I fell in love with Chinese Medicine because it is so balanced. Chinese Nutrition is really about the Middle Way. When I was in my twenties and I was searching for a cure for my migraine headaches I lived in Health Food Stores – and I researched and visited Healing Gurus around the world as I pursued my career in television. I remember that Macrobiotics was very popular and people were constantly trying to convert me. I remember looking at many of them and thinking you have 3 hairs on your head – your skin looks gray and you’re only twenty-five – so why should I listen to you ~ and yes sometimes I voiced my thoughts. I still feel that way today ~ my hair color is still the one I was born with and my skin is holding up. As friends and later colleagues embraced the Church of Soy ~ I just never bought into it.
Soy has become synonymous with healthy eating. Who hasn’t heard of the benefits of Soy? Even Dr.Weil has jumped onto the Soy band wagon. The USDA recently approved the use of Soy in children’s school lunches. But could something that sounds so healthy actually be dangerous? Before you reach for that next bite of tofu and wash it down with some great tasting soy milk, I want to share with you ~ the Dark side of Soy.
When I was studying Oriental Medicine I discovered Sally Fallon the author of Nourishing Traditions: “The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.” I credit her and The Weston A. Price Foundation, Washington, DC. with much of this research and with not being afraid to voice it.
There has been a decade-long marketing campaign to gain consumer acceptance of tofu, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy cheese, soy sausage and soy derivatives, particularly soy isoflavones like genistein and diadzen, the estrogen-like compounds found in soybeans.
The propaganda that has created the Soy Sales Miracle is all the more remarkable because, the soybean was considered unfit to eat – even in Asia. During the Chou Dynasty (1134-246 BC) apparently the soy plant was initially used in crop rotations as a method of fixing nitrogen.
The soybean did not serve as a food until the discovery of fermentation techniques, sometime during the Chou Dynasty. The first Soy foods were fermented products like tempeh, natto, miso and soy sauce.
The Chinese did not eat unfermented soybeans as they did other legumes such as lentils because the soybean contains large quantities of natural toxins or “antinutrients”. First among them are potent enzyme inhibitors that block the action of trypsin and other enzymes needed for protein digestion. In test animals, diets high in trypsin inhibitors cause enlargement and pathological conditions of the pancreas, including cancer.
Soybeans also contain hemagglutinin, a clot-promoting substance that causes red blood cells to clump together. Trypsin inhibitors and hemagglutinin are growth inhibitors. Rats fed soy containing these antinutrients fail to grow normally.
Soy also contains goitrogens – substances that depress thyroid function.
In 1992, the Swiss health service estimated that 100 grams of soy protein provided the estrogenic equivalent of the Pill.
The claim that Soy prevents osteoporosis is considered false by many researchers given that Soy foods block calcium and cause vitamin D deficiencies. Once again – I’ve been able to fit in Vitamin D. If you learn anything, from this blog it’s to test for and then take your Vitamin D. If Asians indeed have lower rates of osteoporosis than Westerners, it is because their diet provides plenty of vitamin D from shrimp, lard and seafood, and plenty of calcium from bone broths.
There is a very important discussion and there is much more to write about ~ so stay tuned.