When I first started eating a vegetarian diet, I always believed that soy was the automatic substitute for protein. And for a long time it was. Soy milk, tofu, soy beans, soy yogurt and other soy based dairy and meat products. It wasn’t until recently, the past few year or so, that I’ve learned other ways to incorporate protein into my family’s diet. I started learning about new options when the question of whether soy was good for us or not kept lingering in my mind.

I was first presented with the soy controversy before I got pregnant with Noah. My Aunt Janet emailed me an article about how consuming too much soy can be dangerous because of the high estrogen levels that have been found in soy. I of course brushed it off, because I am stubborn that way. And I am not going to change my ways because of one article, or one person’s opinion. When I make drastic changes to what I eat, it comes with careful consideration and guidance from people who know a heck of a lot more about it than I do. But it was because of that email, that I started to pay attention to the numerous articles that I stumbled upon after that, and then took it upon myself to dig deeper.

Since the soy controversy reared its ugly head, there have been studies that disproved its validity, that soy is actually really good for you. And you know what, I truly do believe that. Soy, at its most purist, organic form is extremely good for you. People who live in Asia consume soy in high amounts and are incredibly healthy, which is one of the basis for the pro soy argument. But the soy over in Asia is very different than the majority of soy we consume in the United States. The majority of soy and soy based products manufactured in this country (I’d say approximately 85-90%), are genetically modified. A very good friend of mine, her husband and his family are soy bean farmers out in Missouri. He talks about how there are very few organic soybean
farms anymore, and the pressure farmers are under to produce high amounts of soybeans because of the high demand for them. That’s what brings about the soy controversy and why soy can be a dangerous food, especially for babies and children. Studies have shown that babies on soy formula are getting way too much estrogen into their bodies and causing negative side effects to their development. But again, that’s my research and findings. A controversy brings about pros and cons, lies and truth and it’s up to us, the consumer to find what is right for us. And for me and my family, what is right for us is to eliminate soy from what we eat on a daily basis.

Soy seems to be in everything we eat! That lovely ingredient we find in our processed foods called soy lecithin. The widely used emulsifier that binds foods together. Yes, that is soy. And when I read ingredient lists, I not only worry about if a product is organic and how processed or modified it is, I also worry about if the soy used in soy lecithin is organic or not too. That’s a lot to worry about, because yes that matters. If the product I’m buying is not marked GMO free certified, then it’s pretty much guaranteed that the soy lecithin is not GMO free. And that worries me. Yes the amount of soy in a product may be small, but with how much it is used in the foods we consume on a daily basis, the amount of soy we find ourselves consuming is a lot. Which is why I find it easier to rid my fridge and cupboards of anything soy. Yes, that includes anything with soy lecithin in it. Because I just don’t need that worry anymore, especially with two little ones.

Keeping my kids healthy is one of the most important things to me. And teaching them about good foods goes right along with that, hoping that when they are old enough to make their own decisions, they will choose fruits and vegetables over Doritos. However, I do realize that I can’t shelter them from every food that is bad for them. There will be times when we eat soy, or dairy or even Taco Bell! And will it be the end of the world if that happens? No it won’t. I want to expose them to the world and not shelter them. And I want to be able to support decisions that will make in the future.

I am also taking the plunge to eliminate gluten from our diet. That one, pretty self explanatory. Gluten, as well as dairy, are underlining causes for eczema. Noah and I have break outs often and I am just tired of it. So, I have gotten rid of our pastas, crackers, flour, corn meal, etc. I know it will be a process getting all of the gluten out of our diet but it’s a start. It will be expensive at first, until I get the hang of it. I am planning on making my own almond and oat flour, but have bought some at the store to have a stash. And gluten free bread is expensive! But Costco has Rudi’s, and the price won’t break the bank. And I think we will be consuming more corn tortillas than flour (Costco has gluten free tortillas, 18 of them for $9-ouch!). Those fixes are easy. It’s the secret gluten in salad dressings, soups, sauces and so on that will take a while to get the hang of eliminating.

So, what would a new blog post be without a new recipe!? Yogurt has been a staple in our house lately. But, dairy yogurt is not good for Noah, we don’t eat soy, almond dream is well, gross. And coconut milk yogurt has way too much sugar. Abagail loves her yogurt and I truly love Yo Baby yogurts! I wanted to come up with a good substitute for yogurt. And I found Chia Pudding. Packed with protein, omega 3’s and fiber, it’s a dairy and gluten free option for us to replace yogurt. And it’s super easy!

Chia Pudding:
Using a glass container (I use mason jars):
-1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
-2 TBS of chia seed
-3/4 cup fruit (I use blueberries)
-1 to 2 tsp of sweetener (liquid Ste via works great)

Combine ingredients and give them a good shake. Let sit for 15 minutes. Give one more shake then refrigerate 5-6 hours or over night. Enjoy!
(source: http://www.simpletaste.com)

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Until next time…
Have a fabulous day!

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