The "Soy" article in this issue's 'Mothering' - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Have y'all read it?

Any educated responses to it? It has certainly made me rethink giving soy to my family except in very limited amounts. I don't have time to comment further on my initial reaction to this article. I haven't researched its sources yet either but just wondered if others had read it.
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#2 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 02:01 PM
 
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i dont get mothering mag... so i havent read it at all..

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#3 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 02:13 PM
 
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I haven't received my magazine yet. But there is controversary over consuming large amounts of soy that I do know about. Usual either surrounding the idea that most soybeans are gmo OR the hormonal effects of soy. Either way, I've read many articles supporting both positives and negatives. I myself have PCOS and once I limited my soy intake I was able to conceive within a few months after trying for MANY months. I think soy only becomes a problem when it is over eaten. SOme folks will drink it, use it as their main protein source and even induldge in soy desserts- every day... obviously that's not good. But, in small amounts, even daily in small amounts, it's my families opinion that soy is very beneficial.

Kimberley
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#4 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 04:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well I guess I'll have to wait till everyone's read it. It's real eye-popper tho. It was taken from a book about the same subject. I'll be interested to hear what everyone thinks.
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#5 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 05:08 PM
 
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can you give a biref synopsis? i don't get the magazine
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#6 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 07:23 PM
 
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What was the name of the book?

I dont get the mag either. i just read it online, so i'm always a little behind. I wish we had money in the budget for reading material.

We dont do much soy around here. I have a bit of tofu in the fridge bc ds asked for it. I figure a little bit of tofu isnt going to do a lot of damage, and it's sure as he!! a lot healthier than giving him potato chips or ice cream as a treat.

I think the fermented soys are supposed to be a lot healthier too, arent they?

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#7 of 127 Old 04-23-2004, 11:42 PM
 
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I have not yet gotten my issue of Mothering so I've not read the article yet.

I have also heard that soy can effect your fertility..seems there was an article put out a couple years back.

Anyone know where I can read more about soy consumption related to fertility?

Blissful Mama to DD-(5), DS-(6) and someone new due in November!
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#8 of 127 Old 04-24-2004, 12:57 AM
 
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As a vegan, here's my two cents - I haven't read the article in Mothering but I've read many others and my DH spent some time lately reading a bunch from reputable sources (Not Weston-Price) which didn't have any chance of being pro-meat. We've changed out diet as a result.

$.01 - Take care to look at the funding and background of most anti-soy articles and material. Most come from the dairy or cattle industry or from those promoting eating meat.

$.02 - People at the forefront of vegan nutrition and animal rights have made sure to point out that overconsuming any one food can be bad for you, and since soy has been eaten by humans for a relatively short time, we would be wise to limit our intake to a few times a week.

I'm not pro or anti soy. But I refuse to eat animals. So we've gone through our diet (spurred by DH) and noticed that there were days in which, as another poster mentioned, we ate WAY more soy than we would have eaten any other food. So I've cut back and we're eating other kinds of beans and nuts instead, I use much more rice milk instead of soy milk, and we actually pay attention to how much we've eaten that week. I know that soy, just like milk did for me, gives me gas, and I feel better when I've had less. But I'm not cutting it out altogether, just making sure I don't overdo it. That seems wise with all forms of food.

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#9 of 127 Old 04-24-2004, 06:03 PM
 
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Ok, someone (preferrably a vegan someone - Erin Pavlina... where are you?!) talk me off of the edge here ... I have been a vegan for almost 6 years now - it all started with ds's severe dairy- and egg-allergies, but we are vegan now for ethical, humane and sustainable-earth reasons too. We are healthier now than we have ever been and I can say this without any caveats.

*But* this article is super scary. The average Asian person in China, Taiwan, Vietnam...etc. etc. (according to the article) consumes no more than 30-something gms of soy per day. Compare that to the average amount of soy in one cup of soymilk (220-something). We do way more than that - every day.

At least a cup of soy milk w/ breakfast, soy milk in our hot beverages troughout the day, soy yogurt every day, sometimes tofu for dinner, tempeh less often and occasionally a soy burger, sausage or frozen desert. My kids (ds aged 6 and dd 22 months) despise legumes. Will eat nuts in only very moderate amounts (ds is allergic to peanuts). Certainly not enough to sustain a healthy growing body.

