Monday, February 22, 2010


A committee in the UK's House of Commons is recommending the government stop using public money to pay for homeopathic therapies. Guardian (I support funding for complementary therapies like exercise classes and diet counseling. I draw the line on diluted and succussed potions.)

Less than 1% of US farms are organic. Wall Street Journal (Re: soybeans. While the US produces more soy than any other country, most of it is genetically modified; it can't be sold as organic. We have to import organic soy, which we do from China.) (Thank you, lelu.) (Thank you, China.)

Study from Helsinki: Constipation Is Relieved More By Rye Bread Than Wheat Bread Or Laxatives Without Increased Adverse Gastrointestinal Effects, Journal of Nutrition, March 2010 (Don't tell me, Finland has a rye bread lobby? Still...)

Bob of Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods, to celebrate his 81st birthday, just gave his company to his employees. The Seattle Times (Love Bob's oats.)

12 comments: said...

Where do you stand on acupuncture?

Matt said...

So on top of being full of omega 6 and estrogen, most of our soy supply is genetically modified. I feel for folks who don't eat meat and sustain on this stuff.

Michelle @ Find Your Balance said...

Yay for Bob's!

Hannah Fralick said...

For the record, in response Matt's comment above, not all people who don't eat meat sustain on soy. In fact, some vegetarians, like myself, avoid soy if they can and simply enjoy the vast wonders that vegetables can offer instead.

lelumarie said...

No problem. ^_^

Bix said...

Acupuncture... There may be some benefit for pain. Have you had success with it, Grammarian?

There's an undeniable placebo effect from the act of piercing the skin with needles. It's difficult to perform sham acupuncture to assess the degree of placebo. It's not the first thing I think of for, say, back pain or migraines. I've seen it used successfully for drug withdraw though. I don't know.

I think there are some very effective, but boring, alternative therapies that probably trump acupuncture. Relaxation techniques, experimenting with foods (for allergies and metabolic changes), increasing or in some cases decreasing activity and stimulation, improving sleep (addressing apnea). Those kind of things.

Kathy said...

Long-time lurker here. Some anecdotal data: I've had several experiences with acupuncture: Korean, Chinese, and Western medical. The Western medical was awful and it made my tendinitis worse. The Chinese woman trained at Bejing University, specialized in women's health, and was the best. I needed help with the hot flash/sleeplessness phase of life. Although I couldn't say whether the acupuncture itself helped, the benefits of treatment far exceeded what my physician offered. Was it the relaxation in the comfortable room and beautiful music? (I never thought of the skin prick.) Was it the knowledge and information and attention she provided? My physician offered advice straight from some protocol and HRT if I wanted it. Regarding soybeans: the Korean doctor advised me to eat some soybeans (cook them myself) but warned me never to eat American-grown soybeans. He said the soybeans here are not grown for human consumption, rather they are grown for animal feed, whereas Asian soybeans are grown for human consumption.

Bix said...

Hi Kathy, thanks for surfacing :)

How about that ... The Korean perspective on American-grown soybeans.

I studied Traditional Chinese Medicine in school. One thing that impressed me ... They don't tolerate side effects of a treatment: drug or herb or other therapy. If a TCM practitioner gives you something to take or to do and you complain of a new ailment they immediately stop that therapy and try something else. Here in America we treat side effects as a given. (I'm amazed to hear or read the 'you-may-experience- _____-while-taking-_____' list in commercials or magazines.)

I love learning other cultures' perspectives on nutrition and health, or just about anything.

virginia said...

Acupuncture - I had treatments for several weeks along with conventional physical therapy for my neck, spine and shoulder.

My PT was born in China, started studying traditional Chinese medicine (including acupuncture)at 15 - western studies included a masters in phys.therapy. He thought a combination of both worked best - I agree.

Interesting comment about soybeans.

Ben P. DaSalt said...

The US imports soy from China and China imports soy from the US. You’re welcome China.
“This year [2008] over 1.5 billion bushels of soy were exported from the United States, and these exports are valued at more than $12 billion.”
“China is again the top importer of U.S. soybeans with 490 million bushels, which go toward human and animal consumption. China also imported 171,000 metric tons of soy oil from the United States…”

Also, there is organic soy grown in the United States.

