Does too much soy = too much estrogen - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 07-13-2009, 08:59 AM
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Hello Ladies

I am new to vegetarianism and am thankful to have such a plethera of experience to explore here.

My hubby and I have been ttc for nearly three years now so I'm fairly familiar with the whole process. However, I'm still learning about how my new diet may affect my fertility. My mom recently mentioned to me that she read somewhere that consuming too much soy may cause elevated estrogen levels thus negatively affecting my fertility.

Has anyone else heard anything about this? Or can you point me in the right direction?

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#2 Old 07-13-2009, 09:36 AM
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I don't believe soy, when consumed in a normal human manner, is bad for your health. Just don't make processed soy (chik'n, veggie burgers, soy crumbles, etc.) part of every meal and snack. Eating too much of any food can create an over abundance of some stuff in the body while leaving out a whole bunch of other nutrients. A couple servings a day should be fine for most people. I'm 32 and just had a baby boy. It took less than a year to conceive (with no medical assistance). I consumed an average of 2 glasses of soy milk daily, plus the occasional tofu or veggie burger both before and during pregnancy. The baby and I are both perfectly healthy.
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#3 Old 07-13-2009, 10:17 AM
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wow, congrats on your new baby, he's soooo cute. I hope one day I will have one of my own

My gut feeling is similar, everything in moderation. I do enjoy a few glasses of soy milk a day and the occaisional soy product (ice cream, sour cream etc). I dont eat any meat substitute products though. I would imagine my consumption is within "normal" levels (perhaps just unsure of what normal is).
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#4 Old 07-13-2009, 02:17 PM
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i think the real issue has to do with what your fertility looks like "now" and what it may look like with more or less soy.

if you do fertility charting, you should have a pretty solid sense of your cycle. you might then notice that if you reduce your soy intake (or get rid of it altogether) that the cycle either improves or it stays the same.

so, i would probably take 3 months as an experiment and see if there is an effect. if there isn't, then i would go back to my original soy consumption, and if there is, then i would not go back to it.

different people respond differently to soy and so consumption should basically vary.

i noted that my cycle was sensitive to soy, so i basically cut it out of my diet. i should also note that i am vegetarian and not vegan. it is possible to be a soy-free vegan; many are.

i really like garden of fertility for understanding the cycle at these 'deeper' levels, and they do mention the issue of soy, but they are also pro-omnivorism. i don't think it matters in so far as how to understand the cycle better as described in that book, i just offer that information about the book as "fair warning" to not toss the baby with the bathwater so to speak. the information is helpful, because it's about nutrients, even though there is a focus on specific origins.

for my own part, we didn't TTC until after i healed my cycle (took a number of years) using nutrition and charting. we weren't ready before then.

i was 31 when we conceived and 32 when my son, Hawk, was born. he's a true delight.

good luck with everything! if you have any cycle questions that you'd like to 'toss' to us, we have an FAM thread for that sort of fun speculating.
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#5 Old 07-13-2009, 02:34 PM
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Have you done any other investigations into why you're having trouble conceiving?

The ones I pity are the ones who never stick out their neck for something they believe, never know the taste of moral struggle, and never have the thrill of victory. - Jonathan Kozol
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#6 Old 07-15-2009, 09:18 AM
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Hey Ladies

Thanks for the suggestions. I have been doing some additional reading and the info varies a bit. Some studies do suggest soy MAY affect SOME women. So I like the idea of doing a trial period and seeing if it affects anything.

In all honesty I haven't charted in a number of months. I did for quite a long time but came to a point where I was tired of analyzing everything and just needed a break emotionally. In this time I have been doing alot of growing and changing, physically, emotionally and spiritually (including my recent diet changes).

We have undergone the inital types of tests and the fertility specialist said he sees no reason why we shouldnt be conceiving. My cycles are regular, hubby's counts are normal, I've had blood work, a laproscopy, mucus tests etc..... all normal.

I figure it's prob just divine timing and that it will come when the time is right.

Just wanted to make sure I wasn't cutting our odds by consuming too much soy. In the meantime I will consider exploring other options to ensure my diet is varied.
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#7 Old 07-15-2009, 05:18 PM
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i think that sounds good. i think that when we become obcessive about something, it is a good idea to step back a bit.

i do have a question though.

in general, do you have brown "gunk" at any point before, during, or at the end of your period?

i know that, for me, i did have this (from menarche on for most of my cycles) and i thought it was normal because everyone told me it was normal.

what i learned was that while *common* it does not mean that the cycle is *normal* (as in healthy). in fact, it means that there is an issue with progesterone.

progesterone, as you well know, is what keeps a pregnancy going.

my first pregnancy ended in miscarriage. i didn't know i was pregnant at the time, and i was about 6 weeks along or so. it ended with a very heavy, long menstruation (10 days i think). after that, many of my cycles went "back to normal" including the brown 'gunk' before or after my period.

then, i learned about fertility charting. it was in Garden of Fertility that i learned about the connection between "brown gunk" and progesterone. I was actually angry at everyone for never telling me so much about my cycle that is SO basic. i mean, i had in depth sex ed from age 12 on and they couldn't talk about these phases? anyway, i was also put out that my gyn said that the "gunk" was normal. it's not normal!

anyway, i realized that docs wouldn't help, so i sought my own way. it took a lot of time, contemplation, and experimentation, but i finally got "textbook" cycles. everything was just beautiful from beginning to end.

when we decided to TTC, i'd had about 18-20 consecutive most excellent cycles, and we conceived on the first try. but, my concern wasn't the ability to conceive--it was the ability to carry!

