I was never comfortable with the imposed accusation that I am a “health nut” that’s on a “special diet”—accusations usually made in condescending laughter by members of my family. But I know that my peoples—many of them devout Americans—know when we meet at the funerals, many of our beloved relatives died in no small part due to the effects of eating habits. The big ones for us include diabetes and circulation disorders related to cholesterol levels. When the father of my father died after his stroke that was enough family talk for me…
I can tell you two reasons why I am not comfortable with suggestions that I am some kind “expert” in the field of nutrition. My intake of sodium remains too high and, for years, I was ingesting massive amounts of soy. An article by Mary Vance Terrain is revealing:
Epidemiological studies have shown that Asians, particularly in Japan and China, have a lower incidence of breast and prostate cancer than people in the United States, and many of these studies credit a traditional diet that includes soy. But Asian diets include small amounts—about nine grams a day—of primarily fermented soy products, such as miso, natto, and tempeh, and some tofu. Fermenting soy creates health-promoting probiotics, the good bacteria our bodies need to maintain digestive and overall wellness. By contrast, in the United States, processed soy food snacks or shakes can contain over 20 grams of nonfermented soy protein in one serving.
I trust my feelings and take action because of them. I was not measuring those grams of Soy in my diet—but I could feel that something was wrong. There’s no way I can prove that soy was the cause of:
- Problems with maintaining solid stools. You don’t really need any more detail than this…
- A lack of balance—I had serious trouble riding with no hands on my bicycle. After I stopped the high soy—after a few weeks—my sense of balance improved.
- Strange feelings in the “breast” area—but I don’t have breasts!
Keep in mind that these subtle effects took years to reach levels that provoked me to change. Here’s a terrifying sentence in the Mary Vance Terrain article: “In men, soy has been shown to lower testosterone levels and sex drive, according to [clinical nutritionist Kaayla Daniel].” You know… I was eating crazy amounts of soy when I was shackin’ up with the mother of my third child years ago… hmm… this explains a lot…
Now for those of you who are deep, deep into soy like I was—consider my first suspect, soy milk. Get rid of this entirely. Mary Vance Terrain warns us that, “Soy milk is second or third level in terms of processing…”—so we might agree that soy beans are not evil. We need to be wary, however, of processed soy.
To keep the story short, let’s just say that my “step one” was replacing soy milk with almond milk and hemp milk. Yes that’s right, you weed-smoking young ladies, I drink hemp milk. This is the first move to steady hempin’ (and I will never smoke weed unless you pull it right out of the soil on your palatial estate and I am somehow deeply infatuated with you). And this milk can be the nastiest shit in the world when you are not choosing brands carefully (unsweetened soy milk—and almond milk—can surprise the uninitiated as well). The only way you can ‘defend’ your use of cow (or goat) milk with me is when you know the name of the cow (or goat) that was milked for your tall, cool glass—otherwise don’t waste your time.
Actually, now that the memory has come back this is how my milk transition went (over almost two decades): industrial cow milk > skim milk > “vitamite” > soy milk > hemp or almond milk. For those of us who ate Cap’n Crunch, we may recall how special and sweet the milk tasted at the bottom of the bowl. This is what the ‘right brand’ of hemp milk tastes like to me (but I respectfully warn you that my sensitivity to sweetness and saltiness may be too much for your taste).