If you have read Get Naked Fast, a guide to stripping away the foods that weigh you down, you already Know- the “Know no’s” list- the list of inflammatory foods that cause the body harm. When this list was put together, the soy industry was doing a great job of disguising the health issues related to soy products and their production. Marketing is such a brilliant game where people will believe what they hear without checking the details. I too was smitten by soy, soy milk and tofu, the greatest culprits of all. “yummy” I thought as I consumed these creamy soy substitutions for my dairy and meat. Quickly I learned, by research, but mostly by my body’s reaction to the product that it was not a good substitution for a healthy lifestyle.
Most of the soy that is on the market is actually very hard on our systems.
Like all grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, soybeans have a phytate layer to stop the beans from sprouting unless there is adequate moisture and warmth. The phytate layer in soybeans is much thicker than in other grains and legumes and cannot be eliminated with soaking, sprouting or long slow cooking. This means that soybeans are very difficult to digest, and the phytic acid reduces assimilation of calcium, magnesium copper, iron and zinc.
Soy interferes with protein digestion, and the soy estrogens are endocrine disruptors, (by binding with estrogen receptors) potentially creating fertility problems and breast or uterine cancer in women, and reducing testosterone in men. These soy phytoestrogens also are anti-thyroid agents, causing sluggish thyroids, possibly thyroid cancer, and weight gain.
Soy increases the body’s requirement for B12 and Vitamin D. Soy food processing results in the formation of MSG, which is a well known neurotoxin (nerve poison), and soy contains high levels of aluminum which is known to be toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys. Unless labeled organic, assume that all soybean products are genetically modified.
It is worth noting that in January 2006, the American Heart Association reversed its position recommending the consumption of soy to lower the chance of heart disease, after reviewing 22 recent studies, and noted that the FDA’s original recommendation was based on a single study funded by the soy industry.
The soy that should be avoided are soy isolate products like:
- Soy milk
- Soy protein powder/bars
- Soy nuts
- Soy cheese
- Soy burgers
- Soy yogurt
- Soy ice cream
- Soy baby formula
If you just avoid all packaged and processed foods, you can be sure to avoid soy disguised on food labels. Soy can be written as:
- Textured vegetable protein (TVP)
- Textured plant protein
- Hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP)
- Vegetable protein concentrate
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG)
- Lecithin (usually from soy)
- Vegetable oil (usually from soy)
- Vegetable broth (usually from soy)
- Bouillon (usually from soy)
- Natural flavour (usually from soy)
- Mono-diglyceride(usually from soy)
Soy infant formula is a very bad idea, as the baby gets far too much phytoestrogen for its bodyweight, which messes with the baby’s hormones even more than in adults. The estrogenic effects of soy on infants can be irreversible, resulting in delayed or absent sexual maturation in males, and extremely accelerated sexual maturation in females. Soy formula predisposes females to breast cancer and fertility problems later in life.
For those of you looking for a great dairy alternative, try rice milk, almond milk (preferably homemade- so as not to contain vegetable oil) and of course organic coconut milk- one of my favorites Yummy! (No, the fat in coconut milk will not make you fat – lauric acid is a medium-chain fatty-acid that is metabolized immediately by the liver, and is very healthful for the body due to its antibacterial and antiviral factors.)
There are ways to get soy into your body where it will not cause harm, naturally fermented and/or cultured ORGANIC soy (to avoid GMO) is very healthful, so look for foods like:
- Miso – try to find it with unrefined sea salt
- Tamari – wheat free
- Extra-firm Tofu with nigari
- Organic Edamame, cooked
- Organic Soybean sprouts
It doesn’t mean you can NEVER have soy again- like all the “Know no’s” in Get Naked Fast- it is simply information to carry around with you when you make choices for your life.
If you must have soy, have it in moderation. But be thoughtful about the amount (eat less of it) and the kind of soy you consume. A two-ounce serving of fermented and non-genetically modified soy two to three times a week is OK. It’s easier for your system to digest and won’t kill you.
In health and Love,