The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food
Hundreds of epidemiological, clinical and laboratory studies link soy to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, immune system breakdown, even heart disease and cancer. Most at risk are children given soy formula, vegetarians who eat soy as their main source of protein and adults self-medicating with soy food supplements.
Crusador: Kaayla, how did you get interested in researching soy and why did you doubt the health benefits?
About fifteen years ago I started wondering about all those wonderful claims for soy. The possibility that a simple, inexpensive food could prevent heart disease, fight cancer, fan away hot flashes, and build strong bodies in far more than 12 ways was seductive. The hype, however, did not match the reality of the many sick, soy-eaters that I saw in my life. At ashrams, I talked to vegetarians who waxed enthusiastically about their "enlightened" diets but who complained about loss of energy, "brain fog," thinning hair, gray skin, weight gain and gas.
When I taught classes, I met health-conscious professionals who came to me confused and frustrated because they had been advised to eat soy but felt worse than they had ever felt in their lives. As a nutritionist, I worked with clients who told me that their health had deteriorated after they began to consciously add soy to their diets. These observations led me to question everything I’d ever heard or read about soy and to research the subject for myself. I wrote this book because I wanted to help more people than just my own clients and friends.
Crusador: Tell us a little bit about your background.
I received my PhD in Nutritional Sciences and Anti-Aging Therapies from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati. My dissertation was on the health risks from soyfoods with every statement backed by hard science. The Whole Soy Story is an expanded version of that dissertation. I’m also a Certified Clinical Nutritionist (CCN), which means I’m board certified by the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists (IAACN) in Dallas. To earn this credential, I completed a rigorous course of study and passed a challenging exam.
Crusador: While the majority of scientists were touting the health benefits of soy, you took the opposite view.
Actually, the majority of scientists have never touted the health benefits of soy. I attended both the Fourth and the Fifth International Symposia on the Role of Soy in Preventing and Treating Chronic Disease and met dozens of the top scientists who are receiving soy industry funding. Even though many of them are deeply indebted to the industry, few were comfortable with calling soy a "miracle food" and most were quite frank in saying that the marketing is way ahead of the science. The problem is that what these people say in public to the media can be very different from the reservations they express privately to each other at these conferences.
As for scientists who are not being funded by the soy industry, they have reported adverse effects from soy foods for many years. We have thousands of epidemiological, laboratory and clinical studies showing adverse effects. Leading scientists from the FDA’s own Laboratory of Toxicological Research spoke out strongly against the heart disease and soy protein health claim approved by the FDA in 1999. The British Committee on Toxicity has expressed serious reservations about health claims made for the plant estrogens in soy protein. The British Dietetic Association has strongly warned parents and pediatricians of the dangers of soy formula. So have many other independent organizations, scientists and other researchers.
Crusador: Tell us a little bit about the history of soy – how did this product go from relative obscurity fifty years ago to the leading health supplement/meat alternative today and how has the soy industry been able to spread such blatant propaganda?
In China, Japan and other countries in Asia soy foods are whole food products made from the whole soybean. In the west, the soybean is typically split into two golden commodities — soy oil and soy protein. For years, the soy protein left over from soy oil extraction went exclusively to animals, poultry, and, more recently, fish farms. The problem is that they can put only so much soy in the feeds before the animals start developing serious reproductive and other health problems. So the soy industry still had a lot left over and decided to market it as a "people feed." The problem was that most Americans not only loathed the beany taste and gas-producing effects of soy but thought of soy foods as "hippie foods," "poverty foods" or specialty foods for vegetarians.
The industry had to dramatically improve soy’s image and make people want to eat it and pay well for the privilege. They decided to turn it into an upscale "health food" and have spent millions influencing food manufacturers, chefs, dietitians, editors, writers etc. They’ve invested in "checkbook" research, symposia to announce and publicize favorable findings, plus aggressive lobbying in Washington. They probably spent more than a million dollars on establishing the FDA’s spurious cholesterol lowering heart claim alone. But that claim has doubled the sales of soy protein in this country. So they have enjoyed a fantastic return on their investment.
Crusador: Do you believe that some big multi-national corporations and government agencies had an agenda in pushing soy on the public?
