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Today's foods!

Today our foods are GMO's, processed, organic/natural etc. The concern is overwhelming especially because one has to eat! But are we eating ourselves to the grave or to health? The truth of our labelling is not necessarily helping one to remain wholesome! How can one make the best choice today?
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Avatar universal
Your question indicates you aren't sure what these terms mean and what labels really tell us.  Labels aren't really the story, to be the story they'd take up too much room.  What you have to do is read books, study, look at articles such as the above, but there's a lot more than that to it.  Go to your local health food store.  Educate yourself.  Then, do the best you can.  Just quickly, natural doesn't always mean anything at all -- you still have to read the ingredients.  Organic means a lot because at least you're avoiding toxins you don't need, but whether the food is more nutritious or not isn't settled -- but it does taste better, which means you can enjoy it without having to add a lot of unhealthy things to it to enjoy your meal.  Nobody knows the best way for you to eat, because your digestive system and what you tolerate won't necessarily be the same as other people.  So again, there are a million books out there, read and then decide but don't get stressed about it because stress isn't healthy or fun.
Avatar universal
And one other thing -- if you can afford to eat organic and non-GMO at least, you're helping the world, not just yourself.  Something else to consider is the effects of these unnatural ways of producing food on the whole ecosystem that keeps us alive.
Avatar universal
U.S. scientists discovered that gut microorganisms not only influence immune cell function, but actually support the production of immune cells that form the first line of defense against infection.
About 80 percent of the neurotransmitter serotonin is produced in the gastrointestinal tract—not the brain. Since large quantities of neurotransmitters are manufactured in the gut, that means your GI tract is largely responsible for your general physical and mental well being.
Bacteria that are in our gut help regulate your metabolism. Elizabeth Lipski, PhD, CCN, academic director of nutrition and integrative health programs at Maryland University of Integrative Health. "When that's in balance, we have energy and our brain works better. The Human Genome Project, scientists discovered we have fewer genes than a fruit fly, carrot, or pineapple! Instead, the genes we have are always talking to the microbes in our gut.
About one third of people today have some sort of digestive problem on a weekly or monthly basis. A lot of conveniences associated with modern life are killing gut health.
Foods developed in labs, denatured, industrialized fats, high-fructose corn syrup are a mystery to our gut. These new to nature foods give different information to our cells and microbiome," says Lipski, also author of Digestion Connection "Intuitively, we know that different foods have different effects on us; some make us feel energized, some drain us."

High fructose corn syrup needs more energy for the gut to absorb it, that leads to the possibility that you will have gut leakage and inflammation. Natural oils are important to our cells, but denatured, industrial fats stripped of antioxidants and vitamins don't give cells the nutrients they need. "It's the life in food giving us life," Lipski says. "Most people are eating mostly dead foods."

Eat organic to avoid high fructose corn syrup, avoid industrial oils by avoiding processed and fast food.
Carrageenan, is used as a thickening agent in ice cream, yogurt, soymilk, and sour cream and even organic versions. It doesn't need to be used in food. It has caused inflammation in the GI tract, triggering an immune response similar to that your body has when invaded by pathogens like Salmonella.
Wheat is bad, even if you have celiac disease, wheat could be causing acid reflux, inflammatory bowel disease, and other things. Wheat has been crossbred in the last 40 years that changes amino acids and gliadin protein, which could be making you hungry and damaging your gut. Try quinoa instead It's a seed high in protein it's not a grain.
The Journal of Organic Systems found pigs fed genetically engineered food were much more likely to suffer from severely inflamed stomachs. I guess it's happening to people.

