The Soy Story

In the 80s and 90s, soy was the savior of mankind. It was going to replace meat, prevent cancer and heart disease, and feed a growing world population. Then in 2000, suddenly soy was poison. I was shocked at how far and how rapidly the pendulum swung; to the point where even educated people were scanning the ingredient list of everything they consumed in order to avoid eating a milligram of soy.

I don’t mind the pendulum swinging a little. That’s called self-correction. Common sense tells you that human beings are designed to eat a wide variety of protein sources. Making soy your major protein source could very well cause or contribute to significant health issues.

It’s natural to jump on bandwagons. Nutrition is extremely complex and we would all love a simple solution to the threats of heart disease and cancer. But I’d like to suggest that in regard to soy foods, as in all things, moderation is the key.

• If you eat a lot of meat, you can do yourself and the planet a favor by switching to vegetable proteins at least a few days a week. That’s not just soy foods, but any combination of beans, whole grains, organic dairy foods, nuts and seeds.

• If you are pregnant or nursing, soy should not be your major source of protein. Three to five servings per week appears to be safe, but please consult with your OB/GYN, midwife or pediatrician.

• Natalie and I advise against using soy formula for babies. If you absolutely cannot breastfeed, consult a qualified health professional to work out a rotation strategy using goat’s milk, almond, rice and coconut milk.

• If you have growing children, make sure they have a variety of proteins in their diet. Soy is fine, but if it is their major protein, you may be limiting their adult height.