The little soybean is big business. Soy foods are one of the fastest growing sectors in the food industry with retail sales growing from $0.852 billion to $3.2 billion during the decade from 1992 to 2002. In order to accomplish this, the soy industry had to convince a lot of people that soy is good for them and to cover up and suppress a lot of evidence to the contrary. However, sales of soy products grew just six percent from 2003-2004. That’s way down from 18 percent growth from 2001-2002. The industry isn’t happy and is pushing for a "soy breakthrough product" that will put back the double-digit growth.
Crusador: How are soy protein concentrate and soy protein isolate produced?
First they have to split the bean, and soybeans don’t willingly or easily give up their oil. The only economical way to obtain it is to use a complicated high-tech process that includes grinding, crushing and extracting using high temperature, intense pressure and chemical solvents such as hexane. The oil most often goes to vegetable oil, margarine and shortening manufacture. The protein ought to go to fertilizer, for it’s a very good fertilizer. Instead, it most often goes into making animal or people feed.
To make soy protein isolate (SPI), which consists of 90 to 92 percent protein, processors begin with the defatted soybean protein, which is mixed with a caustic alkaline solution to remove the fiber, then washed in an acid solution to precipitate out the protein. The protein curds are then dipped into yet another alkaline solution and spray dried at extremely high temperatures. The goal is to remove "off flavors," "beany" tastes and flatulence producers. Soy protein isolates are what’s mixed into nearly every food product sold in today’s stores – energy bars, muscle-man powders, breakfast shakes, burgers and hot dogs as well as most of today’s soy infant formulas.
To make soy protein concentrate (SPC), which consists of about 70 percent protein, processors start with the defatted soy protein but retain most of the soybean’s fiber. The concentrate is made by precipitating the solids with aqueous acid, aqueous alcohol, moist heat and/or organic solvents. These "immobilize" the protein, which is then removed along with some of the soy carbohydrates and salt residues. Different processing methods favored by different manufactures affect the quality of the protein, the levels of the antinutrients, and toxic residues, solubility, emulsifying ability and texture.
Soy protein concentrates are used by food processors churning out fake meat and dairy products. Two types of SPC are in general use. The first goes through an extruder at extremely high temperature and pressure and comes out in the form of the familiar flakes, chunks and granules of ersatz meat. "Functional" soy concentrate is used in the binding phase of production to guarantee firmness, cohesion and juiciness. By combining both of these two very different forms of SPC, food processors have concocted many moist and "meaty" new products.
Crusador: Why do you feel these forms of soy are most dangerous?
These products can only be made in chemical factories, not kitchens. There’s nothing natural about them. The complicated, high tech procedures leave many toxic and carcinogenic residues such as lysinoalanines and nitrosamines. Vitamin, mineral and protein quality are all sacrificed. Soy protein isolates may even increase the requirements for vitamins E, K, D and B12. Animal studies show that phosphorous is poorly utilized and that deficiencies of calcium, magnesium, molybdenum, copper, iron and especially zinc are common. SPI is also more deficient in the sulfur-containing amino acids than other soy protein products and this dramatically affects skin and hair health.
Crusador: Is Asia it true that soy is eaten in great quantity in or is this a myth?
Asia is a huge continent. It includes people of many cultures with widely varying dietary customs and health records. But, in all of these countries soy is eaten as a "condiment" and not as a dietary staple. Soyatech Inc, a soy-industry information center based in Bar Harbor, Maine, reports that the average daily consumption of dry soybeans in China, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and Taiwan ranges from 9.3 grams to 36 grams. Others, too, have reported that Asians eat very little soy.
When T. Colin Campbell of Cornell University traveled around China to survey the dietary habits of 6,500 adults in 130 rural villages, he reported that they ate an average of 12 grams of legumes per day. Probably only about one third of this amount is soy. For some inexplicable reason, he never got the figures on soy alone. Also, keep in mind that the type of food Asians eat is very different from the soy that is appearing on the American table. Think small amounts of old-fashioned whole soy products like miso, natto tempeh and tofu, not soy sausages, soy burgers, chicken-like soy patties, TVP chili, tofu cheesecake, packaged soymilk or other of the ingenious new soy products that have infiltrated the American marketplace.
