Written by Sondi Bruner, our extra super awesometown intern- we will miss you when you leave, dearest Sonderson!
It seems like people are a lil’ bit sensitive about their soy products, which we discovered recently when Meghan wrote about her Natural Products Expo adventure.
In case you missed it, here’s the gist: foods splashed with lofty health claims are usually not healthy, including faux sausage, turkey and hot dogs, which are almost always made out of soy.
Some peeps believe that eating fakin’ bacon is a better choice for personal health, the environment and animal rights. We don’t agree, and here’s why:
Myth: Eating soy is great for your health and is better than eating animal products
Unfortunately, many soy products on the market have been genetically modified. In the United States, an astounding 91% of soy crops are GMOs. Here in Canada, soybeans are a growing biz, too. Last year, we grew over 4 million metric tons of soy, mostly in Ontario and Quebec. So it really an ethical choice? (Tweet it)
We’re doing slightly better than the US with about 65% GMOs, but let’s face it, most processed soy foods aren’t using organic, non-GMO soy as the source.
So what does all this mean? It means we can’t recognize genetically modified soy as actual food, so our bodies don’t know how to digest, absorb and use it as fuel. GMO foods have also been linked to numerous health issues, including allergies, liver problems, infertility and sterility, breast cancer, thyroid disorders, kidney stones and more.
On top of it all, soy products have a phytoestrogenic effect, which means they mimic our own production of estrogen in the body. Though many studies show this affect can actually help prevent cancer, other studies (and many women) cite that soy created all kinds of hormonal issues relating to thyroid issues and severe hormonal imbalance.
Mass produced GMO soy, shaped into bacon and turkeys is a scary frankenfood. And it’s no better for you than hormone-ridden meat.
Myth: Eating soy is better for the environment.
There’s no question that breeding animals for food wastes an enormous amount of natural resources and pollutes our air and waterways, and sacrifices lives. A plant-based diet is far gentler on the earth.
But is soy consumption the answer to healing the planet?
No. Genetically modified foods like soy have a detrimental effect on the environment. They threaten biodiversity and create pollution that destroys waterways, land and wildlife.
And what about the energy used to transport processed foods all over the world, and all the wasteful packaging that goes along with it? We’ve certainly never seen a veggie dog that doesn’t come wrapped in plastic and cardboard.
Myth: Eating soy is an ethical choice.
Let's be clear: factory farms that cage helpless animals, abuse them and pump them full of hormones and antibiotics are unequivocally inhumane and unethical. Many of you probably argue that there is no humane way to slaughter animals. We can give you that too. We fully understand where you are coming from.
Is it fair to feed animals processed and genetically modified soy feed, which is definitely not part of their natural diet, but which they receive because it's cheap and easy to grow - and massively subsidized by governments?
Is it ethical to give our children processed soy foods that have as many synthetic ingredients, preservatives and toxins as their meaty counterparts?
Because when we choose to consume products like Tofurkey, and Yves veggies dogs, we are contributing to the demand for fake, soy foods that are detrimental to human health, animal health and the planet.
And that doesn’t sound ethical at all.
But wait - soy’s not ALL bad
Here in the kitchen, there are a couple of kinds of soy that we feel confident eating on the rare occasion and in moderation. These products are always organic, non-gmo and fermented or sprouted, which are chock full of probiotics, enzymes, vitamins, minerals and protein.
But here’s the thing - we don’t eat them every day at every meal. We eat them occasionally, and never in the shape of pepperoni or a turkey.
If you’re against meat for health, environmental and ethical reasons, then why eat a faux soy product that’s meant to mimic its taste and appearance?
If you are all about going vegan, go for it - but don't go making soy the hero.
How to use the good soy products
Question of the Day: Is soy really an ethical choice? Share your thoughts and tweet it up.
Note that we have changed the picture as people seem incredibly protective of their Tofurkey- a processed, MSG (or yeast extract- same, same) ridden junk food. Instead, we are using a picture of a mono crop of soy.
Update From Meghan : March 29th
|I understand the issues arising that because we have said Soy is not an ideal choice, that eating animals is better. As you have likely noticed- if following this blog for any of the the 1,000+ posts over the last three and a half years, we don’t promote much animal based foods around here. 98% of my recipes are vegetarian (or more accurately honey + vegan) and only about 8 of them use soy. What we are working on promoting is the concept that you can go veg and vegan- easily, deliciously and happily, without relying on soy as a filler or transitional foods. It’s not just the vegan meats that are problematic in the soy debate- but also the fact that soy has infiltrated nearly every processed food on the shelf- everything from cereals, crackers, breads, oils and cosmetics. Soy can definitely be part of a healthy, balanced veg, vegan or omnivorous diet- but should it be consumed daily? Definitely not. Unless we actively seek out soy free foods, there is no way to avoid it- and for this reason, I do believe we are generally consuming way too much of it.|