Who would win? A healthy, nutritious plant that has been a staple in the diets of a third of the world’s entire population for the better part of recorded history…or mainstream fad science?
Such is the absurd situation we have today when it comes to soy.
Used to be not too long ago that soy was regarded as one of the healthiest foods available to us, and rightfully so.
It was domesticated as far back as 7000 BCE, and became a linchpin in the daily diets of most of the Far East, which saw the rise of some of the greatest civilizations known in ancient and modern history alike. It supported massive populations and still does to this day.
The soybean is one of the most nutrient-packed, protein-rich, and easily digestible legumes on Earth. The plant even gives nitrogen back to the soil.
So what’s with the sudden backlash against soy?
Conflation With GMOs
I suppose the first thing would be to point out that soybean crops have almost become synonymous with the use of GMOs, or Genetically Modified Organisms. Many soybean crops are indeed GMO crops, but news flash: so is virtually everything else.
If you’re not buying products that specifically state otherwise, regardless of whether it’s corn, wheat, soy, potatoes, peanuts, or whatever else, it’s likely got some kind of GMO influence.
But why does it seem like soy has been singled out? Probably because the media is constantly looking for a scapegoat.
The medical and food industry is in the business of making money like everything else, and nothing makes money like controversy. Is it true that there is a lot of GMO soy out there? You bet there is. But what does that have to do with organic, non-GMO soy? Absolutely nothing, but when you hear constantly about the “bad effects of GMOs,” and “soy” in the same sentence, it starts to rub off on our collective worldview.
The verdict is still out on a lot of GMO products anyway as to the danger they pose, but it’s a hollow point anyway. Soy is readily available in a non-GMO format. In fact, it’s possibly one of the easiest plants to get your hands on without GMO influence, since it’s long been used for vegan meat substitutes and other healthy foods, which means the products would be non-GMO anyway in most cases.
Bottom line: it’s easy to get your hands on healthy, safe, organic soy, and you should.
Allergic to What Now?
Modern day allergies are a funny thing. So many people take them super seriously, but when you stop to think about them, it gets you wondering. So certain, particular people scattered around the globe have bizarre, adverse reactions to random particular plants that we just happen to consume?
Making matters more peculiar, many of these said plants have supported entire countries and cultures for thousands of years, leading one to wonder, would their use have ever caught on if there had been widespread cases of so-called allergic reactions?
Let’s demystify something here, and it might be a hard pill to swallow for some: the vast majority of the modern day “allergy” industry is a farce. Yes, there are real “reactions” occurring, and yes, there are scientifically tested medications on the market that combat those “reactions,” but what is being presented is not what is actually transpiring in our bodies.
Food allergies or intolerances are largely the result of our bodies behaving incorrectly due to an impaired immune system. Once the intestines stop absorbing nutrients in the intended manner (this can occur due to any number of reasons, all going back to poor diet), certain compounds get isolated or interacted with in manners nature never intended, leaving our immune systems to play the part of “does it belong here.” If your body thinks there’s something in your body it doesn’t recognize, it may trigger a defense response, also known as an auto-immune response.
This is your body’s way of telling you, “don’t eat this, we don’t know what it is and it could hurt us.”
But many of us have impaired immune systems, making it a very poor judge of what is and is not safe and healthy for us to eat.
Many extremely nutrient-rich and important foods are passed up by otherwise ordinary people every day simply because they think they have some kind of “allergy” to it. This could not be further from the reality. It’s just your body misfiring somewhere along the path of digestion. Some “allergic” responses happen as early as contact with the salivary glands, which means the body equates a compound in the food as being on par with bacteria.
This is evidence of a highly impaired immune system, not a bad food.
Here’s something to note: going vegan cures the vast majority of so-called food allergies.
Why? Because once your body regains equilibrium and starts to digest food properly again, as nature intended, all of the allergic reactions vanish. This is because your body was not allergic to those things in the first place, it was just your immune system panicking because it is essentially impaired.
This doesn’t just stand true for food allergies, but ALL illnesses that involve bizarre auto-immune responses, such as hayfever, reactions to pet dander, and even asthma. All of these involve misfiring of the body’s immune system due to impaired cell function.
So it’s important to note that if you have a so-called “soy” allergy, you are likely in dire need of a detox.
Soy is just an edible plant. Your body loves edible plants. Once you clean out your body and return your digestive system back to a state of balance, you’ll be able to eat all the soy you want.
Bottom line: soy isn’t the issue, it’s your diet that’s the issue. Time for a detox! (There are also supplements out there that may allow you to digest soy protein faster.)