GoF and Susun Weed's Wise Woman's Herbal for the Child Bearing Year were what made it happen for me. seriously, changed my life.

i still dont' have a cycle yet (afterall, hawk is a marathon breastfeeding baby!), but i look forward to watching it go from ammorrhea to awesome, really normal cycles with good nutrition and stress reduction techniques and all of that.

I wish you the best and hope this offers you a bit!
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#8 Old 07-16-2009, 08:54 AM
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Thanks so much Zoebird, I appreciate you taking the time to share all that with me. Definately some stuff for me to sit with for a bit. I just finished buying a bunch of new veggie cook books so once I build my book fund back up I will look into the ones you suggested.

I have read TCOYF but the others sound interesting too. I hope one day to train as a doula so they would also make great resources for my business.

Cheers ladies and happy almost weekend.

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#9 Old 07-16-2009, 08:59 AM
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All I can say is the age old wisdom of:

"Everything in moderation."

There are foods out there that do help hormonal levels though, it's a very interesting google search.
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#10 Old 07-16-2009, 07:31 PM
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What did you learn about the brown gunk?

How did you make it go away?
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#11 Old 07-19-2009, 10:08 AM
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Originally Posted by mel_lem View Post

What did you learn about the brown gunk?

How did you make it go away?

also very curious about this?

been having issues with progesterone for years, any info is much appreciated!
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#12 Old 07-19-2009, 01:29 PM
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the whole cycle is beautifully explained in Garden of Fertility and with it there is some information about nutrition and lifestyle and the affect on one's cycle.

for the nutritional information (which is anti-vegan, pro omnivore), i looked not at the meat/veg aspect, but the nutrient profiles that she was describing. i also looked at lifestyle elements that could contribute.

between garden of fertility and taking charge of your fertility, i was able to discover how the luteal phase "breaks down" and what nutritional/lifestyle elements may lead to that (affecting thyroid function, etc). and from there, i looked at my own lifestyle and nutritional situation, and then contemplated what the specific origins may be for me.

from there, i experimented to narrow down what it may be. i thought it might be nutritional thing X, and so i do what i need to do to fix that, and i do it for about 3 months and see if it affects the cycle. if not, then i know it's something else and i can either keep doing that nutritional thing or not. if it does fix, then i know that i've figured it out.

i also used susan weed's wise woman herbal for the child bearing year. in the back, she has an appendix of all the major nutrients (vits and minerals) and which herbs are rich in those. then, i would look up the basic recipes for certain fertility boosting teas, etc, she has, and cross reference that with my own determined nutritional need.

and that's how i did it.

it takes a good deal of work.
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#13 Old 07-20-2009, 08:50 AM
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Wow, a real labour of love! Good for you for taking matters into your own hands. You must feel so empowered.
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#14 Old 07-20-2009, 05:49 PM
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you know, the whole process really is that. i mean, wanting to be a parent, becoming one, being one--it's all a labor of love, a devotional practice. i find that i'm more attuned with myself at every level by understanding my cycle better. i can understand my health, my sexuality, my "place in life" or "season" and all sorts of elements of who i am.

to extend this to others, i'm formulating a class in conscious conception (yoga based) as part of a long series of practices related to parenting.

in the yoga studio that we hope to soon own/run, i want to offer a whole element for the family. i don't have a name for it yet, but it will probably be something like "Happy Family Pregnancy and Parenting Center."

right now, the facility currently offers prenatal stretching, massage, acupuncture, osteopathy, and active labor classes. i hope to add

1. conscious conception--preconception work including fertility charting and healing the fertility cycle, as well as prep exercises to help people think about how they want their families to be, etc;

2. infertility, miscarriage, and still birth--rituals for grief and a support group;

3. prenatal yoga that focuses specifically on creating pleasurable labor and birth experiences;

4. post-natal yoga that focuses specifically on healing the pelvic floor, abdominal muscles and hips, and balancing metabolism and hormones, and also may include birth trauma healing work;

5. family yoga, storytelling, and hootenany's for the whole family (grandparents through infants);

6. special interest meeting groups such as attachment parents, baby wearers, followers of the continuum concept, diaper-free baby folks, homebirthers and unassisted childbirthers, and a variety of others.

I'm also thinking of getting childbirth educator training (CBE) and also doula training in order to offer these services as well. i havent' decided if i'm going to be cut out for either, though people are encouraging me to try it and I would be one of only a handful of doulas where we are going (new zealand; it's rare there). i'm thinking i might just start with post-partum doula work--supporting moms and infants just after birth.

but, the greatest labor of love is truly caring for my hawk. he's such an amazing person. i love to be with him, i love caring for him. yes, some days it is overwhelming, difficult work, but it is still joyous.

i'm sure you'll discover what you need to reach your fullest potential. we all do, one way or another. sometimes in surprising ways.
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