Health foods to avoid

Health foods to avoid

When we think about foods to avoid most of us will quickly come up with a list that includes things like: candy, doughnuts, soda, and other “junk food.” These are the easy foods to try and keep out of your diet. Unfortunately, our marketing saavy world has promoted certain foods as health foods, despite their ugly reality. So with that in mind, I’d like to talk about some specific health foods to avoid.

Health foods to avoid: Here are three

1. Soy

Three "health" food to avoid. You may be surprised.

Soy has been promoted as a health food for a long time. For vegetarians it is marketed as a source of protein. Many sources have asserted that Asians have been eating lots of soy for millennia. However, the real story behind soy paints a much different picture.

Why you should avoid soy:

  • Soy is higher in phytoestrogens than just about any other food source. Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens that mimic estrogen in our bodies. Independent research has clearly shown that consuming phytoestrogens is downright dangerous for the human body.
  • Soy contains high levels of goitrogens. Goitrogens are compounds that inhibit the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine correctly which could lead to hypothyroid problems.
  • Soy contains hemagglutinin: a clot-promoting substance that causes your red blood cells to clump together making them unable to properly absorb and distribute oxygen to your tissues.
  • High levels of phytic acid in soy reduce assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children.
  • Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
  • MSG, a potent neurotoxin, is added to many soy foods.
  • Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
  • Soy foods increase the body’s requirement for vitamin D (something that most Americans are already lacking).
  • Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.

To top this horrific list off, 91% of all soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. It is also one of the prevalent ingredients in processed foods. If your food has a barcode, there’s a good chance there is soy in it.

How does this information stand against Asian populations who have been eating soy for so long? Well, according to the extensively researched book, The whole soy story: the dark side of America’s favorite health food by Dr. Kaayla Daniel, the Chinese first started eating soybeans about 2,500 years ago, but only after they figured out how to ferment it. The fermentation process neutralizes the toxins in the soybean. Tempeh, miso, natto, and soy sauce have traditionally been fermented (although most soy sauce in the grocery store has not). Most soy Americans consume, however, is not fermented. We are also consuming more of it than ever before.  (Learn more about the dangers of soy at drkaayladaniel.com and wholesoystory.com.)

In other words, soy is definitely one of the health foods to avoid.

2. Agave Nectar

Three "health" food to avoid. You may be surprised.

This sweetener has been all the buzz the past few years. Prized as a “low glycemic” miracle, many health conscious people have placed agave in their pantries with a sense of pride.

Why you should avoid agave nectar:

  • Most agave “nectar” or agave “syrup” is  made through a highly chemical process using genetically modified enzymes, caustic acids,  and filtration chemicals.
  • Agave nectar is devoid of virtually all nutrient value.
  • Most agave syrup has a higher fructose content than any commercial sweetener — ranging from 55 to 97 percent (depending on the brand), which is much higher than high fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which averages 55 percent.
  • Agave’s high fructose levels go directly to the liver, where the organ repackages it as blood fats called triglycerides, increasing heart disease risk. These high fructose levels can also contribute to insulin resistance, a risk factor for diabetes, as well as nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

That’s not to say that having a teaspoon now and then will kill you. But if you are pouring the agave on your waffles thinking it’s a health food… sorry, it’s not. It’s just like all the other unnatural sweeteners, and should be used very sparingly. Better yet, when you need a little sweetness, go for some fresh fruit, raw honey, or organic maple syrup (grade B for more minerals!).

Conclusion: Agave nectar and syrup are also health foods to avoid.

3. Canola Oil

Three "health" food to avoid. You may be surprised.
Promoted as a “heart healthy” oil, Canola oil is in everything from salad dressing to mayonnaise. No wonder people think it’s healthy. I finally convinced my mom to switch out her margarine for butter (yay!) only to find out she was buying the butter with canola oil. She was so proud of her healthy choice. After a few head bangs into the wall (me) and some discussion (me and her), she’s finally eating good ole’ plain real butter (YAY!).

