Soy, GMO's and Food Sensitivies OH MY! Part 3 of my Health Journey!
In my last 2 blog posts, I started sharing my health story by explaining how I discovered that I need to eat gluten free and dairy free and the detox reaction I experienced when cutting these foods out cold turkey. (if you missed them: health journey part 1 and Part 2
So, once I determined I felt WAY better not eating gluten and dairy, (often referred to as a GFCF diet), my health returned, or so I thought. I felt absolutely great for a while, with more energy, better sleep and to me the most dramatic difference was in my gut health. I was beyond happy BUT, I had some flares up now and again and by keeping a detailed food journal (I highly recommend everyone do this...especially for kids and their mysterious tummy aches) I discovered I was also sensitive to soy. Once I researched this, I was not surprised I was reacting to this since, according to the prestigious Weston A Price site, soy contains things with fancy names like protease inhibitors, phytic acids (prevent our bodies from being able to absorb minerals and nutrients), lectins, oxalates, oligosaccharides and allergenic proteins that contribute to ongoing irritation to the gut. I couldn't even pronounce some of those things at this point in my quest for health facts, let alone know what they were, but I knew I felt better not eating soy. In fact, I learned when rats are fed these soy anti-nutrients, they fail to grow normally! Yikes...why would I want to feed my children something that can potentially make them fail to grow correctly!? To reduce these components of soy, it is safest eaten as fermented soy such as miso, natto, tempeh and fermented tofu and soymilk if they agree with you. Many cultures continue to eat fermented soy without any health problems.
Non-fermented soy also contains goitrogens - which depress thyroid function. Many people, women especially, suffer from thyroid issues and soy can be a huge contributing factor. YIKES again!
On top of all that, soy is likely to contain GMO's or geneticaly modified organisms. Now if you haven't heard of GMO's you need to google this and learn as fast as you can because they are suspected to be causing major health issues. A GMO food has been changed to contain unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that do not occur in nature. According to LiveStrong and Organic Consumers: "the rise in autoimmune diseases, infertility, gastrointestinal problems, liver problems, obesity, and chronic diseases may be associated with the introduction of GM foods." Over 90% of soy in the US contains GMO's! Now that can't be good!
Many other developed countries ban or at least have restrictions on GMO's but not the good USA! In fact, GMO's aren't even required to be labeled on our foods (yet)! I am outraged by this and I strongly feel we have a right to know what's in our foods so we can then make an informed decision whether we want to feed that food to our families. (If you are also disturbed, you can go to: Just Label It to learn more or donate.) That is where the Non-GMO Project comes in. Look for the Non-GMO Project seal on foods to know they are safe and free of GMO's. Even my kids know that it does not go into our shopping cart unless it has that stamp of approval! You can go to their site to see a list of brands that are safe: nongmoproject.org
What other foods contain GMO's you ask? Well, unfortunately many foods the average person eats every day such as anything with sugar (yup...ice cream, cookies, cakes, muffins), corn (including corn starch and high fructose corn syrup), Hawaiian papaya, canola oil and zucchini that is not specifically labeled by the Non-GMO project. Organic gets a little fuzzy. If a product says 100% organic, it does not contain GMO's. If it says certified organic/USDA Organic then it is likely non-GMO as well! However, if the food simply says, "made with organic ingredients" it very well may contain GMO's. That's why we try not to buy anything processed and if the kids do want pretzels or chips or something in a package, then it has to have that Non-GMO Project seal!
So, if you eliminate gluten or dairy for yourself or your children but still have symptoms, consider soy and other GMO's as the culprits. I know my own son ended up being highly sensitive to both corn and soy. That is one of the reasons why it is best to avoid processed foods. They often contain soy flour, corn and other gut inflaming processed gums, flours, starches and chemicals. Eating as little packaged/processed foods is always the best for your health, whether you are gluten free or not!
Luckily, I slowly discovered which foods unknowingly were compromising my health. It was very empowering to know that I can dramatically affect how I feel simply by watching what I put on my fork! We have control of our health and our vitality! All food either creates inflammation or decreases inflammation. But we are all different, so what is good for me, may be unhealthy for you to eat. So how can you figure out your list of that trigger inflammation for YOU? There are several ways. You can do food sensitivity testing (I believe Cyrex Labs is a reputable one), the elimination diet (google this...it's not easy to do!) or simply do what I did for myself and my kiddos which is to keep a food journal. You can easily set this up in Excel or a plain old spiral bound notebook and make sure you note how you feel each day, including your energy levels, any bloating/gas/headache, whether you had a bowel movement and your mood for that day.
So, start being more aware of how you feel when you eat certain foods and be sure to look for that Non-GMO Project seal next time you go grocery shopping!
Next time I'll share with you some more tips I discovered along the way to reclaiming my health, including foods that I found to reduce inflammation! And you are probably wondering what I actually EAT since it must seem to you that there is nothing left if I don't eat gluten, dairy or soy! I'll share some of my typical menus!
And remember, unfortunately my blog does not have a comments section at this time, so please contact me or post comments on my Facebook page so I know if you are enjoying and learning from my story!