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Vegan People
Respecting All Animals
verdict on soy milk? other lactose-free milk? 
21st-Sep-2013 07:30 pm
Hi all,

I hear mixed things about soy milk, and I'm not sure if I should have this as a dairy substitute or not. I'm still new to the diet / transition part of veganism, but being vegetarian all my life, the main things that I've had to work on are dairy. And sometimes it's strange to find for example, ice cream or yogurt containing egg or gelatin - so weird to me! Anyway, I'd like to hear your thoughts on soy - IF I am not allergic of course, how many servings of soy milk is 'safe' or are the dangers of soy not true? It seems that for women it can be a danger, because it mimics the estrogen hormone, but I don't think I'm in any danger of that, or having excess estrogen...

Does the same go for other soy products, like soy beans, tofu? The only thing that's frustrating is the fact that, if I'm out, at say a café with friends, I have to pay extra for the soy milk in my coffee or tea, and I never understood that...

Anyway, I am allergic to tree nuts but I can handle coconut milk. I just wanted to incorporate soy milk more, but only if it was safe and healthy to do so. Thanks everyone!
22nd-Sep-2013 12:04 am (UTC)
22nd-Sep-2013 12:06 am (UTC)
I work in a coffee shop, and you have to pay extra for soy because soy milk is more expensive for us to purchase than cow's milk. (I know, it sucks.)

You'd have to consume a LOT of soy for any health risks to be a concern. Don't drink a gallon of soy every day, or base all of your meals around soy foods, and you'll be fine. There are some health conditions where doctors suggest you shouldn't have soy, such as hypothyroidism or interstitial cystitis, but a healthy person isn't going to experience ill effects from a few servings of soy per day.

You can also try rice or hemp milk. They're available at most health food stores.

Edited at 2013-09-22 12:07 am (UTC)
22nd-Sep-2013 04:46 am (UTC)
The site I started with is Not Milk back in 2001. In fact, I quit dairy before I quit meat, because I heard a radio program a few days after the World Trade Center blew up, where the NotMilk man, Robert Cohen, was saying that if you wanted to produce less mucus and breathe easier—and at the time the air in New York City was full of soot raining down—you should quit dairy. Period. So I switched to soy, because that was what was most available at the time.

I've never limited my intake of soy foods, although I try to vary my intake of protein sources. Currently, my favorite non-dairy milk is oat milk, because it has a pleasant flavor and the brand—Pacific—I get doesn't add sweeteners to it.

Although I love tofu, I'm aware it's wise to eat more tempeh because it's a whole food that incorporates the whole soybean. Or, there are even Okara burgers that are made from the fiber that's left after the soymilk is extracted.

Lastly, I eat as much soy as I damn please, because I've been going through menopause and soy is extremely beneficial to menopausal women. I have not had a hot flash in all the time I was perimenopausal or since I stopped menstruating, and I'm fond of telling people that menopause has been a non-event.
22nd-Sep-2013 10:11 am (UTC)
Soy is perfectly fine, especially if it is of the organic nature (much of the GMO nonorganic soy grown is to feed farm animals slaughtered for food so most omnivores are getting soy in their diet indirectly anyway, plus soy is in some teas, mayo, crackers, breads etc). There are a ton of natural foods with phytoestrogen compounds (broccoli, cabbage, legumes, nuts and seeds especially flaxseed) so soy is not special in this regard. There are also a lot of studies and benefits to foods with phytoestrogen compounds as well.