The main ingredient in Roundup, is the chemical nonorganic farmers spray on GMO crops. So much is applied and taken up inside of the plant that the U.S. government keeps increasing the limits allowed in our food. That's bad news for your gut because glyphosate that's the main ingredient  also acts like an antimicrobial, acting like a potent bacteria killing in the gut, wiping out delicate beneficial microflora that protects us from disease. What's left? Harmful pathogens like Salmonella and E. coli.
The best way to avoid GMOs is to eat organic. If you can't then avoid nonorganic processed foods most contain at least one of the most common GMO ingredients made from corn, soy, cotton oil, or canola.
Avatar universal
Good post above but one small correction, at least as I know it.  The serotonin in the gut isn't the same serotonin as in the brain or in the blood vessels or in the muscles.  The gut has its own independent nervous system, and that's where most of the serotonin in the body is, but that serotonin doesn't go to the brain.  That comes from eating foods containing tryptophan combined with B6 and other co-factors, and the body divvies it up.  
Avatar universal
Thank you posting the article. I did comment on it. You may have helped me find an answer to my stomach issues even though I'm a vegetarian who tries to eat organic as much as possible. I've checked some of the organic things I eat and was shocked to see that the contain carageenan. My organic soy milk has it and I was so surprised to see that. No more of that for me.
Keep up the good work all of you. I love this forum and learn so much.
Avatar universal
Read the book Grain Brain By Dr. David Perlmutter M.D.
As for Soy, Asians eat a lot of soy in their diet, Soy formula is a good choice for infants, Soy-containing foods help prevent osteoporosis, Soy is a healthy food for adults, Soy helps improve libido in men.
The above about Soy is false. Those who eat large amounts of soy, especially non-fermented soy, have severe hormonal imbalances that are very difficult or impossible to correct without eliminating or drastically reducing soy in the diet. i have seen soy as an ingredient added to tea bags! Give me a break!! Soy is contained in almost 60 percent of grocery store food. It is in vegetable burgers and hot dogs and is a hidden ingredient in many other foods. And don’t forget soy milk.
One study found that Chinese ate approximately 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of soy a day. Soy is not eaten in large amounts in Asian countries; rather, it is used as a condiment.
Most of the Western food sources contain soy protein isolate, which is a highly processed, devitalized, and toxic food source that needs to be avoided! No newborn child should be fed a soy-based formula.
In 1997, researchers reported that infants fed a soy formula ingested a whopping 28 to 47 milligrams (mg) of isoflavones That's an estrogen-like compounds found in soy. The author of this study concluded, “The daily exposure of infants to isoflavones in soy infant formulas is six- to eleven fold higher on a body-weight basis than the dose that has hormonal effects in adults consuming soy foods. I could go on forever but I think you know how I feel about Soy! Fermented soy Is OK.
Avatar universal
Thank you! I think it might take a little while to get my system back on tract after using soy several times a week for so long. I just had no idea what it can do to your body. That's why I love this forum so much. I learn something new all the time.
Avatar universal
I would like to ask all of you what I can do to help with the possible inflammation garrageenan may be causing my stomach and intestines. This has been going on for months. Stomach pain, bloating, a trip to the ER which found nothing at all wrong.I had no idea this could happen until I read this article and then did alot of research on my own. Wow! So many Drs are saying to stay away from this stuff.
Avatar universal
Carrageenan stuff is good stuff -- it's from seaweed, but it's from red seaweed, which is largely not edible for humans.  It can be used as an antiviral, and it's what makes Salmon pink and gives them their omega 3 oils, but for the most part humans don't consume red seaweeds.  I never knew that's where it came from, Irish Moss, which can be used for many things but it just goes to show, when you isolate things you can get into trouble.  It's also why the word "natural" doesn't really mean very much, because although carrageenan is from a natural substance carrageenan doesn't appear in isolated form naturally.  Food is just tricky stuff.  But the soy issue is one of Gymdandee's conspiracy theories that I just don't buy into.  He also says Asians don't eat much soy, but that's just not true -- they eat it in so many forms every day, and they eat a lot of tofu, although their meat consumption (and subsequent deterioration of health) is going up rapidly.  My question to Gymdandee has always been, if soy is so estrogenic for those who don't need estrogen, why does Asia have so many people?  After all, they consume far and away the most soy of anyone on Earth.  And why does anyone get prostate cancer or enlarged prostates?  Men should be getting big breasts instead.  I don't care if anyone eats soy or not, I eat some but I certainly don't drown myself in it, but nor does anyone else I would hope.  Unless you're allergic to it I wouldn't worry about it, but I would worry about many of the byproducts made from it just as I would the byproducts made from most things.
Avatar universal
I just realized the above looks off -- I meant the info about carrageenan is good stuff, not the carrageenan.
Avatar universal
Fermented soy in small, condimental amounts as practiced in traditional Asian cultures is fine for those who have healthy thyroid function.  Only miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce (IF traditionally brewed) fall under this category.  In addition, if you want to sprinkle a few edamame on your salad or have a few small cubes of tofu in your miso soup from time to time, that is fine too.    Don’t make it a regular part of your diet!
If you have thyroid issues it's best to avoid all soy all the time as soy is a thyroid suppressor even if fermented.

