The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Bob Stepno § The structure of journalism today / 2014-03-10 18:42:32

Soy, Yo

After being cautioned by my mom and sister over Christmas break about growing reports of the perils of soy milk, I undertook some casual Web research to assess these warnings for myself. I was dubious, of course. It’s soy! It’s ancient! Beloved by healthy Easterners for centuries! I defiantly munched my cheddar-flavored soy crispettes and started perusing Google.

Finding the controversy was easy enough. But further Googling ensnared me in a super-techy recursive loop of a conversation between Bill Sardi and his soy-bashing antagonists, Sally Fallon and Mary Enig. Here, at last, my techno-triumphalist, age-of-mass-culture-is-dead self started scrambling for an “authoritative” source to lead me from this thicket.

And they totally failed me. Snopes said the jury’s out. The frickin’ SF Chronicle delivered a novel-length shrug disguised as a news report.

Best as I can tell, largely on the strength of this 2000 FDA Consumer report, much of the controversy derives from the fact that we currently like to consume not only soy — the protein, the marvelous whole food that makes the peanut seem one-dimensional — but also a number of soy derivatives in pill form, as dietary supplements. These pills or powders are made from the individual components of soy (isoflavones), and holistic health sources like to bottle ’em up and sell ’em to consumers as miracle drugs. But there’s no proof these components bring any health benefits on their own, and there’s reasonable evidence they might bring some risks.

So the pills, not the protein, are the problem. I think. As far as I know, the FDA still allows foods that meet certain criteria to bear a label saying, “Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease.”

I have no particular point in sharing any of this, I just think it raises a few interesting questions. Sorry to those of you who read looking for a boffo insight at the end. For the record, I just finished a delicious bowl of Multigrain Cheerios, drowned in Silk.


Jim Ray says…

Dude, it’s much, much worse than anyone has imagined. Soy is responsible for TEH GAY!!!1!! I’ve personally started a diet of nothing but raw eggs and rib eye steaks cooked extra rare, just to be safe.

I felt the same sort of inconclusiveness when I tried to find out what was wrong with high-fructose corn syrup. Aside from its general grossness, all I could find is that it’s processed differently than glucose, and therefore could make you fatter if you consume a whole lot of it. Bad, of course, but I yearned for a biggger, and more clearly evil, boogeyman.

On a related note, Metta and I have taken to drinking organic milk that comes from a local farm, and is bottled only in glass. Not sure about the health differences, but the taste is ridiculously good.

It’s the glass, dude! It’s a scientific fact that beverages bottled in glass taste better. As evidence I would put forward my own extended surveys of beer in cans vs. beer in bottles, as well as Orange Crush in both glass and plastic bottles. In plastic, OC is just a middle-of-the-road orange soda, but in a glass bottle it is the nectar of the gods.

And at the delicious nexus of glass bottles and anti-corn-syrup pathos is original Coca-Cola made with cane sugar. I get it from a store that imports it from Mexico. I think most of the high-end sodas (Boylan, etc.) get a good chunk of their de-luxe flavor from the glass.

There’s a good chance that Dustin’s milk, if it’s anything like the expensive organic milk I buy in a glass bottle, isn’t homogenized, which also helps restore the classic milk flavor. (You just have to shake it up pretty good.) Lately, though, I’ve taken to buying my organic milk ultra-pasteurized, which may not help the flavor in the abstract, but keeps it fresh and flavorful nearly a month longer.

For the freshest and easiest milk to digest, you have to go really local. I raise and milk my own fainting goat. We named her Carmela, after the character on the Sopranos. She lives in the back yard.

Guinness is better in a can than in a bottle.

More thoughts on milk perhaps later, but the executive summary is: dairy cows suffer a lot, organic or no.

Milk tastes weird to me now. It’s pretty hard to compete with ‘nilla Silk. Plus, I have sinus problems so milk doesn’t do my body good.

Ah, too true about the Guinness. In all fairness, however, Guinness is only truly Guinness out of a keg, not a can, and preferably that keg is located in Ireland or the British Isles.

But absent an additional stateside counterexample, I propose that Guinness (and all other widget-assisted canned beverages) be considered the exception that proves the rule.

I think Tim’s right about the lack of homogenization in my milk. We get skim, so I don’t have to shake. Even the 2% of this stuff is just too rich for me.

I need a goat.

Adding a bit of history to the dispute, here’s what Sally Fallon was saying in spring 2000:

She’s a bit more wordy in that one, which exposes her bias more clearly.

Sally makes some valuable points. I actually got a lot out of reading that article back in 2001. The annoying thing is that she and her co-authors are eager to take negative findings about processed soy products and apply them to plain old soybans prepared according to traditional methods. Do you know anyone who won’t eat corn on the cob because high fructose corn syrup is sketchy?

My conclusion after all of the reading (I was vegan at the time):

1) Avoid processed soy products and TVP altogether

2) Use soy protein powder sparingly

2) Prefer tempeh over tofu

3) Prefer tofu over soy milk

4) Strive to get 60% or more of your protein from non-soy sources.

FYI- Here’s an excerpt from Sally Fallon’s bio on

“Ms. Fallon received a Bachelors Degree in English with honors from Stanford University, and a Masters Degree in English with high honors from UCLA. She has served as president of her local citizens group and is actively involved in community landscaping projects. She speaks French and Spanish. Her interests include music, gardening, metaphysics . . . and of course cooking. ”

PS: what’s the markup for putting links in these comments?

I never heard of such a thing before: having to avoid certain foods if you’re allergic to latex. I wonder if people who suffer from chemical sensitivities need to avoid certain foods as well. WBR LeoP

I never heard of such a thing before: having to avoid certain foods if you’re allergic to latex. I wonder if people who suffer from chemical sensitivities need to avoid certain foods as well. WBR LeoP

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