I try to make seitan from scratch often, disguise legumes where I can in sauces, hummus and spreads, but the truth is, soy (tofu, soy milk and yogurt mostly) is an often-used staple in our house for my fussy-eating kids.

Rice-milk seems to me (and I may be wrong) a nutritionally defiicient alternative and loaded with sugar to boot. Almond milk, ditto (at least as far as protein and sugar goes).

I have always prided myself on cooking from scratch, whole-food healthful meals, but now I have the wind completely taken out of my sails and want to just sit here and sob.
Can anyone give me some uplifting information?

Feeling totally overwhelmed now....

Michelle in sunny NY
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#10 of 127 Old 04-24-2004, 06:27 PM
 
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Michelle1K - I'm right there with you. We all, but especially my 5 y.o. dd, consume (apparently large !?!?) amounts of soy daily when you add the soymilk, tofu, etc.

I also have the same concerns about rice and almond milk.

I am now very concerned. Revamping our diet will be almost as major as when we gave up meat in '91!

HELP!
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#11 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 12:37 AM
 
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As was mentioned previously, the dairy and egg industries have much to gain by disseminating false or misleading information about soy. But the numbers don't sound right either. First of all, I'm Asian, and there are billions of us. We eat lots of soy. And we've been eating soy for a long, long time. If it were really bad for you, I don't think there would be billions of us. Unless it's only bad for non-Asians, which I doubt. Only 30g of soy per day? Maybe more, because we eat lots of tofu. And things like edamame, soy sauce, etc., which are all soy-based. Fears of plant estrogen? Well, I'm a man, and I haven't started lactating. I have two kids, so I consider myself virile enough, and my testes haven't shriveled up. And maybe a little plant estrogen can help me stay in touch with my "feminine" side. And 220g of soy in a cup of soy milk? That doesn't sound right at all. We make soy milk all the time with our soy milk maker (bought one from soymilkmaker.com), and we use maybe a 1/2 cup of dry soy beans to make an entire quart. That doesn't sound like 220g per serving. And people keep talking about how soy is such a new thing. But haven't Asians been eating soy for centuries?

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#12 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 12:45 AM
 
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If the article was published by Mothering, I think it's safe to assume it wasn't funded by the meat or dairy industry. You could look at the author's bibliography and research HER sources, I suppose.

I was truly convinced of the evils of dairy for a while and switched to soy milk. When I got pg, I couldn't tolerate it and went back to dairy. Someone could have written a similar article about cow's milk.

In fact, someone could write a similar article about beef, chicken, fish, or apples for that matter if you eat a lot of them. But I do agree that soy is ultra-pervasive in vegetarian and low-carb foods, so you're getting way more of it than you may realize, which is probably not good.
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#13 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 01:22 AM
 
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I've been a Mothering fan for over twelve years, even though I'm only expecting my first child this coming August. Yet after reading this article, and some of the others in the current issue, I'm wondering if it's the magazine that's changed or me. Maybe twelve years ago, I was as strident a know-it-all as many of the writers in this issue. That's not to say that they're necessarily wrong about their ideas. But I notice an underlying theme of underlying paranoia, self-righteousness, and fuzzy-headedness that makes me wonder about the magazine's editorial focus.

For example, in an otherwise compelling, reasoned, and well-documented article on medical marijuana for severe morning sickness, the author claims that only a "perverse federal bureaucrat" could disagree with her. What is she, a Branch Davidian?

But the soy article takes the Most Dubious award in my personal sweepstakes. Written by a Certified Clinical Nutritionist, it's heavily footnoted (100+ footnotes). At the end of the footnote, there's a link to the endnotes at Mothering Magazine's website. A link that doesn't work. I'm sure they'll fix it eventually.

