Is Soy really soy good?

8 Nov

When I first started buying my food from organic supermarkets and not-so-long ago, started low carbing, I discovered that there is a wide palette of products made from soy beans out there on the market ranging from tofu and soy milk, which I am familiar with, to things like mock meat products (burgers, schnitzels, ground ‘beef’), soy granules and soy protein isolate. I had never been a soy fan, being a fussy eater when I was young. I didn’t like the beany smell of fresh tofu and soy milk. But things change when you get older (and wiser). Spurned on by articles and reports about the benefits of eating soy, I slowly integrated soy into my life. I didn’t want to turn 100% vegetarian nor did I want to give up some of the pasta, sweets and desserts I so enjoyed before cutting down on carbs and soy seemed like the perfect replacement to recreate some of these items. Tofu appeared on the dinner table and I experimented with my baking, substituting soy flour for wheat flour.

The time I started experimenting with soy was shortly after I started this blog. My posts during that period naturally highlighted my successes in recipes using soy.Then one day, someone warned me about eating too much soy. Since I wasn’t eating soy every day and since I rationalised that many Asians eat soy as part of their diet and there is no hype in Asia about soy being dangerous, I let it go. I forgot about it until recently when I read a post in a German forum where the poster stopped eating soy (I didn’t find her reason). So I googled and found many pro-soy articles but also, just as many against it. Here are two which caught my attention – an article titled ‘Whole Soy Story’ by Kaayla T. Daniel and a more recent one titled ‘What about Soy?’ by John Robbins. I particularly found the comments in the comments section of John Robbins’ article interesting reading.

Well, after reading all this, I did get a little concerned but I definitely didn’t want to freak out. I think it is for each and everyone to take their own stance and as usual, use your common sense. Each person is different and our bodies react differently to products – that’s why there are people who don’t react well to gluten, to lactose, to sugar etc. Some people can eat lots of sugar and still amazingly, not turn diabetic. Others live to be 100 yrs old even though they drink and smoke daily. And others become paranoid over certain things, painstakingly avoid everything ‘bad’ but in the end, die in a car accident.

I noted a comment that the way western countries process soy beans to arrive at its myriad products/uses and the use of pesticides could be the source of the problems some people have. I am sure there is some truth in this. So my motto is going to be – enjoy soy, organic quality, in moderation and stay away from soy products which have been highly processed. Also, always read the labels. And if my body cries out, then take action.

In the meantime, I will continue using soy flour in my cooking and baking, eating tofu and occasionally using soy milk in cooking. Actually that is about all the types of soy I use. I’ve been working on a great soy pasta recipe which I have yet to post and at this point, just when I have a great find, I don’t feel like deleting this from my recipe collection! 🙂

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