Thursday, 14 July 2011

Soy Has Fixed It For You, And You and You...

Hello readers, welcome to Heather's blog quiz. Question one: Which BBC show do these lyrics refer to? “Your letter was only the start of it. One letter and now you're a part of it. Now you've done it...” No, I'll give you a clue. A dodgy male presenter, (“Now then, now then”), dressed in a shell-suit with a fat cigar. You got it! Jimmy Savile of Jim'll Fix It fame. The show that “fixed it” for the wishes of viewers to come true. Question Two: Name the theme tune's connection to soy? Any ideas? The affiliation might not be clear right away. As Quiz Master, I will now reveal the train of thought that led to this conclusion.

In May, Waitrose was the first UK supermarket to commit to the soya pledge. The aim: To only use soya from a responsible certified source, with the hope of reaching 100 per cent in their own-label products by December 2015. This action is commendable, hence the “fix it” lyrics above, but is it enough? The fat cats already slapping themselves on the back, their cigar smoke hanging heavy in the air. A step forward, albeit along a wobbly line.

It is a good initiative. Standards of soy production do need to be improved in order to prevent the unnecessary consequence; the further depletion of natural regions all over the world. However, this initiative somehow neglects the real cause. It glossies over the fact that the majority of soya is used as livestock feed. Farmers using many tonnes per year to feed animals destined to be hung, drawn and quartered, and lined up on supermarket shelves. The myth that soya only feeds vegetarians deflated, and proof it's an excellent source of protein. This being the case, shouldn't we lessen demand and feed soya to people instead? This, you could claim, is the vegetarian's argument. I'm no statistician, but even I can see it wouldn't take as many tonnes of this bean to feed the entire world.

I hasten to add vegetarianism in its modernity is not the solution either. It could be said soya-chomping veggies are a small part of the problem too. The movement has a new king with the name of Soya. As a consequence, we are facing a dilemma in two parts. 1) Should we rely on soya as our main dietary source of protein? 2) In consuming soya, aren't we supporting the meat industry, from factory farming to somebody else's plate? New veggies and meat-reducers missing out on an education: how to sustain themselves without this form of protein. From a dietary point of view, it's not healthy to rely on one source and not explore other plant based alternatives. My golden rule put simply is rotate. Mix it up, experiment, and never eat the same main meal two days in a row.

Responsible soy might fix it for you to embrace a different lifestyle, but this is just the start. All choices make an impact and cannot always be guilt-free. We're all part of the chain.