans and cornbread. Use unflavored and unsweetened almond milk for the milk and coconut oil for the butter or Crisco in the cornbread. Allow to cool at least five minutes before serving. It will be more crumbly than a dairy version of the bread but still tasty.
Cobb salad minus the cheese with homemade dressing
Tacos in corn tortillas, soft or fried at home. Flour tortillas usually contain oil and that oil is most often soy.
Split pea soup
Ham steak with poached apples
Pasta salad with homemade Italian dressing
Chicken and waffles
Shrimp and sausage grits
Corned beef and cabbage
Sandwich strudel. This is a link to spaghetti strudel. The pasta filling swaps out well with lunch meats. The bread flavor is easily changed as long as you keep an eye on the wet to dry ratio and avoid extra salt. Mustard bread with ham filling is a favorite here.
Breakfast for dinner
Zucchini fritter pitas
Tikka Masala. Buy the spice blend and mix with canned or refrigerated coconut milk. The ready to go jarred sauces usually contain milk.
Chicken and peppers fajitas
Meatballs with jelly and chili sauce
German potato salad
Vinegar based macaroni salad
Mayo based salads with homemade mayo
Maple roasted brussel sprouts
Asparagus and green beans tossed with balsamic reduction
Green beans and dried cranberries tossed with honey
Gingered fruit salad
Jello with fruit molded into a fun shape
Salad with homemade dressing
Bumps on a log, also known as peanut butter and raisins on celery
Oatmeal cookies. Substitute coconut oil or applesauce in equal amounts for the butter or Crisco and keep the rest of the recipe the same.
Hard pretzels. About half the brands I've found are soy free. I haven't yet found a safe soft pretzel.
Lara bars (commercial or homemade)
Lollipops or hard candy
Dressings and sauces
Changing out the sauce turns the same old dish into something new. Unfortunately, soy is a subsidized crop in the US. Because it's cheap it works it's way into most commercial salad dressings. Read labels very carefully. Making your own and storing it in the fridge can save a lot of frustration but don't try to mass produce unless you'll use it quickly. Without the preservatives of factory made dressings separation, thickening, and spoilage occur more frequently.
Most hotsauce (Buffalo sauce is butter based.)
Flavored oils (Read carefully. Soy is the cheapest oil and is likely to appear in blends.)
Homemade thousand island. You'll probably need to make your own mayo first.
Orange poppy seed
Commercial breads worth a look
I strongly encourage you to buy a bread machine or the book at the left (Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day) but sometimes you just want to buy the bread at the store. I haven't yet found a mass produced commercial sliced sandwich loaf we can eat but the following are worth a look. Different brands have different ingredients so shop carefully.
French bread should contain only flour, water, yeast and salt. Mass produced versions often have a much longer ingredient list.
Italian bread is traditionally made with olive oil, not soy.
Farmer's Market loaves
Gluten free products. With the rise in multiple allergies food marketers are becoming more savvy and leaving the top eight allergens, including milk and soy, out of their products when possible.
Vegan, health food, and diet bread. Neither milk nor soy is necessary to make a loaf of bread. Both are tied up in controversies about hormones. Soy is despised by those opposed to GMO crops and vegans avoid milk. It's worth a look in the health food section of your supermarket or in a specialty grocery store to see if there is a product that meets your needs and your budget.
Your suggestions and comments are welcome. I plan to get an article on sweets and chocolate up as soon as life allows. Hopefully brownies made with cocoa powder and topped with Hershey's syrup can tide you over until then.
charsy on November 29, 2018:
Be careful with peanut butter, pretzels, and cereal! Certain brands contain soybean oil!
Jessica on March 17, 2017:
THANK YOU!! I sooo needed to find this today. My 2 yr old was diagnosed with dairy,soy, shellfish, tree-nut allergies this week and I have felt overwhelmed with my lack of knowledge in this area. I went to a specialty market and attempted to buy food that my daughter could eat safely and after spending $120 on afew bags of stuff I sat in the car and bawled my eyes out.
Sve on June 20, 2014:
Udi's now makes a Dairy and Soy free white bread. It's primarily advertised as Gluten Free. Toast it and it's delicious. Thank you for sharing! It's helped give me some ideas!
jt13 on November 06, 2013:
just wanted to let you know that Crisco is made from partially hydrogenated soybean oil. I noticed it was in your corn bread recipe. The only shortening I've been able to find that is soy free is Spectrum
BrielleBartel on July 19, 2013:
Dave's Killer Bread is dairy and soy free, organic and delicious! We buy it when we're too busy to make bread at home.
Sandi on March 27, 2013:
Thank you for sharing your ideas. I just recently discovered that what I was diagnosed with as "IBS" 26 years ago is actually multiple food allergies. Since eliminating these foods from my diet my world is a whole new wonderful place! I feel so much better. I don't live in bathrooms anymore! But it is a challenge to figure out what to eat. My primary and most severe allergies are soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. I am also allergic to string beans, peas, celery, apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, plums, cherries, honeydew, cantaloupe, and cacao (chocolate). This certainly makes life interesting, but certainly doable! I am always looking for creative ideas from others who have "been there". Thanks again for sharing!
Angie on January 18, 2013:
Thank you so much for posting this from your experience! My 6-year old son has been having major health problems his whole life. The doctor suspected a milk allergy so had me substituting other sources of calcium and protein. Turns out he is even more allergic to the SOY I was using! When they tell me no milk, soy, peanut butter, and limited egg whites....I can say I feel uneducated in what to feed my child. You have helped...thanks!