Wednesday, November 23, 2011

That we are bloated with two "S" words

I've been trying to avoid the humble soy bean as I've recently read about its subtle, detrimental effects on health if you consume too much. I thought, That'll be easy because I don't feed the family much soy. Sure, I drink soy milk sometimes, as a change from dairy, but I can easily change to rice milk. I wish everything would be such a cinch.

Wow, was I wrong! Although I'd already been in the habit of scanning ingredients on supermarket shelves as my oldest son has a peanut allergy, I was still amazed by the staggering truth. There are not many commercially prepared foods, from sweets to sauces to savouries, which don't contain soy. Most often I see, "soy lecithin" listed as an emulsifier. Sure, it's often low on the list, but when you think of the packaged and convenience foods families use over time, that's a lot of soy. We put soy-containing treats in our children's lunch boxes, we pour jars of prepared sauces over casseroles, we dish desserts such as ice-cream and packaged custard up for dessert.

My kids would be first to declare, "We hate soy and wouldn't touch it if you paid us." But they're thinking only of heavy doses like soy milk, soy ice-cream and tofu. Little do they know that they're consuming it without knowing on a steady basis.

I couldn't help thinking how similar it is to another three-letter-long word beginning with S. I know the concept of sin has been a stumbling block for many lovely people when they consider the Christian message. They reject what they consider to be the 'guilt-trip' hoisted upon them from the very outset.

"Hey, we aren't sinners! We have enough negativity to cope with without Christians wanting to drag us down and make us feel bad about ourselves. Give us a nice, kind philosophy which builds us up and highlights our magnificence. Sinners are the types of people we see on the News; the murderers, the tax frauds, the paedophiles. We feel affronted by the very notion that you're comparing us to them. We are decent people who are doing the best we can. We are NOT sinners!"

Yet none of us have to search hard to discover hidden ingredients in our make-up. If we could have all our thoughts and attitudes broadcast for the world to see, I'd be first to cringe and plead, "Turn it off!" I wouldn't want it all to be shown; the mean, snide little thoughts, the petty jealousy, the lies of convenience, the simmering resentment and secret pride. We may call these things 'small' and 'normal' but day after day, week after week, it adds up to a steady diet of something we don't realise we're consuming, just like soy lecithin.

God is not paying us out by calling us sinners.* It is just a fact. I often feel very sad thinking that my Christianity may come across to others as an outdated, mind-control sort of doctrine used by people who want to lord it over me with guilt-trips. Sometimes the way people represent Christianity makes it seem this way, but I'm convinced that anybody who cares to delve deeply into it with an open mind will find it's just the opposite; affirming and liberating beyond anything else they've known. I believe nothing honours the human spirit more than Christianity, which claims that we are created in God's own image and therefore worthy of the most enormous respect and awe. It's just the potentially harmful traces of 'soy', sorry 'sin' in us that are bad for our overall health. But something great has been done about that.

If thoughts are like food we consume, as I believe they are, we have somebody who can help us purify what we take in and get rid of unnecessary extras. And we only have to look to him with trust and believe that he has done it. I see Jesus as the most reliable healer and dietician. OK, I may have stretched this analogy really far, but I still think it's quite an apt one.

*John 3: 17, God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world but that the world may be saved through Him.


  1. Great analogy, Paula. The difference is that sin is so easily dealt with, completely removed by the grace of God and Jesus sacrifice. Soy is much harder to remove from our bodies!

  2. So true both about soy and sin. It does sound like you know much more about soy than I do. I detest the taste of soy milk :P

  3. I used to think that being tagged as 'a sinner' was a behaviour control device used by the self righteous to beat down on others. Perhaps in some instances this is still the case. But personally I now see that being a sinner is a given. I am one, will be one, and don't have the power within myself not to be. It's a reminder that I cannot be 'good' - but I am redeemed and loved, forgiven and cherished, purchased with the ultimate price, never left, never alone - for the Lord is always with me, and through Him all things are possible.
    PS: I'm with the kids - Soy is horrible.

  4. Hi ladies,
    Rose, I was the same as you and understand the mindset.
    Jo, thank heavens for that crucial difference.
    Nicole, they're both things I can well do without.

  5. Great post Paula! I love the analogy. It brings to mind where Jesus talked about the yeast of the Pharisees. Yeast has a way of getting into everything too, just like soy and sin. :)

  6. Hi Amanda,
    Now that you mention it, it empowers us to know one of the enemy's ploys; he works through 'tiny' stuff which swells and fills us before we know it. Interesting.

  7. I have a friend whos alergic to soy and she has alot of trouble finding the foods she can eat. they make there own bread as most bread contains it. What is worse if you have this allergy and are in hospital needing intravenous feeding you are in trouble as all of these foods are soy based. It actually speed up the death of my friends sister.
    I do like your analogy as we dont realise how hard it is to remove both things.

  8. I liked the analogy too - and Amanda's comment re the yeast.
    Thanks for making us think, Paula.

  9. I had no idea soy was so pervasive in our diets! Bit like gluten - I'm often amazed at how it turns up in nearly every list of ingredients on packaged foods. Love your analogy too.

  10. You do have a wonder way of analyzing things Paula :)
    Must admit ... I do love soy sauce with sushi and fried rice xx

  11. Thanks everyone.
    Jenny, I'm so glad we don't have anyone dealing with a soy allergy, as it seems practically impossible to avoid. You'd have to do all your own cooking from scratch, that's for certain.


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