Question: Why have you been speaking out against soy? Isn’t it at least a good alternative to meat for those of us needing protein, but not wanting to take life to eat?
Almine’s Answer: Let me share some facts that support my own intuitive knowing that soy is damaging to ones health.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, soy is still being promoted as a healthy alternative to meat and a wholesome addition to our diet.
In her book, Pandora’s Lunchbox, Melanie Warner relates how in October 1959 a group of executives and factory workers gathered at an industrial plant in Chicago to unveil a new production line some described as a historical event. It was the opening ceremony for a factory producing edible soy protein in which Harold McMillen, chairman of the board for Central Soya, the company that built the plant, addressed the crowd. It was a victorious speech in which he stirringly dedicated this new product to “the world’s growing population, for whom protein provides the building blocks of good nutrition and health.” Not to be outdone, another executive compared the imminent production of the new product to the world famous Sputnik launch that had taken place two years before. He made the prediction that “No metallic satellite in outer space will be able to match in terms of happiness and well being the contribution of this, the protein satellite.” Thus the propaganda that allows millions to eat meatless hotdogs without a trace of guilt began.
Initially soy meal was an industrial product used in paper coating and fire-extinguishing foam. Ms. Warner describes it as having saved many Navy sailors’ lives during fires in World War 2. It was also temporarily used in the manufacturing of garments. Perhaps the most famous example in the annals of history of its industrial usefulness is found in the manufacturing of the first automobiles: “Henry Ford famously made car parts and eventually an entire vehicle whose body had been constructed from plastic produced from soybeans.”
Although the first consumption of soymeal was in the cattle industry, Central Soya continued to expand the use of soy into other lucrative fields. They set their sights on the food industry and although it would require a measure of ingenuity to make it a consumable product, the research began in the forties. Certain hurdles had to be crossed to bring it to the food tables of the world. In its raw form, soybeans are not very palatable. Furthermore, they contain a compound that blocks the absorption of essential minerals. After a decade, the company scientists had minimized these problems enough to begin marketing soy to food processors. Their success was astronomical. Candy was coated in soy to prevent its sticking to the wrapper, General Mills discovered that soy protein could replicate whipped cream and produced a series of desserts and puddings. This company found more uses for what they considered to be a remarkable product, becoming the first to produce imitation bacon bits. They subsequently opened their own production plant of soy meal.
The meat industry embraced this new and cheaper way to have fillers and extenders for their bologna, salami, ham and turkey cold meat slices. Some meat processing companies started their own soy meal mills. For vegetarian food products, it was deemed an essential ingredient. It could imitate meat and dairy products, but it was plant-based.
The media supported the furor ignited by company executives benefitting from the ever-growing markets of soy products. In 1969 a New York Times article published glowing accolades to the malleable soybean and it’s multiple uses: “The potential of the food is virtually unlimited…. Products can be tailored into any desired framework. These include vegetarian, Kosher, polyunsaturated fat, high or low in carbohydrates or animal or vegetable fat, zero cholesterol, with or without vitamins and minerals, and precisely controlled calorie content. They can be refrigerated, frozen, canned or dried.”
The hype begun decades ago, has built the soybean market into a dominant financial force worldwide. It still sways public opinion by presenting soy as a wholesome alternative to meat and a healthy addition to a nutritional diet. This facade has come at an unconscionable cost to public wellness and to global ecosystems.
“The Myth of Soy,” an article by the Seer Almine, can be downloaded here.