|Atlas Soy-led: Ayn Rand's Take on the Soybean|
|Written by Kaayla Daniel, PhD, CCN|
|Tuesday, 12 July 2011 15:18|
â€śAtlas Shrugged: Part Iâ€ť opened this spring in the movie theaters, leading me to reread Ayn Randâ€™s epic novel and to think about all thatâ€™s being done to our food supply â€śfor our own good.â€ť Indeed we are already seeing disastrous effects on personal and planetary health from Big Brotherâ€™s wasteful and corrupt subsidies of corn, soy, wheat and Big Pfood; from the increasing control over independent farmers through orders, directives, restrictions and police actions; and even growing restrictions on what families can choose to eat.
Ayn Randâ€™s 1,168-page novel, first published in 1957, rarely mentions food directly. Indeed we might think her protagonist Dagny Taggert lives on coffee and cigarettes, except for a single incident in Part II when she eats the best â€śhamburger sandwichâ€ť she ever tasted, at a little diner located on the summit of a long, hard climb out of Cheyenne, Wyoming.
That hamburger, of course, was not just a burger, but a product of simple ingredients and of an unusual skill. It had been prepared with integrity, by a philosopher genius, no less, and was authentic and real with nothing ersatz, tricky or pretentious about it. In short, an ĂĽber burger that represented Ayn Randâ€™s and Dagny Taggartâ€™s highest values.
The food Rand chose to represent the lowest values was soy. In Part III the author introduces the flabby mystic Emma â€śMaâ€ť Chambers, whose â€śprogressiveâ€ť dietary views led to the waste of millions of tax dollars on â€śProject Soybean.â€ť Ma had been appointed the nationâ€™s food czar out of pity, not intelligence or ability. With no objective evidence whatsoever, Ma felt soybeans would make â€śan excellent substitute for bread, meat, cereals and coffeeâ€ť and that Americans not only needed to eat more like Asians but should be forced to do so for their own good. Maâ€™s feeling that soybeans were of a higher â€śmoral valueâ€ť than wheat, led to government orders to pull trains out of the midwest, loss of the nationâ€™s wheat crop, economic collapse and widespread starvation. As for the soybean crop, it too was lost thanks to the rottersâ€™ incompetence.
Given Hollywoodâ€™s current worship of veganism, I rather doubt â€śProject Soybeanâ€ť will enliven â€śAtlas Shruggedâ€ť Part II or III, should those sequels ever be made. As for vegetarianism, it was a symbol of silliness, failure and poverty back in Randâ€™s day. To say that someone was a â€śvegetableâ€ť meant they were inactive and indeed nearly comatose. Those Ayn Rand admired not only had â€śmeatyâ€ť ideas but the motive power to act decisively, effectively, appropriately and imaginatively on them.
The 2011 Soy Foods Market Report
â€śSoyfoods: The U.S. Market Reportâ€ť has come out and and it reports a â€śprotracted slideâ€ť in soy milk sales as well as â€ślackluster performance in sales of tofu and soy infant formulaâ€ť in the year 2010.
The industry blames three factors: competition from almond, rice, coconut, hemp and other non dairy milks: â€śpremium pricingâ€ť for many soy products; and â€świdely distributed information about the impact of soy on health.â€ť That last factor makes me proud. Seems the decade-long campaign by the Weston A. Price Foundation is finally paying off. Weâ€™ve also been greatly helped in the past year by Dr. Joseph Mercola, who has reached millions through his website www.mercola.com, the worldâ€™s leading health and dietary website. Numerous other websites too have helped the message go viral. The soy controversy even aired on The Dr Oz Show on October 5 in a segment that featured Dr Oz, Dr Mark Hyman and me.
Despite growing concerns about modern, industrial soy processing techniques, meat analogue sales saw a four percent growth in 2010 compared to 2009. The largest growth was in the soy-protein energy bar category with a whopping 18 percent increase in just the one year of 2010. According to Joe Jordan, Content Director of Soyatech, â€śMarketers of soy-based foods have been finding success in developing delicious meat alternative products with sophisticated flavor profiles. In addition, 14 energy bar brands appeared among the top 50 soyfood brands in 2010, indicating that this broad market affords many opportunities for creative food manufacturers to reach their key target markets.â€ť
What are the â€ścurrent market driversâ€ť? Soyatech thinks itâ€™s fueled by three things: the consumer focus on convenience; widespread interest in meat-free foods; and new USDA food guidelines that â€śaffect consumer understanding ofâ€”and interest inâ€”the added value of foods made from the nutritious soybean.â€ť
In short, the good news is that soy sales are slumping, and the bad news is they are not plummeting. And itâ€™s very good news of course that soy infant formula sales may have finally peaked. Meanwhile, we at the WAPF will continue to do our best to alert people to the risks of â€śconvenienceâ€ť foods that sooner or later create inconvenient health problems, and the malnutrition and health risks associated with vegan diets and soy-based and other meat substitutes.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Summer 2011.
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|Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 July 2011 17:37|