Is Soy Wildatarian?
Soy! It's everywhere.
From a mainstay in vegan and vegetarian diets to a stabilizer and emulsifier in just about every processed food you can imagine - soy has become a ubiquitous presence in The Standard American Diet.
Grabbing some Chinese food? There's soy in the brown sauce. Making chocolate chip cookies? There's soy in the chocolate chips. Eating standard raised chicken, pork or beef? There's soy in their feed. Using a 'natural' hairspray? There's soy in the formula.
Outpaced only by corn, soy is the second most-produced crop in the United States, and the U.S. has recently become the world's largest producer of soybeans.
In an excellent article about the widespread use of soy, the World Wildlife Fund offers the following breakdown of how soy contributes to ordinary American foods:
Soy in a 3-oz. serving: 1.87 oz
Soy in a 4-oz.serving: 2.74 oz
Soy in a 4-oz. serving: 1.57 oz
Soy in a two-egg (3.09-oz. total) serving: 3.12 oz
Glass of milk:
Soy in an 8-oz. serving: 0.22 oz
Soy in a 3.53-oz. serving: 1.11 oz
Needless to say, we have become extremely dependent upon soy as a mono-crop driver of our economy and our food supply at large. Environmental & economic consequences aside (and, let's acknowledge, these are indeed great - deforestation, carbon release, subsidies, etc.) repeated dietary and even environmental exposure to soy may pose a risk for health imbalances.
Soy has long been used - both in supplemental and dietary form - as a natural tool for relieving menopausal symptoms in women.
A study by Doctors Christopher R D'Adarmo and Azize Sahin found that "consuming moderate amounts of traditionally prepared and minimally processed soy foods may offer modest health benefits while minimizing potential for adverse health effects..." such as providing "relief from menopausal symptoms and protect against breast cancer and heart disease."
However, another study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology determined that while phytoestrogens like soy, i.e. "plant‐derived dietary compounds with structural similarity to 17‐β‐oestradiol (E2), the primary female sex hormone" have been lauded for their hormonal benefits, "a definite conclusion on possible beneficial health effects of phytoestrogens cannot be made."
So...Is Soy Wildatarian?
Before I answer that, let's dig into what "Wildatarian" really means. Here's the official definition:
Wildatarian™ | noun:
- A dietary and lifestyle regimen consisting of the consumption of generally wild-caught, wild-fed, and sustainable animal and plant-based proteins that have not been industrially raised, processed, genetically modified, hormonally or bacterially supplemented, or in any way divergent from their whole, natural form. This includes wild game meats and fowl, such as bison, elk, goat, lamb, pheasant, quail, and venison; wild-caught fish and shellfish; ancient, organic, non-chemically altered or treated grains; organic, non-mycotoxic legumes, nuts, and seeds, and produce; and organic, generally grass-fed, non-hormonally treated dairy products.
The key phrase here as it relates to soy is "non-mycotoxic legumes"...
Beyond its molecular similarity to estrogen, soy is also a known host for mycotoxins. A study published by the National Institutes of Health noted that the "soybean is susceptible to the growth of moulds that produce mycotoxins such as AF and trichothecenes". According to the World Health Organization, these mycotoxins have been related to everything from gut impairment to immune deficiency and even cancer.
For my part, I have seen clients suffering from estrogen dominance experience relief from their symptoms when phytoestrogens such as soy were removed from their diets. Additionally, clients suffering from dysbiosis, leaky gut, mold allergies, PCOS, acne and other hormone-driven conditions have benefitted from a reduction in dietary soy.
As always, Wildatarian dietary recommendations should be unique to the individual. If you are a hormonally balanced Wildatarian in a state of good gut health, moderate amounts of organic soy may be enjoyed without any negative effects. If you are estrogen dominant, or particularly sensitive to mold, fungi or mycotoxins, soy may be best avoided.
To The Tru Of You,