Welcome to this month’s edition of Healthy Homemakers!
Today’s post may be controversial for some, but I feel like I would be doing my readers a disservice not to post it.
I want to tell you why I avoid soy–and why you might want to consider it as well.
“But I don’t eat soy,” you may be thinking.
Actually, I venture to guess a huge majority of Americans eat soy at some point every day.
And I feel like it’s dangerous.
A few years ago, soy seemed to be a popular health food option. Full of protein and thought to reduce cholesterol and some forms of cancer, soy milk, yogurt, burgers and a plethora of other soy-substitute foods came on the market.
I remember eating soy yogurt pretty frequently while pregnant with my firstborn. I felt so healthy.
But in the last couple years I’ve become more wary of soy.
But Asians eat tons of soy, and they are known to be a healthy ethnic group, right?
The soy most Americans eat is processed. Asians primarily eat fermented soy, which reduces the harmful components of soy.
There is a TON of information out on the web about soy. I highly suggest starting here, with Dr. Mercola’s extensive articles on soy.
But why do I personally avoid soy?
1. It’s one of the top GM (genetically modified) crops. Food advocate Jeffrey Smith names 65 GMO health risks—including toxins, allergens, carcinogens, new diseases, antibiotic resistant diseases and nutritional problems—in his book Genetic Roulette: The Documented Health Risks of Genetically Engineered Foods. You can read my post on GM foods here.
2. Dr. Mercola goes into great detail about all the harmful effects of soy, but the main one I consider is that soy is a hormone disruptor. Its components sometimes mimic and sometimes block estrogen, which can cause infertility and breast cancer (and who knows what to little boys exposed to high levels of estrogen!).
3. Soy in small amounts might be fine. The problem is, Americans simply DO NOT get soy in small amounts. Put down the computer. Go look in your fridge and pantry, read the ingredient lists on your foods, and you will see what I mean. If you eat any processed foods at all, you are probably consuming soy.
Consider this list of foods that contain soy (most–if not all–conventional, non-organic brands of these items contain it):
- cooking spray
- canned tuna
- pouched salmon
- salad dressing
- other condiments
- chocolate chips
- pasta sauce
- baking mixes
- the list goes on and on and on!
Had you ever considered the massive amounts of soy in American foods? Do you try to avoid it? Why or why not?
*Disclaimer: This post is simply my opinion after spending hours of research. I encourage you to do your own research and come to your own conclusions about soy. Here are some resources I’ve found helpful:
Mercola (this link takes you to a TON of articles)
Keeper of the Home’s “The Soy Decoy”
If you liked this post, you may also like my Healthy Homemakers posts on GMO Foods and homemade disinfectant wipes.
Thanks for the info! When my son was born (3 years ago), he had a dairy allergy and had to give him soy formula (for various reasons, I did not bf). So when he turned 1, I tried to find information on the dangers/concerns of soy that I had only heard about but could not find anything. I’m so glad you posted this. I’m a vegetarian (for about 18 years now) and I’m glad to have the opportunity to research these concerns about soy, since I know I do consume more than my fair share of it 🙂 thanks again!
Thank you for the post. This spurred me to start learning about soy. I was just reading an article on naturalnews website about soy beans being processed with hexane. And I never thought twice about soy lecithin either until I saw it was in Noah’s gerber puffs. I am definately going to try to avoid soy in the future (it will be tough!)
The Humbled Homemaker
Thank you for the comments, Heather and NoahsMommy! 🙂 Heather, I believe God is sovereign, and I know a lot of people have had to use soy formula with their children. I am so thankful some of this research is now coming out. I have really regretted that I ate so much soy yogurt while pregnant! I’ve been a semi-vegetarian (no beef or pork) for 20 years (since age 10!), but I am glad to know now to avoid soy.
NM-I noticed that even the organic Gerber cereal has soy lecithin in it. 🙁 I use Happy Bellies organic cereal. I’ll be doing some reviews and giveaways of some organic baby food brands this fall!
There is SO much research out there. I hope you both will find the links included helpful! We are all in this together! I wonder what moms did before the internet? haha 🙂
What about children with milk allergies who HAVE TO have soy formula? Is there a different option? I know that the food standards are much more strict on baby food, but I have a 2 month old and really don’t want to pump his little body full of garbage.
Hi! I have had friends who have used homemade formula with a goat’s milk or have used donated breast milk instead of formula. I would google “Western A. Price homemade baby formula” for some recipes. I hope that helps! Just do the best you can.
Thanks for the advice! Going to google in the morning… Well a little later
You’re welcome! And listen, Mama…if you cannot find anything else, do not feel guilty about giving him the very BEST you can–even if that is soy formula. If at all possible, I would try to make sure it’s organic, but if you cannot afford it,please, please don’t beat yourself up and know your baby will be ok.
I too am a vegetarian (28 years now) and consume a lot of soy for protein. I better start researching this as well. Thanks for the info!
