As someone conscious of her health, I spent 13 years cultivating a vegetarian diet. I took time to plan and balance meals that included products such as soymilk, soy yogurt, tofu, and Chick'n patties. I pored over labels looking for words I couldn't pronounce. Occasionally an ingredient or two would pop up among my fake sausages. Soy protein isolate? Great! They've isolated the protein from the soybean to make it more concentrated in my veggie dogs. Hydrolyzed soy protein? I never successfully rationalized that one, but I wasn't too worried. After all, in 1999, the FDA approved labeling found on nearly every soy product I purchased: "Diets low in saturated fat and cholesterol that include 25 grams of soy protein a day may reduce the risk of heart disease." Soy ingredients are not only safe — they're beneficial.
After several years of consuming various forms of soy nearly every day, something wasn't right. I felt reasonably fit, but somewhere along the line I'd stopped menstruating. I couldn't figure out why my stomach became so upset after eating edamame or why I was often moody and bloated. It didn't occur to me at the time to blame soy, heart-protector and miracle food.