I Needed a New Favorite Cereal. Do You?

by Amy Stafford on April 25, 2012

I was so bummed!  One of my favorite foods is cereal.  I don’t really have it for breakfast but it is one of my preferred late night snacks.  My go to cereal WAS Kashi’s Go-Lean Crunch Honey Almond-Flax.  I loved the taste, the healthy ingredients (or so I thought) and the added protein.  I knew that the cereal was using Soy Protein better known as Soy Isolate, but because it seems the company’s motto was ‘organic’ I thought I was okay.  But, a few months ago someone pointed out to me that the cereals that promote ‘protein’ are probably using GMO Soy Isolate.  It made me take a closer look at my cereal and yep, the word Organic was not on my box.  I had been hustled by slick advertising that made me believe it was Organic.  Shame on me!

So, was I surprised to see this picture Monday on Facebook?  Nope!

This photo taken at a supermarket called The Green Grocer in Portsmouth, RI, has been circulating Facebook like wildfire:

The yellow signs read:“You might be wondering where your favorite Kashi cereals have gone. It has recently come to our attention that 100% of the soy used in Kashi is Genetically Modified and that when the USDA tested the grains used there were found to be pesticides that are known carcinogens and hormone disruptors.”

Why did I think Organic Soy-Isolate would be okay vs. Non-Organic?

Because Soy Isolate is extracted from soybeans either mechanically or chemically. It’s actually a byproduct of the soybean oil production.  Here is the problem, most Soy is genetically modified and it is also one of the highest contamination of pesticides of any of our food.  One of the top sellers of Soybeans seeds in the world is Monsanto.  Heard of them?  They are the makers of Round Up.

So, thinking it was Organic meant not genetically modified and no pesticides.  But, sadly what I didn’t know and didn’t notice, was that Kashi was bought by Kellogg’s and they have removed the word ‘Organic’ from almost all of their products.  It only says ‘Natural’ now.  My fault for not noticing!

Why should you care about the process of how Soy Protein is made:

As stated on several sites  Cornucopia, Medpedia, and Digg.

To make soy protein isolate, soybeans (practically all the soybeans used to make soy protein are of the Monsanto variety, by the way) are first hulled, then tempered and crushed to extract oil.  The leftover soy “chunks” (which still contain fiber, water, some fat, and other carbohydrates) then undergo another extraction process that involves hexane.  The next step involves soaking these chunks in a chemical mixture (which commonly contains ammonia and hydrochloric acid) to help concentrate protein levels and achieve a sponge-like texture.  Finally, the mixture is then spray-dried.

So why is that process such a big deal?

Because in order to get Soy protein isolate you need the hazardous chemicals Hexane. Hexane is a byproduct of gasoline refining. It is a neurotoxin and a hazardous air pollutant.   Soybean processors use it as a solvent—a cheap and efficient way of extracting oil from soybeans, a necessary step to making most conventional soy oil and protein ingredients. Whole soybeans are literally bathed in hexane to separate the soybeans’ oil from protein.

That is why you need to know the process.  Is that really something we want to put in our bodies or give to our children to eat?

By the way — organic soy protein isolate does not utilize hexane in any step of the process.

Since soy protein isolate is so inexpensive, avoiding it is not easy.  Many cereals, commercial protein bars and shakes, and lower-quality meat products contain soy protein isolate.

The bottom line, its our responsibility to educate ourselves about what we put in our bodies.  It does matter. Clean Eating is the safest bet.  If it comes in a box, can or jar read the label.  I have a friend whose family food motto: if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it!   Simple and Smart!!

If you are interested The Cornucopia Institute has an Organic Cereal scorecard.

In case you were wondering I have switched to McCabe’s granola’s.  It does not have the label organic, but I can pronounce and am familiar with every ingredient.  It gets its protein from Almonds.  Seems pretty safe & healthy, huh!

A bonus for me is that it is also owned locally by a wonderful family who truly cares about their product!

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You can usually find me in my garden, the kitchen, at the gym or spending time with my family. I love sharing recipes, gardening and exercise tips and stories of my backyard chickens and beekeeping.
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