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Meatless Monday: Where Do You Stand On Soy?

People tend to be black and white when it comes to soy: Either they’re telling you it causes breast cancer, or pointing you to the health and longevity experienced by the Japanese, heavy soy eaters (at least until recently).

The studies are inconclusive: some point to benefits, while others point to potential harm. In the case of breast cancer, the isoflavones found in soy which mimic estrogen, have been both accused of causing and/or proliferating cancer, as well as potentially preventing it.

When in doubt we like to see what our favorite alterna-docs are saying. Dr. Andrew Weil is pretty pro-soy in its wholer-food forms (that includes tofu for him), while Dr. Oz recommends eating it in moderation until there’s more conclusive research, also stressing that people avoid the overly-processed “frankensoy” products, sticking to tofu, miso and tempeh.

For my part, as I’ve discussed in the past, finding easy protein sources that aren’t either filled with toxins, genetically modified, or wreaking havoc on the environment, is tough. I’m a big fan of sardines and mackerel now, which took some palate training. And I do eat tofu about once or twice a week, and enjoy a good miso soup or salad dressing as well, now and again. In other words: moderation.

But for you full-time vegetarians out there, I can imagine the soy thing gets awful tricky.  Do you eat it? And have any of you seen differences in your hormones, skin and/or menstrual cycles when you do eat soy versus when you don’t?

Sometimes anecdotal evidence is the best thing we’ve got!

Funny little tofus via

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Green Tea: Sip Yourself Skinny?

We don’t usually go in for promisey weight loss scams, but this is green tea folks. It’s already a topical favorite of ours—nary a day goes by when one of us isn’t spot treating even the most minor breakout (or imagined breakout) with some of Evan Healy’s calming green tea clay.

Drinking the stuff has also been shown to have a staggering array of benefits, even making Dr. Oz’s ultimate anti-aging list for its powerful antioxidants.

Now Self is reporting on a study that shows green tea may help with weight loss, at least in obese people suffering from metabolic syndrome. From Self:

The study involved three dozen subjects who were obese and had metabolic syndrome.  For eight weeks, they drank 4 cups of green tea or took a green tea supplement that provided the equivalent amount of active ingredients every day. They were told to eat (and exercise) the way they usually did (or didn’t).  And, in fact, dietary records taken at the beginning and end showed that their nutrient intake didn’t change significantly over that time.

Despite that, the subjects lost fove pounds on average. But here’s what’s really interesting: The green tea used in the study was decaffeinated, which totally foiled my first theory: That the caffeine was probably responsible for the higher metabolism. Huh. Magical elixir after all?

Image via

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Why is Nobody Listening to Dr. Oz?

Last week my boyfriend’s mom tipped me off: Doctor Oz was finally rerunning his “Dangerous Beauty” segment. I’d heard about this episode back in February, and had frantically searched for it online to no avail—it didn’t seem to be making waves. The Oz had posted some pretty damning stuff on his website back then—calling out the FDA’s lack of regulation and the industry’s tricky labeling practices—but the focus seemed very product-specific. Regardless, I set my DVR, and yesterday hunkered down to watch.

Um, have any of you seen this? I don’t think my mouth closed for the first five minutes. It starts off with a newly recorded intro from the doctor, about how that day—June 2nd—might be a game changing day for all the women watching… He goes on to say:

“What if I told you your makeup could be hazardous to your health? That it could even hurt your beauty in the long run? Take a look at this…”

It gets even crazier. Here’s what he says in the intro voiceover, folks. Since I still can’t find it online, you’ll have to imagine both his soothing voice and the super dramatic, anxiety-inducing music:

“…that lotion you put on your face every day to fight wrinkles hasn’t been approved by the government at all. The FDA oversees this multibillion dollar industry, but it does not approve products before they hit store shelves. [The music starts getting crazy here.] Even more alarming? Cosmetics companies are only required to list intended ingredients on their products. These companies are in no way really obligated to list harmful byproducts that may occur during manufacturing. Think you’re safer buying ‘natural,’ ‘organic’ or ‘hypoallergenic’ products? Think again. There are no guidelines for those terms in the cosmetic world—they simply mean whatever the company wants them to…”

When the show begins, he talks directly with women about the most dangerous items in their cosmetics bags.

I have two things to say: 1. You’re a badass, Dr. Oz. And more important, 2. Why is nobody talking about this? Dr. Oz is the most famous doctor in America. If he can’t create a media maelstrom over this, who can?

Image via