Please note that fermented soy in small, condimental amounts as practiced in traditional Asian cultures is fine for those who have healthy thyroid function.  Only miso, tempeh, natto and soy sauce (IF traditionally brewed) fall under this category.  In addition, if you want to sprinkle a few edamame on your salad or have a few small cubes of tofu in your miso soup from time to time, that is fine too.   Just don’t make it a regular part of your diet! If you have any sort of thyroid issues going on, however, it is really the best policy to avoid all soy all the time as soy is a potent goitrogen (thyroid suppressor) even if fermented.

A 1991 study found that eating only 2 TBL/day of roasted and pickled soybeans for 3 months to healthy adults who were receiving adequate iodine in their diet caused thyroid suppression with symptoms of malaise, constipation, sleepiness, and goiters (Nippon Naibunpi Gakkai Zasshi 1991, 767: 622-629)!
Six premenopausal women with normal menstrual cycles were given 45 mg of soy isoflavones per day.  This is equivalent to only 1-2 cups of soy milk or 1/2 cup of soy flour!   After only one month, all of the women experienced delayed menstruation with the effects similar to tamoxifen, the anti-estrogen drug given to women with breast cancer (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1994 Sep;60(3):333-340).
Dietary estrogens in the form of soy foods were found to have the potential to disrupt the endocrine system with the effects in women similar to taking the breast cancer drug tamoxifen (Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine 1995 Jan;208(1):51-9).
Estrogens consumed in the diet at low concentrations were found to stimulate breast cells much like DDT to increase enzymatic activity which leads to breast cancer (Environmental Health Perspectives 1997 Apr;105 (Suppl 3):633-636).
The soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein appear to stimulate existing breast cancer growth indicating risk in consuming soy products if a woman has breast cancer. (Annals of Pharmacotherapy 2001 Sep;35(9):118-21). -
Direct evidence that soy isoflavones genistein and daidzein suppress the pituitary-thyroid axis in middle-aged rats fed 10 mg soy isoflavones per kilo after only 3 weeks as compared with rats eating regular rat chow (Experimental Biology and Medicine 2010 May;235(5):590-8).
Don’t eat soy when you are pregnant ladies!  Scientific research has shown that the developing male fetus which is exposed to soy phytoestrogens may suffer from higher susceptibility to prostate cancer later in life (Prostate 1994;24(2):67-78).
Keep that soy away from your daughters!   Dietary genistein (soy phytoestrogen) in developing female rats had the effect of significantly accelerated puberty (Toxicol Sci 1999 Oct;51(2):236-44). In addition, early exposure to soy is associated with less female typical play patterns in girls at 42 months of age (Environ Health Perspect v. 119(12); Dec 2011).
Soy protein powder strips your masculinity!  A study of 12 men aged 18 years and older experienced a 19% drop in serum testosterone in only 28 days when supplemented with 56 grams of soy protein powder over that same time period (Prev 2007;16:829—33).
Do NOT feed soy formula to your babies!  Female newborns who are orally exposed to genisin, the glycosylated form of genistein (soy phytoestrogen) experienced harm to the reproductive system in the form of “delayed vaginal opening… abnormal estrous cycles, decreased fertility, and delayed parturition.” (Environmental Health Perspective 2009 Dec;117(12):1883-9).
You can do more reading at the following
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Avatar universal
Thank you both so much for the information. Yes, it can be very confusing when it comes to the right things to eat. I do my best stick to plant based organic foods. This thing about carrageennan being in some of the organic foods I have was shocking. I couldn't believe the research on this stuff.
I will be checking this forum everyday to see what great information has been posted.
Avatar universal
Serotonin is found throughout the body. All serotonin comes from tryptophan, nothing is independent in the body, including the gut. It's a holistic system. Having vitamin B6 and other nutrients helps to diminish the production of inflammatory breakdown products of tryptophan (see http://www.supplements-and-health.com/tryptophan-side-effects.html ). Serotonin is predominantly a defensive inflammatory material.
Avatar universal
Don't think this is so.  Current scientific research shows that the gut has its own independent nervous system independent of the one in the brain.  Without B6 tryptophan can't manufacture serotonin at all, and it also needs other co-factors as well.  This isn't a problem as most people have plenty of B6, but it does help explain why many people get a feeling of relaxation from using stress B vitamins.  Serotonin is certainly not an antiinflammatory mainly, it is a systemic relaxant and mood regulator.  When you take an herb or amino acid or drug that affects serotonin in the brain it affects mood but shows no increased antiinflammatory action -- in fact, it can cause increased inflammation because of its interference with the action of magnesium.  While it's been proven that drug companies lied when they said serotonin was a cause of mental illness, it certainly has proved to be helpful in mitigating the symptoms, but one of the primary side effects is muscle cramping and nerve tenderness most likely due to magnesium problems or interference with the serotonin in the blood vessels and muscles.  Don't see how this could happen if it was primarily an antiinflammatory.  That's how I see it, anyway, having been on ssris for years and certainly not experiencing any antiinflammatory benefits.
Avatar universal