The author has a PhD "in Nutritional Sciences and Anti-Aging Therapies" from an accredited distance-learning University in Cincinnati. This University prides itself in providing people with the freedom to design their own interdisciplinary PhD (and other) degrees. A recent accreditation review ordered unspecified changes to the University's doctoral programs. (http://www.tui.edu/prospective/notice.asp?strLink=Bb.8) A recent position paper by a panel of 51 leading aging researchers claims, basically, that anti-aging therapies are snake oil. Read it for yourself at http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?art...A8809EC588EEDF

The author of the article claims elsewhere (http://www.t-mag.com/nation_articles/302poison.jsp) that the prevalence of soy in the American diet is the result of soy industry manipulations. She doesn't seem to have anything to say about the huge body of research evidence regarding the positive health effects of dietary soy.

The article's tone is so over-the-top, and so one-sided, that I can't help suspecting that the author is a person on a crusade. (Something I think I see a lot of in this issue of Mothering, anyway.) To me, the article reads like a remake of Reefer Madness, with a different evil weed in the starring role. And the way it is written makes me more, rather than less, suspicious of the author's methods.

Examples?

Quote:
...in the years since soy formula has been in the marketplace, parents and pediatricians have reported growing numbers of boys whose physical maturation is either delayed or does not occur at all. Breasts, underdeveloped gonads, undescended testicles (cryptorchidism), and steroid insufficiencies are increasingly common. Sperm counts are also falling.
This statement is a logical fallacy so old it has a Latin name (Post hoc ergo propter hoc; after this, therefore because of this). It's also short on detail. The author doesn't say what "years" are in question. It's easy to read this statement as cause-and-effect, yet the author doesn't make that claim, does she? Notice that she does not say that there is a link between soy formula and these "reported" (any guesses what that means?) phenomena. Presumably if there had been a real association in the published research, she would have said so.Or rather, trumpeted so. What other things have occurred during those sinister years since soy milk came along to poison us all? Nuclear bomb tests? Pesticides, plastics, and pharmaceuticals in drinking water? Aspartame? Increased per capita caffeine consumption? Elevated mercury in fish? Type II diabetes in children under 6? More TV violence?

And the addition of the technical term for undescended testicles, cryptorchidism, adds nothing to the text but vaguely medical sheen. Hm, we're supposed to think, the author used a big word, so she must know what's she's talking about. What I think is, Hm, the author used a big word redundantly. I wonder why.

Quote:
There's nothing natural about these modern soy protein products. Textured soy protein, for example, is made by forcing defatted soy flour through a machine called an extruder under conditions of such extreme heat and pressure that the very structure of the soy protein is changed. Production differs little from the extrusion technology used to produce starch-based packing materials, fiber-based industrial products, and plastic toy parts, bowls, and plates.
Yet another new vocabulary word, extruder, right next to the scary, un-"natural" words machine, extreme heat and pressure, industrial, and plastic. An extruder is simply something that shoves stuff through a hole. Remember those Play-Do presses? Pasta machines? Cookie presses? Pastry tubes? Extruders, all. She might as well have said, "Pasta is made by forcing wet flour, mixed with sodium chloride and raw eggs (a known cause of salmonella contamination), through a machine that utilizes extrusion technology, the same basic process used to make razor wire, fuel rods for nuclear reactors, and synthetic petro-pharmaceuticals." Go feed that to your baby.

And also, "The very structure of the soy protein is changed? Please. Does she mean "very" as in, "our very way of life is threatened, under our very noses"; that kind of "very"? Lots of things change the very structure of proteins. Cooking it. Dissolving it in water. Drying it. Digesting it doesn't just change the structure; digestion utterly destroys the structure. Frying an egg changes the structure (excuse me, the very structure) of the protein, irreversibly. A PhD in nutrition knows better, and if she meant something specific, you'd think she'd have said so.

The author may or may not be right about her thesis. The science she's pointing to may be good. But the way the point is presented pegs the needle on my bullshit-meter. And good science, and this is my point, doesn't need dishonest rhetorical tricks.

I'm looking forward to going through some of the sources for this article, assuming Mothering puts them on the Web site. I'm betting dollars to (fat-free, low-carb, organic spelt flour) donuts that the majority were read with a selective eye to bad news about Demon Soy. I won't keel over in astonishment if the major findings from a lot of the studies contradict her thesis, but were somehow "missed" in her analysis. In short, I smell a rat.

