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The problem I had with Veganism


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Okay, so I am currently not a vegan, although I did attempt it for over a year once. The reason for me joining up and posting here is to clarify my reasons for reverting back to normal vegetarianism. I am still opened to the possibility of being vegan again but I would have to have better results than the last time I attempted it. Maybe you guys/gals can help me.

 

Here are the reasons Veganism did not work for me.

 

1-My quality of life lowered. After about a 6 month period of being vegan I noticed that I was losing a lot of fat in my face, which made me look older than my age (24) and females were a little less interested in me than when my face looked fuller. I attribute this to two things 1-Calorie Deficit and 2-SOY (see next reason for clarification).

 

2-SOY and soy containing products. I began to take notice of the fact that I was going through mood swings incrementally within a few months to a year of being a vegan. I just deduced it to ordinary changes in my lifestyle and the process of adaptation and pushed forward for a few more months, but the mood swings not only persisted, they worsened. At this time SOY was my main source of protein. I also noticed that fat distribution throughout my body was not evened out, I was taking on an almost pear shaped figure, despite my body fat being as low as 8% at one point. This sounds similar to how female bodies distribute fat now doesn't it? n addition I was also losing fat stores in my face at an accelerated rate (another female reproductive fat distribution signal?). To add insult to injury I was also impotent (to the chagrin of my girlfriend). At any rate one day I fortuitously stumbled into an article in a medical journal about phyto-estrogenic effects of excessive soy consumption and it needless to say saved me from who knows how many more unnecessary mood swings and impotency bouts. Immediately after reading this article I stopped eating soy (and products containing soy). Within 2 weeks my mood swings lessened until they completely disappeared and with the help of eating foods rich in zinc my potency level climbed back up again. I am not suggesting everyone is this sensitive to the estrogenic effect of soy, but I definitely was susceptible. And I added this here because I know a lot of vegans rely on soy as their main source of protein, or at least one of them.

 

3-The cost! In order to get the vital Macro-nutrients necessary on a vegan diet it was necessary for me (and my mom) to spend over 300$ a month on food just for me! And I will still run out a little after 3 weeks, which necessitated going shopping a little earlier. As it stands in this economy and the fact that I am only working part time while living with my mother, I cannot afford more than 150-200$ on food for myself for a single month period. Is there any way a vegan can survive (eating a fair amount of vegetables and other macronutrients?) on a month to month basis with such a limited amount to spend?

 

4-The carbohydrate dilemma. I am one of those people who is sensitive to over-consumption of carbohydrates. Unfortunately the only food I ate while vegan that were low carb was soy and (haha) I already explained my reason for rooting that out of my diet. I did eat a lot of Lentils, whole grain breads, Oats whole grain pastas, etc. But I noticed a corresponding rise in the amount of phlem I was producing at this time, with this much carb consumption. And I also noticed that My fat stores around my hips were more stubborn with increased carb consumption (perhaps also because of the soy).

 

So there you have it. The reason I had to reincorporate dairy (particularly organic) and even some fish (particularly shrimp and salmon) into my dietary regimen. If there is a way to be vegan whilst adopting a low carb, NO SOY dietary regimen but still get enough protein and macronutrients for serious work outs, then I would do it, but I do not see it. Do you?

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HI there,

 

thanks for joining vb-forums. Just a few things that came up to my mind: have you considered your mood swings being a non-vegan issue (maybe caffein, stress or anything like that)?

 

loosing fat: How much did you weigh before going vegan? I have never heard of anything quite like your story about loosing fat in the face. Yeah, people loose weight when going vegan sometimes (Personally I didn't) but most of the times it's good for them.

 

carbs: You could try to incorporate more beans, legumes and vegetables into your diet. You don't have to rely on soy solely as a protein source.

 

Take care

Attila

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1-My quality of life lowered. After about a 6 month period of being vegan I noticed that I was losing a lot of fat in my face, which made me look older than my age (24) and females were a little less interested in me than when my face looked fuller. I attribute this to two things 1-Calorie Deficit and 2-SOY (see next reason for clarification).

Well...how many calories were you eating a day back then? Normally it is easy to get a lot of calories on a vegan diet. Without knowing what and how much you ate I would opt for soy first...

