Sunday, March 29, 2009

You NEED to get this book. NOW!

I got this book at the library this morning, and it has consumed my day. It is chock full of information that just blows my mind! I feel like I'm constantly learning 'healthy' things, and then I learn something else that takes me even further towards that healthy AND ecological friendly nirvana.

For the past few months, I've been really leaning towards vegetarianism again. If you follow the cooking blog, you can see it's been very vegetarian dominant. Well, the past few weeks, I've been looking into veganism. I ultimately decided that it's not for me. I just don't think I'd be able to feel full, or get all of the vital things I need with that type of diet. However, I have made some big changes - for example, I only buy organic dairy products and free range eggs, I now get plain yogurt, with no artifical sweeteners, and I started incorporating soy milk into my daily diet.

Then, a bombshell was dropped on me last weekend - soy is bad for you?! Ok, maybe not bad, but soy is in EVERYTHING, and there are ties between soy and estrogen. For example, my mom had breast cancer, and a histeretomy, and is no longer allowed to eat soy... however, soy is in everything. Look at your labels, you will see soy or soy oil and corn in nearly every packaged product. Our bodies are getting way too much soy, and far too many Omega-6's (which are in soy) I don't consume many prepackaged products, so the soy I do consume is going to be ok I think...(still need to read more) but I am going to drop the soy milk and stick with organic 1% milk. I also might start taking some fish oil supplements for Omega 3-s, which only 40% of Americans get enough of!
I also learned so much about the differences between grain fed, grass fed, and mass produced meats, as well as the benefits on the earth of grass fed, free range meat. I was always under the assumption that all animal farming was bad for the earth, but that's not at all the case!

I also am now going to cut quick cooking oats out of my diet and make a big batch of steel cut oats on the weekend and reheat them for breakfast. I've stopped buying 'quick cooking' grain products, yes it takes more time, but the quick cooking things are stripped of so many of the nutrients we need.

I could go on and on, but wow, the past few weeks all the reading I've done has BLOWN MY MIND! I can't possibly write everything I've learned on here, and I sort of rambled through this post anyway, but my point is, EDUCATE YOURSELF!
I'm so glad I'm only in my 20's, and have the rest of my life to put all of this information into practice!
Empower yourself, go read :) You'll be shocked at what you don't know, and what you thought you knew.
I'm going to blog a bit more about this book, but in the mean time, see if your library has it!


  1. see, the problem i find with all the health information out there is that so much of it is a) conflicting, and b) incredibly biased. i have a hard enough time finding foods that meet my daily calorie, fiber and protein requirements. it's SO much more to account for when you have to consider which grains you're buying, whether your food is 100% organic, etc etc, on top of that. in other words, it's EASY to be unhealthy and totally oblivious in this country. with the way our foods are processed and packaged, it's hard as hell to be healthy.

  2. I'm really concerned about the soy estrogen connection...but I'm lactose intolerant and substitute soy for all my milk and cheese when I cook. Did the book (or do you) have any advice about what to do in that kind of situation?

  3. I am also lactose intolerant and I use almond milk and just don't eat a cheese substitute at all. The almond milk is a bit more expensive than soy, but i think it taste a lot better. My mother was also diagnosed with estrogen receptive breast cancer a couple years ago, so I had to cut the soy.

  4. I have been vegan for about a year now...I use alomd milk, except for my coffee. I ocassionally have soy cheese and tofu, I try to mostly focus on whole, unprocessed foods.
    Anything anything is excess, can be dangerous, if it is consumed in moderation, I think it is not too bad.

  5. There are conflicting views on this...In some studies it is shown that soy can reduce fertility and increase your cycle length.

  6. I think for myself, as someone who wants to go the natural route, cow's milk is a better option.

    I think of soy about the same way I think of artificial's processed, and usually from sources around the world. I'm really trying to stay away from food that has been processed and handled so much. The less human tampering, the better.

    I grew up on a small farm where we had natural homemade cheese, milk (yes, unpasteurized), and fresh meat, so I'm known to be biased. My parents raised animals on a large piece of land, they had full roaming capability and hormones were never used. I still turn to small local farms and the local co-op for meat and dairy.

  7. Thanks for the book suggestion. I love reading about health/nutrition as well. As for the soy/estrogen conflict, I try not to worry about it too much. I figure there are so many vegetarians/vegans out there who have survived and lived healthy lives and had children that, since I'm not eating buckets full of tofu a day, I will probably be okay. I also drink almond milk instead of soy or regular milk. No real reason other than that I like the taste and the omega's.

    I know that I could never become a vegan or even a full-fledged vegetarian. I do spend much of my time eating vegetarian meals, but I like having the freedom to eat meat if I feel like it. I'm probably more of a flexitarian than anything else. I also try to only buy free range, grass fed meats. I was talking to a mom of one of the kids I tutor about this and she said that what she had done to compensate for the higher cost of these products was to buy less but better quality meat and bulk it up with lots of veggies. No one REALLY needs half a pound of meat at dinner ;).

  8. My brother-in-law recently has started having horrible kidney stones. He was a vegetarian for about 15 years and he was told that his soy consumption is most likely the cause of his kidney stones now. He has had to completely cut out soy...

  9. I have a book called Nourishing Traditions. It focuses on the traditional eating habits of different cultures. It has an excerpt about soy that is really interesting.
    Soy was originally used as a nitrogen-fixing crop. Not food. It was only consumed after they figured out how to ferment it to stop the harmful side effects.
    Tofu, soy sauce, miso, natto and tempeh. Consuming it in other ways doesn't get ride of the phytic acic, which blocks the absorption of essential minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
    Even then, with it fermented, it is only consumed in small amounts as a condiment. IE: the miso in miso soup. The broth of which is usually fish stock.
    That is a summary. There is even more interesting information about it.
    Bottom liner: Eat it they way the native eat it. They have been consuming soy since 1134-246 AD. A lot longer than any of us.
    Oh, and Miso is superior to Tofu.

  10. As Annie mentioned, there is some recent research linking soy consumption with kidney stones. Specifically, for anyone with a history of forming calcium oxalate stones, it is worth looking up the research and informing yourself! Soy is very high in oxalate. Not a big deal for people who don't form stones, but since I have a history of kidney stones, I try to stay away from soy--especially the super concentrated soy protein isolate stuff (Odwalla protein drinks are, sadly, chock full of it). One serving of soy protein isolate contains something like 40 times the recommended daily consumption of oxalate for stone formers!