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Welcome to “A Soy and Milk-Free Life”!

Hello my fellow soy and milk-challenged friends,

Today, rather than crying over the foods I cannot eat, longing for a scoop of ice-cream, fettucini Alfredo, or a bowl of warm salted edamame, I decided to channel my energies into helping otherwise normal people like me to find solutions for their dietary restrictions. Specifically, I want to help others learn what I’ve learned about living soy and milk-free over the past year.

I finally got so fed up with my allergic reactions and having to use medications that I decided I really have no choice but to give into a soy and milk-free lifestyle. It’s not what I would have chosen for myself if I were not allergic, but I’m certain this choice will lead me to wellness. I’m sure you’ve already discovered, this is a challenging (and expensive) process…and my learning curve has been steep.

After all this work and expense, I feel it is my duty to pass along what I’ve learned…I’m hoping this information will help people struggling with similar food issues as mine. Frankly, the effort to write this blog would be completely worth it if I am able to help just one person find some relief from their allergies or food sensitivities! And, perhaps you will feel free to share some of  your findings with me too…let’s help each other through this!

I plan to address issues like what to eat and what to avoid, skin/hair care products, vitamins, how to order when eating out, and ways to feel somewhat normal while making extreme choices.

Thanks for stopping by!


P.S. Since starting this blog, I’ve poured myself into photography. Please feel free to check out my work: and “Rena Petrello Photography” on Facebook.

29 responses »

  1. Sherri Crawford

    Thank you Rena. I have just had some allergy testing and it is the 4th time in my life (age 50 now) that I have had this testing. I am allergic to soy, green peas, almonds, and cherries. Each time I have had these done it seems to give me more or different info. I am allergic to everything outside, animals, and dust and mold. Anyway, your info is great. Thanks so much! I am wondering, did soy lecithin and soy oil cause you to react? I am reading that most people can tolerate soy lecithin and not sure about soy oil. My symptoms have been needing my asthma inhaler more often, eye watering, ecxema on my eyelids and other spots. Let me know what your thoughts are. Thanks so very much!!

  2. Through breastfeeding my son we’ve realized he has soy/milk protein intolerance. It’s been hard. It may actually also be he cause of my issues as well.

  3. Such great advocacy! I admire how you channel your frustration into something positive – by letting others know more about soy and milk allergies. Great job!

  4. Just found out I’m soy and lactose intolerant. Like you, I think it was stress induced (the straw on the camel’s back was my mom having a stroke on my 30th birthday last month). my problem isn’t necessarily itching although I have that a little, it’s stomach issues and bloating. I found this blog while researching soy and dairy free diets. Seems like these allergies are more common than I had even realized. Looks like I have a lot of cabinet cleaning in my future. thanks for being a voice behind this

  5. I didn’t know about tocopherol and will have to check labels for everything! Thanks for mentioning this! Might explain why I still get itchy rashes despite being soy free, gluten free, and dairy free and installing water softener and water filters on taps. So sick of living with rash and on meds!

  6. Corrie Piepiora

    Thank you so much for your blog! My newborn has serious milk and soy allergies, and I’m breastfeeding, so I too am living a milk and soy free life!

  7. I just found your blog and I haven’t had the opportunity to read very much yet, but I just wanted to say THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!! I’ve been soy, milk & nut free for almost a year due to an intolerance – it’s so tough, and I love reading tips and seeking validation.

  8. I’m in the middle of doing an elimination diet myself so I empathize with you. I went far more restrictive than the typical elimination diet because I had gone completly natural and still had reactions that would come and go. In the middle of that I got desperate for chocolate but it could not have soy or milk in it. Found Enjoy Life brand mega chunks, dairy, soy, and nut free, at the health food store and was pleasantly surprised to discover they were better than a regular chocolate bar. Hope this helps somehow.

  9. I very much appreciate this blog. Although this is the only post I have read so far, I’m hoping to discover more and more about this topic through your blog and hopefully many others as well! I’m twenty years old and realized about 8 months ago that I am lactose-intolerant as well as having a soy allergy. I have a tumblr blog myself that I started to track my progress throughout this lifestyle change and it’s so great to know so many others are out there! (I like to say lifestyle change, as the word “diet” often implies that it’s something you only do for a short time (; )
    Thank you again for this blog and happy eating! (:

  10. Hi Rena
    Suddenly I came up with tiny blisters on my hands & neck 2 days ago . I kept wondering what could that be and what could have caused this ? Decided to surf the net middle of night for answers. I began to understand I have a condition called Dyshidrosiss ,other than that nothing really convincing . Eventually came across and watched your video ( 3 times in a row ) .

    Guess , what did my ( experimental ) last meal include ; dried Shitake mushrooms, canned tomatoes,Tofu , pasta , grape seed oil. Other than canned tomotoes every other ingredient was my first time.

    Your video has opened a pandoras box . I hope to see the light soon but you surely have shown me, which way the tunnel is .

    Thanks & Stay blessed
    J P
    3 AM Qld Australia

  11. Hello Rena!! Thank you for doing this blog! I feel your pain and frustration, and, sadly, it’s nice to know that there are others out there that understand and are living with this as well. I wanted to thank you for your information about vitamin E…. It hadn’t occured to me that the vitamin E in skin products were soy derived as well. Not sure why since I’m such a hound for label reading. Thanks for identifying a soy free E.

    Another beauty product ingredient I am allergic to is chamomille. It is in many products as well. If you are allergic to ragweed, than you most likely are allergic to chamomille. It is also hidden by different names on the label.