 

2-SOY and soy containing products. I began to take notice of the fact that I was going through mood swings incrementally within a few months to a year of being a vegan. I just deduced it to ordinary changes in my lifestyle and the process of adaptation and pushed forward for a few more months, but the mood swings not only persisted, they worsened. At this time SOY was my main source of protein. I also noticed that fat distribution throughout my body was not evened out, I was taking on an almost pear shaped figure, despite my body fat being as low as 8% at one point. This sounds similar to how female bodies distribute fat now doesn't it? n addition I was also losing fat stores in my face at an accelerated rate (another female reproductive fat distribution signal?). To add insult to injury I was also impotent (to the chagrin of my girlfriend). At any rate one day I fortuitously stumbled into an article in a medical journal about phyto-estrogenic effects of excessive soy consumption and it needless to say saved me from who knows how many more unnecessary mood swings and impotency bouts. Immediately after reading this article I stopped eating soy (and products containing soy). Within 2 weeks my mood swings lessened until they completely disappeared and with the help of eating foods rich in zinc my potency level climbed back up again. I am not suggesting everyone is this sensitive to the estrogenic effect of soy, but I definitely was susceptible. And I added this here because I know a lot of vegans rely on soy as their main source of protein, or at least one of them.

Interesting information. I think I read something similar lately but didn't pay to much attention then. It also would explain some of my experiences lately. I also noticed some amount of fat layering around my waist/hip area although the scale says that I'm still at 7% body fat. I thought it was a result of to many calories and not enough training but as I had increased my intake of soy lately (from nearly nothing before), that could be a reason. And another thing I recognized is the increase in unclear skin lately which could be a result as well. I think I have to check that out.

 

3-The cost! In order to get the vital Macro-nutrients necessary on a vegan diet it was necessary for me (and my mom) to spend over 300$ a month on food just for me! And I will still run out a little after 3 weeks, which necessitated going shopping a little earlier. As it stands in this economy and the fact that I am only working part time while living with my mother, I cannot afford more than 150-200$ on food for myself for a single month period. Is there any way a vegan can survive (eating a fair amount of vegetables and other macronutrients?) on a month to month basis with such a limited amount to spend?

 

Yes...costs can be a factor...but there are ways to get quality food with less cost. Try some farmer markets in your area or better the farmers themselves. I don't know how it is in other countries but here the produce is the cheapest when the markets are closing, as the vendors try to sell the rest of their produce before they have to take it back home again.

 

Another thing is that you can have a look at the more filling food, which still has all the nutrients but you feel full longer.

 

4-The carbohydrate dilemma. I am one of those people who is sensitive to over-consumption of carbohydrates. Unfortunately the only food I ate while vegan that were low carb was soy and (haha) I already explained my reason for rooting that out of my diet. I did eat a lot of Lentils, whole grain breads, Oats whole grain pastas, etc. But I noticed a corresponding rise in the amount of phlem I was producing at this time, with this much carb consumption. And I also noticed that My fat stores around my hips were more stubborn with increased carb consumption (perhaps also because of the soy).

 

It probably depends on how sensitive you are to carbohydrates and I don't have that much experience with this sensitivity but I know something about phlegm. That was one reason I switched to raw food, as I had problems when I ate bread. I also ate a lot of pasta as well. Some people have problems with that.

 

After I switched to raw food I have no problems with phlegm anymore. Maybe it is not the amount of carbohydrates that is the problem but that they are in cooked form. If you want you can at least try to increase the amount of raw food in your diet, to see if that helps.

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HI there,

 

thanks for joining vb-forums. Just a few things that came up to my mind: have you considered your mood swings being a non-vegan issue (maybe caffein, stress or anything like that)?

 

loosing fat: How much did you weigh before going vegan? I have never heard of anything quite like your story about loosing fat in the face. Yeah, people loose weight when going vegan sometimes (Personally I didn't) but most of the times it's good for them.

 

carbs: You could try to incorporate more beans, legumes and vegetables into your diet. You don't have to rely on soy solely as a protein source.

