As a child I always had stomachaches. I would often ask to the go to the nurse’s office in high school and once in a while I would ask to go home, but most of the time the nurse told me to lay down until I felt better. It would always be after lunch and I would be so bloated and gassy that it was uncomfortable just to sit upright in my school chair! Ironically, no one ever asked me what was I eating? Not my mom, not the nurse, and I certainly didn’t talk about it with my peers. I’m still in awe at how far behind conventional teaching of nutrition was back then within nursing and medicine. The worst part about that, it is still VERY far behind.
From the very beginning, you are told that everyone needs dairy. Thanks FDA! It’s interesting to me that the food groups at the time required dairy and grains (the MYplate still does), and now that I know about food politics, it all makes sense. (And yes, you can live and thrive without dairy and grains. They are taken out of many anti-inflammatory diets such as the Paleo Diet, the Autoimmune Protocol, Repairvite Diet, and recommended by many nutritionists such as JJ Virgin to heal your ‘gut’. Shhhh, don’t tell the FDA!)
I never pieced that it was milk causing me distress, since I had skim milk every morning and didn’t have a reaction then. Nor did I notice issues with all milk products. That doesn’t mean I didn’t react more often, I just maybe didn’t notice it as much or was in tune with what was going on with my body. I remember having a box of skim milk with my lunch every single day as that was what I drank to stay ‘healthy’. I think the thought never crossed my mind that something healthy could be what’s hurting me. It was not until college that the lightbulb went on and I realized that milk was a major factor in my daily bloating. I’d religiously have my milk with cereal in the morning. My new loved routine was going to Starbucks to study and have an ice cold Frappuccino. It started to annoy me when I’d keel over in gassy pain and would have to leave the place to go lay down at home! I truly needed to be annoyed with intensity to pay attention to what my body was saying. It seemed to be the dose that made the poison, so I don’t believe that you have to have a reaction to a food every time, to know you are sensitive to it. The clarity was bonking me in the head with the answer.
Soy milk had just become popular at the time, so I decided I’d try and switch. It was easy and I loved the taste. Plus the crazy bloating was gone! I was about 19 when I made the switch. I drank soy milk every morning with breakfast, or I would order a Soy Latte at Starbucks. These habits would be consistent for the next 10 years of my life.
I had no chronic conditions and was not on any meds, but at 32 years old, I experienced a tragic life threatening acute illness. I became sick with flu like symptoms, had strange stomach pangs, and had to be admitted to the hospital where I had to be intubated and spiraled downhill. After a week of possibly saying goodbye to life on Earth, I pulled out of it. There was never a diagnosis for what happened to me, besides ARDS (Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome). I was generally healthy, besides the lactose intolerance. It was amazing to wake up from that and realize I was given a second chance at life. This gave me a new inspiration and I joined Weight Watchers. I became super motivated and active so I could be the best role model I could be for people. About 10 months after my near death experience, my period just stopped coming. I couldn’t be pregnant, and I was not under any intense stress physically or mentally. I was not even under 22% body fat, so low body fat was not a factor. I waited a few months before finally going to the doctor and asked to be tested. My doctor tested me for all the hormones that could be responsible for my period stopping.
Everything came back normal. He told me he did not know what to tell me, or why it stopped coming, but that since my labs were great, it was nothing to worry about.
This did not ease my mind. I had not had a child yet and I wanted one so I questioned what this could mean- could I not get pregnant? Not having a period is not normal. So I pushed him with more questions and he told me, “if you are worried about having a period, then go on birth control”. That was my only solution. I went NINE months without having a period, so it didn’t look like it was going to come back on its own and there had to be a reason for this, this doesn’t just happen to normal healthy people.
I began to do research about my symptoms (halting of menstruation) and was shocked at what came up. There was not a lot of literature or true evidence to back it up at the time, but it circled back to soy.
