To Soy or Not to Soy…That is the Question!

Many patients wind up having to avoid dairy products as they discover they have a sensitivity to it, a full-blown allergy, or choose to avoid it because they have a cold and know that it creates mucus, prolonging one’s congestion and stuffy nose.

Inevitably, people ask me, “What am I supposed to drink instead of milk?” There are many options these days: soy (being the most popular), hemp, almond, coconut, rice, and goat milk.

Soy seems to be the most widely known alternative, thanks to the “Silk” commercials. However, it is NOT one that I recommend. Soy is one of the top five allergens to babies and adults alike. Many crops are loaded with chemicals (pesticides), contributing to the world’s superweeds and soil contamination. Besides it’s chemical content and potential allergic response, let’s look at some other facts.

1. Soy milk is an unnatural byproduct of soy that your body can’t digest. Phytates are enzyme-inhibitors that block mineral absorption in the human digestive tract. Soy is so high in phytates that it’s almost impossible to get rid of them. Soy must be fermented in order for it to be digestible. If you do eat soy, you should stick to ORGANIC fermented soy products like miso, tempeh, natto, or a naturally fermented soy sauce (tamari).

2. Recent science suggests soy “isoflavones” are dangerous to your health. Isoflavones include “phyto-estrogens,” plant-based compounds that mimic the female hormone. Eat enough of these, and you’ll upset your body’s hormonal balance. For example, doctors know that the leading cause of breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility, and low libido is due to estrogen dominance. Then why would anyone argue that we should consume more of a food high in estrogen?

3. Soy is Goitrogenic (thyroid suppressing). Continued consumption of soy will destroy your thyroid. Goitrogens work by preventing your thyroid from absorbing necessary amounts of iodine. What happens to a dysfunctional thyroid? You gain weight, have trouble regulating your moods, get cold more easily, experience chronic fatigue, and it becomes difficult to concentrate and remember details. The list goes on. Once you have thyroid issues, they are very hard to correct. Conditions like Hashimoto’s Disease require daily medication for the rest of your life. You do not want to mess with your thyroid!

4. Soy is a Trypsin inhibitor. Trypsin is a digestive enzyme we need to properly digest protein. Without enough trypsin, you’ll experience many digestive problems including stomach cramps, diarrhea, and bleeding. It may also create future problems with your pancreas.

My Personal Favorite Alternatives to Cow’s Milk

1. Unsweetened Rice Milk– Whole Food’s 365 brand of Organic rice milk is the only one I have found that is unsweetened. The regular rice milk is too high in sugar.

2. Coconut Milk– Again, look for the unsweetened variety, as the original may have too much sugar added. I use it in my smoothies. It adds a great texture and mixes well with the fruit; in that it doesn’t mess up the flavor.

3. Goat’s Milk– If you are looking for protein, goat’s milk is your best option. It has a stronger flavor than the rice or coconut milk, but if you can appreciate it’s flavor, it’s a healthy option. Goat’s milk is better tolerated by many people because it’s the closest milk to human milk.