During Lucia’s first pregnancy in New Mexico she consumed milk products, at the behest of our midwives. This consisted of organic raw milk and yogurt.

Our newborn daughter was fed exclusively on breast milk. At first all was well; but not for long. During the day she was an extraordinarily contented child. But as the sun went down, the cramps began. She had terrible colic. Lucia and I took turns carrying her around each night for hours. Movement gave her some relief, while over time we became exhausted. When Amira was around three months of age, based on an intuitive hunch, I suggested Lucia stop consuming dairy. Within two days our daughter calmed completely. Colic became a thing of the past. We all were able to sleep properly again. We’d discovered the hard way that our child was lactose intolerant, even through her mother’s breast milk.

We began eating organic tofu and tempeh and making our own soymilk from organic soybeans. This latter exercise didn’t last for long. It was an onerous, time-consuming exercise. In the end we purchased soymilk instead. When our second daughter was born two years later she was also reared exclusively on breast milk. At birth we noticed some weakness in her bones. Once her teeth arrived, it was obvious they were not as strong as her sister’s.

 A year later we read the first articles condemning soy. I stopped eating soy products immediately. Lucia and the girls did a little later. The last product we still used until a few years ago (on and off) was Bragg’s Liquid Aminos. We wouldn’t use them now. I’d like to summarize some of the research on the potential hazards of eating soy. I know this may cut across the grain of what some readers may understand. Realize that much of the positive press soy receives is deliberately generated by those standing to gain the most from the sale of soy-based products. I urge you to make to make your own mind up. Your health is in your hands and in what you put in your mouth.

1. Gout is a common side effect of soy ingestion and is often mistaken for arthritis. If you have gout try stopping with soy and drinking lots of water. You have nothing to lose and it very well help.

2. Soy has an affinity for aluminum and extracts it from the soil. And when soy is subjected to an acid wash this often takes place in aluminum tanks. As a result soy milk contains 100 times more aluminum than raw cow’s milk. Aluminum has been implicated in many diseases including breast cancer.

3. Soy producers claim soy is a good source of calcium. Soy contains more phytic acid than any other grain or pulse. Phytic acid impairs absorption of all minerals, particularly calcium. So soy actually strips the body of calcium.

4. The enzyme inhibitors in soybeans block trypsin and other enzymes. This can cause serious gastric distress and reduced protein digestion.

5. Scientists have known for years that isoflavones in soy products can adversely affect thyroid function, resulting in autoimmune disorders and even cancer of the thyroid.

6. We’ve been led to believe Asians consume high quantities of soybeans. This is simply not true. Asians actually consume on average only 7 to 8 grams (roughly one quarter of an ounce) of soy a day, a tiny amount, and most of this is fermented.

7. Soy infant formulas contain huge amounts of corn syrup and sugar, both of which are developmentally debilitating.

8. Processed soy products contain an assortment of heavy metals known to cause neurological and physiological damage.

9. Soy has been proven to mimic estrogen, damaging the reproductive systems of males and females.

10. Soy can cause significant damage to the thymus, resulting in immunological failure and damage to the cerebral cortex of the brain.

The above research has been cited (with supported studies) in Nexus Magazine, Take Control of Your Health and Escape the Sickness Industry by Elaine Hollingsworth and an article by Gail Elbek in the Winter 2009 Edition of Wise Traditions ( an excellent quarterly published by the Weston A. Price Foundation) My thanks to all these trustworthy and courageous contributors to a healthier human race.

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Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

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Here’s a story that crossed my path over two years ago. I continue to find it inspiring how groups that have traditionally fought each other have been able to work together for a common cause – saving a precious part of our planet. I like to think that we’ll see more and more of this kind of cooperation in the years to come.


 Huge chickens invaded fast food stores in London and started to ask
 customers if they knew they were eating soya from deforested areas of
 the Amazon. That was in April. The chickens were noisy Greenpeace
 activists… It took McDonald’s only six hours between the first ‘homo
 chickenacius’ invasion of its restaurants and the phone call to
 Greenpeace to discuss the issue. Why? Because fast-food consumers
 started to be choked with McNuggets and McChickens. Ethical
 consumption’s appeal is increasing.