I read a controversial article stating that soy could put women into a perimenopausal state. This was the only common denominator in my life that could explain what was going on. I had a history of using birth control pills on and off for about ten years which I believe might have also been a factor in my autoimmunity to come, but I had been off of it for more than 5 years by the time this happened. Thankfully, almond milk was just beginning to hit the shelves, so I made the switch again. I then had the doctor put me on the lowest dose of birth control pills available. I had quite a few bad reactions with this, including moodiness, weight gain, and low libido. “This was a nightmare,” I thought, “I can’t keep doing this.” So after 3 months of the pill, I switched to almond milk (and with some serious praying) I stopped taking the pill and my period resumed on time on its own from then on out.
I became pregnant 6 months later- after 6 months of having a regular period on no birth control pills and no intake of soy whatsoever. I do believe there is a God and that he answers prayers!
The current research is still controversial (is this because of Monsanto’s control over one of the top 3 GMO crops in the US?) Some studies say that too much soy in your diet can affect your thyroid because soy contains goitrogens. Unlike other goitrogenic vegetables, soy does not reduce these factors when cooked. It can cause breast cancer and impair fertility. (Wait, I thought it PREVENTED breast cancer?! Another one of those ‘controversial’ subjects folks!)
Fermentable soy is really only the healthy form of soy, not unfermented. And in small amounts. Fermented soy includes tempeh, natty, miso, and soy sauce. Unfermented includes tofu, edamame, and everything else made from soy. You even have a choice to give your infant soy formula, which I find to be the most frightening of all (birth control for babies, anyone?). You decide, but after my experience, I won’t gamble and don’t feel the need to supplement my diet or my child’s with soy products whatsoever. If we have sushi one night which is rare, I’ll perhaps allow for some edamame and soy sauce (if I did not bring my coconut aminos) but on a daily basis, that would be a definite no. #BYEFELICIA
“But the Japanese eat soy, and they are healthy!”
Well no, they have not only an entirely different type of lifestyle and diet overall than we do in America, but they do not eat large amounts of processed GMO soy like we in America eat. They do not eat soy hotdogs, fake processed soy meats, or consume large amounts of soy in general whether its soy milk, soy ice cream, or tofu. Soy is also used as a filler in a large majority of processed foods, and soybean oil is a common cheap oil also used in restaurants and processed foods.
Why Soy is promoted as a health food. (This article gets me fired up, and although he did not emphasize GMOS he does mention big business, marketing, and profits. That is huge and I think a major factor as why we are pushed to believe by many establishments that soy is healthy.)
The interesting thing is that I developed Hashimoto’s with my pregnancy. (Read here for my post on what Hashimoto’s is). Remember soy affects your thyroid? This means I always had the genes for it, I had leaky gut (intestinal permeability is the scientific term), but perhaps years of soy foods heavy estrogenic effects brought me to the cliff of autoimmunity. The stress of pregnancy on my body so soon after I swore off soy was the push over that cliff. Any kind of stress, whether physical, mental, or physiological can trigger an autoimmune gene to turn on provided you have leaky gut. And many people have this, but conventional medicine does not recognize it for some reason despite over 11,000 research articles on PubMed so how would you know if you had leaky gut? Most people don’t know what it is, and I sure didn’t at the time. (Read here to find out what leaky gut is, and its symptoms)
It’s been 6 years since my pregnancy, and I have had a regular period since. I avoid soy always remembering what it did to me. Soy lecithin is actually one ingredient that is not the soy protein or oil, and is safe for people like me with autoimmune disease, per my doctor. Of course, GMO free is always preferred. I look forward to the day when all food is labeled! #JustLabelIt
It was difficult to find research that mentioned soy causing perimenopause since I’ve tried to look some up for this article. I assume this is because Google is selective of what they want you to see and are probably paid from companies that benefit from the lies of the giant GMO soy industry, the star being Monsanto.
The Whole Soy Story book ( a raw and truthful book written by a nutritionist with a PhD)
Well, I think the answer could not be more clearer. I only wish my Dr, and those school nurses would of known enough to ask me, “What are you eating?” sooner.