Why you should avoid canola oil:

  • Like other modern vegetable oils, most canola oil is refined under heat and pressure, which damages its omega-3 fats.
  • The presence of long-chain fatty acids, including erucic acid, which are thought by some to cause CNS degeneration, heart disease, and cancer
  • Canola oil is more easily hydrogenated which produces trans fat
  • Much of the crops grown to produce canola oil are genetically modified
  • The United States and Canada do not permit canola oil to be used in infant formula because it retards growth in animals
  • Animal studies have linked canola oil with reduced platelet count, shorter life span, and greater need for vitamin E
  • Vegetable oils, including Canola, have polyunsaturated fats which degrade and go rancid very easily leaving them susceptible to oxidation and high levels of free radicals.

You are better off trusting traditional fats like butter, lard, coconut oil, and high quality extra virgin olive oil (although EVOO is still unstable under high heat so it shouldn’t be used for cooking). But when it comes to canola, and all vegetable oils for that matter, they are health foods to avoid. For sure.

There you have it. Three health foods to avoid because… well, turns out they aren’t healthy. At all.

What health foods do you avoid? My general rule of thumb: If it has to claim it’s healthy on its package, it often isn’t. 

References:

Soy sources
http://www.optimumchoices.com/Soy.htm
http://soundnessofbodyandmind.com/dangers-of-soy-exposed/
http://paleodietlifestyle.com/dangers-soy/
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/09/18/soy-can-damage-your-health.aspx
http://www.westonaprice.org/soy-alert
Agave sources
http://www.foodrenegade.com/agave-nectar-good-or-bad/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-mercola/agave-this-sweetener-is-f_b_537936.html
http://health.yahoo.net/articles/nutrition/5-best-and-5-worst-sweeteners-have-your-kitchen
Canola oil sources
Real Food: What to eat and why by Nina Planck (“I am not convinced by canola”)
http://customers.hbci.com/~wenonah/new/canola.htm
http://butterbeliever.com/what-is-pufa/
http://www.rmhiherbal.org/review/2000-4.html 

This is part of Monday ManiaFat TuesdayWhole Foods Wednesday, Wednesday Fresh Foods, Simple Lives Thursday, Living Green TuesdayKeep it Real ThursdayReal Food Wednesday, Freaky Friday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Simply Natural SaturdaysSunday SchoolWeekend Gourmet Blog Carnival, Health and Fitness Link UpPennywise Platter, Fight Back Friday, and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.

NOTE: Due to an never-ending cesspool of spam, I have made the tough decision to close comments 14 days after the original posting of all posts. Sorry to anyone left out of the conversation. I just needed to spend less time monitoring spam and more time with my kids. Best wishes, Robin!

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About the author

Hi! I'm and I’m passionate about healthy living: feeling nourished, having energy, getting good sleep, and feeling strong. I believe healthy living does not have to be complicated or stressful. I’m a Registered Somatic Movement Therapist (RSMT) and a Certified Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analyst (CLMA). I’m also an avid researcher and love to read about nutrition, the body, and toxic-free living. Learn more.

View all articles by Robin Konie

111 comments

  1. Real Food Eater

    GREAT POST! I just shared this on my FB pages as well. I’m so glad that blogs like ours exist to help educate people on what “Real Food” is! Thanks for writing this one!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Thank you! I agree. I wouldn’t be where I was today if it weren’t for all the great blogs with priceless information. :)

    2. Melanie Adams

      Great point to add to this wonderful article. I’m appreciative to all who take the time to actually research, verify, and share helpful information.

    1. RichelleBee

      Having read your own source on agave (Huffington Post) Dr Mercola clearly differentiates between mass production agave nectar and small, indiginous, organic producers – whereas your “conclusion” clearly does not.

      Had I not taken the 2 minutes to read your cited source, I would have assumed (based on your conclusion) that ALL agave nectar was to be avoided as unhealthy, when that is clearly not the case.

      Such a blanket statement on your part does a huge disservice to the ethical, organic, small indiginous producers, and those of us seeking information on healthy options and alternatives.

      Further, can you conclusively and without reservation say that the meat industry is in no way connected to discrediting soy?

      In our age of misinformation, where Monstanto sings the praises of GMO, Big Oil refutes climate change, and Big Tabacco dismisses links to lung cancer, we must be ever vigilant about questioning who is behind the funding of studies.

      In light of what we know about the nature of human greed, it wouldn’t seem a stretch to say that Big Meat, who obviously has a vested interest in ensuring the con$umption of innocent beings (with little regard for their suffering as evidenced in countless expose videos) would think nothing of throwing a little, or a lot, of misinformation our way.