I have hypothyroidism and have been vegan for almost three years and I still consume some soy products, just not a ton of processed food and I consume soy at least four hours apart from taking my meds (same goes for calcium heavy products). I can not tolerate tofu (diarrhea cramps and gas immediately upon consumption) but I eat a fair bit of tempeh and on occasion drink soy milk, though my first choice of nondairy milk is almond. Soy milk has the highest protein content, a high iron content, and is superior than other plant milks for some baking and cooking. I have also made my own almond milk with a high speed blender and raw almonds and I add calcium citrate powder for extra calcium. But getting back to soy, it shouldn't be dismissed completely if you don't have an allergy to it because it includes important nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. Much of the scare tactics about soy are from the dairy industry. They are threatened by soy because it competes with their business. I actually think dairy is worse for health because it is laden with antibiotics, animal hormones, and cholesterol. Even organic milk is going to have trace amounts of antibiotics in it. When you think about it, cows milk and goats milk is not natural for humans any more than human milk is natural for cows or goats. It is completely unnecessary in the human diet. I had a terrible intolerance to milk/dairy products and was always bloated and gassy and tired and I also had sinus issues and mucus every time I consumed dairy and meat. All that cleared up completely when I cut out those things. Even as an omnivore I had started drinking plant milks and could not tolerate cheese of any kind without paying for it with diarrhea and cramps. My body is very sensitive to a lot of drugs and foods. I have had no trouble with plant food with the exception of tofu and cashews. All other nuts, seeds, beans/legumes, fruits, vegetables and so on have been fine for me. I don't consume soy daily, but maybe three or four times a week. On occasion I have soy yogurts but also enjoy coconut milk based yogurt (though it's more expensive). If I didn't have thyroid issues I would consume soy milk more often but still not more than once or twice a day only because I like variety and to keep my processed food intake to a minimum.

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23rd-Sep-2013 10:19 am (UTC)
I just wrote you a personal email, but to respond to your question about protein here. There are so many vegan foods with protein that if you eat a variety you will get enough. Broccoli, quinoa, oats, buckwheat, brown or wild rice, chickpea flour or chickpeas, all other beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan (vital wheat gluten), nuts and seeds, spinach, granola cereals, soy milk, etc all provide good sources of protein. Also, the more you eat beans or vegetables the more your body will adapt and the gas and bloat will eventually go away. It just takes time. Introduce these foods slowly if you haven't eaten a lot of them as an omnivore. Here is some good advice about how to make beans more digestible also:


I wish I had time to tell you all the things you could do with beans, such as dips, cheese making, adding to baked goods, burgers, and on and on but I have to get ready for work. There is such a variety of them and so many things you can do with them I never tire of them. They are important for their iron, calcium, protein, and fiber so don't dismiss them completely. Just add them in slowly over time to get used to them. I snack on almonds and pumpkin seeds a lot too. 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds has 7 grams of protein and 120 calories (the ones with the shell on) and healthy fats. Just one example of many. My omnivore husband had issues with my bean dishes for a while but even he is getting more used to them and doesn't have this issue anymore. I make a lot of bean soups pureed and I think this helps him too. Try white bean, carrot ginger curried soup sometime. Ummmm. Anyway hope this helps!
23rd-Sep-2013 05:21 pm (UTC)
"the more you eat beans or vegetables the more your body will adapt and the gas and bloat will eventually go away"

That was not my experience. I quit being vegan after two years of being basically housebound due to the bowel problems caused by eating a lot of beans, nuts and veg. I now eat a limited range of veg and no beans/nuts/seeds/wholegrains (instead relying on small amounts of meat/fish and lactose-free dairy for protein) and my symptoms are a lot better.

Tofu was always fine though. I think it's because the bean fiber is removed in the processing. Maybe OP could try that? Are there any other processed-bean products that aren't fibrous?
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24th-Sep-2013 10:41 pm (UTC)
wheat gluten is gluten, lol. gluten is wheat gluten (unless it's rye or barley, i guess). really not a huge ammount of difference there.

i'm surprised to see none of these people with digestive issues has mentioned probiotics. though it makes sense, since those things might help some.

27th-Sep-2013 06:14 pm (UTC)
Soy milk is fine, but with all things, in moderation. i try not to eat too many soy products but my guilty pleasure is chocolate soy milk. I usually drink almond milk but since you said your allergic there is also rice milk. They taste fine too me. I usually get the original, unsweetened kind though.
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