 

Take care

Attila

No dude, it was definitely the soy. There were too many symptoms that completely dissipated when I stopped eating it. No more uneven fat distribution, no more impotency, no more mood swings. All when I stopped eating soy. Coincidence? I think not. And again I am trying to stay low carb and beans and grains are not low carb.

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1-My quality of life lowered. After about a 6 month period of being vegan I noticed that I was losing a lot of fat in my face, which made me look older than my age (24) and females were a little less interested in me than when my face looked fuller. I attribute this to two things 1-Calorie Deficit and 2-SOY (see next reason for clarification).

Well...how many calories were you eating a day back then? Normally it is easy to get a lot of calories on a vegan diet. Without knowing what and how much you ate I would opt for soy first...

 

2-SOY and soy containing products. I began to take notice of the fact that I was going through mood swings incrementally within a few months to a year of being a vegan. I just deduced it to ordinary changes in my lifestyle and the process of adaptation and pushed forward for a few more months, but the mood swings not only persisted, they worsened. At this time SOY was my main source of protein. I also noticed that fat distribution throughout my body was not evened out, I was taking on an almost pear shaped figure, despite my body fat being as low as 8% at one point. This sounds similar to how female bodies distribute fat now doesn't it? n addition I was also losing fat stores in my face at an accelerated rate (another female reproductive fat distribution signal?). To add insult to injury I was also impotent (to the chagrin of my girlfriend). At any rate one day I fortuitously stumbled into an article in a medical journal about phyto-estrogenic effects of excessive soy consumption and it needless to say saved me from who knows how many more unnecessary mood swings and impotency bouts. Immediately after reading this article I stopped eating soy (and products containing soy). Within 2 weeks my mood swings lessened until they completely disappeared and with the help of eating foods rich in zinc my potency level climbed back up again. I am not suggesting everyone is this sensitive to the estrogenic effect of soy, but I definitely was susceptible. And I added this here because I know a lot of vegans rely on soy as their main source of protein, or at least one of them.

Interesting information. I think I read something similar lately but didn't pay to much attention then. It also would explain some of my experiences lately. I also noticed some amount of fat layering around my waist/hip area although the scale says that I'm still at 7% body fat. I thought it was a result of to many calories and not enough training but as I had increased my intake of soy lately (from nearly nothing before), that could be a reason. And another thing I recognized is the increase in unclear skin lately which could be a result as well. I think I have to check that out.

 

3-The cost! In order to get the vital Macro-nutrients necessary on a vegan diet it was necessary for me (and my mom) to spend over 300$ a month on food just for me! And I will still run out a little after 3 weeks, which necessitated going shopping a little earlier. As it stands in this economy and the fact that I am only working part time while living with my mother, I cannot afford more than 150-200$ on food for myself for a single month period. Is there any way a vegan can survive (eating a fair amount of vegetables and other macronutrients?) on a month to month basis with such a limited amount to spend?

 

Yes...costs can be a factor...but there are ways to get quality food with less cost. Try some farmer markets in your area or better the farmers themselves. I don't know how it is in other countries but here the produce is the cheapest when the markets are closing, as the vendors try to sell the rest of their produce before they have to take it back home again.

 

Another thing is that you can have a look at the more filling food, which still has all the nutrients but you feel full longer.

 

4-The carbohydrate dilemma. I am one of those people who is sensitive to over-consumption of carbohydrates. Unfortunately the only food I ate while vegan that were low carb was soy and (haha) I already explained my reason for rooting that out of my diet. I did eat a lot of Lentils, whole grain breads, Oats whole grain pastas, etc. But I noticed a corresponding rise in the amount of phlem I was producing at this time, with this much carb consumption. And I also noticed that My fat stores around my hips were more stubborn with increased carb consumption (perhaps also because of the soy).

 

It probably depends on how sensitive you are to carbohydrates and I don't have that much experience with this sensitivity but I know something about phlegm. That was one reason I switched to raw food, as I had problems when I ate bread. I also ate a lot of pasta as well. Some people have problems with that.

 

After I switched to raw food I have no problems with phlegm anymore. Maybe it is not the amount of carbohydrates that is the problem but that they are in cooked form. If you want you can at least try to increase the amount of raw food in your diet, to see if that helps.