 Brazil’s foremost business commentator Miriam Leitao was writing in the mass circulation newspaper O Globo about a unique campaign that began four months ago in Leicester Square and culminated last week in Sao Paulo, when some of the world’s most powerful companies took a first step towards saving the Amazon from the ravages of soya cultivation. An unlikely union of Greenpeace, McDonald’s and leading UK supermarkets like Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and ASDA had successfully pressured multinational commodities brokers into signing a two-year moratorium on buying soya from newly deforested land in the Amazon.

 Business journalists have often been quick to accuse groups like
 Greenpeace of nurturing a knee-jerk hostility to global corporations.
 Well, yes, we do hold the view that multinationals are responsible for
 much of the environmental degradation blighting our planet. But our
 alliance with McDonald’s and other food companies demonstrates that when business is ready to seriously tackle a crisis, we are ready join




 I cannot say it came naturally to Greenpeace to jump into bed with the
 world’s largest fast food company! But it is a fact that, in this
 instance, the company immediately recognised the nature of the problem and sought not simply to put its own house in order, but to use its might to push a multi-million dollar industry towards a more sustainable future. For that McDonald’s European executives must be congratulated.

 Home to at least 30 per cent of the world’s land-based animal and plant
 species and 220,000 people from 180 different indigenous nations, the
 Amazon rainforest is one of the most unique and biodiverse regions on
 the planet. Yet in recent times, an area the size of Wales has been lost
 every year – that’s equivalent to a football pitch cleared every ten
 seconds. Soya is becoming the prime driver of this deforestation as the
 crop is used increasingly to feed chickens, pigs and cows for meat
 products, including, until recently, Chicken McNuggets.








 We conducted a three year investigation into the trade, uncovering a
 supply chain that begins with illegal rainforest destruction – sometimes
 using slave labour – and ends at the counters of fast food restaurants
 and supermarkets in Europe. Using satellite images, aerial surveillance,
 previously unreleased government documents and on-the-ground undercover monitoring, Greenpeace campaigners for the first time tracked the trade in soya beans from plantation field to fork, in the form of meat reared on the bean. Given the slice of the market commanded by McDonald’s, the company was an obvious starting point for the application of consumer pressure. What we did not expect was the speed with which the campaign progressed, and the allies we would make along the way.

 The April release of our investigation, across three pages of this
 newspaper, coincided with a simultaneous invasion by 2m high clucking
 chickens of McDonald’s restaurants in seven UK cities. By the time the last of the chickens had been unchained by police from the counter of Manchester’s flagship restaurant, Ronald McDonald had come to the table.






 The company very quickly agreed to get Amazon soya out of its chicken
 feed. But more than that, it formed an alliance with other UK retailers
 – including ASDA, Waitrose and Marks & Spencer – to put pressure on
 agribusiness interests operating in Brazil, including Cargill, to stop
 destroying the rainforest. Cargill is the world’s largest privately
 owned company and has led the march of soya across the rainforest
 frontier. If the big retailers will not touch chicken fed on Amazon
 soya, so went our reasoning, the pressure on Cargill and the other
 commodities giants to source soya from elsewhere would become

 An indication of the influence being exerted by the retailers came in
 May at a meeting I and my colleagues had with Cargill executives in the
 midst of a shutdown by Greenpeace volunteers of the company’s European headquarters.



 Our discussions had been preceded by phone calls from UK buyers expressing concern at Cargill’s practices in the Amazon. Cargill’s bosses seemed to have jumped the psychological barrier of dealing with Greenpeace and were ready to negotiate. And they did, in a series of meetings in London and Brazil over the following weeks. These meetings included the president of Cargill in Brazil who was very frank about the problems of legality the company was facing in the Amazon.

 Eventually the alliance of Greenpeace and European retailers led to a
 two-year moratorium on multinational traders buying soya from newly
 deforested land in the Amazon rainforest.


Last week, the agreement was signed in Sao Paulo. The signatories included the US-based multinationals Cargill, ADM and Bunge, the Brazilian Amaggi group, and French-based Dreyfus — between them responsible for most of the Amazon soya market.

 Given the scale of the crisis in the Amazon, a two year moratorium is
 only a small beginning and falls far short of what is ultimately needed
 to protect the rainforest. It is now up to us to monitor the
 implementation of the deal to ensure there’s no going back on the
 commitments made.

 Crucially we have to close any space that might allow companies to go
 back in two years time and return to a business as usual approach in the belief that the heat is off. But the deal, if implemented properly,
 truly demonstrates the influence consumers can have on events thousands of miles away, and the power that can be brought to bear when business is willing to apply its might to the greatest problems faced by our species and our world.