The Female Hormone Scare
There’s this huge prevailing belief about soy that if you eat enough of it, you’ll somehow get “feminized.” Why? Because apparently it’s packed to the hilt with estrogen. This piece on soy sums up the issue better than I ever could:
Do soy phytoestrogens have feminizing effects on men?
No, not at reasonable levels of intake. This internet frenzy seems to be based on sensationalized reports about one rare case of a man who developed breast swelling, who had been drinking three quarts of soy milk every day for over six months. When he stopped overconsuming soy, the issue resolved. Of course, nobody should eat or drink that much soy; nobody should even consume that much of any one food. Even in Asian countries, where soy intake is much higher than in Western countries, three quarts of soy milk would about 7-8 times the typical isoflavone intake.
This case is simply not relevant to people eating moderate amounts of soybeans, in edamame, tempeh or tofu, or one serving of soy milk, and scientific research documents the safety of that. A meta-analysis evaluated the data from 15 different placebo-controlled trials of soy foods, soy protein, or isoflavone supplements. The studies measured several indicators of testosterone levels, including total testosterone, free testosterone, and sex hormone binding globulin. There were no significant effects in these studies on men’s testosterone levels, estrogen levels, or sperm quality.
Another review of the studies looking at the potential feminizing effects of soy similarly concluded that there is no cause for concern. Furthermore, a recent observational study on couples using in vitro fertilization found that soy food and soy isoflavone intakes were not associated with rates of successful IVF outcomes, suggesting soy intake does not have any negative effects on male fertility.
In short, the idea that tiny particles of phytoestrogen in a little bean from a soy plant is going to transform your body is absurd. Not only this, but as this same article points out, as well as many others, these same vilified isoflavones actually may reduce your risk of cancer.
Why? Because they are phytonutrients, which our bodies literally require to function properly.
Despite their obscurity, these rarely talked about compounds found in plants are just as important as the major vitamins and minerals, if not more so. The means by which our cells are able to function at their optimal levels, the way they did when we were on a pure raw plant based diet millions of years ago, rests in these peculiar substances.
Bottom line: you don’t have to worry about infertility or hormonal imbalances when you eat your tofu.
Other Thoughts on Soy
It’s so important for vegans and non-vegans alike not to fall for medical or food industry hype. Just as with gluten, which we will be addressing in another article, soy is completely safe, healthy, and has been a staple of the diets of hundreds of millions of people for millennia.
The issue with our modern system of sensationalist news, is that money always needs to change hands. Thus, in order to stay relevant and create new products, the medical industry will often create their own artificial problems to which they provide answers for.
You see new and obscure diseases pop up every year for two reasons:
- The human race is getting sicker and sicker as they consume more artificial food, meat, and dairy, so more diseases are being discovered.
- Doctors point to a collection of repeated symptoms and label it a “disease” that they can then “treat” with costly procedures and medication.
They make a ton of money off of both of these reasons, but it can easily be argued that the second one is more lucrative. There are so many made up illnesses out there right now it is almost laughable.
I admit, I’m no doctor, so I leave the research to you, but all reliable authorities on this subject that are willing to tell the truth about the matter, know full well what the medical industry is up to. If you think restless leg syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome, adrenal fatigue, and gluten intolerance are actual “diseases”, I have a bridge or two to sell you.
In all seriousness though, these “diseases” are nothing but symptoms of nutritional deficiencies and cellular (thyroid, lymph, digestive) malfunctioning due to improper diet. That’s it. End of story.
All of these things, and more, can be cured away relatively easily with a proper diet. Always seek medical advice from an experienced, licensed medical doctor, but I would also tell you, seek out a truthful, holistic-based medical doctor that actually has your best interests at heart and isn’t in it just to make a buck. If you find that all your doctor seems to be good for is taking your blood pressure, prescribing you bucket-loads of pills, and giving you pat advice like “cut out trans fat” and “get more sleep,” you are probably seeing a hack.
All of this applies to soy allergies. Now, there are certainly great scientists and doctors out there that legitimately believe that you can be “allergic” to plants like soy, and that’s all well and good. But you want to take their advice with a grain of salt.
Instead of “treating” the allergy or avoiding the food altogether, perform a proper, full body cleanse. Detox yourself and stick to a whole foods, plant based diet for a few months. Then introduce soy into your diet in small amounts.
Maybe take a bit of soy milk in a smoothie. Eat a tiny bit of tofu. If your body is digesting plant protein the way it should, it should not react adversely to soy, gluten, peanuts, or anything else for that matter.
Have any questions about soy or other foods? Let us know!
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.