I’ve heard a lot about soy… Hmm, need to deepen my research about it.
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Thanks and have a great day!
I got off soy about ten years ago. So many vegetarians like me go to soy when they stop eating meat, thinking that it is healthy. It wasn’t until I started reading articles that I got off of soy too.
Good Girl Gone Green
I avoid soy…and I don’t really eat processed foods! 🙂
The Humbled Homemaker
Thanks for all the comments on this post. I’m so glad to know I’m not alone in this quest to avoid soy! There is so much to learn on this subject!
Awesome post! Also, some of the soy is imported but taken from the rainforest which is sad!
Thanks for linking up at Healthy 2day Wednesdays last week! Hope to see you add a post this week!
The Humbled Homemaker
Thank you, Rachel! I didn’t even know they were taken from rainforests….yet another reason to avoid them! I enjoy your blog…going to head on over to link up!
Great post, I totally agree with you about this! There is so much GM Soy out there, how could you know if the soy you are eating is not GM! I avoid it like the plague. We don’t eat any processed foods, everything is made from scratch! We recently went to see the film Planeat and there was an introductory talk by a representative of Friends of the Earth and she talked about the Rain Forests being destroyed to grow soy! It’s unbelievable how food manufacturers rely on it! So sad!
This is so right-on! Soy is so dangerous! Thank you for sharing it on Whole Health Weekend link-up!
Thanks for the post and the links, and I agree — but I cook a lot of Asian recipes. I use soy in the context of the culture; at the moment I have a gluten-free organic tamari soy sauce, with reduced sodium. It is probably not perfect, but until I find even better products, it will have to suffice. I’m not giving up Indochinese cookery, after all. I just make sure soy doesn’t appear unbidden in foods that aren’t culturally-specific, and that I try to use the right soy products for the task.
Thank you for a great article! Unfortunately, however, I can’t link to Mercola unless I pay… =(
Lea H @ Nourishing Treasures
Thank you for your submission on Nourishing Treasure’s Whole Health Weekend Link-Up.
Check back tomorrow when the new link-up is running to see if you were one of the top 3 featured posts! 🙂
When at my most recent well-women’s checkup, I mentioned that I am eating vegetarian (about 2 years now) and I attribute my better bloodwork results to that. I said that I am hoping my husband’s looks better as well, since half of my meals I serve to my family are vegetarian, and the other half are meat on the side and I skip it. She looked alarmed and said not to feed my husband and son vegetarian foods with soy more than once a week at most. Luckily I almost never eat soy. I eat a lot of beans, dairy and eggs. I don’t like eating meat, so why should I buy soy burgers that taste like meat (supposedly). I much prefer a homemade garden burger with rice, beans and veggies in it.
The Humbled Homemaker
@Country, you shouldn’t have to pay? I’ve never had to pay, but you might have to sign up for their newsletter (but you can then just unsubscribe). I’m sorry you couldn’t see them!
@Lea, thank you for hosting the link-ups!!
@Lisa, I need a homemade garden burger recipe! I have also heard about not giving soy to boys especially! I will probably be extra careful if/when God gives us sons!
Thank you all for visiting!
Debbi Does Dinner Healthy
I’ve been trying to pay attention to what I eat more. This kind of soy is NOT natural and eating stuff that is not natural just isn’t good for us. I’ve been doing research on wheat and have recently given it up for the same reasons. It’s NOT the same wheat that we grew up with. It’s causing a LOT of problems. With all this “technology” in producing foods, the amount of diseases, adhd, autism, obesity have skyrocketed. Plus a whole lot more. A lot of us need to step back and take a look at what we’re eating. Thanks for this post!
The Humbled Homemaker
Debbie, wheat may be next for us! Our daughter is currently being tested for food allergies! The state of our food today is so sad!
This is just so scary! Soy is just in everything, it’s so hard to avoid! In my household we’ve switched over to Almond Milk, which is much healthier (and tastes better too I think!) Thank you for all this info/ links.
Also, I live a gluten free lifestyle, if you’re interested, check out my new blog where I post a variety of g-free recipes!!! It’s done wonders for my sensitive stomach giving up wheat 🙂
Probably the strangest place I have found soy is in a lot of varieties of teas. I stood in the aisle at the grocery store looking for options that didn’t have it.
For salad dressings– we switched to Tessamaes or make our own. Most store options have soy.
It is crazy what all it is in!
Is there any way a company can use all non GMO “healthy” soy. I mean I have a family member that works for ViSalis and they say they use only organic healthy non GMO soy but I don’t believe that.
I really don’t know. 🙁
i have been using silk(soymilk) for my whole family. It’s organic. It shouldn’t have any problems if it’s organic
I’m afraid that soy can still be a hormone disrupter even when organic.
I can agree 100%. I had to a lot of reading up on it after I became allergic to it.