Gymdandee has a thing about soy.  I'm not saying there aren't studies about soy, but look at the number of people in the studies he cites -- six people?  Be real.  Most studies were done on rats.  Now, because I was in the health food biz, I know that the genesis of most of this research was paid for by the same people who brought us the "Beef, it's what's for dinner" people.  During the 1960's people started cutting their meat consumption, and one of the most complete plant sources of protein is soy, so they went after soy.  You research anything you will find some potential problems in the lab with mice and rats, but if you look to the real world you often don't see these problems.  Carrageenan may turn out to be the same story -- apparently almost all of this research was done by one person, who very well may be right, but the intake of this substance by the average person is so low it's hard to see that it would be a big problem.  Now, if you eat gobs of processed foods, then it could be a problem, and if you eat soy products that have been engineered to be very high in estrogenic compounds you could be in trouble too.  I agree with Gymdandee that one has to be careful with many soy byproducts.  But let's look at your average Japanese person, who lives as long as anyone in the world.  They eat miso soup for breakfast, soy sauce on everything (and real soy sauce is only lightly fermented and it has much more soy and estrogens in it than the sugar confection we call soy sauce in the US), munch on edamame at bars and clubs and at home for snacks, have at least one tofu or tempeh meal every day and put some tofu in their miso soup and in the soup they usually eat for lunch.  They dip in natto, cook in soy oil, and put soy sauce on virtually everything.  That's every day, and somehow they overpopulated the country and don't have big breasted men and have lower prostate cancer levels than the US does because most people connect this to overconsumption of meat and toxins in the environment.  The Chinese lived on white rice and tofu for centuries, because that's all they had and could afford, and there's billions of them.  The first thing that would go is fertility if Gymdandee was correct, so obviously the real world just doesn't confirm the tiny sample experiments out there.  Now, he could be right in this sense:  perhaps other cultures not so used to soy have more problems with it.  But consider this:  chickens and pigs are fed mostly on soy and they seem to not have problems producing offspring, though they certainly have other problems by not eating their natural foods.  My skepticism doesn't extend to the lack of potential problems shown by research, and I'm all for continuing to study this, but the real world just doesn't back it up at this point.  Gymdandee also conveniently, for political reasons you will learn if you read his journal on this site, doesn't want to look at the much more estrogenic effects of petroleum products, which in our society are everywhere -- we put our food in plastic containers, breathe petroleum in the air, drink it in our water, it gets in our wells, we grow our food in it, we kill bugs with it, it's everywhere and we do have big breasted infertile men running around because of it.  So how can you isolate the much more miniscule effects of soy from the large known effects of petroleum?  And what about flax, red clover, cohosh, and estrogenic drugs given to people that are also unmentioned?  Environmental effects of food and environmental toxins are cumulative and synergistic, so it helps to go back in time to before petroleum and other toxins and drugs and see if you find any of these problems in large amounts in the people who ate the food the most.  It's a broader perspective that's always been missing from the anti-soy crowd.  Now, that being said, I'm just trying to say that it's just wrong for anyone to tell someone, hey, if you're pregnant this will happen to you if you drink some soy milk and not mention what will happen if you eat this or that, such as dairy.  The world is more complex, but if you want to play it safe and not eat soy products, I have no problem with that, I'm just much more cautious about certainties being expressed based on tiny sample studies or rat studies that seem to contradict common experience without much more, and without comparing, what's more harmful, the potential harms of soy or the known harms of eating too much animal food or too much dairy.  It's a complex world out there, and it will never be perfect or perfectly safe.  Balance in all things.
Avatar universal
Ninety-four percent of all soy grown in the US is genetically engineered (GE), which virtually guarantees you're consuming GE soy when purchasing soy products and processed foods containing soy derivatives. Genetically engineered foods pose its own separate health risks, including hormone disruption and fertility problems
Soy can hide under a variety of different names, including mono-diglyceride, soya, soja, yuba, TSF (textured soy flour), TSP (textured soy protein), TVP (textured vegetable protein), lecithin, and MSG
Soy protein isolate can be found in protein bars, meal replacement shakes, bottled fruit drinks, soups and sauces, meat analogs, baked goods, breakfast cereals and dietary supplements. This hazardous ingredient has been linked to several troubling conditions, including diminished libido and erectile dysfunction
The only soy foods with health benefits are USDA certified 100% organic, traditionally fermented soy products such as tempeh, miso and natto.
Some research finds that soy might “feed” certain breast cancers because it can act like estrogen. Other studies have found that soy seems to protect against breast cancer. The difference in effects might have something to do with the amount taken. Because there isn’t enough reliable information about the effects of soy in women with breast cancer, a history of breast cancer, or a family history of breast cancer, it’s best to avoid using soy until more is known.
Long-term use of concentrated soy isoflavone tablets might increase the occurrence of precancerous changes in the tissue lining the uterus. Don’t take concentrated soy isoflavone supplements if you have endometrial cancer.