Crusador: Do you feel that all forms of soy are bad for you or are there benefits when you eat the whole soybean or use tofu, tempeh or other fermented versions of soy?
I regularly enjoy small quantities of old-fashioned fermented soy products such as miso and tempeh. I recommend high quality brands such as South River Miso. Fermentation is a process in which bacteria, fungi and other beneficial microorganisms help break down the soybeans complex proteins, starches and fats into highly digestible amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids.
These wee beasties deactivate the antinutrients that cause digestive stress, flatulence, poor mineral absorption and other hazards associated with modern soy products. I think that miso, tempeh, natto and tamari or shoyu soy sauces – if made in the old-fashioned way — are healthy foods in the context of a varied, omnivorous diet. Tofu, as you know it, is not fermented but a precipitated product. Although it doesn’t contain the toxic and carcinogenic residues of modern western soy protein products, it does contain many antinutrients that can cause digestive distress, mineral malabsorption and other problems. I’ll enjoy it once in awhile at a vegetarian potluck, but don’t eat it regularly.
Crusador: What’s all the hype about soy isoflavones; do they really help regulate hormones in the body, especially for women?
Isoflavones are a type of phytoestrogen or plant estrogen. They exist in more than 70 plants with the highest concentrations by far found in soybeans. They exert estrogenic effects directly and indirectly — directly by binding with estrogen receptors and indirectly by interfering with estrogen production. The only way to safely and intelligently use soy isoflavones for hormone regulation is with careful monitoring and dosing, which cannot be done by the average consumer just eating soyfoods or taking isoflavone pills. Like steroidal estrogens, these plant estrogens have the potential to exert adverse as well as beneficial actions. To use them properly for hormone regulation, there needs to be a physician in charge and he or she would need to have a sure knowledge of windows of vulnerability – or opportunity – as found in utero, during infancy, before puberty, during puberty, during pregnancy, the reproductive years or beyond.
The idea that they are "natural" hence is safe, is wishful thinking. Soy isoflavones are routinely recommended to premenopausal and postmenopausal women, but few people seem to recognize that these powerful "hormone regulators" can seriously interfere with the development of infants, children and teenagers and the fertility of childbearing women. For men, these estrogens are feminizing and can decrease testosterone production.
Crusador: But don’t we hear that soy isoflavones are safe because they are weak estrogens?
Soy industry spokespeople routinely claim that isoflavones are 10,000 to 1,000,000 times less potent than the human estrogen, estradiol. The correct figure is 1,200 times less potent. Although the figure of 1/1,200 might seem "weak," isoflavones are potent endocrine disrupters that can harm the thyroid, brain and reproductive systems when consumed in sufficient quantities. The populations at greatest risk would be infants on soy formula, vegetarians using soy as their primary protein source, and middle aged men and women self medicating in the belief that soy could help prevent heart disease, cancer, menopausal symptoms or other conditions.
Crusador: Do you see any positive value in using soy isoflavones?
It is certainly possible that soy isoflavones could be successfully developed into useful pharmaceutical drugs, but it is inappropriate for the soy industry to recommend that the entire population of men, women and children self medicate by eating massive amounts of soyfoods. The public has not been properly warned that soy can have many side effects, that is a substance that could be helpful in one stage of the life cycle but harmful in another and that dietary estrogens can interact cumulatively or exponentially with environmental estrogens.
Crusador: Do the soy isoflavones prevent cancer or is this just a scam?
While a few studies suggest that soy isoflavones might help prevent cancer, far more studies show it to be ineffective or inconsistent. Some studies even show that soy can contribute to, promote or even cause cancer, especially breast cancer. Yet the soy industry persists in touting soy as the natural cancer answer.
In February 2004, the Solae Company – a manufacturer of soy protein – submitted a petition to the FDA requesting permission to use a health claim saying that soy protein can prevent cancer despite the fact that numerous scientists have warned us against soy protein because of its carcinogenic potential. The idea that scientists could even consider soy for a cancer health claim is ludicrous. Soy isoflavones are even listed as "carcinogens" in many toxicology textbooks, including the American Chemical Society’s 1976 Chemical Carcinogens.
