Get the Soy Out! Part 1

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!!!)

9 responses to “Get the Soy Out! Part 1”

  1. Sarah Avatar

    We too have eliminated all (as much is humanly possible) soy from our diet. The one exception is Bragg's Liquid Aminos. It tastes similar to soy sauce but is much more healthful. We also love Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar.

    Due to severe wheat allergies (refined wheat is also a component of many foods) we have switched to Nut-Thins they are rice/nut crackers they have the same crunch as wheat thins and really satisfy that need for something crunchy and slightly salty.

    I enjoy reading your adventures in cooking/ homeschooling/ etc.

    Have a great day!

  2. Natalie_S Avatar

    Although I mostly agree with what you said I'd like to point out a couple of things. First, we are not authorized to call any food that God made “evil.” There are several places in the Bible where God clearly indicates that no food can morally contaminate or condemn a person. Yes, there are wisdom issues regarding the food we eat, but that's a different sort of discussion. Secondly, coconut oil companies have the same financial incentives to overstate their claims as do margarine producers. I believe the science (and common sense) backs up the claims that coconut oil is better for you, but if both sides have something to sell then both sides have a reason to mislead, overstate, and otherwise employ all the old tricks of advertising.

    Keep these coming. I always like to see what other people are doing.

  3. glenda Avatar

    Ever since my oldest was found to be anemic at age 2 after drinking mainly soymilk, we stopped it altogether. (He's 8 now) I learned that soy and other cruciferous foods prevent iron absorbtion so even though I was giving iron fortified soymilk, he was not absorbing iron properly. I did not completely banish my home of soy everything, but stopped giving soymilk as a main drink. I guess I really should go through my cabinets and get it all out. Though I am pretty sure that fermented soy products are generally okay now and then. (?)

    One thing that I will keep is the soybean oil, only because it repels mosquitos. I add some nice smelling scent to it and put it in a little spray bottle. We use it on our calves and ankles and it keeps those mosquitos far away. I guess they somehow know that soy is bad too!

  4. rahraht Avatar

    My youngest brother has been lactose intollerant for most of his life – he is just starting to grow out if it at 12. He drank soy milk and ate soy cheese for years, but not anymore.
    When he was about five, we were in line to get food at a wedding reception and he asked in a really loud voice “Do they have any soy sphagetti?” We all laughed, and it's been a family joke with ever since. Especially when someone is getting picky about their food.

  5. April Avatar

    I am mildly allergic to the refined soy that is found in soy milk and meat substitute products, so I avoid them as much as possible. I wonder if my consumption of soy in other food products could have something to do with my health issues (though they are minor issues, at that).

    My perspective on soy sauce is that it's a fermented product that Asians have really consumed for centuries (unlike the rest of the refined soy products invented in recent years that are touted as “healthy” just because they were originally soy beans). I suppose it depends on the fermenting/refining process, too, though. I don't know much about how they do it here in America…they still do it in giant wooden vats in Japan.

  6. Belle Avatar

    I have read many people are allergic to soy and don't even know it. Now I can see why. I drink almond or oat milk which Walmart carries.
    Whey is something else that is most products, and my sister gets very ill when she has it.

  7. DelightinginHim Avatar

    While I was aware of the dangers of soy I honestly had no idea that it was in so much stuff! wow! Going to raid my cupboard now…

  8. Miki Avatar

    I am making some pretty significant changes in our family's diet as well. We are moving away from the consumption of so many animal products (meat, dairy, eggs) unless they are organic. And since organic is so expensive, our diet will be mostly vegan. And avoiding soy on vegan diet is really difficult! But I wholeheartedly agree about its overall yuckiness, and we are trying to eliminate it as much as possible. I really wish I could get a source for raw milk!

    Anyhoo… looking forward to reading your next post on this too!

  9. The Yellow Pepper Avatar

    I loved this post – looking forward to seeing your recipes in the future….bbq, etc. I am on my own similar quest for eating healthy, etc. Love to hear from other people. 🙂

    Rebekah Woodfin Petrino

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