      Respectfully, with over 13,000 followers, please ensure your information is unbiased, and above all, accurate. It would seem a clarification and rewrite of your post is in order.

      Perhaps you could research and post the brands of ethical agave – I’m sure they’d appreciate the publicity.


      1. Post author
        robin

        I hear what you are saying. And I do say that “most” agave is mass produced and not a health food… and there’s a reason why I put my sources so that others can dig deeper… I’m a blogger not a medical journal. As far as the soy issue… NOTHING I have researched as indicated that the meat industry is behind the science of why *most* soy food is not health food. I talk about the difference between fermented and commercial soy. Most of which is GMO and found in over 90% of processed foods… I don’t need to follow a money trail to know this stuff isn’t good to consume when all the information available clearly points to it. (Although, for the record I do make a diligent effort to question who is behind funding studies.)

        This post was written last year, and I wrote it with the best intentions and further citations for those wanting more of the science. I probably only had 300 followers at the time, but I still stand by what I believe to be true: These three foods are better left alone or you better take PROPER measurements to ensure that you are getting the right kind of soy or agave foods… most of which are not easily available to most people. Anyone who take a moment to check out my bio will know that I’m not a scientist, not a journalist, and not trying to make a buck of any particular food. I present information that I find useful in my journey to real health. I do my best and stand behind what I write, but my ultimate hope is that people take the information and continue to dig deeper until they find what works for them.

        1. Annie

          I really appreciate you taking the time to write this post, and the discussion (seen above, for example) is really interesting still a year later. I’m vegetarian myself, but rely on lentils and beans rather than soy for my protein intake (although i do enjoy the occasional soy in e.g. japanese food such as sushi). I did not know that soy might be that dangerous, it has not been under a lot of discussion here in Finland. The reason might be that we don’t use as much soy in our processed foods as in the US.

          If I understand your post correctly, organic fermented soy might be the best alternative if one still chooses to eat soy? Kinda the lesser of two evils. I’m asking since, like I mentioned, like to occasionally (meaning no more than twice a month) eat tofu and tempeh since it is downright delicious. I’d like to know your opinion since you clearly have more knowledge on the subject than I do. :) And thanks for a fabulous blog!


          1. Post author
            Robin Konie

            Thanks for your kind words, Annie. Yes, organic and fermented soy is a great way to still get some soy in your diet without any ill consequences. And, ultimately, the occasionally addition of other soy products (preferably organic so as to avoid GMOs) will not kill you. I just wouldn’t make it a daily part of my diet by any means. :)

  2. Crystal

    I find this all interesting. What I would like to know is if eating soy and agave are different if they are organic?


    1. Post author
      robin

      Great question, Crystal! Organic soy is definitely going to be a better choice since most conventional soy is GMO. But really you wanted organic and fermented to be really okay. That’s not to say eating a little soy is going to kill you… but I definitely wouldn’t consider it a health food.

      As for agave… organic is probably a safer bet. But it’s never going to pass as a health food because it has no nutritional value. It’s a sweetener that, if used at all, should probably be used sparingly. I’d definitely choose raw honey or organic maple syrup over agave. They too should be used sparingly, but they do offer some benefits like enzymes and minerals.

  3. Cindy

    From what i read, Xagave isn’t chemically processed. Otherwise, i agree 100%! I really appreciate your website, thanks:)


    1. Post author
      robin

      It’s true. How things are processed really does make a difference. It’s like the difference between pure liquid stevia and those processed white powdery version (like Truvia).

      Thanks, Cindy!

  4. JoAnna Parker

    You promote the use of butter, lard, and oil? Why? They are proven to clog your arteries! The journey to real health? If I follow your recommendations I’ll have a stroke or heart attack. If you want to be REALLY healthy check out Forks over Knives. I’ll stick with my hummus and edamame.

    1. C Kee

      Contrary to what we’ve been told by the medical community, butter, coconut oil and other saturated fats do NOT clog your arteries. They have been used for centuries and when combined with an active lifestyle are not harmful. The problem with most Americans today is that we’re fat because we’re lazy. We’re lazy in the fitness area as well as the kitchen preferring convenience to actual cooking. Great article, I really enjoyed it.

