Theres something evil lurking in your refrigerator.
Its skulking in your pantry, too.
If you look hard enough you can find it embedded in your breads, crackers, chips, cereal, granola bars and cookies. Its taken up residency in your candy stash, your drink mixes and baking mixes. Very few foods are safe; your margarine, salad dressings and marinades are tarnished by it as well. Spreads from peanut butter to mayonnaise are rife with it, as are soups and sauces. It comprises a large portion of all meat alternative products, from veggie burgers to meatless hot dogs to chickn nuggets, and beyond.
Whats probably most disturbing about this pervasive malevolent force is that its touted as a health food.
This displeases me.
In the realm of nutrition and health, few things irritate me more than food and food products that masquerade as health foods. These proverbial wolves in sheeps clothing often succeed at convincing people of their proclaimed health-giving propensities, which are often publicized as a result of industry-funded advertising. Of these dirty rotten tricksters theres none more inflammatory to me than soy, and so today, I present to you a Struggle Muffins exposé on the demonic vegetable, so that you can be better-informed when you decide how you might fit soy foods into your diet.
If this sassy lil number sidles up to you in the grocery store, resist!
Ive been asked by many people about soy products and I always caution them to consider the research out there before loading up on soy-laden foods. Instead of launching into a diatribe about soy (as Im so often wont to do), Ive outlined some key points for your soy-consuming consideration and you can take from them what you will.
Soy is ubiquitous in the United States food supply; it comes in many forms and goes by many names, including: soy albumin, soy fiber, soy flour, soy grits, soy milk, soy nuts, soy sprouts, soy lecithin, soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, hydrolized soy protein, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, textured vegetable protein
Soy is one of the top 8 most allergenic foods in the country
Numerous health problems have been attributed to soy consumption, namely with regard to the digestive and endocrine systems, affecting the following: digestion and absorption, thyroid function, sex drive, and fertility
Soys isoflavones haven been known to mimic estrogen in the body, provoking hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms.
To their credit, the isoflavones in soy also have the ability to block the bodys natural estrogen, which prevents high levels from flooding the body, therefore lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancer, diseases associated with high levels of estrogen. Though this seems to be a win for soy, Id still say the potential dangers far outweigh the benefits, making soy a food best left on the shelf (in the box, bottle, carton, jar etc etc)
While soy is often lauded, particularly among the vegetarian set, for its high protein content, the protein in soy is actually very difficult to digest and absorb, and can cause undue digestive distress
The process of taking soy from its natural form (a bean, in case you didnt know) and making it into a food product often involves a lot of chemicals and vastly diminishes the nutritional benefits that the food in its natural state would have been able to provide
soy protein isolate, for example, was created for use in cardboard, not for food. How it got into the food supply to the extend that it has is beyond me
About 90% of the soy in this country is genetically modified, which is a whole other story for another day but trust me when I say genetically modified and BAD go hand in hand
Much of the propaganda dedicated to publicizing soy as a health food rests on research indicating that Asian diets, which traditionally include soy, are associated with lower risk of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. What the messaging fails to present is the fact that Asian diets typically include soy in its most natural form, ie the soybean (edamame) and in fermented forms (tempeh, miso, natto), which provide probiotics that encourage healthy digestion.
Furthermore Asian diets treat soy as a garnish, with average soy consumption clocking in at about 9 grams a day. American soy products often and regularly house more than 20 grams of soy in its highly processed and chemicalized forms.
Now is the time to slowly, slowly, put down your beloved balance bar or kashi snacks and back away, taking care to not make any sudden movements
Ok, Im being dramatic. But in all seriousness, soy is not what its made out to be. Like I said before, some forms are worse than others. Soy lecithin, which is an emulsifier that holds foods together and is somewhere on the ingredient list of almost every packaged food, isnt half the villain that its cousin, soy protein isolate, is. Its hard to get away from certain forms of soy, such as the permeative soy lecithin, while the soy protein isolates and soy protein concentrates of the world can be easily avoided.
I think its important to be informed about what you put in your body and how it might affect you. Doesnt it just seem wrong that something that starts out as innocuous as a soy bean can be corrupted to such an extent that it ends up in almost every packaged food on the market? Let the bean just be a bean, for Gods sake! I get the idea behind fermenting and even lightly processing foods to create oils, flours, seasonings, etc. but when a soy bean and a whole bunch of chemicals get together and this is their lovechild, theres something wrong.