After arriving in Japan, we naturally got into the habit of eating soy everyday. Tofu is cheap, fresh and delicious here so we mix the silken variety into scrambled eggs and chop the firm variety into stews. Miso, fermented soy bean paste, is ever present too and acts as a seasoning in all sorts of foods. Despite miso’s high salt content Japanese people urge us to eat up, “because it’s good for you”.
However, in the west, there are many anti-soy campaigners reacting to the ever increasing amount of soy being grown in the west and it’s intrusion into our diet in the form of non-traditional foods such as soy oil and protein isolate.
Soy contains phytoestrogens that act weakly on human estrogen receptors and should therefore either protect against breast cancer, or increase the risk. The pro/anti soy see-saw rocks back and forth all day long on the internet.
So what is the truth and, given it’s estrogenic properties, how does soy affect a girl on tamoxifen?
We’re half way through our Japanese sojourn and the last 12 days have been spent travelling around the centre of the main island, Honshu.
When travelling it is very hard to eat nutritiously, and in Japan there’s the ever present bowl of rice and if not rice, it’s noodles. Despite all the sandwiches, noodles and fried chicken, I lost another 600g, mainly because we were always focussed on getting to the next site, getting to the station on time, walking the ancient pilgrimage route etc., so that we had no time to think about food, but that’s not the whole storey. There are some aspects of the Japanese eating habits that must contribute to the weight loss. Continue reading
Last week I was complaining that I have been constantly hungry since coming to Japan, and it seems that’s because I wasn’t eating much. Who knew?
In the 10 days since coming here, the pesky kilogram I put on last year has suddenly melted away and it’s not because of any of the touted weight loss benefits of the Japanese diet. Continue reading
Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of being told that I had the Big C. It all seems a bit unreal now, although at the time it seemed as though my life had stopped. I’m not out of the woods yet since mortality doesn’t abruptly stop at the 5 year mark, but it still seems like something to celebrate.
Meanwhile, the family and I are in Japan for three months and my challenge is how to eat well and exercise in a strange culture.
Recently I received an email from a reader who wanted to know where to start with this blog. Well, to tell the truth, this blog started as a journal of my efforts to test the widely held belief that Tamoxifen makes women fat and not as a diet and exercise prescription.
In case some of my experiences are helpful to others, this is where I think women struggling with the dreaded T should start.
Sometimes it can seem like you’ve done everything right, you’ve stuck to your diet and done your workouts like a good girl, but your weight doesn’t budge, or worse, it goes up!
How can that be?
My daughter, as I’ve mentioned before, is a sprinter, and I train with her. When we say we run, we’re often asked “So how far do you run?” “Oh, today….about a kilometre.” which usually elicits a look of disbelief from the asker.
On one occasion, after presenting my daughter’s class with a video explaining that exercise makes you smarter, the teacher turned to my daughter, and in front of the class, told her she needed to exercise more; this despite her training diligently 3 times a week.
The teacher clearly had a particular definition of fitness in mind, such as being able to run a long way, or catch a ball, neither of which my daughter is particularly good at.