Despite this, Solae boldly stated that there is a "consensus among experts qualified by scientific training and experience" that "soy protein products reduce the risk of certain cancers." This is so shockingly untrue that I joined Sally Fallon and Bill Sanda of the Weston A. Price Foundation to file two protest documents with the FDA. We will soon file a petition requesting that the FDA require warning labels on soy protein products.
Crusador: In your new book you make the statement that "soy is not a health food, soy is not the answer to world hunger, soy is not a panacea, soy has never been proven safe." Can you expound on this for us?
Well, I had to write a 457-page book to do that! I’ll be brief. Soy is not a health food because thousands of studies link it to malnutrition, digestive problems, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders, infertility, loss of libido, premature aging, immune system breakdown, even heart disease and cancer. It is not the answer to world hunger because it’s not a high quality food. It is also not a solution because soybean farming has caused grave environmental and economic crises wherever the growing of soybeans for export has replaced local crops grown to feed the people and wherever giant soybean processing plants have replaced cottage industries.
Although it has been widely publicized that much of the Amazon rainforest has been lost from ranchers raising cattle for fast-food franchises, few people know that soybean farming has wrought even greater devastation. In only one year, new soybean farms caused the deforestation of areas of the rainforest larger than the state of New Jersey! Yet the soybean is promoted as the salvation to world hunger and a "green," environmentally sound alternative to meat production.
Soy has never been proven safe because it has been linked to numerous health problems and diseases. Over the years, scientists have heavily researched the antinutrients, toxins and carcinogens in soy, including the protease inhibitors, lectins, saponins, phytates and isoflavones and tried to find ways to eliminate or deactivate them. They have not succeeded. In addition, as I mentioned earlier, there are toxins and carcinogens created during modern food processing methods such as the nitrosamines, lysinoalanines, chloropropanols, heterocyclic amines and furanones.
Crusador: What kind of health problems are you finding associated with soy and how serious do you think they are?
It’s a very serious problem, Greg. I see so many thyroid problems in adult women who drink a lot of soy milk or shakes, snack on energy bars or take soy supplements. Most develop hypothyroidism – that’s low thyroid – and they experience weight gain, energy loss, depression, brain fog, loss of libido, thinning hair and poor skin. Occasionally, soy stimulates the thyroid causing hyperthyroidism, followed by a slow decline into hypothyroidism. Some of these women first feel better, but the results don’t last. A few react so strongly to soy that they experience heart palpitations and what are called "thyroid storms." I often see a lot of reproductive problems, altered menstrual cycles and infertility among those who consume a lot of soyfoods.
Crusador: Is the damage from soy irreversible?
I don’t like to use words like "irreversible" or "incurable" but fear that some of the damage from soy formula is permanent. A crucial time for the programming of the human reproductive system is right after birth – the very time when many non-breastfed babies get bottle after bottle of soy formula. Normally during this period, the baby’s body surges with natural estrogens, testosterone and other hormones needed to program the newborn’s reproductive system to mature from infancy through puberty and into adulthood. For infants on soy formula, the programming may be disturbed or interrupted. The phytoestrogens in soy formula – the isoflavones – bear a strong resemblance to the natural estrogens produced by the human body as well as to the synthetic estrogens found in birth control pills.
Strictly speaking, soy estrogens are not hormones but "estrogen mimickers," but the bottom line is that the human body mistakes them for hormones. Little boys who are estrogenized in this way may experience delayed or arrested puberty. Little girls who are overly estrogenized may go through premature puberty. We have many tragic stories.
Crusador: Haven’t environmental estrogens also been implicated in premature puberty?
Yes, the environmental estrogens from plastics, pesticides and factory-farmed meats are also to blame. But it’s high time that soy formula also be recognized as one of the factors contributing to the epidemic of premature puberty.
Crusador: Soy formula sounds very dangerous. Who ever decided to allow this poison to be used as a replacement for breast milk?
The inventors of the first soy formulas were westerners with big hearts and good intentions – to save babies that would not otherwise have survived. Contrary to popular belief, soy formula was never used traditionally in Asia. Babies who could not be breastfed by their mothers received homemade dairy formulas made with mare, water buffalo, cow or goat’s milk, were breast fed by a wet nurse . . . or died.
