IWON Organics is family run for a reason. We built a protein based snack company because we wanted better snack options for our kids and for ourselves. The foundation to any healthy, whole eating plan starts with the ingredients we put on our plates, so when we started thinking through the very best foods to mix together into awesome, kid-friendly, mom’s gonna steal ‘em, high protein vegetarian snacks, we had to do quite a bit of research. What we realized is science knows a whole lot without really knowing a whole lot. That’s why this isn’t another blog on the dangers of eating soy. It’s also not a blog on the benefits of eating soy. Because, guess what, science has found both. No, this is a blog about why we discovered soy was second place to peas. And why use a second rate ingredient when we could give you top choice!
Let’s start with the biggest observation about soy. That plate of whole edamame you had at the sushi place last week was totally nutritious, and science doesn’t have a lot to say about it, but the truth is most of the soy on the market no longer looks like a bean. If you’re a tofu fan, that’s not so bad either. Why? Because it’s considered a minimally processed food. The problem comes in with the heavily processed tofu products, and even then the issues arise via chemicals used and nutrients lost. But we were taking beans and turning them into stix and puffs, so onto the next line of research.
What’s all this talk about soy containing estrogen? Well, it’s not actually estrogen. Soy is a plant filled with isoflavones which are a type of phytoestrogen, science speak for plant estrogen which is similar in function to the human hormone but much weaker. The problem comes in predominantly with women as these phytoestrogens can attach to your estrogen receptors and can create one of two problems elevated hormones or anti-estrogenic effects. But even this is difficult to study and be conclusive about because it depends on the individual. Is she pre or post menopause, ovulating, working towards fertility or not, does she have breast cancer, predisposed to get it, or is she hormonally balance to begin with. Also, what type of soy did she eat and how much?
The conclusion: plant estrogens affect some women positively, other women negatively, and a large percentage of women aren’t affected at all.
We found studies that said soy helped prevent certain types of cancers and studies that showed soy could lead to different types of cancers. Some research says soy can lead to hypothyroidism. Others said healthy thyroids aren’t at risk, so the hypothyroidism could have been there all along. Does it balance out hot flashes and stave off osteoporosis or does it lead to thyroid issues and dementia?
So, is soy good or bad?
We couldn’t figure it out either. When it comes down to chilling out with a tasty bag of cheddar cheese protein puffs, do you really want all those questions in your head? Yeah, neither did we. That’s why it was safer to go with a tiny legume high in protein that has no questions or concerns.
In walks the almighty pea.
To be honest right from the start, the pea is not a complete protein. Well it is and it isn’t. Don’t you love science. There are nine amino acids that are considered essential, meaning the body doesn’t make them, so we need to eat them. These nine make up what we call a complete protein, and they are every carnivores cornerstone argument against plant-based diets. Soy happens to be one of very, very, very few plants that encompass all nine essential aminos in quantities sufficient to sustain the body’s protein needs —a fact that elevated it to its current popularity. But the science of it is this, the body doesn’t need all nine in one food or even in one meal. As long as you eat a well-rounded diet and get enough of all of them as a whole, you’ll be fine.
It’s like saying you can only get vitamin C from citrus. Actually, it’s in most fruits but not all of them contain the levels we need.
When we decided to use peas in our protein blend, we took a look at the research and found they were low in only one of the necessary aminos, methionine. Ever wonder why the very best burrito comes with rice and beans? Because rice, particularly brown rice happens to be high in methionine as well as eight other essential aminos. It’s a bit low in threonine, but that’s where the peas have you covered. So, when we mixed up our organic protein blend, we added in green peas, brown rice, and navy beans.
This means you’re getting whole foods along with complete proteins that can fuel your body without all the questions that soy has brought to the table.
We would love to say that peas have no controversy, but if it’s on the market someone, somewhere has something to say. The biggest complaints around pea protein is the lack of methionine, which we’ve accounted for, the gritty texture which only serves to make chips even crunchier, and the fact that processing can strip valuable nutrients from the whole food, particularly fiber. We have you covered there too.
Every bag of IWON Organics stix or puffs will feed your body five grams of fiber making this tasty pea snack deliver 18% of your daily fiber needs. The other common loss is iron, but we don’t just give you pea isolate, we give you peas, so you’ll also find up to 2.4 mg of iron in our caramelized onion protein puffs. That’s 15% over your daily iron needs.
When we tell you these high protein snacks are healthy, you know it’s the truth because the research was done with our kids and families in mind. So grab a bag, relax, and enjoy.