I’m a vegetarian, so is my husband and my daughter is most days of the week. A container of sugar can last months in our home. We don’t drink soda, unless we go to the movies or have a bar drink. We would never buy it at the grocery and keep it in the house. My daughter and I eat little flour, mostly whole wheat; my husband won’t touch anything with white flour, white rice or potatoes. Fresh fruits and vegetables abound on our dining table, pantry and fridge. The dairy we eat is organic, cage free, hormone free. I have a duck that lives in my house that wears diapers. Long story short, a crazy relative gave it to my daughter without consulting us. It fit neatly in one palm and I must say was it was a cute furry yellow thing, completely dependent on us. The relative told us to release it into a lake when it got bigger, she had done it many times before, but the duck imprinted on our Chihuahua and the thing was terrified of water, just like the Chihuahua, so I couldn’t do it. The thought of a Florida alligator having her for lunch, just didn't seem fitting. Therefore she became a family member and we have adored her for two years now. The duck, Dinky, lays an egg for us each day. My husband absolutely loves the eggs for their rich taste and enormous yolks. He adds it to his soy sausage, soy cheese and oatmeal each morning. My daughter loves her soy milk, she’s never really liked cow’s milk and for treats eats veggie corndogs. I munch on veggie bacon sandwiches and create masterpieces from tofu. We eat healthier than anyone we know. And it’s killing us.
In the past couple of years my husband and I haven’t been feeling well. He has had issues with weight gain, even though he works out with a personal trainer. The chest and hip have been areas where he just cannot drop the “baby fat”. He feels bloated most days, forgetful and grumpy for no reason and has headaches almost daily. I had a uterine fibroid that was as large a grapefruit. In November, my husband and I drove from Florida to Minnesota in a mission to save my uterus for a new treatment called Focused Ultrasound at Mayo Clinic. It’s now shrinking, but my results haven’t been as positive as I expected. It’s still there and it still interferes with daily life, so much so that I can’t work a full time job. I get every cold and flu that comes around. I’m fatigued most of the time. My hair has been falling out. I have constant headaches, I have hormonal breakouts, anxiety, some depression which I wrote off as situational, mood swings, 10 pounds that won’t go away and my memory is shot. I have crazy allergies from dust to hair dye that just started to come about. I’m deficient in iron and vitamin D. I can’t remember a damn thing and panic when I’m in the car with crazy thoughts; “did I turn off the stove, hair straightener, lock the door, let the dog back inside and when I do let him out on his little leash I'm often afraid I've stepped out of the house without pants and have to look down to make sure I remembered to get dressed, I sleep naked so this is problem….” It’s horrible. We visited numerous doctors, had blood work done, x-rays, MRI's, ultrasounds, and recited all the above symptoms for each visit. We have both been told we needed Prozaz. Instead of the anit-depressants we became more strict with our diet, cutting out fruit sugars, limiting wheat and dairy. But out of the dozen doctors we saw, no one said we might want to think about cutting out soy.
We were doing everything right! We don’t hurt animals. I live by the quote "nothing has to die so I have to live". We supplement our diet with whey protein, nuts, suck down flax oil, green veggie drinks and we eat soy products, soy, the wonder protein for vegetarians. Most of our meals included some form of soy. I have been eating it the longest. Even our whey powder had it, our salad dressing too. We kept Morning Star veggie burgers, mock chicken nuggets, veggie cheese, edamame, vegetarian mayonnaise, tofurkey, tofu and veggie crumbles in our fridge. That was until my husband’s trainer suggested he read up about soy this week. What? Question this wonder protein? Soy can’t be bad for us and wouldn’t our doctors tell us? After all, we spent over $15,000 in medical insurance and doctor visits last year, come on, it has to be something else.
My husband and I sat solemn in front of our computer, reading articles and watching YouTube videos about soy products. We felt like a jilted lover or that we had been betrayed by a best friend, our hearts sunk deep within our soy filled bellies. We have been poisoning ourselves. Each ailment we had was directly related to an overdose of estrogen in our bodies, even my uterine fibroid. We felt deluded by the marketing in the health food stores, our doctors and even Mayo Clinic for Christ’s sakes, shouldn’t they have known!?
Through our research we found out soy contains phytoestrogens, plant-derived estrogens which actually increase our chances of cancer, not prevent them. It also wrecks havoc on the thyroid, sexuality, brain and heart functions. In Europe, I read soy products will soon come with warning labels. It will take months for our bodies to get back to some sort of normalcy and I hope we haven’t caused ourselves any harm. We are still in the process of purging all these wonder foods from our fridge and cabinets. And what I’m also angry about is that I ate all that damned tofu and tofu is gross; the things I had to do to it to make it taste remotely palatable was an agonizing ritual (all in this order for one block) of freeze, thaw, marinate, bake and sauté. I treated tofu as a goddess of goodness, blessing it and thanking it for saving our lives and keeping us on the road to good health.
I’m taking my tofu to the back yard now, leading it in shackles like a death row inmate ready for execution to put an end to its evil existence residing in my fridge. It won’t get to hang out with the broccoli or sesame seeds anymore. It will not feel my love or compassion. I hope it has said its last good-byes. A week ago, I would have thought this was crazy and led up some sort of protest or candlelight vigil with signs saying “Free Tofu! It’s innocent and good for us!” But not now, I show no mercy whilst looking up at me with its white spongy deception as I dangle it over the smelly trashcan. You hurt my family. Now you must die.