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Isn’t Soy Bad for You?

February 22, 2021
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In health circles, soy products have a bad reputation. It's not unfounded; most soy is genetically-modified (GM) and GM soy has been linked to an increase in allergies. Even when not genetically-modified, soy itself contains natural toxins, "anti-nutrients" that inhibit digestion and nutrient absorption for people.

Can there be any place for soy? What about in chicken feed? Let's talk through it:

First, genetically modified (GM) soy is a problem; for people and chickens alike. The reasons are numerous: chemical use on soy, farmers rights, gene contamination—all of which we could write a book about! But to keep it short, let’s focus on how it’s used for chickens.

Preparation is key to the proper use of soy.
Soy in GM feed is usually processed soybean meal, an industrial byproduct of oil extraction. Whole soybeans are cracked into flakes, heated, and solvent extracted with chemical hexanes (found in gasoline—yikes!) This process produces two components: “vegetable oil” which is used in our processed foods, and soybean meal which is put in GM chicken feed. Soybean meal is improperly prepared soy. It causes the health issues people experience when eating animals raised on a diet containing soybean meal (or vegetable oil! Hello, Chick Fil A).

We will not be using GM soy. We have always been a non-GMO farm and we plan to always be. Instead of soybean meal, we will use roasted, non-GMO soybeans.

So, then: what about natural toxins in soy itself?
The roasting process removes the growth inhibitors and many of the natural antitoxins. Yes, some lectins and phytoestrogens still remain. Yet these substances are found naturally in many other foods. In fact to replace soy in feed it require ingredients such as peas, camelina meal, flax or sesame. Peas and camelina contain many lectins, and flax and sesame are high in phytoestrogens.

There are benefits to using roasted soybeans. It's an excellent source of protein, and contains all our essential amino acids. Chickens love the taste of roasted soybeans and the flavor adds a rich nutty flavor to the meat.

Our hope this year is to produce more birds that thrive healthfully, and taste even better for you, too! Thanks for your continued support!

Caleb Sturtevant
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