The Soy Debate – Is It Good For You Or Not?
The soy controversy is highly debated these days among nutritionists. On the one hand, soy has become extremely popular, and on the other hand, the potential health risks have also become widely recognized. So, is it healthy or not so healthy to consume soy products?
The known benefits to soy:
- It can be prepared in many different ways as an alternative to meat products.
- It’s a source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
- Soy milk is a common alternative to cow’s milk for people who are lactose sensitive or lactose intolerant.
- Some studies have shown that consuming soy is helpful in increasing HDL (our good cholesterol) and possibly it has antioxidants that protect an increase in our LDL levels (the bad cholesterol).
- Even more recently, there have been some studies done on the isoflavones found in soy. Their estrogen like properties can support bone strength and improve the symptoms of women going through menopause.
The potential health risks to soy:
- Soy that is grown in America is genetically modified and usually not labeled as such.
- There are recent studies showing that soy contains phytoestrogens. If you consume too much soy in your diet you can actually produce too much estrogen in the body, which is especially unhealthy for young children and males. In women, this can lead to an increased chance of developing breast cancer or uterine fibroids.
- Soy phytoestrogens can also cause thyroid disease and an increased risk of autoimmune disease, especially in babies or young children. It’s a very popular alternative formula for infants when they can’t tolerate regular cow’s milk products.
- Many of the meat replacement soy products, such as soy burgers, are highly processed containing unnatural toxins and can contain high levels of unhealthy preservatives and high levels of sodium.
- Some people have an allergic reaction to soy and don’t feel well after consuming it or even develop hives or general itching. You may not realize it is the culprit because soy is hidden in a lot of processed foods.
The best you can do is educate yourself so you can make your own informed decision on whether or not soy is good for you and your family. If you do choose to consume soy, edamame is a good choice because it is not processed, as well as fermented tofu.
What Are The Benefits Of Eating Organic?
When it comes to fruits and vegetables especially, eating organic is highly beneficial. The main difference between eating conventionally farmed produce and organic is that organic growers do not spray their farms with herbicides and pesticides. The chemicals used have been positively linked to numerous health problems such as cancer, unhealthy hormone changes and toxicity in the nervous system and brain. These toxic chemicals were designed to kill small pests instantly, so how can it be healthy for people to ingest? Washing the produce before eating it helps, but definitely does not remove all of it. A toxic chemical residue remains.
Some great reasons to eat organic:
- You avoid all pesticides and herbicides.
- The produce is typically 25% more nutritious with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so it’s worth it to pay a little more! You’re still getting your value from it.
- It supports responsible and sustainable farming techniques, eliminating these toxic chemicals from getting into our environment (air, soil and water supply). In turn, the farmers are also protected from their toxicity.
- It actually tastes better!
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, keeps a great list of absolute foods that you should ONLY eat organic, called The Dirty Dozen, and also a list of the Clean Fifteen that are the conventionally grown foods that are safe to eat. Here is a link to their website http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/summary.php
Based on their recommendation, here are the foods you should always eat organic:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Summer squash
- Sweet Bell Peppers
- Hot Peppers
- Dark leafy greens
A few of my favorites from the Clean Fifteen list:
- Sweet potatoes
You should always wash your fruits and veggies with a veggie wash before eating them, but at least buying all of these foods as organic, assures you that you’re not consuming ANY bad chemicals!
Support a responsible organic farmer and buy organic today!
We all suffer from the afternoon “slump”, but coffee and soda are not necessarily the answer (except I LOVE coffee in the morning). We each have a unique body clock that is also regulated by our individual hormones, sleep patterns, temperature and our environment. A very typical fluctuation in this is between 2-4pm…..and well, we sort of can just “crash”. The healthy way to boost this is with a healthy food, not artificial lifts that actually can make it even worse.
Here are some great foods to turn to in order to “boost” that slump!
Kiwi. These unique tropical fruits are packed full of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They are bound to give you that great pick-me-up from a quick afternoon snack….and they are so yummy and easy to eat!
Kale, spinach, swiss chard (especially rainbow). These are easy immediate energy boosters because they are simply LOADED with so many essential vitamins and minerals that we need to stay energized. Steam it the night before and bring it with you as an easy cold snack.
Eggs. Honestly, how many articles can we write about eggs?? They have gotten such a bad rap over the past few decades, but they are truly the world’s “perfect food”. They are loaded in protein, the kind that releases energy slowly, filled with healthy fats, and the rich B vitamins that we need every day. Hard boil them and they are easy to pack and go for a late afternoon snack.
Apples. “An apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. I’ve always loved that saying. I know there’s something to it….well, lots actually, apples are amazing. As far as energy goes, they have wonderful natural sugars and they are very high in antioxidants. I’ve read some amazing things on apples (another post for another day). They are an easy on the go snack and a quick energy booster!
Raw almonds. Go nuts over nuts! These are packed full of healthy fats, slow digested protein for longer lasting energy and fiber. It’s an easy snack for a quick jolt.
The best lesson to remember is to feed your body consistently, and that doesn’t always mean just breakfast (or coffee for many of us), lunch and dinner. Learn to feed your body some healthy boosting snacks in the mid-morning and mid-afternoon to keep your metabolism revved and give you that great energy boost that you need to finish your day.
Enjoy and Happy New Year!! ( :