Tag Archives: vegetarian

Soy…What’s the real story?

16 Jul

I started my 2 year old on soy milk about 9 months ago. She was having digestive issues and I figured it was all the milk that she was drinking. I have issues with too much dairy, so I wasn’t surprised that she was having issues as well. The soy milk was helping and so I continued her on it.

At a play date one day, I was with two friends of mine. One is a vegetarian and the other is vegan. At the time I was still eating meat. The discussion of food choices came up and I mentioned that my daughter drank soy milk. My vegetarian friend looked at me as if I had a third eye. She then stated that her son drinks rice milk because soy milk was full of estrogen and all sorts of bad things for a person. That night, she sent me an article from a website about the dangers of soy.

I was alarmed. Many of the people that commented on the article had really strong opinions either for or against soy milk and the comments were turning into heated arguments. I began to panic a little thinking I had been doing harm to my daughter. Discussing this with my vegan friend the next day made me feel better because she stated that she also gives her daughter soy milk. I decided to let it go and continued to let my daughter drink it. I had not seen any negative side effects and felt that for the time being, it was okay for her to consume.

A few months later, I came across a Facebook discussion regarding soy milk and the ingredient Carrageenan. This ingredient is extracted from seaweed and is used as a thickening agent for soy milk. Some say that Carrageenan reeks havoc on a persons GI track and should be avoided. It is an ingredient that has been approved in many organic products. Again, this scared me regarding soy milk. My attraction to soy milk stems from the amount of protein in contains. My toddler is a picky eater and does not like meat. I considered trying organic milk again, but was hesitant because of issues she had in the past.

I myself had begun using soy milk in my morning smoothies and had began experimenting with tofu. I had actually made some yummy parmesans pan fried tofu one night. Later, that same night I saw a post from a vegan Facebook page I follow asking her followers what their thoughts were on soy products. Id say about 90% of commenters stated they stay away from all soy products. Those who did consume soy products stated that they will either only consume it if it is organic or fermented, or if they do consume it, they do so in low doses and not often.

I also read something that really made me nervous. Many commenters stated that soy products should be avoided if a person has an autoimmune disorder. I have Hashimotos a form of hypothyroid affecting my thyroid. Apparently the isoflavones in soy products causes the thyroid to function improperly. I read soy should not be consumed if one is taking thyroid medication.

Apparently as a newbie to vegetarianism and trying to eat healthier, I am really bad at fully researching the foods that I am eating. The soy confusion in my life has really opened my eyes to the fact that I need to look into what foods are best for my body as well as my family. I am frustrated because I have been trying so hard to make the right choices and keep running into roadblocks that set me back.

I decided to start giving my toddler organic milk again. So far she is doing well and has had no issues. My lesson has been learned regarding my food choices and I will be doing more research for now on. I still don’t understand soy and all its controversies, but right now I feel that staying away from consuming too much of it may be the better choice.



12 Jul

I went to the grocery store the other day.  I moved to a new state about 9 months ago and it has taken me that long to commit to a single store. There are several in the town we live in.  I have tried them all, but I finally settled on this particular store because it offers a larger selection of produce and has a lot of natural, organic and gluten free choices.

I am not in love with this store, the baskets are horrible if you have more than one child and their aisles are way too small for maneuvering if you have a lot going on. I am also confused by the amount of non food items they cram into their store. I spend a whole shopping trip telling my toddler that I will not buy her camping gear or scented candles. I would also like to give my two cents to whoever thought I would appreciate having a trillion balloons displayed at every checkout.

But, (sigh) I have to admit, their food choices, however more pricey they are, does give the customer the opportunity to feed their family a bit more healthy.  For the sake of my wallet, I have had to really stick to my grocery list and not buy a lot of packaged foods for my toddler. This is of course a good thing, since we are trying to eat less packaged foods, even if they are organic.

Grocery shopping is where I begin to display some anxiety. Often times, when reading all the blogs and Facebook posts out there on organic and natural foods, I see that the author has either left out the issue of price or they continuously tell the reader that the health of their family is worth the cost. I agree with the latter. But, there are some of us who struggle monthly with a budget and when we see that a large container of regular strawberries is $3.99, it is really hard to pick up the same sized container of organic strawberries for $6.99. It took me a very long time of doing research to finally justify the $6.99 box. Yes, I feel my family deserves the best quality of food there is to offer, my wallet does not always agree.

My recent switch to organic and natural foods has a lot to do with me no longer working. When I was working fulltime, I never really felt like I had the time to do any research on the subject. I worked a job that kept me preoccupied both at work and at home. I cared about what my daughter ate, but with her in daycare, I was unable to control the foods she ate while she was there. They did not allow outside foods unless a child had an allergy. Now that my full time job is raising my two daughters and running a household, I feel like part of my new job is to invest in the healthy eating of my family.  (I am of course not saying anything bad about working mothers, I was unable to handle the high stress of my job and anything else that went on around me.)

I have recently become a vegetarian, something I never thought I would do. For some reason, when I breast feed, I either crave certain foods, or there are foods that gross me out.  With my second child, I find meat to be extremely unappealing.  My being a vegetarian is really throwing my husband for a loop. I no longer share in his enjoyment of BBQ and steak house restaurants. Eating out is hard for me because I also have celiac disease on top of being a vegetarian. Oh, and did I mention that I have never liked fish or shell fish of any kind. It’s a good thing we don’t eat out a lot.

When going meatless, I also lost a lot of my baby weight. I was grateful for that. I still take prenatal vitamins because I am breastfeeding and I take a B-12 supplement daily due to the lack of meat. I am thinking of cutting out cheese as well. I don’t drink milk or eat yogurt because of lactose issues, but I love cheese and it has been really hard for me to give it up.

Now that I am vegetarian, I am eating all sorts of foods I have never eaten before.  I actually don’t mind tofu and have experimented with it when making Asian food, Italian food, and preparing it on its own.

This week I made a cheesy quinoa dish.  It was really good and I enjoy the fact that quinoa has a lot of protein in it, about 6 grams for every 1/4 cup.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups of Quinoa

3 cups of water

Olive Oil

1 small package of mushrooms (I used baby bella)

2 cups of spinach

Salt and Pepper to taste

½ cup of soy milk (or milk, rice milk, almond milk, ect)

1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

*Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Prepare quinoa by placing the water and quinoa in the pot and bringing the water to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a pan on the stove, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil (you don’t have to use mushrooms and spinach, any of your favorite vegetables will work well). I like to add garlic salt to my mushrooms for flavor.

Once the quinoa and mushrooms are done I add the soy milk and cheese to the quinoa. I then stir in the mushrooms and spinach adding salt and pepper to taste.

I place the cheesy quinoa into a glass dish and bake it for 15 to 20 minutes at 375 degrees. I also will sprinkle a handful of cheese on the top.

I enjoy experimenting with different recipes now that I am not eating meat, my family however,  is not as excited. So far my picky toddle refuses to try this dish and my husband uses his excuse of being on a diet not to partake. He also does not like mushrooms.

I am happy about my food choices right now and am hoping to become more educated on the subject of organic foods and GMOs. I really want to be able to provide the best quality of foods for my family and I am working on getting them to try new foods.