      1. sgmarr

        I medically proved, via blood testing and diet, that butter and eggs and cheese do NOT raise cholesterol. My doctor had to admit I was correct. *grin* was the best day of my life, that one! hehe In fact, I went from a level that alarmed her tremendously, to a below where I started as normal level, eating these things. But I took herbs that balance the hormones in the body and for stress, with them. Still, got the superb results change in 2 days!


    2. Post author
      robin

      Hi JoAnna,

      While I think people like Cambell and all the “forks over knives” folks are really trying to help people, I cannot support their low-fat dogma. Our body needs saturated fats and cholesterol to live, function, and heal.

      In fact, while terribly sad, I just saw this article yesterday:

      “In the movie Forks over Knives, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, and Caldwell Esselsytn, MD, promote the myth that low-fat, plant-based diets confer protection from heart disease. Dr. Esselstyn even flat out guarantees that vegans will never have a heart attack. Ever.”

      Well, another PETA spokesman and dedicated vegan, Peter Burg, just died of a heart attack at the age of 42.

      http://www.wholesoystory.com/death-of-peta-spokesman/

      Anyone trying to guarantee that a certain lifestyle will prevent you from sickness or disease does not seem like a valid source of information in my book.

      Again, I think we all have the right to choose what we eat, but we will definitely be sticking to our traditional fats and avoiding these “health” foods as much as possible. http://thankyourbody.com/big-fat-lie/

      1. Roseann @ The Wholesome Life

        In response to JoAnna, my daughter was vegan for over 9 years. She ate soy and all the low fat, low cholesterol foods and lots of vegetables and grains. Her cholesterol went up high up to around 300 and she was having a lot of fainting spells and the doctor diagnosed her as being anemic.
        She now is back to eating meat and saturated fat. She took my advice and cut the processed grains, sugars, and processed oils, such as canola oil out of her diet. Her cholesterol dropped and it’s now down to 165. To me that’s too low, but she feels much better and isn’t fainting anymore and she’s not anemic.
        Vegan diets are very unhealthy and very dangerous. Key to good health is to avoid processed oils and grains and start consuming healthy saturated fats. Grass fed raw butter has the perfect balance of omega 3 and 6. Same goes for grass fed raw milk.
        Balance is the key…a diet consisting of grass fed meats, fats, nuts and seeds and getting your fiber from vegetables and legumes instead of processed grains, is healthy.

        1. robin

          Thanks, Roseann. I’m so glad your daughter is doing better. I totally agree, balance is key. But that definitely includes healthy fats. :)

      2. Eva

        While vegans are not super humans, the harms of a diet w animal products are obvious beyond discussions. On one hand, you’re right that none can claim that a certain diet can rulle out all possibility of health issues, but your stating of the PETA spokesperson who had a heart attack is also a fallacy because the number of vegans who suffer from such conditions is not even a drop in the bucket compared w the number of Americans who suffer from a wide variety of diseases related to animal food. It’s like the grandpa who smoked since he was 10 years old and died on a car accident at 99 years old without ever catching a cold. I for instance, as a child, always had trouble keeping weight on, and so do my kids, we come from a line of skinny people w huge appetites. I became vegetarian than vegan about 5 years ago, because of the issues of ethics, all the torture and horros that is imposed on animals for our pleasure, but as I educated myself about nutrition because as a meat/high fat eater I always had several deficiencies, always ate too much, and was always too skinny and always hungry, I became incredibly much healthier/stronger on a vegan diet. I used to eat meat, lard, butter, daily, and to say that that’s any good kind of disgusts me, like feeding those creepy formulas to infants who should be breastfed. Hopefully we agree that human milk is designed for humans, cow’s milk is excellent for the calf and mammals are not supposed to consume milk as adults. And human milk is the best indicator that a high fat diet is not good, or at least not necessary. Human milk is only 1% protein because our bodies transform amino acids from vegs into protein. Just saying. I think people should eat whatever they want – meat butter for their pleasure because they will have to face the consequences of their choices alone, but to say that butter is good when talking about healthy foods is not really a good service for who is looking for learning about healthier, more ethical habits.