Kidney disease: There is some concern that soy products might increase the risk of kidney stones because they contain large amounts of a group of chemicals called oxalates. Oxalates are the main ingredient in kidney stones. Another concern is that people with serious kidney disease aren’t able to process some of the chemicals in soy. This could lead to dangerously high levels of these chemicals. If you have kidney disease or a history of kidney stones, avoid taking large amounts of soy.

Urinary bladder cancer: Soy products might increase the chance of getting bladder cancer. Avoid soy foods if you have bladder cancer or a high risk of getting it (family history of bladder cancer).

Under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism): There is a concern that taking soy might make this condition worse.

Asthma: People with asthma are more likely to be allergic to soy hulls. Avoid using soy products.
Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with SOY

Fermented soy products such as tofu and soy sauce contain tyramine. Tyramine is an amino acid that is involved in blood pressure regulation. Tyramine is broken down by monoamine oxidase. Some medications for depression (MAOIs) can decrease the breakdown of tyramine. Consuming more than 6 mg of tyramine while taking one of these medications can increase the risk of serious side effects such as blood pressure getting too high. The amount of tyramine in fermented soy products is usually small, often less than 0.6 mg per serving; however, there can be variation depending on the specific product used, storage conditions, and length of storage. Storing one brand of tofu for a week can increase tyramine content from 0.23 mg to 4.8 mg per serving. If you take one of these medications, avoid fermented soy products that contain high amounts of tyramine.
Some of these medications include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination
Antibiotic drugs interacts with SOY

Antibiotics are used to reduce harmful bacteria in the body. Antibiotics can also reduce friendly bacteria in the intestines. Friendly bacteria in the intestines seem to help increase the effectiveness of soy. By reducing the number of bacteria in intestines antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of soy. But it is too soon to know if this interaction is a big concern.
Estrogens interacts with SOY

Large amounts of soy might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But soy isn't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking soy along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) interacts with SOY

Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. Soy seems to also affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, soy might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take soy if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).
Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with SOY

Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Soy has been reported to decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. It is unclear why this interaction might occur. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Minor Interaction Be watchful with this combination
Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 2C9 (CYP 2C9) substrates) interacts with SOY

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Soy might increase how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. But it is too soon to know if this interaction occurs in all people or if it affects how well the medication works.

