Avoiding Soy — Exposing the Hiding Places
By Stanley A. Fishman, Author of Tender Grassfed Meat
Avoiding soy is not easy because soy is hidden almost everywhere. Not only is it in most processed food, but it is present in almost every part of the food chain, including many organic foods.
You may have read about the Soy Prison Case and the terrible suffering of the prisoners on a high soy diet. You may have read the excellent information at the Weston A. Price Foundation website on the dangers of soy. You may be one of the many people who have learned that you or a family member is allergic to soy. You may have made the wise decision to eat no soy except for traditionally fermented soy foods, or to avoid all soy. You may carefully examine every food package at the market to ensure that the word “soy” does not appear in the ingredients.
The bad news is, you can do all this, and you can still be ingesting large amounts of unfermented, processed, genetically modified soy.
This is because soy is often described as something else on food labels. Even worse, most of the animals we eat have been fed large amounts of soy. The toxins and other substances from the soy they eat can accumulate in the tissue and fat of these animals. It is estimated that 95% of the soy used in the US has been genetically modified to tolerate more pesticides, which means that more pesticides are sprayed on these soybeans. The residues from these pesticides can also accumulate in the tissue and fat of these animals.
Soy Is Often Described as Something Else in Packaged Foods
Unfortunately, the government allows manufacturers to hide soy by describing it as something else, such as vegetable oil, or “textured vegetable protein.”
Most Beef Cattle Are Fed Soy
Most of the beef cattle raised in the US are fed soy, along with other grains, when they hit the feed lot. Soy feed is very cheap and causes the animals to gain weight quickly. This is true not only for conventional cattle, but for many cattle that are sold as organic or “natural.”
Almost All Pigs Are Fed Soy
Almost all the pigs raised in the US are fed soy. The soy feeding of pigs became almost universal when the pork industry decided to raise lean pork, in response to the insane fear of animal fat that became pervasive in the 60’s and 70’s. Feeding soy to pigs reduces the amount of fat and increases the lean muscle mass of the animal. This kind of feeding is a large factor in why so much of today’s pork is dry and tasteless.
Almost All Lambs Are Fed Soy
It used to be that almost all of the lamb in the US was raised on pasture. Those days are long gone, and almost all of the lamb in the US is finished on grains and “vegetarian feed,” which includes soy. Again, soyfeed is very cheap and causes the animals to put on weight faster.
Even Bison Are Fed Soy
Most of the bison raised in the US are “finished” on “vegetarian feed,” and “protein supplements,” which usually includes soy. This explains why the meat from this bison tastes like conventional beef. Bison are fed soy so they will grow faster.
Farmed Fish Are Fed Soy
Most farmed fish are fed soymeal as a large part of their diet. Again, the substances from the processed soymeal can accumulate in the tissues of the fish.
Most Poultry Are Fed Soy
The feeding of soy to poultry is extremely pervasive. Again, feeding soy to poultry causes the birds to grow faster and larger.
Soy Is Often Fed to Dairy Cattle
Soy oil and soyfeed are often given to dairy cattle. The substances from the soy can go into the milk of these cattle.
Eat Grassfed and Grass Finished Beef, Bison, and Lamb
The only way to avoid eating soy raised meat is to eat only 100% grassfed and grass finished beef, bison, and lamb. There are a number of fine producers who raise this kind of meat. But you have to be careful. A number of producers who describe their meat as “grassfed” will finish their animals with grains and protein supplements, which often include soy. I carefully go through the website of every producer, to make sure that they are committed to feeding their animals only grass. If I am not sure, I will call the producers and ask them.
Eat Only Pork and Poultry that Have Not Been Fed Soy
It is really hard to find pork or poultry that has not been fed soy. Even the farmers who sell heritage breeds of pork usually feed them some soy. But there are local farmers who sell soy-free pork and Poultry. Eatwild.com is a wonderful resource for finding grassfed and natural farmers.
Eat Only Wild Seafood
This is the only way I know to avoid soy fed farmed fish. Besides, wild seafood is far more nutritious than the farmed variety.
Only Buy Milk and Milk Products from a Dairy that Does Not Feed Soy to Its Cattle
This means that you will have to check out the dairy, by reviewing its website and talking to the owner, if necessary. There are good local dairies and farmers who do not feed soy to their cattle.
Learn the Many Names of Soy — and Do Not Buy Anything with a Mystery Ingredient
Soy in packaged foods is often described as “vegetable oil,” “oil,” “hydrolyzed vegetable protein,” “protein,” “protein powder,” “lecithin,” “textured vegetable protein,” and others. The industry is very good at coming up with new soy-hiding descriptions, which is why no list can be complete. I follow this rule—if an ingredient is not specifically described by a plant or an animal name, I assume it contains soy, and I do not buy it.
Just Say No to Soy
I review many websites and producers to see if their products contain soy. Whenever I decide not to buy a product because it contains soy, I contact the producer and politely explain that I am not buying their product because it was fed soy, or contains soy. While sometimes I think they dismiss me as a lone nut, every rainstorm starts with a single drop. If enough of us inform producers and manufacturers that we are not buying their product because it was fed soy or contains soy, the day will come when many of them will stop using soy.
Stan Fishman is the author of Tender Grassfed Meat. His book describes in detail how to cook grassfed beef, grassfed bison, and grassfed lamb. The book follows the nutritional principles of Dr. Weston A. Price, and uses only the best natural ingredients. The book can be purchased through Amazon.com.
This post is part of the Food Roots blog carnival–America do you know where your food comes from? Visit Nourishing Days blog for more food roots stories!