        1. John

          You are plain wrong.
          Look at the studies of heart problems and other health issues done by the WHO. It clearly shows that vegan and vegetarian societies have extreme health issues because o their imbalanced diets. Humans are omnivores and as such relay on a healthy balance of vegetables, meat, fat and grains.

  5. Cindy

    So which oils are best to cook with then? Which are best for use under med. to high heat levels? We use olive oil for most of our uses but, we use the canola oil for cooking. What would be better to use in it’s place? Can coconut oil take the higher heat of cooking?


    1. Post author
      robin

      Great question, Cindy! Coconut oil and palm oil are really great for cooking. I use coconut oil because it has so many health benefits beyond just being stable at high heats. Butter, ghee, lard, and tallow are also great for cooking.

      If you don’t want a coconut flavor you can also use expellar-pressed coconut oil which has absolutely no coconut flavor.

      1. Paula

        Please don’t promote the use of palm oil. I have seen for myself just how destructive our demand for palm oil is to the environment. Please – would you take this out of your list of oils? Even if it’s okay to eat, palm plantations are directly responsible for us losing some of the richest biodiverse regions on Earth.

        (I enjoyed this post otherwise. Thanks.)


        1. Post author
          robin

          Hi Paula,

          Thank you so much for your comment. It’s true that the demands for palm oil have had some horrible environmental consequences. We don’t actually use palm oil in my house for this reason. Although I do know some people who are allergic to coconut oil and animal products. In this instance, seeking out truly sustainable palm oil (which requires some good research for sure) may be an option. I have taken it off my list, though, because I do agree that the way the majority of palm oil is harvested is not good. Thanks for your thoughtful request. Blessings to you.

  6. Lisa Gruich

    Recent studies have also shown that low fat, low cholesterol diets may be a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease. Those saturated fats are needed in our brains. Eat them up!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Seriously. When you think about the fact the majority of our brain is fat and cholesterol I still wonder how people can think it’s safe to avoid them.

      1. Roseann @ The Wholesome Life

        According to Sally Fallon Morell in her video presentation “The Oiling of America” women don’t have to watch their cholesterol at all. And men have to watch it, but don’t have to have it lowered near as much as conventional medicine says.
        I believe that we need the cholesterol for proper brain function and what causes the heart attacks is visceral fat around the stomach. And that is caused by the low fat, high carb, processed whole grain diet they want us to follow.
        We have to keep educating!!

  7. Pingback: Health & Wellness Friday ~ September 7th 2012 | The Coconut Mama

  8. Jackie

    Back home we use grassfed cow butter and coconut oil for cooking, however we are living in Peru for a year, where I haven’t been able to find these. How is sunflower oil?


    1. Post author
      robin

      Sunflower does have a higher smoke point so it’s probably not going to oxidate like olive oil would. I would just be sure to get cold pressed oil. If the oil is heated in the process of making then it’s already bad before you even use it. Do you have access to any palm oil? That’s also a great one for cooking. Hope that helps! Good luck!

  9. Roseann @ The Wholesome Life

    Thanks for this very informative post. I now have something more to refer to when I am asked by vegans what is wrong with eating soy and using canola oil. When I tell them most soy is GMO, they don’t believe me and think as long as it’s organic, it’s ok.
    Also, the data I retrieved lately is that as of 2011, 95% of soy was genetically modified. A year later, it probably is even a higher percentage now.

    1. robin

      Thanks Roseann! I totally know what you mean. :)

      I did find slightly different numbers for how much of our soy is GMO… So I went with the lower one just to be safe. I agree with you, however, that it’s probably even higher. It’s scary because they can’t even control the GMO garbage as they find trace amounts of GMO in organic stuff. I really hope that prop 37 passes in California!

  10. Karri

    Excellent list. I’ve been on the rant about these 3 for the past year and still amazes me to find them in our health food stores around town. I fell in love with coconut oil a couple of years ago and there is no turning back now… amazing stuff with so many uses besides cooking & baking. We have also begun using grapeseed oil this year.

    I am curious to know your thoughts on Xylitol as I have heard it promoted as being a very healthy sweetner alternative but have also heard some concerns with how it is processed (that processed word is always a cause for concern! ha). Have you done any research into this area yourself? We don’t often use sweetners around here but when we do we use coconut sugar, stevia liquid, pure maple syrup & raw honey and find with these options I can usually find a substitute for recipes that call for sugar or HFCAS etc..