The first soy infant formula was invented by John Ruhrah, a Baltimore pediatrician, in 1909. In China, Ernest Tso announced the first soy infant formula in 1928. The first manufacturer of soy formula in China was Dr. Harry W. Miller, a Seventh Day Adventist missionary from Ohio. Many researchers have tried to improve the crude early formulas. Although the quality has improved markedly over the years, some of the worst problems remain because infant formula manufacturers have refused to remove the dangerous hormonal isoflavones as well as the antinutrients known as phytates. Their refusal to recognize the problem is clearly linked to the desire to maximize profits.
Crusador: What kind of research is available to support the toxic effects of soy on the body?
There are thousands of epidemiological, laboratory and clinical studies carried out over many decades. Of course, the soy industry likes to claim that these are either out of date (if more than a few years old) or poorly designed (whenever the conclusion doesn’t suit them). Age is not a marker of a study’s quality. Many of the older studies were done by honest, independent scientists who were not dependent upon industry funding for their salaries and laboratories. In any case, we have plenty of current studies that confirm the findings of the earlier researchers.
Crusador: Soy is supposedly a very high quality protein alternative to animal protein. Is this true?
Compared to other plant foods, soybeans earn a high rating in terms of both quantity and quality of protein. Between 35 and 38 percent of the soybean is protein compared to 20 to 30 percent in other beans. Soy also enjoys status as the highest quality plant protein because it contains all of the essential amino acids. Although "contains all" is not the same as "contains a complete and balanced ratio" of essential amino acids, the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and many governments now accept a rating system that promotes soy as a high quality protein that is essentially equivalent to egg, meat or dairy proteins.
This came about thanks to a new protein rating system designed by the food industry and tested only in short-term studies, none of which provide sound, scientific evidence that people can safely adopt soy as their main protein source for life. Vegetarians and others who choose soy year after year as their principal source of protein are unwittingly volunteering themselves and their children to serve as guinea pigs in a truly long-term unmonitored epidemiological study. The results are already coming in, at least anecdotally, in the form of protein deficient people complaining of dry skin, lusterless hair, balding, poor muscle tone, weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, digestive distress, allergies, immune breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, reproductive disorders and so forth.
Crusador: What are your thoughts on health supplements such as lecithin and vitamin E that come from soy?
The main risk is for people with soy allergies. Although neither soy oil or lecithin should include any soy protein, there may be residues from the manufacturing process. People who eat plenty of eggs, preferably from free range hens, will get all the lecithin they need from the egg yolks. People who strongly need to supplement with Vitamin E are most likely on low fat diets or eating an excessive amount of polyunsaturated oils, both of which create a greater need for Vitamin E supplements.
Crusador: What do you think about soy oil and margarine that are found in thousands of packaged foods?
Avoid them at all costs! Most so-called "vegetable oils" are soy oils and those sold in supermarkets are highly refined products made using industrial processes that involve high temperatures, intense pressures and chemical solvents. During these processes, the oil is exposed to damaging heat, light and oxygen. Rancidity is inevitable so companies remove or cover up the "off" tastes and odors with refining, deodorizing and "light" hydrogenation. Virtually none of the soy oil sold to the public escapes this fate. The few "natural" unrefined soy oils sold in health food stores have a strong flavor that does not appeal to many and are very prone to rancidity. In China, crude soy oil was more appropriately used – as the fuel for kerosene type lamps.
By now most of your readers have surely heard of the dangers of the hydrogenated fats and trans fats found in most packaged and fast foods. Most of these also come from soy oil, and they’ve been linked to heart disease, cancer, obesity, diabetes, immune disorders, birth defects, infertility, vision problems, allergies, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorders and senility. Trans fats pose such damage that the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine concluded recently that the only safe level of trans fat is zero and that people should consume as little trans fat as possible.
Crusador: Is there a difference between organic soy, conventional soy and genetically engineered soy and if so, what?
If you are going to eat soy, it’s certainly preferable to eat products made from organically grown soybeans. They have less pesticide residues than conventional or Genetically Modified (GM) soybeans. GM beans are the worst because they have higher levels of antinutrients such as trypsin inhibitors and lectins as well as higher allergenic potential. How Monsanto rigged tests to show that they are "substantially equivalent" to conventional soybeans is quite a story. However, the bottom line is that all soybeans, including organic soybeans carry a load of antinutrients, toxins and plant hormones. No soybeans are good for our health if eaten in quantity.
Crusador: Tell us about the phytates in soy and why they are dangerous to human biological function?
Phytates are natural compounds found in soybeans as well as in other beans, grains and seeds. They serve two primary functions: they prevent premature germination and they store the phosphorous that a plant needs to grow when the seed begins to sprout. Phytates are valuable in that they allow us to store seeds safely over the winter but they can be a problem if you want to eat those seeds, grains and beans. Phytates incapacitate the life force by binding tightly with minerals such as iron, zinc, calcium and magnesium. In the human body, this means good news and bad.
Phytates tie up toxic metals such as cadmium, but also needed ones like calcium and zinc. Iron is a special case, essential for health and growth but toxic in excess. Phytates are a leading cause of poor growth, anemia, immune system incompetence and other health woes in Third World countries where plant-based diets are the norm and mineral deficiencies are common. We’re also seeing this in the United States where plant based diets are now chic. However, phytates have potential health benefits for well-fed omnivores when used for short-term detoxification.
Crusador: In your book you talk about soy being a cause of manganese, fluoride and aluminum toxicity. Tell us more about this?
The manganese in soy is a serious problem for babies on soy infant formula. Infants fed soy formula take in as much as 75 to 80 times more manganese per day than those on dairy formula or breast milk. Although healthy toddlers, children and adults who ingest excess manganese can usually eliminate most of it, infants cannot because their immature livers are not fully functional. At the same time, their growing brains and other organs are more susceptible to manganese damage. Last Fall I testified with leading scientists before the California Public Safety Committee about the links with soy infant formula, manganese toxicity, ADD/ADHD, violent tendencies and crime. The State of California is considering making soy infant formula illegal except by prescription.
The fluoride levels of many soyfoods are high because soybeans go to the food processing factory where tap water – which almost always has been fluoridated — is used both in processing treatments and as an ingredient in many soy products. And most parents who use powdered soy formulas reconstitute them with tap water. The fluoride content of both soy and dairy formulas is substantially higher than that of breast milk, but only soy formulas exceed safe limits when reconstituted with non-fluoridated distilled water. The levels increase considerably when formulas are reconstituted with fluoridated tap water.
Making matters worse, soy formula is not only high in fluoride, but also in aluminum. Aluminum in soy products comes from food additives, (such as baking powder), additives that increase aluminum absorption (such as iron, fluoride, calcium citrate or potassium citrate), tap water used as part of the manufacturing process, aluminum vats and storage containers at the factory and leaching from foil, cartons and cans used in consumer packaging.
Crusador: What do you feel is the biggest known health problem associated with soy?
Allergies. Soy is now one of the top eight allergies. And because it’s hidden in more than 60 percent of processed foods, soy poses a real danger for allergic people. The best – and maybe the only — way to completely avoid soy in the food supply is to buy whole foods and prepare them ourselves. For those who prefer to buy readymade and packaged products, I offer a free Special Report "Where the Soys Are" on my website www.wholesoystory.com. It lists the many "aliases" that soy might be hiding under in ingredient lists – words like "boullion," "natural flavor" and "textured plant protein."
In addition, I’d like to share some good news. Help for the American consumer comes in January 2006 when the Food Allergen and Labeling and Consumer Protection Act goes into effect. The law requires food manufacturers to clearly state whether a product contains any of the top eight allergens — milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, wheat or soy, and it requires the FDA to conduct inspections to ensure that manufacturers comply with practices to reduce or eliminate cross contamination with any major food allergens that are not intentional ingredients of a food. We have this new law thanks to the Food Allergy Initiative, a New York-based non-profit organization.
Crusador: What kind of attacks have been made against you by vegan and vegetarian organizations for going against their #1 animal alternative product and what kind of pressure have you been under for exposing soy?
There have been a lot of attacks, but no pressure. My news really upsets some vegans, and at one point a vegan was circulating a rumor on the internet that I’d been paid off by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. In fact, neither I nor my publisher received any funding from the beef or dairy industries. Similarly, vegans have claimed that my views are "hopelessly compromised" because I’m on the Board of Directors of the Weston A. Price Foundation. In fact, the foundation accepts no funding from the beef or dairy industries and my work as a board member is as a volunteer. Interestingly enough, this criticism most often comes from well-paid spokespersons working for the soy industry who are brought in to provide "balance" to the debate.
For most angry vegans it’s a case of "shoot the messenger." So many vegans are upset with me because they don’t know what to eat if soy isn’t on the menu. So much of their core identity is tied up in being a vegan, with all they think that implies in terms of an "enlightened," "healthy" and "green" diet. They are also, quite understandably, distressed to hear that they’ve been so completely duped by food manufacturers who are profiting mightily from the myth that soy is a health food. The good news is that some of the top vegan websites are already wise to soy. Finally, many ex vegans who’ve suffered major health problems are speaking out and asking "Why didn’t anyone tell us before?"
Crusador: In your book, you reprint some testimonials about people who have been adversely affected by soy and when they eliminated it from their diet their health problems disappeared. Tell us a little more about this.
Some people see their health return quickly upon elimination of all soy from their diets. Unfortunately, it can be a long and challenging healing journey for many, especially those who have been eating soyfoods for years. I most often see thyroid damage, infertility, menstrual problems, hair loss and digestive problems. When I work with clients I generally recommend that they switch to a varied, organic omnivorous diet and take appropriate supplements based on their lab tests, condition and history.
Crusador: Are you aware of any lawsuits against the soy industry?
Yes, the Weston A. Price Foundation is investigating instances where soy infant formula or soy foods have caused serious physical or medical consequences to adults or children and may arrange possible legal assistance for such individuals. People who believe they have been so damaged should write us at: email@example.com.
Crusador: What do you recommend as an alternative to soy for people who want to remain vegetarians and still obtain high protein?
I recommend clean, raw dairy products from pastured cows or goats and free-range eggs. Those who rely on nuts, seeds and beans for protein should be sure to soak them to deactivate phytates and other antinutrients and to make them more digestible and assimilable. I would caution these people to avoid high protein/low fats diets and to be sure to include healthy fats, including lots of coconut oil and butter. Finally, I recommend that vegetarians bend their principles enough to include cod liver oil as a supplement. Theoretically, we can all convert flax oil and other omega 3 oils to EPA and DHA, but in practice few people are able to do so.
Crusador: What do you recommend for people to detoxify the damaging effects of soy from their bodies?
I hesitate to give one-size-fits-all recommendations as I prefer to work with people individually, take detailed case histories, run laboratory tests and design custom programs. Rather than high dose supplements, I prefer high quality enzyme and herbal supplements that will nourish the body so it can heal itself. However, I almost always recommend a varied, organic and omnivorous diet such as found in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. And I have noticed that people who have suffered thyroid damage from soy foods often benefit dramatically from including coconut oil and cream in their diets. Coconut is very nourishing to the thyroid. The best book on this subject is Eat Fat/Lose Fat by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon and includes excellent information plus delicious recipes.
To better help the many people who are recovering from soy, I am asking physicians and other health practitioners as well as patients to share their findings with me at my website www.wholesoystory.com. I am working on Whole Soy Stories, a sequel that will include true soy stories and the steps taken by men, women and children who have successfully recovered from the health problems caused by soy. I especially want to hear from doctors and other health practitioners who are developing – or have developed – protocols for clients suffering from soy-induced thyroid disease, infertility, cognitive decline, cancer or other health problems.
Crusador: Well Kaayla, I really appreciate the time you’ve given me and the excellent information you’ve provided our readers. After reading your well written, articulate book, I would highly recommend it to anyone that uses soy on a regular basis or to anyone who believes soy is a safe alternative to meat and dairy.
Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to get this valuable information out to your readers. Please let people know about my website www.wholesoystory.com. It’s got free excerpts and Special Reports and offers a free newsletter with a book purchase. If people wish consultations, I can be reached at 1-505-984-2093.