I got a text from my friend on the weekend, asking what I thought of soy products for kids.

I told her that soy was a “condiment” in traditional Japanese culture, so it was appropriate to eat it in condiment-like volumes and it would “sort itself out”.

We then had a conversation about eating something, say, two times a day vs the idea of a “-free diet”. As in a “soy-free diet” (which easily extends to “gluten-free diet” or “a sugar-free diet”.

In theory, everyone is basically good at understanding the theory of moderation.

But in practice, I see people swinging to extremes that aren’t necessary.

So here’s some math.

A soy-free diet = 0 servings a month, 0% of your diet

Moderate soy intake = eating tofu (for example) twice a month, 2% of your eating occasions (assuming 3 meals a day)

High soy intake = eating soy two times a day, 68% of your eating occasions (assuming 3 meals a day)

Here’s what I see people doing:

  • Not caring, and eating bread for lunch and dinner (68%). Or caring, and eating it never (0%) with a lot of effort.

2% is not going to “rip apart your digestive system” (I’ve heard that fear from a client) or make you “gain weight” or “uncontrollably eat”.

2% is likely going to enhance your social life, bring ease and comfort to eating outside your home and add enjoyment.

2% is going to make your meals more interesting, as you can let go of self-imposed food restrictions and enjoy, say, a Thai curry or agedashi tofu.

2% is going to bring you fluidity and flexibility rather than dread and restriction.

But, conversely, 68% might not be healthy for your body. Corn, soy, dairy, gluten, nuts, and fish are major known allergens and irritants to the body, and might not be ideal items to be consuming at 68% of your eating occasions.

Health writers and experts don’t agree on much, but the only universal truth that everyone agrees on is: fruits and vegetables. So if you want to argue about what you ought to be eating at every meal, or at least 68% of them, it’s not soy or gluten or corn or dairy. It’s vegetables.

So exercise some reasonable math when you are contemplating taking on a “carb free diet” or a “gluten free diet”. It’s a lot of work and it frankly might not be necessary.

I’m simply suggesting that a reasonable amount might be larger than 0 and less than 2 times a day.

So you don’t need to be so restrictive. But you also need to care a little.

Basic math.

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