    Again, thank you for your list. Am sharing this!

    1. robin

      Hi Karri,

      Thanks for your kind words!

      As far as xylitol, I don’t know. I’ve also heard different sides of the debate. We personally don’t seek it out and instead stick with more traditional sweeteners like raw honey and maple syrup. These have “stood the test of time” in my book, which makes me feel better about using them.

      With that said, if used in small amounts it sounds like it’s probably a better bet than some of the other refined sweeteners out there… but that’s not saying a whole lot. :)

  11. Dana

    MSG is not glutamic acid! It is monosodium glutamate! VERY DIFFERENT COMPOUND! This right here is why we health nuts are dismissed as crackpots by the mainstream medical establishment–when we cannot even do our homework and get the chemistry right in these discussions.

    It’s not just you on this particular error–I see it *everywhere.* I’ve even seen people equate *glutamine* with MSG and wow, that’s *way* off-base. At least MSG *contains* glutamic acid, you know?

    But glutamic acid is an amino acid. That’s all. Nothing else. And I’m sure there are people who are sensitive to it, but if you ate *any* amino acid in excess, you’d run the risk of problems. It just so happens that glutamic acid (and phenylalanine, part of the sweetener aspartame) acts on the neurological system, so that’s how you’re going to feel the effects of an overdose. Headaches, mental health issues, etc.

    Just saying–sorry to be harsh. This is frustrating.

    1. robin

      Hey Dana,

      No worries about the harshness. I can take it. :)

      I really do appreciate your diligence and knowledge on this subject. I do understand they are two different things. But, as you said, so much of the health world groups the two together and I apparently made the same mistake. I still stand by the fact, though, that MSG is often added to many soy products. And, as you also said, some people do have sensitivities to excess amounts of glutamic acid. Which, considering how much soy is in processed foods, could be a problem for more people.

      I still stand by this article, despite the small discrepancy (which I will edit to give a more accurate description). Even if soy foods NEVER had MSG, I still wouldn’t eat it. There is enough reasons for me to avoid it.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  12. Kelly

    I now only use organic miso paste when it comes to soy products. What I find funny is, I’ve been following your blog for a while now, but really just as a resource while I’ve been trying to find *my* good-health diet (my genetics are starting to catch up to me, so I have to take it seriously now). As I’ve started settling into my health niche, I’ve noticed my lifestyle is starting to parallel yours a lot more than I ever expected it too. Once you said you couldn’t un-learn this stuff, and for the first time, I fully understand what you meant.

  13. Pingback: Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways #44


    1. Post author
      robin

      Thanks, Judee. I did too, at one point. It’s hard to stay “on top” of the latest science when it comes to food. That’s why I love the real food movement. It makes so much more sense to trust people who lived off of real food for thousands of year rather than scientists with funding from questionable sources. ;)

  14. NANCY TRUAX

    i made “MISO”(soypaste) soup a while back..i woke up the next morning with my lips and lower
    face swollen 3x it’s size. went to Med Point and recieved a shot. I am allergic to soy! If my tongue and throat had swollen i would have died in my sleep!!!!!!!

    “NO SOY FOR ME”!


    1. Post author
      robin

      Yikes! Scary! Glad you were able to find the problem and get it out of your life. :)

      Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Rebecca

    I have lost “vegetarian” friends on Facebook because I have touted the evils of soy so many times, and have pointed out that MSG (something they have professed to not eat) is in most soy products, especially the TVP and replacement meat dishes… I am all for ethical treatment of animals, but I am O blood type and need my animal fats and proteins or I feel super sick with no energy. So veto the CAFO, but get meat from happy, healthy animals raised CORRECTLY.


    1. Post author
      robin

      Exactly. I get frustrated when my veg*n friends don’t see the difference between humanely raised and CAFO animals. It’s not the same. Doesn’t have the same environmental impact or health impact.

      Thanks for stopping by, Rebecca!

      1. Eva

        Funny, as a vegan I barely ever eat soy, and all the vegan pages I follow on facebook on raw foods and veganism warn about the problems of eating too much soy.

