Apr 10, 2010

soy... joy?

a quick word of foreshadowing.

this is a whopper post!
appreciation, recap of my last few days/foodie dates, and a little ditty on soy for y'all.
you've been warned :)

a quick word of thanks.
to all you guys who have been reading/comment/making suggestions on my calorie and wheat posts...

it's incredible to have this new circle of people who understand me, have insight, and can help me through the tough times.
(special shoutout to averie, katie, and emily! thanks ladies... and many more!)

and a quick weekend recap (so far!).
i had GREAT workouts this week... what a blessing! i got all 5 days in - 2 lifting days, 2 runs, 1 walk/jog with mom in the sunshine! i also had a great thursday with momma. we went shopping for her some new shirts for spring and me a new sports bra...

i was ready for the spring weather alright!

but first, we had to eat.
because i couldn't be more obsessed with grilled veggies,
we went back to california pizza kitchen (my second time this week!)

and we split the grilled vegetable salad with grilled shrimp ($16.75)

yummmmmmmmmmm i want another STAT.
the shrimp were freakin' ridiculously good!

and i did find a sports bra... wonders never cease!
it's crazy hard to find one for me.
Under Armor Head Gear Zip Front "Endure"

yay for companies who make freak sizes!
i would definitely recommend this one if you are like me, and have a small ribcage.
they come down to a size 30!!! so rare. fabulous.
unfortunately, mom didn't find any clothes.
darn... we have to keep shopping :)

we were pretty wiped out when we got home, so i made us an lazy easy dinner that actually was heavenly!

scrambled eggs with garlic and onion powder, S&P, and laughing cow wedge on rye wasa crackers spread with sundried tomatoes and italian herbs

i love these crackers!

          because my little sister's coming home from her spring break trip today (!!!), i baked up a double batch of natalie's millet-oatmeal bread for her school lunches when she gets back.
          and because she's allergic to oats, i substituted buckwheat flour in for the oat flour. it adds a nice depth and protein to the bread that the oats kinda lack (if you've had GF bread before, you know what i mean!). i also substituted maple syrup for the molasses (i used it up a while ago... oops!) and added in some herbs for flava flav!

then friday i got to spend some time with my freshman year roomie!

clearly i have a red polka dot fetish. i'm ok with it.

...and eat Ellwood's thai spring rolls! (and some zucchini that's m.i.a... hmm)

i MIGHT have been hungry.
appetite before blogging sometimes...

shoutout to my local girl brittany, who blogs frequently about ET.
as a sidenote: i'm also pretty jealous she gets to go there often, and is in cali.

anyways, i also got to go out for AMAZING pizza with some beautiful friends to bottoms up pizza. since it was dark in there, i would have felt weird using my flash...
you guys feel the same?
i got the maggie malay, which had their amazingly fresh tomato sauce, local roma tomatoes, spinach, artichoke hearts, and just the perfect sprinkle of feta cheese on top.

so far today,
i've met up with an awesome girl at whole foods for brunch (hey hunter!).
she's my host/buddy from the passover celebration. her dad was so interested in why i was taking pictures... he wanted to see my blog! i was honored :). i had some questions for her about starting my wheat-free test tomorrow (she's gluten-free), and she was super helpful.

i had the split pea soup. pretty darn tasty!
i wish it wasn't cold enough out to crave soups anymore though :(

and now... soy joy?

          as i've mentioned before, i try to stay away from eating a lot of soy because of my mom's breast cancer. when she was on chemo, she did a lot of research on the possible contributors, since her cancer wasn't hereditary. although you can't "give yourself" cancer, you certainly can create an environment conducive to the cells' growth, and she wanted to learn how to prevent that for the future.
          at that time (around 2006), there were some very conflicting findings on whether or not soy was safe for daily consumption. some studies "had proven" that soy is helpful for preventing heart disease, obesity, and certain types of cancers. they claimed that asian countries have been consuming soy for thousands of years, and since they have the lowest rate of illnesses, soy must be the cure (especially in place of animal proteins). other studies "proved" that soy is, in fact, very harmful in human consumption, and acts like a phyto-estrogen in the body, which accelerates the spread of estrogen-fed cancers (like my mom's).
          since then, new health reports have come out each year, yet it still seems unclear whether it is something we should be comfortable with accepting as 100% safe.

my opinion?
oh, so glad you asked!