Full disclosure: even though I eat the occasional fish, I am indeed mostly vegetarian, primarily because I don't believe in killing unnecessary, because of the environmental damage that the American meat industry causes the environment, and the suffering of the animals in an inhumane system. But I haven't dedicated my life to ridding the world of the dreaded soy plant by eating it all, either.

There are clearly potential health problems associated with overeating soy, and like all foods, soy isn't appropriate for people who are allergic to it (duh), and also maybe not for breast cancer survivors, young babies, and other select groups. But soy is clearly not the toxic waste the author makes it out to be.

All that said, I'll happily eat (free-range) crow if I follow up on the author's footnotes and find the science to be sound. But if it is, I'll be surprised. Because sound science simply doesn't sound like this article.
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#14 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 01:33 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by babycrazy
...Only 30g of soy per day? Maybe more, because we eat lots of tofu.
And she means soy food in bulk, not soy protein. About the size of three peas, she says.

Quote:
Originally Posted by babycrazy
I have two kids, so I consider myself virile enough, and my testes haven't shriveled up.
Just you wait, soysucker.

Quote:
Originally Posted by babycrazy
And 220g of soy in a cup of soy milk? That doesn't sound right at all... That doesn't sound like 220g per serving.
She says in the article that it's 220g of soy food, total, not soy protein. Soy milk is virtually entirely water. 1 cup of water weighs about 220g. So that's 220g of water, contaminated with soy, to make 220g of "soy food".

Quote:
Originally Posted by babycrazy
And people keep talking about how soy is such a new thing. But haven't Asians been eating soy for centuries?
She claims not. In fact, she says an American invented soymilk and introduced it to Asia.
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#15 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 02:27 AM
 
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I did catch on to the scare tactics in the description of how the soy proteins are made, which does weaken the point, but otherwise I found the article to be spot-on.

Please tell me what other known to be a common allergen food substance is showing up d@mned near everywhere one looks? And it's being added to Everything! I feel like I can't even buy bread, simple bread, without double checking the labels. I don't buy certain soups we used to use for fear that even that small amount might be what sets me off, or primes my system to react to something else.

Hidden dairy, hidden sodium, and now hidden soy unless one reads the ingredients labels Very closely. This is one of those allergens that can kill a person. The time I reacted from eating soynuts, I didn't wait to see if the reaction would get to the throat closing stage before I hit the Benedryl and inhaler.

If people want to eat it, fine. But it should be labelled the same way peanuts and "processed at a facility that processes peanuts" foods are labelled: Clearly and prominantly.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#16 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 02:59 AM
 
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I'm sorry to hear about your soy allergy. Do you know about this:
http://allergies.about.com/cs/soy/
and this:
http://www.food-allergens.de/symposium-vol1(2)/data/soy/soy-data.htm

Your personal problem with soy is common to people with other common food allergies. The underlying problem isn't that soy is "bad", it's that your particular allergen is everywhere, and often not labeled. If you were allergic to, oh, I don't know, jellyfish skin, would it be that much of a problem? (Yes, people do eat it.) The only worse thing for you that I can imagine might be wheat.

Wouldn't it be cool if there were a kit you could use to test samples of food for your particular allergen? Restaurants must be a challenge, too.

--ftcmj
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#17 of 127 Old 04-25-2004, 03:19 AM
 
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#18 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 07:58 AM
 
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DH and I are in a bit of a panic after reading this too. Glad this thread has started and I will follow closely!
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#19 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 09:56 AM
 
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"Rice-milk seems to me (and I may be wrong) a nutritionally defiicient alternative and loaded with sugar to boot. "

We use the 365 brand of rice milk that Whole Foods sells. It's enriched like soy milk, so it has all the same vitamins and such.

Midwife (CPM, LDM) and homeschooling mama to:
13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#20 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 11:06 AM
 
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My two cents: We use Rice Dream, its made with organically grown Brown Rice and has NO ADDED Sugar (soy milk has added sugar). Now that said we don't drink it like milk, we only drink water and occasionally juice. We just use it as a substitute in baking when the recipe calls for dairy
Sebrina
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#21 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 11:33 AM
 
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I can't figure out how to subscibe to this thread without posting so just wanted to say that I'm glad this thread has been started and I look forward to following it.

