Friday, October 14, 2011

Food Facts Friday: Rethinking the Soy-fully Delicious Protein Bar!

I am currently reading Food, Inc.
Maybe some of you have seen the documentary?

I was shocked when I read the information on genetically modified food crops. How did so many crops fall victim to genetic modifications in such a short period of time in human history - in only 20 years?

Don't get me wrong, I know the arguments for genetically engineered (GE) foods: Better crop output, drought resistant crops and veggies with a longer shelf life - to name a few. But what is unnerving is the unknown. How do GE crops affect our environment and our health?

Our Pollinators: Honey bees and Monarch Butterflies
So far, we have a few horror stories, like the genetically engineered corn that was poisonous to Monarch Butterflies. Perhaps there is a link between GE crops and the recent decline in the North American Bee Population?

C'mon, really - our honey bees?

The human health stories are no better. Is it possible that we can actually create the potential for viruses to mutate into more virulent forms - so much so that our human bodies will not be able to defend themselves? That's scary!
Are we increasing our risk of breast, prostate and colon cancer by dairy products made from cows treated with the genetically engineered hormone, rBGH? They say there is a connection to these GE hormones and those specific cancers. I already have Crohn's Disease - I don't need to take any more risks in getting colon cancer! I definitely feel better about buying organic milk and cheeses - or some specialty cheeses from Europe - since the European Union bans GE hormones!

Then I read on...SOY! 91% of soybeans are genetically engineered! Okay, I just bought some organic roasted (unsatlted) soybeans - so I am in the clear, right?
Organic Soy Nuts

Hahahahahah! Surely I jest! 
Ever read food labels? 
According to Healthy Child Healthy World,  soy is the #2 US Agricultural commodity and 60% of all processed food contains soy ingredients - from soda, cereal and bread to candy!

That's when it hit me ...PROTEIN BARS and PROTEIN DRINKS & SHAKES. Noooo, not the protein bars that I give my son when he comes home after training 3hours at wrestling club? 
What am I giving him?

Protein bars are full of whey and soy protein. And why not? Whey and soy proteins are an excellent source of digestible protein - it makes sense to put them in a protein, power or energy bar, drink, shake or recovery food. Specifically, soy - it provides antioxidants (histidines) and enhance muscle recovery following a workout. Recently, soy has even been touted as a great preworkout supplement because
  1. It contains a phytonutrient (genistein) that has been shown to increase nitric-oxide levels (which helps to control blood pressure and blood flow during exercise via vasodialation), 
  2. Contains high levels of phenylalanine and tyrosine - amino acids known to increase alertness, which can be helpful during an endurance run.
  3. Contains high levels of aspartic acid, which plays an important role in energy production (via the Krebs Cycle).
But Hold On ... let's keep things in perspective: According to Runner's World Magazine, Soy is no "Miracle Food" and too much soy can be harmful.

Looks like, too much of a good thing - is not a good thing! With controversies like that, it is good to know that if we stay informed, we can vote with our dollars to buy foods that are safe for human health and the environment.

I guess my son is going to have to start enjoying the organic roasted soybeans - which he said, and I quote, "Look like dog food!" Ah, at least this will moderate his soy intake. He will thank me later ...I hope!
"More Roasted Soy Nuts, Mom ...PLEASE!"
Train Smart Today!
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