Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Two years in, and I'm still learning (tangential post about soy)

Next month will mark two years since my Celiac diagnosis.

I still have a lot to learn!

I am as of yet unsuccessful in staying away from glutenation for longer than a couple weeks, even if I'm extremely vigilant. My list of choices continues to grow smaller as I add potential sources of contamination to the list... (which now includes PF Chang's with a question mark?!?!)

Besides trying (and often failing) to avoid gluten, I've also learned a few other things to minimize- dairy and soy. I was extremely lactose intolerant when I first went GF, but in my quest to not go completely nuts with my gluten deprivation, I continued to eat large amounts of dairy as I cut out the gluten.

Once I made the realization that I'd need to cut down the dairy for awhile, I thought that soy was the answer.

Wrong answer! I think soy milk dislikes me even more than dairy milk. If I'm going to deal with the GI consequences, I'll gladly take a tall glass of cow's milk. Cookies on the side, please!

I realized a few minutes ago that I ate a meal with tofu in it for lunch. I've been wondering why some of these frozen meals and I didn't agree... duh. I guess I know for the future!

Soy is a very interesting food. I've read a few books and articles about it, trying to separate fact from hype. It leaves me with a few questions:

1. Who first tasted a soy bean (especially mature beans, not edamame), and thought hmmm.... this is rather tasty. Let's make it into food! ?

If you've ever eaten a soybean out of the field, you know what I'm talking about- nasty bitterness! The soy products that we consume have been so processed that they become a tasteless shadow of their former selves for good measure- they taste pretty bad. Should we really be eating something that we have to beat into processed submission in order to make it acceptably palatable?

2. Are soy phytoestrogens a good idea to consume?

I've read studies about the link between various endocrine disorders and heavy soy consumption, including soy formula. They make a lot of sense. They are also somewhat scary when you consider that soy is considered a safe and healthy food.

These phytoestrogens are why menopausal women use soy supplements for symptom relief. They are also how some menopausal women that I know developed terrible "IBS" while taking such supplements...

3. Why does every single somewhat processed food product contain soy lecithin?

It really contains such small amounts of phytoestrogens that it is pretty much negligible in that respect, but seriously- what did we put in food before there was soy lecithin? Did we live an un-emulsified existence?

So in conclusion, Finally!- you say, I can't totally poo-poo the idea of soy (pardon the pun), but I know how my gut reacts. I'm going to stay away as much as possible.

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