The Great Soy Debate

October 5, 2012 § 4 Comments

It’s Day 5 of Vegan MOFO. I had to skip yesterday due to crazy pregnancy fatigue. But I’m back, and today we’re talking soy.

I remember my mom coming home one day many years ago with soy milk – she’d seen some show (probably Oprah or Dr. Oz) professing its various health benefits and insisted we give it a try. Naturally she bought the chocolate flavor to ease us in. I gave it a try — yuck! I didn’t like it at all. I’ve never been able to catch on to soy milk. I just really don’t care for the flavor. I much prefer – and enjoy – almond milk. My one exception is a soy chai latte which I love! (BTW as I can’t visit Starbucks anymore, I’m loving the Bolthouse farms one as it has only 24 mg of caffeine and is GMO free!)

Source: kidmissile on Flickr

Fast forward a few years – I was first trying a vegan diet due to my friend who was battling breast cancer. She’d warned me against eating soy. I’ll never forget her one day saying in annoyance, “Everything gives you cancer.” It’s probably true to some extent. By the time we consider our food, beauty products, cleaning supplies, furniture, etc. everything probably really does give you cancer. But still, I’d heard way too many controversial things about soy so I wasn’t about to start eating tofu on a regular basis.

I’ve really been pondering the soy question lately. After a year of eating vegan – sometimes a little tofu or edamame or soy cheese is nice for some variety, not to mention it can sometimes be the only option when dining out. But more importantly I’ve been wondering about soy because of my baby (that still feels so strange to say 🙂 ). If you want a non-dairy formula – soy is your only option. I’m still really surprised at this and curious why. I have every intention of breastfeeding but also want to be aware of my options in the event that I can’t – or get sick, or my travel schedule doesn’t allow for it, etc. Having to rely on soy formula as a back-up really has me nervous.

But tonight I’m feeling better. I was reading this article detailing the myths of soy. While I have more reading to do, I was pleased to see that it debunks many of these myths. In the end it says that like anything, soy should be consumed in moderation and in the least processed form possible.

So, do you eat soy? Does it worry you? Have you used soy formula? Curious to hear your stance on the great soy debate.

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§ 4 Responses to The Great Soy Debate

  • Kate Allan says:

    I’m kinda glad you brought this up, because a lot of vegans and vegetarians don’t seem to talk about it much. I’ve done a fair bit of reading myself, from various authors, and have come to the conclusion moderation is best. Soy mock meat products are a sometimes food in our house, we eat whole foods mainly. That goes for wheat gluten products too (oy, that’s a whole other story!). I think organic non GM tofu and tempeh are probably the only soy products that are ok to eat more frequently, as less processing. I have soy milk in tea, but use almond or rice for baking/cooking. We don’t have kids so I can’t comment on the formula, but I think it would be ok as a back up.

    • Vanessa says:

      Thank you Kate. I agree that for all the controversy out there – there doesn’t seem to be much discussion of it. Appreciate your feedback!

  • Debbie says:

    I eat soy in one form or another every day and it doesn’t worry me at all. My doctor and I talked about it and she did a little research while I read everything I could find. My doctor concluded that soy is fine and may even benefit someone recovering from breast cancer. I was also lucky enough to talk with Dr. Johanna Lampe at the 2011 Portland VegFest. She was speaking on Plant-based diets and cancer prevention. She said I would have to eat pounds of tofu every day before I would be at any kind of risk. However, I only eat organic and non-GMO varieties.

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