Sunday, November 14, 2010

“Soy: Savior or Sinner”

“Forgive me people, it has been 22 days since my last blog”. Aug! I’ve thought about this blog a lot over the last few weeks. There are so many topics that I want to discuss. The problem is, the more I learn about a specific topic, the harder it is to sift through the information to decide what is fact and what is fiction.
Most recently I’ve been researching soy. As a vegan, soy can come into play quite often in food choices, especially when eating fake meat items. Soy is in almost all vegan chicken nuggets, burgers and hot dogs. It is also commonly found in items that are vegan by chance, such as bread, baked goods and salad dressings.
Although soy has been consumed for centuries, it has traditional been eaten as boiled soybeans (edamame), tofu (soybeancurd), natto (fermented soybeans), miso (fermented soybean paste), okara (a byproductof tofu), soybean sprouts, soymilk, yuba (by-product of soy milk), kinako (soyflour), and soy sauce.  It also has traditionally been eaten in much smaller quantities than a vegan eating quick “go to” foods would consume today.

So what? What's the problem? Well, soy contains isoflavones which are chemicals that mimic estrogen in the body. The trouble is, there are studies that seem to indicate that these isoflavones are a good thing, and some that show it is a bad thing. However, the more recent research seems to indicate this is not a good thing, especially when soy is eaten in it's "isolated protein" form, ie: as fake meat and as a food additive.

What’s a vegan eater to do? Personally, I’ve cut out the fake meat almost entirely from our diets. I still have a couple of boxes of Boca items lingering in the freezer, and I will hang onto them to cook up in a dire pinch, but we’re talking maybe once a month vs. once a day or more like we were eating them. Once  these items are all gone, I will not buy more.

The kids have transitioned easier than I thought. I think this is because they’ve been eating vegan for over 9 months now, and have lost the desire to eat things that taste like meat, even if they are “fake”. Their pallets have changed so much for the better, it’s pretty amazing. Today for breakfast, my 3 year old had raw baby orange peppers, and curried potatoes. Wow!  What American three year old eats that for breakfast!

As far as traditional soy products go, I think  they are best eaten in small doses. Tofu in a stir fry…ok, tofu as a scrambled egg replacement…not ok.

If you’d like to learn more, and would like to see the article that I have heavily referenced for this blog post, please go to

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