Some medications changed by the liver include carvedilol (Coreg), fluvastatin (Lescol), losartan (Cozaar), phenytoin (Dilantin), and many others.

Avatar universal
And did you know virtually all medications that affect the brain in any way use the pathway magnesium uses, and so magnesium can affect their effectiveness and they can affect the usefulness of magnesium.  So, following Gym's logic, I recommend everyone on medication avoid magnesium.  See the lack of logic here?  Almost all medications are affected by liver metabolites -- that's one of the reasons it takes so long to make drugs that get where they're supposed to go.  All fat soluble substances affect the liver.  Therefore, avoid all fat soluble substances if on medication.  See how this works?  See how far you can go with this?  Tyramine is found in all fermented foods, including wine, cheese, but of course tofu isn't fermented.  But the drug referred to is MAO inhibitors, which are almost never used anymore.  If you're on one, you've been given a long list of foods to avoid, as well as most medications, which is why this type of drug is just very seldom used anymore and hasn't been for decades.  

Look, we can go on like this forever.  Everyone, eat what you decide is best and feels good when you eat it, avoid toxins (all non-organic foods contain things we should avoid, but organic soy is very easy to get and not much more expensive than the non-organic.)  Almost everything mentioned on the soy issue by Gymdandee should be researched independently -- he has a thing about it, I don't know why, given all the different foods and chemical toxins we have in our lives.  He likes conspiracies, and everyone needs a hobby.  Nobody needs to eat soy to be healthy, but it does help a great deal if one is trying to avoid other more problematic foods we know much more about being harmful such as too much meat, and soy is a great protein source.  But again, nobody at least in the US needs to eat it.  As for hidden soy, yes, it's there, though most of the examples mentioned by Gym are only hidden if you don't know much about vegetarian food.  As I've said, these foods should be avoided, not because they're made of soy but because they're really not anymore -- they've been so altered by modern food processing so as to become a problem, just like everything served in fast food restaurants and most of the packaged goods in markets are a problem.  The question is, how big a problem, since you can't avoid all problems, and the infinitesimal amount of soy in, say, Vitamin E (almost all of which is made from soy) and most of the examples mentioned above isn't going to affect most people if the large amounts consumed daily by billions of people hasn't shown an effect in real life (outside of the laboratory).  So don't stress about it, eat it, don't eat it, eat a different bean and be happy if that's your thing.
Avatar universal
We should publish all our battles over soy some day.  We'd call it Soy Wars.
Avatar universal
The point is that Soy is in just about everything! As I said I've seen it added to tea bags! Point being we consume way to much soy! Yes I know we also consume to much other poisons that are added to foods. Do you have a good publisher? :>)
Avatar universal
P.S. without me being on med/help you wouldn't have anyone to argue with!
We are the Bert and Ernie of med/help :>) But we aren't a couple Are we?
Avatar universal
The amount of soy in things is a problem, just as corn derived things are.  I agree.  But those amounts are still infinitesimal in quantity.  It would be better if some weren't there, but others are quite good for you, such as lecithin, which is great at keeping fat moving through the system, which is why it's used so much as an emulsifier.  Not all soy additives are bad, but I've always agreed with you, a lot of them are and those we should try and get rid of, but given that you oppose government regulation in most cases and processors have a lot more money than we have to sway public opinion it's going to be hard to change anything, no?  And I'm afraid I'm culturally ignorant, don't know anything about Bert and Ernie other than their names.
Avatar universal
And if I had a publisher I wouldn't be on this site, I'd be publishing my novels and stories.  Just try getting a publisher these days if you're not already well known or networked.
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