Below are a few interesting facts about soy, and some ways you can enjoy alternative sources of clean plant protein.
Some health concerns surrounding soy
Soy is found in many plant-based and other health food alternatives, but it's also among the top eight food allergens along with milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, and wheat. Available as whole beans, flour, and oil, soybeans are now used in a vast variety of ways, increasing potential health concerns.
Here are some of the reasons why:
- 90% of US soybeans are genetically modified (GMOs), which have been shown to cause inflammation in the body, and are grown with toxic pesticides.
- Soy is a goitrogen, and can negatively impact the function of the thyroid gland.
- Soy has also been found to commonly cross contaminate with gluten.
- Soy contains lectins, which protect the plant against pests and predators, but have also been shown to cause digestive issues.
Finding a soy-free protein powder is not as easy as one might think. In order to take the soybean and make it into a powder, manufacturers often use toxic ingredients for extraction and when isolated, soy contains phytates which decrease mineral absorption.
Mikuna products do not contain soy, pea or quinoa, which most people cannot properly digest and assimilate. Mikuna is made from Chocho, which contains more than 54% protein by weight. Chocho is a regenerative crop that pulls nitrogen deep into the soil as it grows, making the soil healthier and more fertile for future crops, so in addition to being healthy, it’s good for the planet.
Mikuna Chocho Superfood Protein Powder is a non-isolate whole food that provides more than just protein. It contains vitamin E, magnesium, calcium (about as much as a glass of milk), plant fiber, 9/9 essential amino acids, and of course, clean plant protein (20 grams per serving, to be exact). It is free of dairy, gluten, and lectins (lectins are proteins found in most plants that bind to carbohydrates and are very difficult for our guts to break down, often causing gas and bloating).
Protein powder (like any other packaged food) can also be loaded with additives known as fillers and binders. The goal in adding these may be to cut costs, increase shelf life, or add flavor. Unfortunately, these can cause bloating, skin irritations, brain fog, and issues with digestion.
How to choose the best protein powder
Finding a high-quality, soy-free protein powder isn’t always straightforward. To determine which one is is right for optimal absorption and digestion, here are a few things to keep in mind on how to read and understand a nutrition label:
- Grams of protein: As a general rule of thumb, shoot for 20 grams per serving.
- Number of ingredients: Many protein supplements contain added sugars, artificial sweeteners, and fillers. Instead, go with ingredients you can pronounce.
- Bioavailability: For protein synthesis to take place, you need a complete amino acid profile with all nine essential amino acids. This is especially important in plant based proteins, as most isolates have incomplete amino acid profiles.
- Gluten, dairy, and lectins: They can wreak havoc on your digestive system, especially for people with sensitivities, these should be avoided.
- Fiber content: High fiber content is good for a host of reasons. It keeps you full longer, helps detoxify the colon, feeds the microbiome, and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Net carbs = Carbs - Fiber: If you're trying to cut down on your carb intake, take note of these numbers.
- Certifications: Vegan, non-GMO, organic…not all protein powders are created equal, so be sure to check the packaging for certifications.
Chocho is a regenerative crop that is great for the planet, great for the farmers who grow it, and great for the people who eat it. Shop now to start fueling your body and making a better impact.
This article has been reviewed by Torie Borrelli, Integrative Nutritionist, Author, & Natural Chef.