Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Buyer Beware

This is a topic I have been meaning to write about for some time now.  When you go to the grocery store, if you're like me, you try to buy things that are as healthy as possible.  However, when you're looking at a package that says "All Natural", you still need to be wary.

Ideally, "All Natural" would mean that the product would be healthy for you.  Sometimes, that's not the case.  Typically, "All Natural" means that there are no food products that don't exist in nature.  However, "All Natural" products could still contain items that have been modified, sprayed, changed, or created in a lab somewhere. 

For instance, I've commented on how High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for you, but it would be considered "All Natural" since it comes from corn.  Another example that I've written about would be with Genetically Modified (GMO) products.  All these products are still grown in a farm or greenhouse somewhere, but have pesticides put into their genes.

Another reason that "All Natural" foods may not be such a great choice is their nutritional value.  Something that is "All Natural" can still be high in sugar, fat, salt, simple carbs, etc.  In fact, that goes for organic products as well.  No matter if it's "All Natural", organic, or not, you still need to look at the nutrition facts.  You need to be very mindful about what you're buying, and not just trusting that the product is good for you because the manufacturer put a fancy decal on the box.

So, what's the best way to avoid all of this trouble?  Buy as many fresh products and try to avoid anything in a package.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Soy you Think it's Good for your Body?

These days, it seems like more and more people are realizing that milk doesn't sit too well with them.  So what to put in that glass or pour over your cereal?  Many people are turning to soy.  But, is soy such a good alternative?  I think you can probably guess where I'm going with this one.

I have a couple of issues with soy, the first being a good replacement for milk.  First of all, soy isn't the complete food that it's cracked up to be.  For something to be a complete food, it needs to be a food that you could survive on without eating anything else.  Soy is not a complete food for a number of different reasons.  It does NOT have a complete and full spectrum of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.  Also, the protein in soy may be a decent protein, but it is highly indigestible by the human digestive system.  (In fact, the most digestible soy products are fermented soy products such as miso.)  You will NOT be getting the required nutrients that your body needs and craves from being on a strict soy diet.  It could even lead to serious malnutrition diseases by being on a strictly soy diet.

The second big reason that I'm not much of a fan of soy is because of what are called phytoestrogens (I'll call them PEs cause it's easier to type).  PEs are structures naturally within the soybean.  PEs are exactly what they sound like, estrogen compounds.  Now, most people know that women have higher estrogen and men have higher testosterone.  But men also have estrogen.  When you increase soy intake, you are also increasing your estrogen intake with PEs.  In men, this could lead to hormonal changes that give higher levels of estrogen.  Not only that, but higher estrogen levels in women can be a big deal as well.  Higher estrogen can lead to things such as an increased risk for breast cancer or infertility.  Not to mention that if you give your baby soy formula, you will be exposing them to much higher levels of estrogen in the form of PEs before their little body can handle it.

Finally, the last big issue that I have with soy is actually with US soy.  Any soy that you buy that was grown in the US is going to be GMO (genetically modified), unless it is certified organic.  If you want to read why GMO foods are such a detriment, just re-read my blog titled The Breakdown on GMOs.

So the next time you decide to swap out your milk for soymilk or baby formula for soy formula, just remember, there are better options out their.  Try coconut milk, oat milk, almond milk, or even try to get away from the milk dependence that we were brought up with.