A while ago, I started on some reviews, but got distracted by the bushfires before I could finish. I'm not going to finish them now, but I'd just like to point out that I intend to, eventually.
Recently I've been investigating healthfood and the vegan lifestyle. This all started one day, as I pondered climate change and what I could do to help. I remembered hearing that avoiding meat was a good way to reduce your impact.
I did some research (which I suggest you all try), and began to realise that it was true. Eating meat and animal products does have a significant impact on the environment -- from the farting cows to the clearing of forests for pasture to the vast amounts of food and energy needed to raise an animal to the age it's worth slaughtering.
As a result, I looked into finding easy ways to reduce the amount of animal product I consume. So far, I've looked into TVP and soy milk. I've tried both, and am slowly trying to transition my diet. TVP mince (a soy-product) is particularly impressive, as it is nutritionally very similar to beef mince, except it has a lot less fat, and the fat is unsaturated "good fat".
Now there has been some talk about the dangers of soy products. I can't say I'm particularly concerned -- spaghetti bolognaise with TVP mince leaves my stomach feeling better than I could have imagined. However, it seems worth investigating.
It's hard to get a good answer. The websites touting the dangers of soy are full of warped anecdotes and tinfoil hats. They're even less convincing than climate-change deniers.
"Despite an impressive array of scientific evidence that soy is not a fit food for man nor beast, the soy marketing mastodon has marched through the American market like Sherman through Georgia"
The result is an industry that will systematically steamroll anybody that dares suggest there may be problems with the darling soy. When we first questioned the safety of soy, a representative of Protein Technologies told us that they had:
"...teams of lawyers to crush dissenters, could buy scientists to give evidence, owned television channels and newspapers, could divert medical schools and could even influence governments..."
Soy Online Service
To translate: While they're determined not to let anyone know that they're poisoning MILLIONS of people, the soy companies are perfectly happy to confess how willing they are to blatantly break the law to cover it up.
Another high-ranking Google result is this site from The 7th Fire.
Now, I had started using soy when I was 19. The onset of these problems quickly began at 20. By the time I was 25 my periods were so bad I couldn't walk.
I came upon a web page that linked thyroid problems to soy intake and the conspiracy of soy marketed as a health food when in fact it is only a toxic by-product of the vegetable oil industry. This was insane, I thought. After all, the health and fitness magazines had said nothing about soy being harmful. I visited an herbalist who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 1985. She informed me that soy was the culprit.
My co-worker is big into soy and I see her losing hair and gaining weight despite a walking workout during her break and after work, and apples and oranges for lunch. She just had cysts removed from her uterus too.
Soy Dangers: One Woman's Story
From the description of The 7th Fire website:
We are in the astrological age of revealing, the end times, whatever you may call it. This means the truth about the world around us is out there, it is up to us to find it and use the knowledge for good. No, this is not a movie, this is life.
the Seventh Fire
Could these guys sound any more crazy and self-righteous?
Of course, shifting diets is going to cause some health concerns in some people. If we suggested that everyone drink milk, we'd get problems from people who are lactose intolerant. However, it's apparent that the risks caused by the "poisons" in soy are less than those caused by the saturated fats of meat. I wouldn't be surprised if these people spent the next evening binge drinking.
The most reliable source I've found so far is About.com: Thyroid Disease
, which quotes scientists worried about the effects of some chemicals in soy, but it's still a bit sketchy. There are arguments here about the risks of soy, but there's no mention of counter arguments, no explanation of the justification used when the findings of this research were disregarded by the FDA and other groups.
As far as I can tell, the consumption of soy products can slightly increase your risk of thyroid disease. But at the same time, it seems to drastically reduce your risk of heart disease, among many well-documented benefits
So what did I learn today? *shrugs*