Saturday, February 28, 2009

Just Eat Nothing, Nothing At All

As a parent of children allergic to milk and eggs, I am grateful for the existence and vocality of vegans. I own vegan cookbooks and shop for ingredients at stores that cater to vegans. Without vegans, these things would not exist, so I am grateful. I do the best I can to be respectful of the food choices of others, and I'm known around our neighborhood for my ability and willingness to accommodate special dietary needs of all kinds. When I prepared a medieval feast at Solstice Court, I had an allergen and kosher statement for the food all printed out.

However, this goes too far: there is now a push to reduce soy consumption.
Greenpeace took the lead in pushing for a soy moratorium in Brazil that disallowed the planting of soy on deforested land and it seems to be working. In 2008, CNN reported no deforested land was used to grow soy. This year’s reports are due in a few weeks, but even if the moratorium proves successful, it doesn’t let us off the hook from being conscientious about our soy consumption, and even reducing it.
Read the whole thing. Greenpeace hasn't yet moved to ban soy, but knowing what you know about their modus operandi, how much do you want to bet that's next? Do you honestly think Greenpeace has an opinion on what people should eat, or do you think they just take pride in telling people what they shouldn't eat?

Look, I've got no problem with an individual deciding they don't want to eat soy, for any reason. Maybe they're allergic to soy. Maybe they believe soy will shrink their testicles. Maybe they think soybeans block the reception of signals from alien life forms. I really don't care why. But for an organization with power to actively push against soy is a nightmare. Soy is a highly nutritious food, a dietary staple in parts of the world, and soybeans have properties that other beans don't. You can't, for example, make a tofu-like curd out of non-soybeans.

As we discovered when we had to take Knuckles off 8 different allergens, eliminating meat, dairy and soy makes it extremely difficult to get proper nutrition, and is second only in difficulty to the wheat/corn elimination combo. Without soy, a vegan diet is extraordinarily difficult; a vegan parent would have a good deal of trouble getting proper nutrition into her children. That is NOT something I think we should encourage. I would never want to see a parent with a principled diet have her children undernourished so that Greenpeace can feel successful for having ginned up the Next Big Controversy.