“Our goal at Vermont Soy is to source all of our organic and non-GMO soybeans directly from Vermont farmers.”

“Twin Oaks Community Foods is a worker-owned co-operative located in central Virginia.”
“Making tofu all begins with the bean soaker, who soaks the locally-grown soybeans...”

“Purcell Mountain Farm is a family-operated farm … nestled in the Northeastern-most part of Idaho.”

(See map)

New York, Michigan
“Yes, we source our ingredients locally whenever possible. In the last year we’ve used organic soybeans from the Finger Lakes region of New York (50 miles), Ontario, Canada (150 miles) and Eastern Michigan (260 miles).”

Missouri, Illinois
“We have a personal relationship with the farmers from Missouri and Illinois who grow the soybeans we cook with.”

“WholeSoy uses only certified organic soybeans from a Texas farm cooperative.”

“Small Planet Tofu has bought organic soybeans from me and other farmers I work with for the past 17 years,” said Phil Lewis, an organic farmer in Kansas.
(See map.)

The organic soy that is imported from China is associated with upstarts and Asian affiliated health food brands that have been around for a while and got into the health food markets when soy was a new thing for Americans. It makes sense that they would still source their ingredients from Asia.

Last year Dean Foods ditched US organic soy farmers for Chinese soy to reduce costs. Silk used to be organic across the product line, but now the kind you see more often unless you are in a health food store is non-organic. It’s (supposedly) non-GMO though.

Regarding US GMO soy, about half of it is fed to livestock. A good deal of it is made into vegetable oil and an array of other food-manufacturing additives. Then there’s biofuels, and non-food products and industrial applications.

Organic soy food products are easy enough to come by and organic US grown soy is out there too. Excepting soy oils and additives, there are plenty of the soy foods, like tofu and soymilk, and even more processed items like mock-meats and soy ice creams that are organic or at least non-GMO.

As for the healthfulness of soy? It’s a bean. A legume. It’s the panacea for all diseases, nor a toxic substance. It’s just a little old bean that Asia took a liking too and did some neat culinary tricks with. That versatility continues today.

Beans are good.
“To cap: When researchers looked at long-lived cultures, diet emerged as the most important modifiable predictor of a long life, more important than exercise or social activity. When they looked at diet, beans emerged as the most important food.”

Bix said...

You know, I read about that handshake between China and US. We produce a lot of raw unprocessed soy in this country, but we don't have enough facilities to process it. So we export it to China/Asia, they process it, and we import it back. Talk about food miles.

So, soy is a bean. It's just a bean. A bean among beans. You mean that, right, Ben? That's where I stand on it. It's not poison, nor is it magic. The same chemicals that are in soybeans are found in other beans too, to varying degrees.

Here, I found a quote from the botanist James Duke PhD (an interesting guy):

"In the early 1990s I was involved with the Designer Food Program of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). ... They wanted to pump plant chemicals (phytochemicals) into foods, while I kept saying that the beneficial chemicals were already there -- if you knew where to look.

For example, phytoestrogens abound in most beans. If you want to take a big step toward preventing breast cancer, eat bean soup or a bean salad a few times a week."

Just one man's opinion. But if you're of the opinion that soy does more harm than good, it's probably best to avoid all beans ... lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc. It's a family.

Ben P. DaSalt said...

There was a typo in my last post and it really changed the tone of my concluding sentences. You caught the drift of my meaning anyway, but it should have read:

“It’s NOT the panacea for all diseases, nor a toxic substance.”

As you have stated, there is phytoestrogen in many plant foods, it’s high in nuts and seeds and flaxseed contain more than soybeans but no one is sounding the alarm. Even excluding administered synthetic hormones, there’s also (gasp!) actual animal estrogen in meat, dairy and eggs.

I just don’t see the smoking gun implicating that soy is dangerous and if someone wants US organic soy products to avoid GMO (for whatever reasons) they do exist.