It's so freaking hard to figure out if a health or nutritional study currently being trumpeted by the media is worth paying any attention to. I pretty much have given up, and have decided to just stick to "real food" as much as I can -- making meals from building blocks as basic as I can manage. And overall I feel pretty good about what I shove in my face, and my son's, but I've always been a little concerned about soymilk.
I started buying soymilk when my son seemed to have problems with cow's milk. Then, as I learned more about what needs to be done to a cow to keep her producing milk year-round, how cows are not even designed to eat corn (primary component of commercially-raised cattle's diet), what they're given to counteract the effects of that diet, how obscenely powerful the dairy lobby is, how dairy is not even an optimal way to get calcium, and how Americans in particular consume WAAAY more dairy (and protein in general) than necessary, it became clear that I was going to keep buying soymilk.
Oh, I still love me some butter, I use cheese as a condiment, we eat yogurt (plain full-fat yogurt sweetened with strawberry jam is AWESOME!) and I do buy milk to use in certain recipes where it makes a difference, but dairy is not a daily requirement in my house. And for someone who grew up in Indiana then lived in Wisconsin for a spell, that's saying something.
Yet, still, I worried about the soy. Would my son grow manboobs? Was I flooding my system with obscene amounts of estrogen? How could I ever sift through the tons of press to find the real data? How could I tell which studies were genuine and which were marketing propaganda designed to play on our fears?
Well, here's one little point of light. Today, Daniel at Casual Kitchen posted a link to this article by Leo Babuta at zenhabits.net that made me feel orders of magnitude better about my choice.
It just goes to show how easy it is for someone to write something in a science-y way that completely obscures the true agenda behind it. And how impossible it is for us to tell the difference.
Basically, I think we're screwed, but we still have to eat, so our house rule is "If it wouldn't have been recognized as food a hundred years ago, don't eat it." No, my Midwestern ancestors would not have known WTF soymilk was, but people in Japan have been making things out of it for centuries. Close enough.
BTW, as a former half-and-half addict, I've discovered that a 50/50 mix of vanilla soymilk and plain almond milk is an awesome coffee creamer. I haven't looked, but I bet if you read the label of non-dairy creamers, it's not too different. Except the ingredient list on the powdered stuff is about ten times longer.