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Friday, January 29, 2010

Tongue Addiction????
I recently shared with my husband the latest issue of "Mercy for Animals" magazine.  My husband is quite the carnivore, and occasionally I try and educate him about how some of the foods he chooses to eat get to the table.  Although he didn't read the entire issue, he read and saw enough to know that he was greatly disturbed to learn that in the egg laying industry male chicks are thrown into grinders...alive.  "How could they be considered so dispensable?"  He asked.  I explained to him that they are of no use in an egg laying facility because they don't lay eggs.  And who would pay to feed and care for these chickens that are of no use to the industry because they don't provide anything for "us"?  (It's all about the money - make no mistake.)

My husband then demanded to know why the male chicks weren't used for meat?  Good question.  The answer is that because egg laying chickens are bred for egg laying, they don't have huge breasts. (The problem with this industry is another story.)  Fryer chickens ARE bred to have huge chests and, therefore, lots of meat.  I mean who wants to buy 4 chickens to feed a family when one would do? (There's that money issue again.)

The conversation then went on to discuss some other problems associated with animal agriculture and how meat "tastes" so good. 

In my husband's opinion, most Americans are addicted to their tongues - they enjoy the taste of animal flesh so much that they can't be pursuaded to not eat it.  I disagree (it's OK, it wouldn't be the first time).  Most people don't enjoy the taste of animal flesh as much as they enjoy the fat, salt, smokey, and barbecue flavors that are either inherent to meat or how it's prepared.  If you watched the movie "Supersize Me", you'll remember that Morgan Spurlock became literally addicted to his daily diet of McDonald's food.

I believe that when most people know better, they do better - that when they learn about the practices of animal agriculture they no longer wish to participate in it.  To do otherwise is to close your heart to the suffering.  And I would then also have to ask the question - "If you don't want to know or to watch what goes on because it's too painful to do so, then why would you want to participate in it?" 

I had a friend recently ask me, "How are you so disciplined about what you eat?"  I explained that "I know what I know, and based on what I know I make choices."  We can each choose to either close our hearts and minds, continue to support an industry that makes a mockery of animal welfare, or not.  It's really that simple.

As far as being addicted to your tongue?  There are so many delicious, healthy plant-based foods available these days that once you eat them you'll forget you ever enjoyed eating meat. 

To continue to eat the flesh of animals and their secretions (milk, eggs, cheese) beacuse you enjoy the "taste" is not a good enough reason to continue supporting industries that cause tremendous suffering (that includes the human kind), and untold environmental dammage.

Tongues be damned.

(I'm not giving up on my husband just yet...he knows what he needs to do.)
7:02 pm est

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Whole Soy Story
I'm often asked about the safety of soy foods - particularly the safety of isolated soy proteins.  There's so much misinformation out there that it's led many people think that soy is unhealthy.
So, is soy good for you or not? There are some organizations out there who would have us believe that soy foods are poison.

It's a bean folks - just a bean. You don't hear all this negative press about lima beans, do you?  But unlike other beans, soybeans contain all of the 9 essential amino acids - which makes it a complete protein.  This fact strikes fear in the hearts of producers of animal products. 

I've done a little research of my own, and here's some of what I've discovered.
It seems that the anti-soy people start with their own conclusions, such as, "Soy is bad for you", and search for studies to support their conclusion. They then take the research and use it to make their own conclusions based on the abstracts of studies. If they would take the time to read entire articles, they would find that that researchers find health benefits, rather than health risks, associated with soy.
Another tactic they use is to write articles based on abstracts. For example: an abstract states that "replacement of meat protein with soybean protein, such as tofu, may have a minor effect on biologically-active sex hormones which could influence prostate cancer risk". The article the soy detractors wrote based on this abstract, is titled, "Soy Lives Up to Its Reputation as the Breakfast of Weenies." (This was written by the Weston A. Price Foundation. They are one of the major soy detractors, whose aim is to have soy foods removed from the marketplace.) However, what the study referred to when it used the term "influence" was that it REDUCED, not INCREASED the risk of prostrate cancer.

The problem with soy is when the protein is isolated. All the fiber, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and other plant chemicals are removed. Any food eaten in excess or concentrated form can cause potential health problems.  Concentrating the protein in soy no longer makes it a whole food. It's probably OK occasionally, but not something you want to depend on as a major part of your diet.

Isolated soy proteins are usually listed on a food label as defatted soy flour, organic textured soy flour, textured vegetable protein, isolated soy protein, soy protein concentrates, and soy concentrates. They are often found in foods such as soy cheese, soy deli meats, power bars, and can also be found in numerous other foods such as candy, yogurt, ice cream, breads, pastries and cookies.  Some of these foods are great transition foods - particularly for people who want to reduce animal products in their diets but still want their foods to "look" like the foods they're used to.

Also, if you have an allergy to soy you shouldn't be consuming it.  If you have digestive or thyroid problems you may also want to limit soy in your diet. 

Eating soy foods in their whole form is not only safe, but offer many health benefits. Asians, who have traditionally eaten soy foods live longer and healthier lives than Americans. The Okinawa Japanese, the longest living people in the world, eat about 1-2 servings of whole soy foods each day.

Examples of whole soy foods are tofu, tempeh, miso, edamame, soy nuts and soy nut butter, soy milk, tamari or shoyu, and some soy ice creams.

If you would like to read further about this topic please click on the links below. They were the main sources for this blog.
11:51 am est

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Christine Scalfo

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