“Soy”lent Green

Let’s face it, soy is very controversial.   Consider first that most of soy (90-98%, depending on what source you reference) is genetically modified.  Consider, too, that this GMO bean, or some semblance of it, is hidden in tons of processed foods, not unlike HFCS.  Many people have soy allergies, and tofu gets a bad rap.

But for so-called “breast cancer survivors”, soy rages even more of a debate.

When I first told my oncologist that I see a naturalist and take a variety of supplements, she paused for a moment and then said “that’s fine, just stay away from soy”.  Soy has phytoestrogens which make some people very nervous, particularly if you have (had) an estrogen receptive tumor.  After all, as part of breast cancer treatment for hormone receptive tumors, women are placed on one of several drugs of choice:  Tamoxifen, Arimidex, Femara, etc.  These drugs are intended to reduce estrogen and block it from being consumed by any rogue cancer cells.

But soy is a plant.  Phytoestrogens aren’t quite the same as the “bad” estrogens, aka xenoestrogens, that you might consume through pharmaceuticals (i.e., birth control pills), plastics, perfume, and a host of other environmental sources.  So it begs the question, is soy really bad for you, since it comes from a plant?  Is it really bad for breast cancer?

I was having a conversation on soy with a coworker this morning as we traveled to another office for meetings.  Ironically, when I checked my personal emails, Kris Carr featured this very topic, including a guest blog titled “Hey, Soy — Let’s Be Breast Friends Again!”  I found this guest blog to be quite thought provoking and wanted to share it.  The link to Kris Carr’s blog is also below.


If you search “soy myths”, there are numerous articles on this very topic if you want to read more.

So, to my fellow breast cancer warriors… to soy or not to soy?


4 thoughts on ““Soy”lent Green

  1. I drank over 5,000 nutrition drinks over the course of 5 years. The main ingredient was “soy protein isolate.” Then my diagnosis of Stage 3 cancer with a huge tumor. When I had my first appointment with my highly credentialed breast surgeon at the Univ of Michigan, the first words out of her mouth (without her knowing my nutrition drinking history) were, “From this day forward, no soy protein isolate or other manufactured soy. Regular soy in limited amounts is okay.” My heart sank because I knew I had drank all those shakes.
    I contacted a soy expert at a major university. He said that he couldn’t say it caused my breast cancer, but he is certain that it contributed to its fast growth.
    I, of course, now stay away from processed soy which is just about impossible – but I try.

    • Thanks, Denise! Very helpful. Yes, processed or non GMO soy is nearly impossible to find! I’m struggling with “which is worse”? For example, mayo with egg in it (meat protein) or vegan mayo with soy in it? Not that I use mayo a lot but it is in a lot of recipes.

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