Frankly, I’ve never been that sold on drinking milk made from beans, or a meat substitute whose greatest selling feature is that it’s – tasteless? Hmmm – yuck. I had just enough soy growing up, as my mother explored the world of health food for her family, to have no inclination to use it in my own home. Then I read “The Whole Soy Story” and had my eyes opened to just how dangerous (and disgusting!) soy products really are! I was instantly and strongly motivated to get the soy out of my diet.
“But I thought you said you didn’t like soy?” Well, I don’t, and while I was not eating soy intentionally, I was still ingesting more soy than I was comfortable with, thanks to the fact that it is has crept into the ingredients list of a more and more items on supermarket shelves. This is due to the low cost of soy and its derivatives (soy oil, soy flour, etc.) and scientist’s success at masking its unpleasant taste through extensive processing and refining.
Don’t think you eat much soy? Listen to this…
“Between 77 and 79 percent of the vegetable oils consumed in America come from the soybean. This figure includes the bottled oil plus margarine, shortenings and butter substitutes commonly made of soy oil. Soybean oil is the oil chosen for 90 percent of salad dressings, 72 percent of baking and frying fats, 88 percent of margarine and 76 percent of salad and cooking oils. Its bland flavor and cheap price make it the oil of choice in supermarket brands of mayonnaise, salad dressings, frozen foods, imitation dairy and meat products, and every imaginable baked good, including cookies, crackers, cakes, chips, and other snacks.”
But ‘vegetable oil’ sounds so healthy, doesn’t it? I always thought so, but –
“Most of the vegetable oils sold in supermarkets are either 100 percent soy oil or a blend of soy oil with corn, cottonseed and other cheap oils. There’s nothing natural about them.
Soybeans don’t willingly or easily give up their oil. The only economical way to obtain it is to use a complicated high-tech process that includes grinding, crushing, and extracting, using high temperature, intense pressure and chemical solvents such as hexane. During these processes, the oil is exposed to light, heat, and oxygen, all of which damage the oil by creating free radicals. The resulting rancidity affects taste and smell, giving rise to off flavors, variously described as ‘green,’ grassy’, ‘beany’, ‘fishy,’ ‘painty’ or just plain ‘bitter.’
Because consumers turn their noses up at rancid oils, processing companies have learned to remove or cover up the ‘off’ tastes and odors with very high-temperature refining, deodorizing and light hydrogenation. Heavily treated in this way, soy oil becomes bland enough to appeal to the American public.”
…And tasteless enough that you don’t even know it’s everywhere.
Learn more about the dangers of hydrogenated oils in “Eat Fat, Lose Fat“.
This post isn’t geared toward explaining the why behind avoiding soy (maybe that’s for another post? Perhaps I am doing this a little backwards? ☺). Let’s just say I am passionately convinced I want nothing to do with it anywhere in my house, and I am on a campaign to rid my pantry and diet of anything containing the evil ingredient. My goal is to give you a glimpse into my soy-free journey and share tips with you on how you can avoid and replace the soy in your diet.
Ever since reading “The Whole Soy Story”, I’ve become addicted to reading labels, and I have found soy in almost every packaged product from the supermarket. Try it in your own cupboard – I found that my favorite crackers (wheat thins) were made from soy oil, whether it was the store or name brand. My mayo was made with ‘vegetable oil’ (guaranteed to contain soy oil in the blend), and so did most salad dressings I looked at. The hamburger buns on my counter were another culprit – basically any store bought baked good is gonna contain soy.
These discoveries increased my motivation to continue to try to make as many things from scratch in my own kitchen as possible, so I could use healthy, natural oils like olive, coconut, and butter. It was also the final nudge I needed to learn to make my own mayo – something I’d been putting off forever – only to find how easy and fun it actually is! I also tried homemade wheat thins and was pleasantly surprised at the results. A lot of soy could be avoided by simply continuing my efforts to make all my bake goods from scratch and to avoid junk food.
But what to do about the soy products I knowingly and intentionally use every week in my kitchen? What to do about the soy lecithin that is the essential ingredient for my homemade tortillas? What about my teriaki chicken BBQ, made with 1/3 cup of soy sauce? I will share how I faced those obsticales in a future post.
-How do you feel about soy?
-Have you taken the time to research it, or do you simply trust the manufacturer’s ‘health’ claims when they only stand to profit from convincing you to consume more of their products?
-Are you familiar with the trans vs. saturated fat debate?
I hope this post will inspire you to educate yourself, for the sake of your health and that of your family. It is part of our sacred calling as mothers to feed our families as well as we know how. Commit to checking out from the library one of the books I’ve highlighted in this post, and reading it in little moments through out the day. Choose one item in your fridge or pantry this week to experiment making from scratch. If I can do it, with pregnancy nausea, low energy and two little kids in tow, you can, too! Let me know what you’re going to try this week, and if there’s anyway that I can help, be sure to ask! Check out my recipe index for ideas of what to make from scratch this week (yes, even dessert counts!!!)