the “controversy” series #2: soy

just check out the ingredients on this bad boy.

Gawd, I hate to do this one. I finally acquired a taste for tofu. Not only that, but soy’s in EVERYTHING.

… But that’s it, right? Soy’s in EVERYTHING. Doesn’t that make you question how it’s a so-called ‘health food?” If it really were so awesome for you, wouldn’t it be expensive and used less liberally?

Think about it. Soy is a bumper crop subsidized in the U.S. by the government. Just like corn, it’s used when farmers need to give their fields a little break, so there’s a LOT of this stuff going around. And since there’s lots of it, it goes for cheap. So of course, food manufacturers want to use it, so they send it off to the lab to find 2974118 million or so ways to rearrange its particles, and sell it to look like something else, ’cause it’ll save them a buck or two. So now we’ve got soy milk, soy cheese, soy yogurt, soy protein isolates for your protein bars and powder, soy burgers, soy fake chicken, soy soap, soy fabric, soy plastic (?!), organic soy lecithin (a food stabilizer and emulsifer), texturized soy protein (ew!), and the list goes on. And beyond processing a soybean in weird ways, it continues to get worse.

  • Man titties: Soy is super high in phytoestrogens. Yes, like that estrogen. Independent research repeatedly says that phytoestogrens mess up your hormones, and can mean breast cancer, infertility, low libido, and more. To put in easy terms:

An infant taking the recommended amount of soy formula is consuming a hormone load equivalent of 4 birth control pills a day! Is it any wonder we’ve seen such a dramatic rise in precocious puberty with young girls starting their periods at 6 and 7?

-quote via

  • Trypsin inhibitors found in soy can mess with your digestion of protein. Now isn’t that ironic?
  • Soy foods contain aluminum and MSG, two things you do NOT want in your body.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s need for Vitamin D. And if you live in Toronto, or a basement, or have an office job? You need as much D as you can get!
  • Soy is a goitrogen, which basically means it blocks your thyroid from getting iodine and functioning properly. Ouch. Do you know what your thyroid does for you?! It regulates your mood. It regulates your weight. It helps you concentrate and remember more.. and that’s just the beginning. You can mess with the gods, you can mess with the cops, but don’t! mess! with your thyroid!
  • If this stuff doesn’t make you question dumping soy milk in your coffee every morning, check out these testimonials.

If you want to keep soy in your life, there is an alternative—make like sauerkraut and ferment that shit! The process helps keep the bad stuff (the phtytates, or mineral-blocking enzyme inhibitors) outta your system—so fermented soy products like tempeh, nori, and tamari are safe. And don’t worry about soy milk—there’s plenty of yummy alternatives, like almond, hazelnut, hemp, coconut…

Sorry about the soy. And don’t let this make you think that all health foods are scary and trendy and potentially bad! Just beware, and at least if you don’t cut it completely, use less. Try something different. Your body will thank you.

7 responses

  1. I never liked soymilk, mostly because it’s relatively high in fat, and there are obscene amounts of sugar in it to make it taste good. Almond milk, on the other hand is awesome.

  2. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for pointing these issues out, it’ll make me a lot less likely to eat it in the future. So much vegetarian food comes from soy, though, so I wonder if there’s some alternative brands (organic?) that don’t have the same downsides?

    Ben Seaman

    • Thanks, Ben!

      I don’t totally hate soy or think it’s going to destroy the universe—but it’s definitely something we best use in moderation, or at least use the fermented forms like tempeh, nori, etc.

      As for alternative, soy-free veg food, my best advice is to avoid as much processed food as possible. You can walk into Whole Foods, and they have a frozen dinner aisle as big as any grocery store, with plenty of organic, vegetarian options—but are they any better than a HungryMan or Michelina’s? Not much. They just replace ingredients with soy protein isolates, modified soybean ingredients, and “organic” emulsifiers. If you’re wary of soy ingredients, the best thing you can do is make it yourself! Of course, that’s not always an option, so I tracked down this list of soy-free brands here:

      Hope this helps!

  3. Pingback: how to make almond milk « hello my name is

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