My mother and aunt have been talking about the "evils" of soy a LOT lately and I've been kind of ignoring them...just taking a "everything in moderation" approach....but now I'm feeling a little differently after reading the same information in Mothering mag.

Anxiously awaiting posts from Cathe and Erin Pavlina and....

~Erin
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#22 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 11:35 AM
 
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T Just figured out how to subscribe...it's up top in the "thread tools" pull down menu.
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#23 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 11:40 AM
 
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Sebrinaw, I have looked at the Rice Dream Original Enriched and right now that looks like the only viable alternative to me (brown rice syrup and organic brown rice) - although I am still not happy with the amount of sugars (11 gms, I think?) and the very small amount of protein per serving (compared to soy milk). But at least it is fortified with B12, calcium and other essential vits.

<sigh>

I am beginning to feel that we should just stop trying to imitate a substance that comes from an animal's mammary glands and drink water, herbal beverages and freshly squeezed juice instead. : I doubt that I'll ever cut out tofu, tempeh and miso / shoyu though - perhaps cutting back is prudent regardless...

Warmly,
Michelle in NY
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#24 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 11:43 AM
 
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A couple things come to mind. Yes anything, when overconsumed might be bad for you. Everyone is different, not all things affect everyone the same way. All non-dairy milks are sweetened unless you specifically but an unsweetened one. Most of them are also fortified with calcium, vitamin A & vitamin D. Americans eat way too much protein, so don't be concerned with trading up rice/almond/oat milk for your soy milk once in a while. Boys and girls for that matter are more likely to have genital problems (breast growth, etc.) from hormones in meat & dairy than from soy. I love soy and have four kids-no fertility problems here, but Jane Doe could have fertility problems from soy because we are different people and different things might cause her problems than cause me problems. We use rice, soy & almond milk. Eat soy products, but LOTS of other products too. If I felt like soy was causing a problem with any of us, I'd deal with it. Point being, blanket statements about anything are usually pretty extreme. Are Big Macs bad for you? Yes, but Joe Schmo might have a heart attack at age 38 after eating one Big Mac a year and Bill Schmo might live to be 138 after eating one every day. Nutrition is a very personalized issue and you have to do what's best for you & your family.
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#25 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 12:18 PM
 
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"I am beginning to feel that we should just stop trying to imitate a substance that comes from an animal's mammary glands and drink water, herbal beverages and freshly squeezed juice instead"

I agree 100% with this. We feel as a society that we need to drink milk and eat meat, so if we choose not to eat or drink those things we feel we must replace them with something that looks like or tastes like it. IWe don't drink soy milk because we don't like the way ity tastes. When we are thirsty we have to stop thinking we need something that tastes "good" and instead reach for water My opinion for my family only

BTW, the rice dream in the carton, the non-refridgerated one has no added sweetener, just water, organically grown brown rice(partially milled), monounsaturated salflower oil and sea salt.
Sebrina
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#26 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 01:05 PM
 
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Well, I got the mag at the store and read the article and at first it put me into a panic... then I started thinking... my family does proabably eat too much soy. Since going veggie 5 years ago we have yet to beable to give up our dairy and when we have we have replaced it with soy "like foods". Soy yogurt, soy milk, soy dogs, soy cheese, soy ice cream etc.
I think the thing I did get from the article, is that any food can be over done. I think maybe what we will do is just try eating more other foods. Someone said it above that we feel like it has to be animal like to eat it. Which for my family has been true. A better more healthy veggie diet would be one that centers on grains, beans, veggies and fruit and not so much on the overly processed foods we eat.
Which also brings me to this... ANYTHING can be bad if it is way over processed. I mean look at the lable of anything, if it has 100 ingredients it probably isn't good for you. AND, anything can be over done. I mean if you depend on one food to give you all you need you are going to miss out.
So that is what I learned, maybe we need to cut back on our overly processed soy.
I also felt that a few of the statements in the article where also the same stuff you read about cows milk. I think I will have to do my own research

H

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#27 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 01:09 PM
 
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I haven't read the Mothering article so I can't comment on it. However, here are my thoughts on soy and the controversy.