I think my carb sensitivity has to do with glycation and insulin response. Mostly due to eating excessive grains. That is not to say that these are the only foods that cause a glycation reaction, but they are definitely conducive to wide scale sensitivity response for me. I try to curb my carb consumption to about 100 carbs or less daily. I guess, in terms of getting more vegetables in my diet (currently my main source are leafy greens, tomatoes, blueberries) I will look into the farmers market thing.

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I want to add that I think the kind of carbs one gets from some vegetables is to fibrous to be considered carbohydrates in the normal sense of Insulin response mechanism. This is why I stick with leafy greens and watery vegetables, like celery and tomatoes while staying away from high GI vegetables like potatoes (no I don't have diabetes).

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How did you measure your bodyfat percentage? And are you sure you didn't just bloat up from soy (not an unusual problem since soy is a common allergen)? This would mean that you pear shaped figure would come from water retention around the waist and not fat.

You are the first person I've heard of that has had impotence problems caused by soy (or at least that's what you think). I would really like to see stuff like this being more explored in clinical research because so far there is nothing (that I know of) to prove that this can happen from regular soy consumption. Did you ever get your blood worked check during your time as a vegan when you experienced all this problems? Did you check testosterone and estrogen levels. I've heard of people that goes vegan and lowers their cholesterol too much and that this could cause impotence, which might be an explantion if there's any truth behind it.

 

Low-carb vegan diets are hard to do. Most people that try it eat lot's of soy, seitan and different protein powders along with veggies and nuts/seeds. I'm skeptical to the whole "carb sensitivity" thing to be honest and, again, I would like to see more research on how different people react differently to a macronutrient.

I have to ask, what kind of foods did you eat when you were vegan? Most people that consume too much soy usually consumes heavily processed foods like faux meats, soy cheeses etc etc and maybe their carb sources are just as bad (white flour, sugar etc).

 

If you want to try the vegan diet ever again make sure you focus on whole foods and not all that weird stuff that is supposed to look like meats and dairy (of course rice/soy/oat etc milk is okay but the cream cheese etc is just crap). If you want zinc rich foods make sure to eat enough nuts and seeds. Some population studies have shown sexually active men to have low zinc levels so this is something more guys should think about, specially on this forum since zink is a powerful growth promoter.

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No dude, it was definitely the soy. There were too many symptoms that completely dissipated when I stopped eating it. No more uneven fat distribution, no more impotency, no more mood swings. All when I stopped eating soy. Coincidence? I think not. And again I am trying to stay low carb and beans and grains are not low carb.

 

beans are not low carb?

Edited by Attila
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Yes...costs can be a factor...

 

I don't spend more money on food then before becoming vegan. Maybe it's because I eat a lot of whole foods and unprocessed stuff. Organic is always a little more expensive but organic meat and fish is veeeeeery expensive.

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If soy is a huge issue don't eat it. Plenty of ways to eat healthy and cheap AND soy free.

 

I see your problems in relation to veganism, and they are understandable, but they all have a solution, and not one of those solutions is give up. I'm all for people choosing their own habits and lifestyles, but I see switching from vegan to another diet is a choice and not because "veganism doesn't work for them". It can work for anyone, it's just a matter of dedication and knowledge.

 

Again, to each their own though.

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Low-carb vegan diets are hard to do. Most people that try it eat lot's of soy, seitan and different protein powders along with veggies and nuts/seeds. I'm skeptical to the whole "carb sensitivity" thing to be honest and, again, I would like to see more research on how different people react differently to a macronutrient.

I have to ask, what kind of foods did you eat when you were vegan? Most people that consume too much soy usually consumes heavily processed foods like faux meats, soy cheeses etc etc and maybe their carb sources are just as bad (white flour, sugar etc).

I was very conscious of the source of carbohydrates I was consuming when being a vegan. I religiously stayed away from processed carbohydrates like flour, and such, and for the past 4 years have steered meticulously from all processed foods, including anything with hydrogenated oils in it, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, etc.