      2. Eva

        I don’t mean to be harsh whatsoever Robin, but you should take a trip to the Amazon and see the environmental disgrace caused by the cattle industry ( you mention industry on one of your comments, it’s funny cos animal prods industries are amongst the most powerful and fund lots of “studies” you wisely critique). Much of the delicious, grass fed beef in Brazil is taking a huge tol in the Amazon rainforest and it’s consumed here and in Europe. Just please, if you want to do w the meat, at least be aware that the environmental impact is still there. Sorry if I come across mean, but I’ve seen first hand what “organic cattle” is doing to the forest and the indigenous peoples. If you take domestically raised, still be aware that grazing involves large habitat destruction. There is just no sound ethical ways around meat and dairy.


        1. Post author
          robin

          I think you’d be surprised. All my meat and dairy comes from a local farm. I have visited the farm. I’ve seen their practices. They are a very diverse farm where the cattle serve to keep the fields fertile and thriving. It’s all in how it’s done. Just like most corn crops or other dominant (non meat) crops are devastating the environment, there are unsound and sound practices in all areas of food production… animal or plant.

    2. Eva

      I do agree that if it’s to eat meat, it should be humanely raised, but cattle has unconditionally harmful environmental impact because grass fed meat requires deforestation and the cows still release methane. It’s just not as disgusting and painful for the animals but as they are slaughtered, death is death. There is no need for animal protein because our body transforms amino acids into protein. I lived in this philosophy of denial for a long time, and if you went weak without meat is because you didn’t eat right. Meat is consumed as a source of pleasure and it does harm to some, but not so much to others. You know, some people smoke lots and live long lives without ever having cancer.


      1. Post author
        robin

        Hi Eva,

        Clearly we have different thoughts on what a healthy diet is, and that’s totally cool. I know that not everyone thinks meat or animal products are healthy… just like I don’t think vegan diets are healthy. Hopefully we can keep the discussion friendly, despite our differences of opinions. :)

        Although, to say that someone didn’t “do it right” when a vegan diet didn’t work for them is hardly fair. As someone who once tried giving up animal products and was VERY careful to get a very healthy and balanced diet otherwise, I can tell you that it didn’t work for me. We all have such unique circumstances, environments, genetics, and other factors that play into health. And I’ve heard of countless stories similar to mine where, no matter how hard they tried, a vegan diet only did them harm.

        I understand that for a lot of vegans there are other issues involved in making the decision to abstain from all animal products, and I can respect that. I am grateful for compassionate people who take a stand for the sanctity of life for all species. I do choose my animal products carefully, to avoid cruelty, but I choose to nourish my family in a way that feels right for me. I wouldn’t call it “for pleasure.” It’s a matter of health for me.

        Thanks for stopping by and adding your two cents. I really do value the thoughts of all, even if we don’t always agree. Blessings.

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  17. Mike

    Yes, im so glad that we are relying on a “dot.com” website for our nutritional information and not peer reviewed research…..


    1. Post author
      robin

      I understand that not everyone will see eye to eye about what’s healthy and what’s not. And that’s totally cool with me. I agree that you can’t just blindly believe everything you read online. But I would add that same warning to “peer reviewed” research. Bad science, corrupt systems, and researchers who get their paychecks from “food” companies all have their own “peer reviewed” data that is unfortunately hurting a lot of people. I am not a scientist, but I spend hours and hours researching. I don’t claim to have all the answers… but I do like to share what I learn in hopes of helping other people. I hope people aren’t relying on any one source (“dot.com” or not) to get their nutritional information. But if you are willing to do a little digging, and commit yourself to being open minded, you may find how many savvy marketers are behind even the most rigidly peered reviewed information.

      Not trying to offend anyone, just being me. Best wishes.

  18. michele

    How refreshing to come across this bit of wisdom. Thank you. I’ve been writing on these topics for years but so often I feel lost in a big sea of soy spiked with agave and canola.

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  24. kelley shannon

    Just wanted to say I am certified posture alignment specialist through Egoscue and when I looked at your blog and saw your suggestion of Pain Free, I was excited to read on! Keep up the great work, looking forward to staying tuned!

  25. kelly

    Excellently written and factual! Good job!

    If there’s a reason why vegetarians and vegans are still getting cancer, unfermented or gmo soy would be the reason.

