Friday, April 24, 2009

Soy estrogen, and Boys

A few people have asked me lately about soy estrogen and boys. A couple years back, the estrogen in soy was all the rage and it was said that boys were not really supposed to eat soy at all. This scare came right around the same time that they came out with the chickenless nugget, and the whole super-processed soy craze started. The truth is, yes, there is estrogen in soy. If your family eats obscene amounts of soy products and happen to have a little boy it could effect his growth and development. But frankly, if your family eats obscene amounts of anything it could effect a child's development.

When I was 9 months old, I decided (on my own) that I wanted to eat nothing but mashed carrots and sweet potatoes. My mom says she could occasionally push some oatmeal with molasses down me, but for the most part, I ate mashed sweet potatoes and carrots breakfast, lunch and dinner. About 3 weeks later, she noticed that I was a little bit yellow around my lips and nose. Then, she noticed it in my fingertips and eyelids. She was alarmed of course, because discoloration of that kind is a sure warning sign for Jaundice. So, she took me to the Dr. and after careful and close examination the Dr asked her, point blank, "What the hell are you feeding this kid?" When she explained my new found love of sweet potatoes and carrots it all came clear. I wasn't turning yellow... I was turning ORANGE.

Soy is just the same. If your diet consists of a large range of things, but you happen to have tofu 3 nights a week for dinner... this most likely will not effect your boys development. In fact, I will go so far as to say that it will be healthier than the hormone fed chicken or beef you could be giving him instead. On the other hand, if he has a big glass of soy milk in the morning, soy milk in his cereal, chickenless nuggets with french fries fried in soybean oil for lunch, and Boca burger on a white bread bun for dinner... well, yes. Your child may have a problem. You may flood his system with soy and it may start to effect his development. No one was made to eat one plant that much.

In our society, you can get anything you want... anything... made from corn or soy. In fact, your entire diet could be based on corn and soy and unless you are paying attention, you wouldn't even know it! Most fast food eaters do not understand that nearly everything they are eating is corn. Every bit of it. The corn fed beef and chicken, the french fries cooked in corn oil and made with modified corn starch to hold them together, the high fructose corn syrup that makes up more than three quarters of their 36 oz soft drink. All of it. Corn.

Our bodies were not meant to eat anything this way.

But back to soy. It is important to not demonise a food for the way people use it. Soy beans are legumes. They are a wonderful source of amino acids that make up proteins just as the average pinto bean or black bean is. Eaten with rice, they make a complex protein that is usually very important for the vegan or vegetarian diet. It isn't a food to ignore or avoid unless it has been tampered with beyond recognition by humans.

A moment for GMO's. GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organism. They are flooding our food chains right now. To the GMO corn to feed the cattle (that, FYI, are not supposed to eat corn in the first place) to the GMO soybean oil to fry our potato chips and french fries in. I wish that I could say that they genetically modify these foods to make them more nutritious... to make them better for you... but they don't. They modify these foods to make them resistant to poison. So they can pour copious amounts of whatever poison they want on the fields in which our food is grown, killing everything else living and leave perfectly 'healthy' soy and corn plants behind. Scary? You bet! If this is something you would like to avoid, here is a handy shopping list to help you. *Shopping list*

When you are buying your soy foods, these three questions will help you determine if it is safe or not:
  1. Does it have label saying "no GMO's" or "Organic" (which by Federal law can not have GMO's)?
  2. Are you eating many other foods with your soy products that are not made from soy?
  3. Is it a food that is unique to soy, like miso or tofu? (Just a tip, soy beans do not have mammary glands).

If the answers are 'yes', 'yes', and 'yes', then honestly, you are probably fine to feed this to your family without fear or side effects.



Jenny said...

My son went through an "orange phase" too. You can see a faint orange glow on the tip of his nose in his 6 month pictures.
I nominated you for the lemonade stand blog award. Thanks for your inspiration Val!

Val in the Rose Garden said...

Thank you Jen. :) That is very sweet of you. I'm honored.


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