 

Now in terms of the effects of soy. The isoflavone Genistein exerts the opposite effect on male hormones as it does on female hormones, it is therefor my belief that soy and soy products should be marketed to women and not so much to men as it binds to the receptor sites in the body responsible for hormonal unbalance. I can't locate the study i read at the moment but I will continue searching it. I think whether or not the soy product you're consuming is fermented or unfermented makes a difference too, i'm not sure how much of a difference though.

Edited by TheFutureOfHealth
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No dude, it was definitely the soy. There were too many symptoms that completely dissipated when I stopped eating it. No more uneven fat distribution, no more impotency, no more mood swings. All when I stopped eating soy. Coincidence? I think not. And again I am trying to stay low carb and beans and grains are not low carb.

 

beans are not low carb?

I don't consider 30 grams of carbs per serving low carb. Especially when one might typically have 2-3 servings to keep protein levels up.

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You could also try soy isolate protein. It contains no phyto oestrogens just the pure protein. You won't have any of the stated side effects then.

Soy Protein isolate is rich in Genistein, which is where the phytoestrogen comes from.

 

Thanks for telling me! So does this mean that actual traces of phytoestrogen are contained in soy isolate because I didn't think so until now. It's even advertised being pure protein without any phytoestrogen.

 

@beans: Yes, 30 grams seems to be much. What do you think about peanut butter? I guess nuts and seeds are too much fat. I've also heard about organic rice protein/hemp protein. Maybe this is an alternative - but it can't replace a real meal that's for sure so there must be something different.

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Now in terms of the effects of soy. The isoflavone Genistein exerts the opposite effect on male hormones as it does on female hormones, it is therefor my belief that soy and soy products should be marketed to women and not so much to men as it binds to the receptor sites in the body responsible for hormonal unbalance. I can't locate the study i read at the moment but I will continue searching it. I think whether or not the soy product you're consuming is fermented or unfermented makes a difference too, i'm not sure how much of a difference though.

 

Hmm as I said, a study would be great. In the health and nutrition section Zack posted this a long time ago when the fuss about soy was at it's peak http://www.jissn.com/content/4/1/4, basically it shows that soy has no to very little effect on t-levels. Geinstein is pretty known to have anti-cancer properties both in males and females (there are so many studies done on this, if you want some and can't find them on your own I can post a few of them) so I do not agree that soy should be marketed to any specific gender. John Berardi, PhD, CSCS and Ryan Andrews, MS/MA, RD, CSCS wrote an excellent article on Testosterone Nation that I usually refer to when people ask about soy http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/soy_whats_the_big_deal. The article is called "Soy - what's the big deal?" and the title pretty much tells you what you will read (I still think you should read it), soy is not a superfood (which some companies try to market it as) and it's not a poison or a powerful hormone altering food either, it's just food. Overconsuming any food is bad. if you're allergic consuming it at all is probably pretty bad.

You are correct that there is a difference between fermented soy products and non-fermented ones and their effects but none of them seems to be bad (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19211820?ordinalpos=12&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

 

If you are worried about estrogen levels (which you probably shouldn't be in the first place) you should take a look at dairy since it contains acctual estrogen and not phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen is weak but binds to the same receptors as estrogen and inhibit the binding of our own estrogen and in this case it will have an anti-estrogen effect.

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You could also try soy isolate protein. It contains no phyto oestrogens just the pure protein. You won't have any of the stated side effects then.

Soy Protein isolate is rich in Genistein, which is where the phytoestrogen comes from.

 

Thanks for telling me! So does this mean that actual traces of phytoestrogen are contained in soy isolate because I didn't think so until now. It's even advertised being pure protein without any phytoestrogen.

 

@beans: Yes, 30 grams seems to be much. What do you think about peanut butter? I guess nuts and seeds are too much fat. I've also heard about organic rice protein/hemp protein. Maybe this is an alternative - but it can't replace a real meal that's for sure so there must be something different.

 

I would go with the rice protein, simply because you really don't know what you are getting. But I have never heard of a brand of soy that guarantees on the label against having phytoestrogen in it. Can you tell me the brand name?

