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To Soy or Not to Soy

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Posted on : 9:52 AM | By : Nic | In :

I've been drinking soymilk for a long time, as have the girls.  This was way before we went dairy-free, I just figured it was most likely healthier since I already had a milk allergy, if not an intolerance.  It was also pretty clear that when I was breastfeeding cow's milk made my babies cry.


But it seems like lately I've been hearing lots of things about soy and how it can be just as evil as cow's milk.  Children with autism can react the same way to soy as they do to milk, and I suspect that could be mildly the case with Annie.  If this is all true, it would be a bit disappointing since I finally have gotten used to using it (not drinking it straight, but in other things), and out of alternative milks it works particularly well in baking and things like scrambled eggs.

Studies are showing that soy inhibits the body's absorption of protein, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, with the exception of very fermented soy products like tempeh and miso.  Soy milk, the product that we use most often, is prepared by first soaking the beans in an alkaline solution which is then heated to a very high temperature in a pressure cooker.  This makes it easier to digest, since you can't eat raw soybeans,  and it's the only way to prepare them for human consumption. But the process does little except make it digestible - the phytate content (the stuff the prevents you from absorbing the minerals) is still in it too, and the alkaline process has pretty much made the protein worthless.

I always thought of the soy industry as less corrupt or powerful as the dairy industry, but I failed to realize how many products have soy protein isolate (an even worse soy product).  It gives the soy industry a lot of power to push products that may or may not be toxic.  I also used to think, "Soy has been around forever and Asian people seem ok, right?"  This isn't exactly true - soy has been around, but the Chinese people that invented it only used the fermented stuff for a very long time.  Average consumption of soy foods in China and Japan is only 2 teaspoons per day - not as much as we use.  Soy is in just about everything we (and I don't mean just 'we' I mean everyone in North America) eat now.

I found a great list of ways to recover from soy, which is something I plan to do.  This includes buying foods without labels, eating homemade broth made from the bone, and using coconut milk and fermented foods.

Comments (2)

I'm happy to hear your coming to this conclusion. You've made very good points. We used to do soy at our house, too, but after hearing the controversies decided it was not worth the risk.

Coconut milk is wonderful and we like almond milk too for cereal and stuff. We drink raw cow's milk direct from the farmer or buy "lightly" pasteurized organic dairy in glass bottles from the co-op. My daughter and I tolerate cow's milk just fine but DH and DS are more sensitive. But none of us regularly drink milk, just use it on cereal or in baking.

I had no idea! I've been drinking and cooking/baking with soy milk ever since we moved to China, only because it's much more available than cow's milk. Hmmm..