    No LOW amount of Euracic acid in Canola Oil should be considered safe, especially if used in every cooked foods you eat that you eat daily.

    As for agave nectar, no one asked Mimi Kirk what’s the real reason for that extra “tyre” at her tummy? Yep, agave.

    THIS IS WHY your post scored HIGH in my eyes!

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  35. patte

    What is your opinion about Raw Coconut Nectar as a sweetener? They claim it collected as nectar from the flowers of the coconut. (Some flowers are used for nectar, while the rest are allowed to become coconuts.)

    I LOVE it. But that’s why I figure it must be too good to be true. ;)


    1. Post author
      robin

      I honestly don’t know. Haven’t had much experience with it. Usually things that are truly raw have a “look” of raw. The difference between really raw honey and processed honey: Raw honey isn’t not a smooth, homogenized, consistent color. Etc. If it looks really “uniform” I’d maybe do a little research. :)

  36. Melanie

    What about avocado oil? If I understand it holds up well to high temps & doesn’t
    Have a strong flavor like coconut oil but I haven’t seen anything written about it.


    1. Post author
      robin

      I’ve used avocado oil for the oil cleansing method, but not really for cooking. So much of it depends on how the oil was processed. But if you used a quality oil it would be better than canola. You can also try expellar pressed coconut oil. It has no coconut flavor at all. It’s my favorite for cooking in high heat.

  37. Cynthia Smith

    I have been educating myself for years as to eating healthy, using alternative (herbs, Chinese meds) and positive thinking,meditation and prayer. Having recently gone through menopause, I have been suffering with tons of menopausal symptoms ( anxiety,exhaustion,24-7 lightheaded feeling, sinus problems etc.). The mainstream medical society only knows what they are taught in med school, period. To say the least, without knowledge of the things that are at our disposal (from God), we are pretty much helpless. Through naturopathic doctors, I finally learned from blood spot and saliva testing , that my “gut” intuition was correct. I was hormonally out of balance and my adrenals were stressed. By using herbals and staying on a gluten,soy and refined sugar free, GMO free diet, I know I will come through this time of my life a healthy woman, free from harmful thyroid and “depression”(the drug of choice for 2013) meds.

  38. Shannon

    Thanks for these tips. I do eat a lot of soy because I am a vegetarian and have always been one. Do you have any suggestions on substitutes or soy brands that would be better to use as a meat substitute? I know you can get great sources of protein from other foods, but I use soy foods as my “meat” when I’m cooking.


    1. Post author
      robin

      I’d really cut back on the soy if it were me and I would ONLY consume organic soy as most soy is GMO. Lentils are a great source of protein, but not sure it would make a good “meat” substitute. If a vegetarian life is really important to you I’d consider checking out some quality vegetarian cookbooks that don’t try and copycat non-vegetarian foods. I just don’t think there is a substitute for meat. But that’s not to say that you can’t find some delicious and nourishing recipes that are completely vegetarian. Especially now that more and more vegetarians are seeing how dangerous soy is, there are a lot more resources available to help you make the most of what you can eat. But as a meat eater myself, I’m probably not the best resource for that specific need. :)

  39. meghan oona

    There’s been a lot of fear mongering against soy lately! It’s actually a wonderful food. In “Healthy at 100″, John Robbins reviews the works of several PhDs about the Okinawans (the longest living people in the world). They ate 2 servings of tofu a day (not just fermented, either), and “It is not an accident that in Okinawa, home to the highest soy consumption in the world, heart disease is minimal, breast cancer is so rare that screening mammography is not needed, and most aging men have never heard of prostate cancer…They conclude that high soy consumption is one of the main reasons that Okinawans are at extremely low risk for hormone dependent cancers, including cancers of the breast, prostate, ovaries, and colon. Compared to North Americans, they have a staggering 80 percent less breast cancer and prostate cancer, and less than half the ovarian cancer and colon cancer.”

    There’s a very well researched, in depth analysis about every angle of soy here: http://www.johnrobbins.info/blog/what-about-soy/ On a personal note I’ve been vegan for 17 years and do just fine with soy. <3


    1. Post author
      robin

      I’m sorry… is what safe? I don’t use canola oil (or any of the other ingredients) in any of my beauty products. I think there are much better options that are better for your skin and the environment. :)

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