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Now in terms of the effects of soy. The isoflavone Genistein exerts the opposite effect on male hormones as it does on female hormones, it is therefor my belief that soy and soy products should be marketed to women and not so much to men as it binds to the receptor sites in the body responsible for hormonal unbalance. I can't locate the study i read at the moment but I will continue searching it. I think whether or not the soy product you're consuming is fermented or unfermented makes a difference too, i'm not sure how much of a difference though.

 

Hmm as I said, a study would be great. In the health and nutrition section Zack posted this a long time ago when the fuss about soy was at it's peak http://www.jissn.com/content/4/1/4, basically it shows that soy has no to very little effect on t-levels. Geinstein is pretty known to have anti-cancer properties both in males and females (there are so many studies done on this, if you want some and can't find them on your own I can post a few of them) so I do not agree that soy should be marketed to any specific gender. John Berardi, PhD, CSCS and Ryan Andrews, MS/MA, RD, CSCS wrote an excellent article on Testosterone Nation that I usually refer to when people ask about soy http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/sports_body_training_performance_nutrition/soy_whats_the_big_deal. The article is called "Soy - what's the big deal?" and the title pretty much tells you what you will read (I still think you should read it), soy is not a superfood (which some companies try to market it as) and it's not a poison or a powerful hormone altering food either, it's just food. Overconsuming any food is bad. if you're allergic consuming it at all is probably pretty bad.

You are correct that there is a difference between fermented soy products and non-fermented ones and their effects but none of them seems to be bad (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19211820?ordinalpos=12&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum)

 

If you are worried about estrogen levels (which you probably shouldn't be in the first place) you should take a look at dairy since it contains acctual estrogen and not phytoestrogen. Phytoestrogen is weak but binds to the same receptors as estrogen and inhibit the binding of our own estrogen and in this case it will have an anti-estrogen effect.

 

Actually, 98% of the estrogen in dairy is accounted for by added growth hormones and their effect on the lactation process (which is why I consume only 100% organic products). the remaining two percent is far less of a concern the the effects of Genistein on the overall receptor sites of the male organism. In other words it fizzles out in the digestive process before it is activated.

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This is a good discussion.

 

I like hearing both sides of "the diet" in a fair and respectful way.

 

As for me, I consume quite a bit of soy and lots of processed foods. It's not the best thing and I know that. My testosterone levels are high (blood checked), and I am very potent. My muscles are good and I feel great.

 

I would like to cut back on the processed foods and soy alot. I will look into it in the summer. Right now I have way too much going on to do a total overhaul on my diet - especially when it's so easy to heat up a couple tofurky links and eat them with baked potatoes.

 

@ OP: You've done your research and you've seem to have given veganism a fair shot. Whether you want to try it again, I tip my hat to you, you've done more than most people on the planet ever will. Good luck in finding a diet that is consistent with your beliefs and expectations.

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Actually, 98% of the estrogen in dairy is accounted for by added growth hormones and their effect on the lactation process (which is why I consume only 100% organic products). the remaining two percent is far less of a concern the the effects of Genistein on the overall receptor sites of the male organism. In other words it fizzles out in the digestive process before it is activated.

 

I know I know. I'm just saying that if you worry about something it might as well be dairy but you probably shouldn't worry at all about the estrogen. There are a few studies that shows increased dairy intake with higher estrogen levels in females but there are none (that I'm aware of) that has shown the same results with soy.

Have you checked if you're allergic to soy? You probably should.

 

It seems you've been reading a lot about soy but as I've said before the claims have not been scientifically proven and they have been disproven in numerous studies and Genstein has shown positive health effects.

 

The problem I have with soy is that the industry make false claims about effects on cholesterol levels, they add soy to just about anything which sucks because overconsuming anything sucks and for allergic people it's a hazzle. But as far as the estrogen debate goes it is impossible to talk about it without acctual evidence. It's a shame you didn't check your estrogen levels when you were eating soy and then again when you stopped. That would have been real intresting to see.

 

@ OP: You've done your research and you've seem to have given veganism a fair shot. Whether you want to try it again, I tip my hat to you, you've done more than most people on the planet ever will. Good luck in finding a diet that is consistent with your beliefs and expectations.

 

Got to agree with this. I hope you'll find your way back to veganism or anything that makes you happy.

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