Updated: May 18
For thousands of years, soy has been used as food and medicine - outside of the western world. One of the most versatile plant foods, it has sustained life easily as long as the humble olive, yet unlike olive, because it is capable of replacing everything from milk to flour to meat and everything in between (sauce, dressings, cheese, green beans, medicines, tonics, etc) more than a few noses were collectively put out of joint.
Something had to be done to stop this simple, easy to grow plant, capable of growing in almost any climate or soil, from destroying the very industries making the most money. Such was the brilliance of the flourish of the anti-soy pen brigade with pseudo health and nutrition experts coming out of the woodwork at a galloping rate of knots, that even true experts began believing the lies. All of a sudden, meat and dairy magically became the only true, reliable source of protein and health. Protein deficiency became the number one health issue across the globe and people who cared for their health began consuming second hand protein, sourced from animal flesh and secretions, at a rate hundreds of times the RDA necessary for good health, while forgetting one little detail; to become deficient in protein, you would first need to become deficient in just about every other nutrient needed for life.
Living beings make our own protein. You heard it right. Protein is the end result of consuming a variety of amino acids which, when joined together in various chains, become protein. As a health advisor in the 90s, as awareness of soy meat and dairy alternatives began to increase, I was approached by well paid meat and dairy scientists and advertising experts who tried their hardest to convince me that I had been lied to, that soy was toxic. Around the same time, genetically modified, glyphosate sprayed soy was released and flooded the market. Even the brightest failed to get it; soy had been poisoned. That did not mean soy itself was poison, any more than the people who were increasingly being poisoned by the same pharmaceutical/ag giants were poison.
So, what are the facts about soy?
Plant hormones (phytoestrogens) are NOT animal hormones. The same people up in arms about the hysteria of some perceived hormonal damage a la The Fly or some plague-like epidemic-type movie conveniently forget the little real fact that dairy, eggs, chicken and all meat is not only a good source of real hormones capable of changing your own hormones but animals are regularly injected with hormones to force growth.
Soy will NOT make you infertile. Has no one considered that China, where soy has been consumed abundantly for over 3000 years, also has the highest birthrate?
Soy will NOT cause cancer. In fact, soy is used in natural cancer treatments with excellent results. This myth was also started around the belief that phytoestrogens were somehow human hormones, and as many types of cancer are fed by hormones, even doctors who are not schooled in herbal medicine were soon advising their patients against soy foods.
Soy allergy is real - but rare. Let's get real. Soy is now an ingredient in vaccines - along with peanuts, animal DNA, dairy, shellfish and eggs - all of which now present as severe allergies at levels not seen prior to modern vaccine development. To break it down: Soy allergy affects a little more than 0.1% of the population. Meanwhile -
Peanut allergy affects around 3% of the population.
Shellfish allergy affects around 1% of the population.
8% of infants develop egg allergy.
65% of the public are unable to digest dairy (intolerance), while up to 3% are severely allergic.
Gluten intolerance (mostly wheat/glyphosate toxicity) is linked to myriad auto immune and inflammatory diseases - affecting around 10% of the population while coeliac disease affects 1 in 100 in various levels (1 in around 5000 ever receive a diagnosis - this is how little experts consider the issue).
But soy farming is destroying the planet. Really? How selective we are! Along with broadacre,
mass scale farming in general, in which 70% of the world's food crops are fed to livestock for human consumption, in the case of soybeans, only 6% of the world's soybean cops are fed to humans. That means 94% is mass produced, GMO and done so in order to continue with the appalling livestock farming habits.
'But I can't bring myself to drink soymilk. It's gross.'
Okay. Breaking it down. My other articles go into the true grossness of dairy farming and production (1). I married into a long line of dairy farmers. the memories will never leave my nightmares. I have to live with the guilt of never being able to change things. Dairy contains everything from pus to faeces to pharmaceutical drugs to blood - and hormones. Boiling it wont change that. A child raised on soy will prefer it to dairy any day. If we are going to choose something based on an addiction, I could argue that most of us would prefer opium to aspirin, right?
'But we need cow's milk for calcium and protein.' No, we don't. In fact humans cannot assimilate dairy; we just do not have the enzymes needed to do this. Calves do, but they are killed so humans can continue consuming what their mums make for them. Meanwhile, soy is rich in not just protein and calcium but a swathe of other vital nutrients. And guess what? We CAN digest it.
'My health guru tells me that grass fed and organic raw milk is better than soy.' Good for them. Chances are, they make their money depending on it. Chinese whispers. Groups like Weston A Price are heavy investors spreading the rumours. If I had a dollar for every patient who came to me after believing the whole grass fed beef/organic raw milk/bone broth hype, slowly dying in front of me, full of inflamation and disease, whose life was turned around simply by turning their backs on these lies, and swapping out the poison for soy, I would never have to work again. Besides, consuming meat, fish and dairy creates excesive strain on filtration action of the kidneys. Consumption of soy avoids this undue strain.
Soy does NOT grow 'moobs' or man boobs. The men who are reported to have developed man boobs, in studies, have proven to be great consumers of the real hormone foods - dairy and chicken. Sumo wrestlers were often cited as prime examples. Yet the daily food consumption of a sumo wrestler reads like this -
If you are into calories, think 10 - 20k. Between 1 and 3 kilos of food a day.
Lunch is meatbroth, giant bowls of rice, sushi, meatballs, tofu, eggs and vegetables.
Dinner is fish, huge serves of noodles and vegetables.
A LOT of Japanese beer.
Think about that. A small amount of soy. But lots of wheat noodles, eggs, meat and fish. And I have heard doctors tell patients the reason they are struggling with weight is because like sumos, they consume a little soymilk...
The simple truth is, soy is a wonder food. One tiny bean can replace meat, cheese, milk and can be included as a vegetable in its own right. A single $5 bag of organic soybeans can make 10 litres of milk or a few kilos of tofu or natto or tempeh (meat replacements).
Throw them in the ground or a pot and you could feed your family indefinitely with all of the above and abundant fresh beans (edamame) as often as you like.
And apparently, we can't have that.
If you like to do your own homework as I do, feel free to compare what you think is a healthy food using a real resource (2). Funny, when you say you are eating a plant based, vegetarian or vegan diet, everyone is an expert. Your doctor will rave about the nutritional value of meat and dairy without a single fact to back it up. Get the facts - in reality, they are nutritionally devoid of anything really beneficial considering nutrients are second hand and locked away because we do not have the necessary enzymes to digest. Other than protein, iron and little calcium you wont find much.
If you would like to know more about real nutrition, take charge now.
References & Resources: