What Is Soy Milk?
Soy milk is a type of plant milk made from soy beans that have been thoroughly ground with water. Soy milk’s origin can be traced back to China, where legend says the drink was concocted for medicinal purposes. Traditionally served hot, the early Chinese used to take soy milk as a morning drink. Now popular worldwide, consumption of this beverage continues to grow. While marketed as a health drink, soy milk may be best avoided, especially by individuals with certain health conditions.
How Did Soy Milk Gain Popularity?
Soy milk’s popularity can be credited to the increase in demand for non-dairy milk. Not only is soy milk equivalent to regular cow’s milk in terms of protein, but the former’s calcium content is approximately a fifth of typical milk. Soy milk also offers a relief for individuals allergic to cow milk protein as well as provides options for those who want to steer clear of animal sources for food.
Soy Milk Risks
A Major GMO Crop
While soy milk has said advantages to offer, the manner by which it is manufactured these days makes for an unhealthy product. For one, the US produces almost exclusively genetically modified soy beans,1 which makes up 85% of the country’s production of the crop. The treatment for GM and conventionally bred soy is the same as well. Restrictions as to separating them during planting, harvesting, processing, and shipping are practically nonexistent, so the danger of cross contamination is always present. While it is true that most are used for livestock feed, a percentage of the harvest is still processed into food. Products such as textured vegetable proteins2 or faux meat, emulsifiers such as lectin, soy milk formula for infants, and of course, regular soy milk are just some of the examples.
Most of the studies3 on the ill effects of GM soy have been done on mice and rabbits, with disturbing results such as severe damage to the liver and other organs, fertility problems in both male and female subjects, and high pup mortality. Meanwhile, farmers who fed their livestock with GM soy feeds report sterility and deaths.
Processed Isoflavones, Related to Certain Types of Cancer & More
Soy milk contains isoflavones that are similar in structure to the hormone estrogen. This estrogenic as well as bone-sparing effects of soy isoflavones were deemed helpful for menopausal women back then. However, as was shown in a study4 on mice, these mechanisms appear to only be efficient if the subject was exposed to soy isoflavones early on from the womb through to maturity. This means women commencing soy milk consumption during the menopausal stage may not necessarily benefit from the positive effects of soy isoflavones.
Soy consumption is associated with the development or recurrence of estrogen-dependent cancers such as breast cancer5 as well. As it appears, the soy isoflavone genistein encourages growth and proliferation of breast cancer cells. While studies have shown that soy isoflavones may help reduce the risk of breast cancer, this has only been seen in Asian but not in Western populations.6 Perinatal exposure to soy isoflavones and subsequent lifelong consumption of soy may again be a factor. The manner by which soy products are prepared these days may also play a role. Asians traditionally utilize whole soy beans while current modern processes use soy proteins in concentrated or isolated form. It is possible that processing alters the isoflavone profile7 of the end products, negating the latter’s positive effects on health.
Soy isoflavones have been found to decrease thyroid replacement hormone absorption8 as well. Hypothyroid patients are advised to consult their doctors prior to soy milk consumption. Infants who have cow milk protein allergy and so are fed soy milk formula must have their thyroid hormones checked9 regularly to avoid developing neonatal hypothyroidism.10
No Sweat Recipe Of the Week
Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
- 3-5 lb Top round Roast (Beef roast)
- 2 Onions, peeled and cut into quarters
- 8-12 Garlic Cloves, whole
- 5 Carrots, peeled and cut into roughly 1 inch pieces
- 1 Stalk of Celery, chopped into roughly 1 inch pieces
- Note: can also use celeriac (the root of the celery plant)
- 1 cup of Red or White wine (preferably red for me)
- ½ cup Sea salt
- ½ tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Rosemary
- 2 tsp Thyme
- ½ tsp Garlic powder
- Other Ingredients
- Enough water to cover 3/4th of the roast once in slow-cooker
- Approximately 2 TBSP of cooking fat/oil (Coconut oil, lard, avocado oil, beef fat)
- Add chopped onions, carrots, garlic, and celery to slow-cooker
- Season roast with Sea Salt, black pepper, rosemary, thyme, & garlic powder
- In a frying pan heat 2 TBSP of cooking fat/oil over medium-high heat
- Place the roast in the frying pan and brown on all sides
- Once browned remove the roast from frying pan
- Place Roast in slow-cooker on top of the vegetables
- Pour wine over roast and add enough water to cover ¾ of the roast (don’t cover completely)
- Turn slow-cooker on low and let cook for 10 hours, or on high for approximately 6 hours
- Once cooked, remove the roast and transfer to a plate and let rest for 10 minutes
- Thinly slice and serve the roast with the vegetables and broth/juice that is left over