Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Say it ain't soy ;)

Since making the switch to vegetarianism back in January (I think it was), we've been consuming a lot of soy in this house. Not just tofu and tempeh, but I've been buying a lot of the fake meat products in the freezer and refrigerator sections. This is in addition to drinking soy milk.

Well, guess what. I think I'm WAY overdoing it.

All of this soy consumption is causing me major gastro-intestinal issues. I won't go into detail (you don't want to hear it - doh! no pun intended), but things have gotten a little too gassy around our house lately.

A mama on one of my message boards recently posted a link to an article from Mothering magazine called Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food and it really got me thinking about our eating habits. (That, and I chatted via email with Miriam about soy, protein and other stuff. I wish she could just come cook for me. Not like she has anything to keep her busy with a baby coming any day now. ;))

I admit to going gung-ho over all of these soy products, thinking they were a healthy meat substitute, while they are really just heavily processed foods being marketed as "healthy" because they are made with soy. And so I'm cutting back on these processed foods. It only makes sense. I wouldn't buy processed frozen chicken nuggets for our family before we were vegetarian, so why would I buy processed frozen soy "chicken" nuggets, etc. now?? The convenience of them definitely appealed to me, but convenience can have it's drawbacks.

So now I need to figure out some healthy alternatives (like more beans/lentils/whole grains/etc.). This isn't to say I won't buy any of these things fake meat products again, but, like ALL things we do/consume in life, I believe that the key is MODERATION. :) So we will be consuming them far less often.

Anyway, if any of you vegetarians or vegans out there have some ideas for me, I'm all ears. :) Thanks!


At 3/23/2006 8:50 AM, Blogger Amy said...

That's a major point about the processed soy products touted as health food. And you are right, moderation is the key, and that's how I look at the meat consumption in my house. Even though we aren't veggie (I used to be before moving to Thailand -- you can't get much vegetarian food in that country) I don't eat a huge amount of meat and I slip in vegetarian meals whenever I can.

At 3/23/2006 12:32 PM, Blogger jess (of Get Sconed!) said...

I love soy, and I also was focusing way too many meals around it for a while. I had to tell myself, that tofu doesn't need to be the main course and be supported by veggies..I also started buying rice milk and almond milk, and using less non dairy milk in general. I realized about a year ago that I too was honestly way too gassy and 'full' from soy eating. I still adore the stuff, but I try to eat it once a week, if that. I've been trying to use a block or tofu or tempeh per week.
I think it is a very healthy food, especially in comparison to meat..but as every meal shouldn't revolve around meat - or - processed meat and crappy food, meals shouldn't revolve around processed soy. Soy deli slices?? whoa

I've been trying to focus on veggies as the starts of my meals..two years ago I wouldn't make pasta without fried tofu..and now it's a treat.

At 3/23/2006 11:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you are making a good decision. I have heard a lot of bad things about soy too; it is one of the fastest growing areas of allergies because so many people tend to overdue it and people give soy formula to their babies, thinking it is so much healthier than cow formula. The people who do eat it in other cultures, like Japan, only eat very small amounts, nothing like what we consume in the US. Like you said, moderation is the key.

I don't know how in to pasta you are, but I found Barilla Plus which they added a legume flour blend which has lentils, chick peas, oats, spelt, barley, egg whites, ground flaxseeds and wheat fiber, and it contains ALA Omega-3. A 2 oz. serving size has 10g. of protein. It tastes just like regular pasta. They have it in elbow maccaroni, spaghetti, and penne. It isn't organic, but they have it at the regular grocery store. I'll melt cheese, or pour pasta sauce over it, and it is a good quick, healthy meal. Anyway, good luck in finding acceptable alternatives.

At 3/24/2006 8:35 AM, Blogger SonjaOutdoorMama said...

“Only actions give life strength; only moderation gives it charm.”
-Jean Paul Richter

I'm a firm believer in moderation, but it's a struggle.

Good Luck and I will keep my eye out for alternatives for you!

At 3/27/2006 11:36 PM, Blogger Nancy said...

do you have any asian markets nearby? They have a lot of faux meats that are wheat gluten based, not soy. And most are really good and don't have additives and stuff. Have you ever tried the Dr. Praegers veggie burgers? They are pretty good and mostly vegetables. I agree that moderation is the key for most things in life!

At 3/28/2006 10:58 AM, Blogger amygeekgrl said...

Thank you all for the suggestions. I just need to get creative and expand my horizons some more.

Jess - You are so right. I need to start building my meals around veggies instead of around meat substitutes. It's hard to get out of the old American way of thinking that meat has to be the center of the meal.

Anon - Thanks for the pasta tip!

Nancy - Welcome to my blog and thanks for posting. I look forward to chking out your blog more for recipe ideas. :)

At 4/03/2006 2:43 PM, Anonymous Suzysunshine99 said...

Hey Amy, I recently (about 3 or 4 months ago) found out how bad soy is too. Being an on-off vegetarian for 5 years, I consumed a lot of soy thinking it was SO healthy. You can check out and search for more soy info. Not that you ahve to worry about this, but it also talks about the dangers of soy formula. - Happy veggie/non-processed food eating!

At 4/12/2006 4:11 PM, Blogger KleoPatra said...

I'm a huge fan of soy. I've been veg 24 of my 40 years on this planet.

May I recommend seitan as a way to get protein that is not soy-based?

Best to you!


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