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For the last several years I have added tofu and soy milk to my diet. Not a lot, but some. I drank Starbucks with soy milk. I ate tofu maybe once a month. So, it was there. And if I felt extremely bitchy (yes, I said that word) then I’d go get a coffee at Starbucks or Whole Foods. What I didn’t know was that I could potentially be harming myself and it is alleged that the soy milk is actually a placebo. Well, that’s not what I wanted to hear.

On the Web site Optimum Choices I read:

“Tofu was first used in monasteries in China about 2,000 years ago, in part to promote sexual abstinence, since the phytoestrogens in soy can lower testosterone levels (so maybe there really is something to the saying that “real men don’t eat tofu”). Except in times of famine, tofu was only used as a condiment, with pork, seafood and other forms of protein being preferred. The Japanese probably started eating miso (which is fermented) about 1,500 years ago. Tempeh (another fermented soy food) was not invented until after 1,000 AD when soy came to Indonesia, and it was considered a food for the poor. Most Asians eat only small amounts of fermented soy products (miso, tempeh or soy sauce) as a condiment, and the Japanese typically combine it with fish broth and seaweed that naturally contains iodine, helping offset the thyroid-suppressing effects of soy. Soybean milk was never used historically by Asians to feed their children and soy formula was not invented in China until 1928. The soy milk we drink today is a highly processed food, full of the toxins that naturally occur in soy as well as additives to make it palatable, and not the “health food” it is promoted to be. If you can’t tolerate pasturized cow’s milk (which is also not a healthy food), we suggest looking for a source of raw milk or even raw goat’s milk (as goat’s milk is much easier to digest).”

But then Dr. Sears (apparently a pediatrician) touts soy milk as almost a wonder food. But conversely Mercola vilifies soy. So what is a person to do?

One of the biggest complaints anyone levies against soy is that 90% of the soy products in this country are GMOs. That’s scary. I only buy organic. Food that is labelled organic cannot be from a GMO source. In fact, that right there was caused me to quit eating quite a few things. No GMO for moi!

As for how to deal with this conundrum, I’d say use moderation. I may not add soy milk to my Starbucks anymore, but if I’m craving tofu, I’ll go eat it.  I like About.Com’s way of looking at it:

“Super bean or super threat? Should you swear off tofu and throw out the soy sauce? No – for one thing, the amount of soy contained in soy sauce is comparatively low, since it consists mainly of water. More to the point, the real problem is not whether soy is inherently bad (after all, people have been consuming plants with hormones for centuries) but that no one is sure how much soy it is safe to consume. While Asians have been consuming soy for centuries, there have been conflicting claims about how much soy they consume. Nonetheless, if soy starts turning up in everything from cereal to ice cream, we may begin consuming far higher amounts than is normally found in the Asian diet, without any real idea of the consequences. An related issue is that modern preparation methods for soy products may increase the health risks.”

In other words, used minimally, organic soy products are fine. If it’s used too much, it’s not good. Rather like everything else. Don’t overdo it.

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