my theory is this - based on a few years of careful googling research since my mom's diagnosis, i don't have much i can say for certain.... what i can say is this: any time the media "discovers" a new superfood that cures EVERYTHING and has no flaws, be careful. food is just that... food. it is not a miracle drug, it is not your comfort, and it is not your enemy. it is fuel for your body. you guys know that i LOVE me some food, but everything in it's place... moderation. and that's how i feel about soy. think of soy like chocolate; just because it's healthy does NOT mean it's ok to hammer down a pound on christmas (sidenote: i know! darn.).
          i am not a nutritionist/doctor/prophet (yet!... except the prophet thing), but my understanding of soy is this:  it is a natural, healthy food... in it's pure, unadultered, non-GMO form, in moderation. my issue, however, is this: the average american eats far more food/calories than we should, and an increasingly large percent of this is soy. incase you haven't read a nutrition label in the last decade, soy protein isolate is an additive to many prepackaged foods, as well as soy lecithin, which is used as an emulsifier/binder in almost all baked goods. if you eat protein bars/shakes/loaf bread/candy/cookies/cereal/anything, i can guarantee you that a good percent of your food is soy (breakfast examples: quaker oats? yep. luna bars? definitely.). the problem i have is not the soy itself, but the fact that it has been processed to death in a factory's lab after being genetically modified for profit (more than 80% of soy products are chemically created!). that, and i don't feel good about eating so much of something that has such mixed reviews on it's effect on breast cancer risks. knowing that soy has estrogen-like effects on the body, i question its ability to interfere with my hormones, and down the road with cancer.

just one more thing.
          a guy friend of mine recently confided in me that for the last year, he has been going to his physician for decreased energy, no sex drive, and breast tissue growth (!). let me just say that this guy is a college lacrosse player, lifts weights weekly, and is sexy as all get-out. the doctor had NO idea why this was happening, given his current health/lifestyle, and eventually gave up, prescribing him chemically-regulated testosterone... at 21. WOW. so i randomly asked him, out of curiosity if he got much concentrated/processed soy in his diet...?
... oh, only a few protein shakes a day!
i suggested to him that before he commit to a life of hormone therapy, he research for himself the effects of soy. maybe try switching to another source of protein and testing if it helps, just to see. the doctor NEVER questioned or considered his diet as the culprit. guys, please educate yourselves. never blindly take my word as law! or anyone elses, or the t.v., or your nutritionist. double check everything! in all of my mom's yearly checkups, never ONCE did the doctor ask her about her habits - diet, sleep, stress, exercise, nothing. they have a lot to consider, and sometimes not all of the important questions are asked.

i'm not saying that soy is evil, or that it causes cancer.
i employ a "better safe than sorry" policy.
if i have concerns, i skip it.
and i have a fair amount of concerns. so i rarely indulge.
we will never know the answers to life's questions unless we pursue them.

fair? thoughts? i'd really love to hear your opinion/experiences.
- r

p.s. - the little sister just got back from florida safe, tanned, radiant, and full of life. in food news, mom made these delicious burgers for dinner! go mom!
and a coupon for crofter's superfruit spread!


  1. Seriously LOVED this post. I can't get enough lately of people's take on soy - I feel the same way about it as you!! I still enjoy tempeh (fermented soy) but it's CRAZY how many products have soy protein & lecithin. I'm now trying to stay away from bars with them, especially if they're listed in the first couple ingredients. I am shocked at how many are in my "collection" that DO. I'll still eat them (I bought them...) but definitely won't be buying more in mass quantities. When I was grocery shopping the other day, I was so.shocked. at how many items contain soy as among the first ingredients.

    It sounds like the bread you made is killer!! I lovee buckwheat in baked goods.

    And I love all your photos - you are gorgeous!! This is such a great post - I've been really enjoying your blog!! Enjoy your time with your sister!

  2. I think doctors should ask about those things - that's why I'm becoming interested in holistic health care. No one has a painkiller deficiency, and that guy with hormone problems... that doesn't just spontaneously happen. That's why doctors need to find the cause, not just treat the symptoms. But of course, money greases the gears that set the world in motion. (Yes, I read that metaphor somewhere.)

  3. love this girl! and i agree whole-heartedly with the soy comments: i love fresh edamame beans in stir-frys every once and a while, but i've stopped eating tofu, soy-milk, and protein bars...i can't tell you how much better I feel!

    Hope the wheat-free is doing well...and I'm working on my insulin diet :) I've been doing research on it too and it's crazy..I think that this is what it has been the whole time, so I'm hoping after several weeks of eating well I'll feel better! Love you girl! hang in there!

  4. Hey! I just found your blog from Healthy Exposures, cos I'm very interested in the soy debate (I'm vegan, so I eat quite a lot of soy probably). I thought you might find this article interesting:
    As you say, everything in moderation though!! :)

  5. I think soy definitely gets a bad rap-- a whole several nations eat it (China being one of them, and they have 1.5 billion people, fewer of whom are obese than Americans) and they've never had many problems. I really agree that the problem is the degree to which it's processed. processing in general is just terrible.


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