    Also, my recent re-review of soy free products has been prompted by this past month of “itching red-face”. The calcium supplement that I have been taking for YEARS was the culprit… it has been soy free up until now, but now has “soy derivitive” listed on the label. ARGGHHH!!! I didn’t check the label because I trusted it. So, check that label each time. I know I will….

    Best regards, and keep up the great work!!! I’ll be following!!

  12. I was just diagnosed with a soy and milk allergy. I also am allergic to tomatoes and oranges and celery! I’m gutted that all of my lotions, shampoos etc have soy. I don’t even trust organic lines like Mrs. Meyers as her candles have soy. I don’t know where to turn and dont want to stop using my favorite face products. Did you hear back form Estee Lauder?

  13. I’m new to this soy free business!! Make-up…what makeup can I use that’s soy free? Mascara is something I haven’t been about to wear in a long time…I don’t know if that’s soy related?

  14. Thanks for providing me with a great resource. It helps to know I’m not alone in my new found struggle to live dairy & soy free. In June of this year I gave birth to my beautiful son. At around two months of age (or at least that’s when it became apparent to me) he started reacting to my breast milk. He would break out in hives, developed eczema, slept very lightly and had horrible digestive issues. I know that my milk is the absolute best way to nourish my baby so based on my own research, gut instinct and with the go ahead from his pediatrician I did my absolute best to eliminate all dairy & soy from any item I put in or on my body. Fortunately, he’s showing much improvement, but it’s so discouraging watch my son suffer if one of these ingredients sneaks past my radar, especially hiding behind a different name. As busy as I am mothering two children, working a full time job and caring for a home I have little time to do research, so I really appreciate the information you’re putting out here. In lieu of starvation and giving up personal care all together I’m eager to find products that are “safe” and hopefully not too expensive. Keep up the good work!

    • Goodness. You are not alone! I too had to alter my diet while breast feeding. My son would break out into a rash if I consumed any milk based products. I didn’t even think I was allergic at that point! I breast fed him for a year. He was also allergic to soy in the soy formula (extra gassy).

      I know this is more common than we realize. I ran into someone at Walmart not too long ago who shared her baby was allergic to her breast milk. A couple years ago a friend of mine purchased breast milk for her adopted baby and the baby had terrible rashy skin.

      My advice? Do what you can to keep the reactions down for your child so you can keep breast feeding. Building the immune system is important with your breast milk…but your baby’s immune system is working overtime to process the allergies.

      On another note, my son is now 3, and he does not have skin issues anymore after consuming milk products. I still limit his consumption of those – mainly
      because I have to – and I also wonder if he gets recurring ear infections from consumption of milk products. So, his diet does include a small amount of cheese and occasionally I’ll let him have some yogurt, but for the most part, I don’t encourage him to eat dairy products — and he hasn’t drank any cows milk in at least a year.

  15. Thank you so very much for this blog. I’ve never went to a blog before but found this tonight while searching dairy free, soy free diets. I’ve been unable to eat dairy for years, but just found out Thursday I have an almond, peanut and soy allergy as well and was told I needed to elimate the load of these items from my diet asap. I’ve been overwhelmed and honestly a little depressed. Your blog has truly helped this one person, giving me some hope and encouragement that I can do this. I too am tired of itching. I look forward to giving away my items and trying your suggestions. Thanks for your work and dedication to helping the rest of us.

  16. If soy and milk are the culprits, mothers will need to find substitute milks or start breast-feeding their babies. Rice milk is one alternative. It is gluten-free, but it has considerably less protein than cow’s milk. You can also try goat’s milk.

  17. Hello Rena!

    Thank you so much for this website and for being so concerned with others trying to avoid soy and dairy. Your website is a godsend. My husband and I have been searching for a site like this for a long time. Sharing your experiences with various products and pointing us in the direction of so many new ones that we didn’t know existed is very much appreciated.

    • I’m so glad to hear this, Julia! Thank you for taking the time to write your kind note. I wish you and your husband the very best — and please feel free to share any discoveries you learn along the way too!


  18. I’ve nominated your great blog for The Versatile Blogger Award. Just follow this link

  19. Love your story! I don’t break out in rashes but I get extreme inflammation in my stomach and get very gassy and sick. It is so scary how many products contain soy. It blows my mind on a constant basis. I started writing lists of all the foods that I’ve found that contain soy, because it is in nearly everything and most people don’t know the seriousness of it. I always have a hard time finding a fish oil and other vitamins without soy. I’m shocked to hear about the vitamin E though, that is good to know!

    I added you to the ‘Living Soy Free’ tab on my blog!

  20. The foods we eat really do dictate our health. Dairy products are unhealthy for everyone, not just you. Watch the documentary, “Forks Over Knives” for a truly enlightening perspective on how we can heal and prevent most of the aiments caused by our modern diet.

    Congratulations for taking charge of your health and eliminating products that are harmful!

  21. Hi Rena!
    Nice blog! I think you will be helping a lot of people who are going to be soon discovering their own soy and milk allergies.
    Maybe you work with Great Harvest Bread, since you already like them and help them develop a line of soy and milk free breads!
    All those years of pasta sauces! Gah!!

    • Thank you, Teresa! All your years of blogging has been an inspiration to me! Who knew years ago I would be writing such a blog?!

      Great idea about working with Great Harvest Bread…and other companies too. I’m sure they’d be interested in hearing from consumers they mostly target anyway.


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