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.
I’ve heard some great things about the Paleo Diet and wanted to learn more about it and pass it on but keep it super simple.
As far as the food goes, there are 10 basic principles of eating on the Paleo Diet:
1) It’s a diet that is high in saturated fat, in fact, you can eat unlimited amounts. Coconut oil or butter are great examples that can be used to cook with at a high heat. But not the other suggested oils like olive, macadamia and avocado. These are great for dressings.
2) Calorie counting is discouraged and so is portion control.
3) Eat healthy amounts of vegetables, either raw or cooked but try to serve them with fat.
4) Fruit and nuts are only eaten in low to moderate amounts. Aim for low sugar fruits and berries with high amounts of antioxidants.
5) Eat large amounts of animal protein….grass fed red meat (if possible), wild caught fish and shellfish (if possible), pork, eggs, chicken and liver/organs. Go ahead and eat the fatty cuts.
6) Learn all about cooking with bones as a stock and broth.
7) Don’t eat any grains or legumes. No wheat, oats, barley, rye, corn, rice, soy, pinto beans, kidney beans, navy beans, black eyed peas or peanuts.
8) Eat how it feels natural. Don’t worry about any certain number of meals, just eat when you feel like eating. Skipping a meal here and there is okay.
9) Remove all sugar from your diet, as well as soda or packaged and processed foods or fruit juices.
10) Eat very little dairy, just butter and heavy whipping cream (unsweetened).
When you shop for groceries, a great way to look at it is you only buy products from the produce department and meat and fish departments as your main source of food. Avoid the inner aisles at the grocery store completely except for your oils and butter.
Exercise is great and encouraged, but Paleo recommends not overdoing it, so don’t over-exercise. It suggests shorter training sessions that are intense and only a few times a week.
Last of all, Paleo encourages a happy life that is stress free! Play outside, get some sun, laugh and have fun in your life, smile when you can and take time to relax. If you feel tired, then rest!
This was a concept that took me a moment to wrap my head around. I grew up with Sally Struthers in the 80’s educating the world about African children who were starving and suffering and she brought amazing awareness and compassion to this fact. However, fast forward several decades and now we are seeing the paradox of more people dying across the world from obesity than starvation. There are more than 1.5 billion people across the world that are dangerously overweight and dying from its complications….AND they are also malnourished.
So the world can produce enough food to feed those in need yet they are malnourished and obese. How do those two go together? It is a strange concept but many obesity sufferers are just as nutrient deficient (malnourished) as those people without enough food to eat (starvation). This is because the food that is being fed to the hungry and starved in many Third World countries is plentiful enough but not protein or nutrient based, because it is typically a corn or soy mixture with a sugar content. They are eating, but not with any true nourishing content. Many researchers believe that by 2015 undernourished obesity will be the leading cause of death in low income communities, not starvation.
Obesity leads to the obvious diet-related illnesses such as hypertension, heart disease and of course, diabetes. These are serious illnesses that can’t always be treated in challenged parts of the world, let alone the less serious diet-related illnesses such as vitamin deficiency, gout, mental disorders, skin conditions, poor vision, failure to thrive in infants and children and even cancer.
This isn’t just an issue in Third World countries. It is directly linked to poverty and also poor choices, which is evident in the U.S. as well as many other countries. In America, there is a dangerous trend of families substituting whole foods for their families with fast foods, processed foods and frozen foods that are not any different than the soy or corn products fed across the world to struggling families. The body stores much of this useless stuff we are supposed to call “food” as fat in the body (GMO’s, refined sugars and flour, soda products, processed sugar and high fructose corn syrup plus a plethora of trans fats). Our bodies honestly don’t know what else to do with it. Yet, the crazy part is…..we are still hungry! It’s because our body has not received the protein and nutrition that it needs so it keeps asking for more….and we keep eating more. The vicious cycle continues and the fat stores get larger and larger, causing obesity, disease and death.
The important thing is to recognize this cycle and break it. Break out of feeding yourself and your families empty garbage and instead eating whole food nutritious meals filled with healthy protein and vitamins, that will prevent obesity and permanent debilitating health issues.
These are hard topics but hugely important and have been a true awakening and eye opener for me. Wishing you all well in your new awareness of this subject and the learning curve that goes with it. Make those amazing new dietary choices today! ( :
One of the only two oils to use in the kitchen is extra virgin olive oil, which is a monounsaturated fat. It’s healthy for you for sure, but only if you use it as a salad dressing or for low to medium heat cooking. Using it for high heat cooking makes it susceptible to oxidative damage, which means unhealthy results for you.
Polyunsaturated fats (soy, corn, safflower and canola) are the WORST ever to be used in cooking at low heats or any heat, but definitely not high heats. These omega-6 oils are highly susceptible to toxic heat damage because of their double bond structure. The best advice is to THROW THESE OILS OUT!
So why should you throw them out?
There’s a giant misnomer out there that frying these polyunsaturated fats creates trans-fat. This is not the major issue. The FAR bigger issue is that it creates toxic chemicals in the process of frying or cooking at a medium to high heat, destroying the antioxidants in the oil and oxidizing the oil. The result is far worse than what trans fats contain for you when you eat them. Bad, bad, bad.
Did you know that most of the vegetable oils are GMO? This means over 90% of soy, corn and canola oils. Crazy!
Consuming these vegetable oils contributes to the overabundance of damaged omega-6 fats in our diets, which is why we have an imbalance in the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3.
Also, the shelf life of many of these oils is not very long….
So where does that leave us? COCONUT OIL ( :
There is truly only one oil that is stable enough to handle high heat or frying, plus it also promotes both heart health and thyroid function while supporting weight loss….and it tastes AMAZING!! Explore cooking with coconut oil. You won’t regret it.