Man, do I love San Francisco. If it weren't for the constant fog and chill, this sun-lovin' beach girl would certainly be calling SF my home. One of my favorite things about San Francisco is the coffee.
Not only do the natives revere good beans, but lattes and cappuccinos are made to perfection – using organic milk from grass fed cows, perfectly steamed and artfully poured.
So when my sister (a local) emailed me a photo of this new sign hanging at Four Barrel in the Mission, I did a happy dance.
Four Barrel looks like a movie set for a hipster coffee shop, but this place and it's patrons are the real thing. Now they have a reason to be even more hip – the coffee shop bans soy milk.
Four Barrel owner, Jeremy Tooker, has stopped serving soy milk and now offers locally made almond milk – as their dairy-free alternative.
“Honestly, I never really understood the soy phenomenon. It's not that good for you, unless it's fermented, and you've got this whole GMO problem behind it,” Tooker explains. (source) A man after my own heart.
Why is soy bad?
I'm so glad you asked.
Soy had a huge hey-day as a miracle food from the 90′s, and the hype is still alive and well for many ‘health-conscious' people.
BUT, while soy and soy products may seem like a good source protein for vegetarians and a great substitute for those who don't do dairy, in reality, this bean has quite of list of reasons why to just say NO – including allergies, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances including PMS and infertility, and more.
Here are are few reasons to avoid the stuff:
#1 – Soy contains phytoestrogens.
Soy contains more phytoestrogens than almost any other food product.
Phytoestrogens are plant-based estrogens that mimic the natural estrogen found in our bodies. They have been linked to early onset of puberty, breast cancer, thyroid conditions and both male and female infertility. (source)
#2 – Soy can cause allergic and toxic reactions.
Soy is among the top 8 most common food allergens, and it can be a silent villain since allergic reactions to soy are not always immediate.
High manganese levels in soy formula may cause brain damage from toxicity. There also appears to be a relationship between soy formula consumption and the development of ADHD and behavioral problems in kids. (source)
#3 – Soy is one the the biggest GMO crops.
Since the 1990s, genetically modified soy has been widely grown and used in food products in the United States.
GM foods pose huge threats on the environment, reek havoc for farmers livelihood, and may be dangerous to human health including possible increase risk for allergy. Read more about all the reasons why GMOs are bad in this post on GMOs and infertility.
Do I need to avoid soy completely?
You should avoid GMO soy always, and eliminate other soy as much as possible – especially if you are trying to get pregnant, you have immune weakness or hormone imbalance, or you are a baby or child.
Two more things to know:
- Fermented soy is GOOD! Fermented soy products – such as tempeh, unpasteurized soy sauce, miso, and natto – are actually quite good for you. Fermented soy does not contain the anti-nutrients present in non-cultured soy products. The fermentation processes increases the availability of isoflavones which are associated with cancer prevention and produces probiotics, the beneficial bacteria that improves digestion and nutrient absorption in the body.
- Read your labels – Soy is a common ingredient in popular “health” foods and protein supplements. Make sure you know what you’re putting in your mouth to avoid accidentally saucing yourself with soy.
And by all means, take a note from the experts – don't put soy milk in your coffee! Blech.
Are you a former soy milk drinker? Please share your story below!