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Frame: Meatless Monday, P.1

November 1, 2010
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On January 1st, 2010, I took on The Great Vegan Experiment, whereupon I decided to go without any animal products (or products made from animals) for three months. I was massively cranky and incredibly boring the entire time, talking endlessly about how cookies with hidden honey are the devil and vegan cheese isn’t really cheese. Instead of 3 months, I lasted exactly 23 days, as my experiment went down in a blaze of meat glory when an excellent chef cooked me a roast for my birthday. Below are some thoughts I jotted down about soy during my experiment, and in honor of Meatless Monday I’m going to pull out one of my vegan recipes for dinner tonight.  

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When I decided to try my hand (stomach?) at veganism, I assumed soy would play a role in my new diet. However, after doing some investigation, I am truly stymied as to how much, if any, soy I should be consuming. I am actually a little afraid of soy.

I currently have, in my apartment: light soy milk, firm tofu, and morning star chick’n strips (why must they use such infuriating spellings for meat substitutes?). I’ve been enjoying all of these things to varying degrees. But when a friend – who is vegan himself- found out about my experiment, he cautioned me “just watch out for soy. I’m trying to cut back on soy myself. and it’s especially bad for women.”

The soy milk in my fridge is a silent killer? Not ok.

A quick search for “is soy bad for you?”  led to inconclusive results. One article stated “soy is more insidious than hemlock.” Ouch. Another said that “consuming large amounts of soy could have harmful effects on female fertility and reproductive development.” Not something I’m particularly worried about at the moment, but not something I’m trying to sabotage, either.  Yet another: “To sum up the research on humans, the bulk of the evidence indicates that 2 to 3 servings of soy is perfectly safe, possibly even protective against disease. A serving of soy is 1/2 cup of tofu, tempeh, soybeans or textured vegetable protein, or 1 cup of soymilk.”

Some of the problems said to be caused by soy? Breast cancer, thyroid problems, kidney stones, reproductive problems, and- my favorite- dementia.

I thought my friends were driving me crazy about their insistence on proving what a bad idea veganism is, but maybe it’s just the soy talking?

Endgame: I’m going to slowly eat the rest of the soy products that I purchased (I hate wasting food), but after that I think I’ll stick to the occasional tofu serving. Fake meat isn’t really my thing, anyway, and soy milk is too sweet.

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