Newsletter & Specials
Start to unwind in a detoxifying lavender and sea salt foot soak while we take the world off your shoulders with a 20 minute head, neck, and shoulder massage. Then retreat to a private massage room and enjoy a 60 minute deep tissue massage. $115
If you have visited us and enjoyed your experience — tell your friends. We will send you a $35 gift certificate every time you send us 3 new clients. Also, ask us for referral cards and give them to your friends and family and when they bring them in they will get $5 off their treatment.
Making Sense of Soy
The soybean is an amazingly useful, versatile plant. It has been manufactured into everything from printing inks to a fire-extinguishing foam to a fiber that can be woven into cloth. Soybean oil and soy protein have found their way into an enormous portion of manufactured foods. Big claims have been made of soy’s health benefits, including protecting against heart disease, lessening symptoms of menopause, reducing bone loss in osteoporosis, and reducing the risk and progression of breast and prostate cancers. In 1999, the FDA allowed food makers to begin labeling foods which contain 6.25 grams of soy protein per serving as “heart healthy.” Soy products have been cherished as foods for thousands of years in East Asia. Soybeans are a “complete” protein, as they contain all the essential amino acids our bodies cannot manufacture.
In stark contrast to these praises are the many negative claims about soy: that it reduces function of the thyroid gland, increases risk of breast cancer and rate of tumor growth, does not improve menopausal symptoms or osteoporosis, is harmful as a baby formula, causes brain shrinkage and memory loss, and is altogether unfit for human consumption. The details of this great debate would take pages to cover. The focus of much of the attention is a group of chemicals called soy isoflavones, sometimes termed “phytoestrogens” (“phyto” means plant) because they bind to estrogen receptors on cells. Since many breast cancers grow in response to estrogen, women with this disease are typically prescribed a drug which blocks estrogen receptors so estrogen cannot stimulate tumor growth. Soy proponents say soy isoflavones plug into these receptors, keeping estrogen out. Opponents say soy isoflavones act just like low doses of estrogen, potentially stimulating tumor growth the same!
way estrogen does.
Where does this leave us?
- So far, the jury is out on most of the research. There is very little credible research relating soy to the medical conditions mentioned above. The data linking soy to a modest decline in LDLs (“bad” cholesterol) is pretty clear, but soy has not been shown to be of significant benefit for hot flashes or osteoporosis. The link between soy and memory loss has only been mentioned in one study, which has been criticized as poorly executed. Women with breast cancer can probably safely consume modest amounts of soy products, but at this point should avoid soy isoflavone extracts until we know more.
- Sensitivity to soy is very common. Many people experience digestive upset and gas from eating it. These folks would do well to avoid it.
- Soy formulas are not great for babies as soy protein is quite different from human milk. If breast feeding is absolutely not an option, parents should first try a goat milk-based formula.
- Over 85% of the soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified – the environmental and health consequences of which are not yet known. Unless labeled as “non-GMO,” assume all soy is genetically modified, and avoid it whenever possible.
- Soy is not a cure-all, though it is a fairly good source of protein suitable for moderate consumption. However, “moderate” may be less than most people think. If we’re using Asian diets as our benchmark, Asians, it turns out, don’t eat quite as much soy as we’re led to believe – only an average of about 1/3 of an ounce per person, per day in China and Japan. Since it’s added to a huge range of foods, look at labels. One serving a day is fine.
- Many soy products are highly processed. While fermentation of soy beans tends to make them more digestible (as in miso, soy sauce/tamari, and tempeh), rendering textured, genetically modified soy protein into meat-like substances is likely to produce food with very little life left in it. And while soy milk may help you avoid some of the drawbacks of cow milk, if it’s got sugar in it (AKA “evaporated cane juice”) its nutritional value is compromised.
- Read labels, question highly promoted trends in eating, and always savor your food.
Yours in the pursuit of whole health,
Peter and Everyone at The Dragontree