Friday, May 29, 2009

To Soy or Not to Soy?

Yesterday's Run:
5.7 miles over the Ravenel Bridge (And to those of you who asked, yes you can run the bridge anytime! Not just during Bridge Run weekend. There is a sweet little walk way for runners/walkers and a separate lane for bikers. It's basically Charleston's only hill, so I try to run over down, turn around and run over and back at least once a week. Since I've been a slacker this week, I did it yesterday as well as Wednesday to try and whip my little tail back into shape.)

It was tough for sure, and very humid. I had to take 2 walk breaks coming back over! How lame am I.

Tonight I'm taking off running to clean/study. Plus I woke up mucho sore this morning. This weekend is 100% studying...I moved my test to next Thursday so I would have enough time to study for my upcoming 7 hour test! If I don't pass, I have to wait 30 days to take it again, plus I will have to pay the test fees out of my pocket so I definitely don't want that!

Saturday and Sunday are both running days. A short one on Saturday and my first TNT "long" run Sunday morning, I am really excited to officially meet everyone!

So on to today's discussion about soy.

Recently I switched from drinking cow's milk to trying out various alternatives, including soy milk and almond milk. I never have been a huge milk drinker, I like it in my cereal and occasionally I might want a glass, and of course it's in my coffee and (sometimes) tea, but that's about it. Matt however, goes through a gallon in like negative 5 days.

But since I started up with these green smoothies, I have been consuming a TON of it as well. I have always heard a bit of noise about the negative effects of soy, but it never really pertained to me when I wasn't consuming much of it, so once I started, naturally I was curious and a bit concerned. Especially about the negative effects of soy in relation to women and breast cancer. Although it doesn't run in my family, I know it could easily happen to me, so I obvisouly want to take precaution where I can.

{I have also been researching a bit on the benefits of buying organic produce, and have been buying organic greens for my smoothies and organic apples and bananas and other produce where I eat the skin (when I can afford it). It hasn't proved to be that much more expensive yet. But more on that topic (and other rants) another day.}

So yesterday I decided to ask everyone's favorite raw foodist (I don't know if I could ever go raw...but here's to her!) and nutritional smarty pants, Gena, of Choosing Raw about her throughts on all things soy.

Hi Gena!

I've been reading your blog and I find that your way of eating is very inspiring, and extremely informative. I have always had an interest in a healthy lifestyle and I eat pretty well, although I am not vegan or raw :) I tend to stay away from most meats and I'm starting to ween myself off dairy. (Cheese is the hard part!) Anyways, I was just wondering if you could shed some light for me on soy products. Are they bad for us? Why?


Hey Kristin!

Thanks for your message! I am delighted to hear from you and so happy that you like my blog. It's not about 100% vegan or raw, my dear: it's about 100% healthiest you can be within what works in your own lifestyle.

Here's my deal with soy: if you're looking to transition into a vegan lifestyle, then I absolutely support soy as a transitional food, meaning that I think it's fine to eat tofu or tempeh as you get used to life without meat. But that's where my support ends. I'm fundamentally quite anti soy, for a few reasons:

1) Soy is heavily mucuos forming, which means it ends up clogging digestion
2) Soy affects phytoestrogen levels in the body, which means that it's not only a bit scary, but also a very precarious food for women who have a family history of breast cancer (and my Mom is a breast cancer survivor).
3) Soy slows down thyroid function.
4) Most soy is heavily processed: tofu included.

Bottom line? I'd stay away.
Thanks Gena! (Y'all should definitely go visit her site for some info on the raw food lifestyle. It's definitely not for everyone, but I still think it's fascinating and is a great healthy choice to make for yourself, even if you only do it on occasion.)

I was going to do some internet digging on the subject, but I know that you guys probably know way more than I do, so can you point me in the direction of some solid soy facts?

Do you guys eat soy? Do you worry about it's negative effects or do you think it's all hype? I hope I get some good responses because this really intrigues me!

In the meantime, I'm all almond milk ;)


  1. Personally I try to stay away from soy products. I know some soy creeps into my diet through a few of the foods I eat, but I do not buy anything like soy milk or soyjoy bars etc. I am no expert, I have just always had a nagging feeling that soy is going to be the next big scandal and have read some literature that backs that up as well.

  2. Thanks for posting!! I'm kinda scared about soy now!!

  3. Sigh. I wish we had bridges here. Or water at all, really.

    I don't drink soy exclusively, but I'll have it on occasion. Same for almond milk. But this is all probably because I am not against dairy. I have it in moderation, 1/2 cup milk in the morning, yogurt every third or fourth day, but that's because it works for me. I know whatever issues or trouble I have with food or eating do not stem from 1/2 cup cow's milk, which is organic, but that's because I just have a weird thing about food that comes from animals and what's in it.

    Anyway, I don't have super soy facts, but I'm thinking moderation would be the key here, too? Tofu, edamame, soy milk... they are not meant to be consumed en masse by us anyway, right? Maybe I'm making it too simple.

  4. Well, I haven't drank milk for YEARS. I never liked the taste of it. When I have cereal or a smoothie, I always use soy milk. After reading Gina's response, I may switch to Almond Milk. I don't know. I don't eat tofu. I eat edamame often though, which is whole soybeans. I might have to do some more research about soy now.

  5. I used to drink soy until I started learning about it too, now I try to avoid it in general but if I have some now and then I don't freak out

  6. I cut way down on soy a few years ago because it was giving me stomach problems. Being a vegetarian, I definitely still rely on it some for protein, but I've tried to integrate other non-meat proteins into my diet, too.

    I wish we could get straight answers on the soy question, though - everyone has a different opinion!

  7. We actually drink a lot of soy because Rich has trouble with lactose. I think we may switch to almond instead, or at leat alternate them. There is so much conflicting evidence out there on all things nutrition:(

  8. Hm. I've never ever tried almond milk! I'll try to make that step before soy.

  9. I never knew soy had negative side effects until last week! That being said, I don't ever eat it, so it hasn't been much of a concern to me. It's funny because everyone thinks that soy milk/tofu/etc is so healthy, but it might not be!

  10. I think there are pro's and con's to everything we put in our bodies. I use soy milk as a recovery drink (well shake) after long workouts, so I only usually drink it a couple of times a week. Everything in moderation I think is key.