The Effect of Culture: Estrogenic foods


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What is the most common non-paleo indulgence? In my experience, it seems beer is the vice of choice. Don't get me wrong- I love beer and it was one of the hardest things to give up, especially since craft beer was one of my big hobbies in college. But in the end, I did notice that the effects of it on my digestive health were very negative. But there is something else about beer.

It's funny because no paleo dude would be caught dead with a carton of soy milk or a tofutti cutie, partially out of fear of soy phytoestrogen.

Mmmm would you like some omega-6 and a bucket of sugar with your estrogen?

But did you know that hops have even more phytoestrogen? "We have identified a potent phytoestrogen in hops, 8-prenylnaringenin,which has an activity greater than other established plant estrogens." Ouch... so much for some foods being intrensically manly. Conspiracy theorists blame the church and say that the Reinheitsgebot beer laws that mandated hops in 1516 (and similar laws in other countries) were to suppress the sexuality of men. It's true that in the past it was common to use other bittering agents. But the truth is that beer made with hops simply keeps better.

BUT this does highlight the fact that it is possible to make beer without hops. If gluten doesn't bother you, they might be worth checking out. Dogfish Head has been making some ancient beers recipes lately, one of which I tried before giving up gluten. Midas Touch is a recipe recovered from analysis of residues of clay vessels from the 8th century BC and is unusual, but richly flavored. I've also heard good things abou the Finnish Sahti made with Juniper berries.

Another set of beers I've tried are these Scottish historic ales made by Williams Brothers. The hop-less options are Fraoch made with heather and Alba made with Scots Pine (my favorite). Both are dark flavorful malty beers that anyone who enjoys craft beer will appreciate.

Man-boobs not included

The history of beer as a healing herbal elixir is explored in Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, which you should check out if you want to brew your own.