1. Soy itself is not harmful. In fact it has many documented health benefits.

2. However, over-processed soy is not extraordinarily healthy and does not offer the same healthy effects as does soy in its more natural state.

3. The phyto estrogens in soy do not cause the same problems as the estrogen found in cow's milk, or any other animal milk, which can cause premature puberty and enlarged breasts in boys. Soy phytoestrogens are a totally different estrogen than the kind most people think of (relating to pubery and womanly things and such). So don't let that talk scare you.

4. Because of the large amount of soy often found in a vegan diet, we have chosen to limit our intake of overprocessed soy products. We drink enriched plain rice milk and use that in place of "milk". We limit our intake of veggie burgers, soy yogurt, soy ice cream, etc but we do still eat them. We still eat tofu because we like the calicum factor.

5. I still believe soy is way better than animal products in terms of health. But I will say that overprocessed soy products should be used in moderation.

6. Soy Formula does scare me. I would avoid any formula period, and I strongly urge vegan women to breastfeed for a minimum of the first year becuase otherwise you'll have to supplement with soy formula. Also, I would severely limit soy intake in children under 2 years of age due to allergy concerns.

That's it from me. Good forms of soy include tempeh and edamame.
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#28 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 01:52 PM
 
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I, too, found the citations in the article to be misleading. I am going to paste here part of my response to this article on the vegfamily boards:

The author stated that soy in a pg woman's diet causes penile deformities. Her citiation for this was a study done on rats that were fed high levels of genistein (a component of soy ).

The author does have a PhD, & I would assume some education in statistics. It seems that a majority of the article focused on the dangers of soy formula (which I don't think is a fair condemnation of all soy products). She stated that the higher instance of early puberty among African American girls can be likely tied to the fact that they are more often fed soybased formula due to perceived or real lactose intolerances and that soy contains estrogens. Anyone who has ever taken statistics and research methods knows that correlation is not causation!

The statement that AA girls are more often fed soy formula & they are more often reaching early puberty does not prove causation. She completely ignored the fact that young AA girls are more likely to be overweight than young girls from the other ethnic groups she compared them to. Being overweight is a well accepted cause of early puberty.

I found a lot of the article to be inflamatory. Part of what bothered me the most is that the author seemed to imply that dairy was better than soy. Regardless of whether we should be relying on soy as heavily as some people do, I find the idea that dairy is better to be ludicrist. If there is no historical precident for eating lots of soy (as the author claims), there is certainly no evolutionary precident for humans consuming the milk of another species.

I do question the claim that Asians have not historically eaten much soy, although I have not researched it yet. One of my good friends who is from Japan has told me that the average Japanese diet has changed in the past few generations and that a majority of Japanese eat a good amount of dairy now a days, and less soy. This may be reflected in the authors citations for the amount of soy eaten by Asians. However, my friend has told me that prior generations ate significantly more soy than current generations.
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#29 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 02:02 PM
 
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I agree 100% with ftcmj - this article was anything but the "Whole Story" it claimed to be. It was written with one intention, to scare people away from soy. There are VERY powerful forces behind trying to make soy look bad (the dairy and beef industry - which are billion dollar industries), so be leery at just believing this kind of biased article at first glance.

One thing that made me raise my eyebrows after reading that article was that on one of the first pages of the magazine is a FULL page ad for, guess what, cow's milk...
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#30 of 127 Old 04-26-2004, 02:12 PM
 
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*sigh* Where is Hilary when you need her? Unfermented soy in huge quantities can be detrimental! IT's been documented for some time now! I haven't read the article, so I can't comment on that, but IMHO to base the majority of one's diet on *one* thing is asking for trouble! Soy, in moderation is just fine health wise! Too much is not.

Put it into perspective: Lots of people here have problems with fruit juices. One glass of orange juice is the equivalent to like 5 oranges. When was the last time you sat down and ate 5 or 10 oranges in a sitting? How many soy beans does it take to make a single serving of tofu? Could you sit down and eat that many soy beans 3-6 times a day?

Just food for thought....

Mama to Thing 1 and Thing 2.
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