Years back we never heard about this strange food called soy. Americans ate meat from cows, potatoes and rice, familiar vegetables like spinach, cabbage and broccoli, familiar fruit like oranges and apples, and desserts made with lots and lots of sugar and heavy cream. And we enjoyed our meals and were able to not be an obese nation.
Our consciousness of food – what is good for us and what is not so good – has drastically changed. Most of the time I hear people apologizing for eating a delicious piece of sugar filled dessert. Fewer people can just eat meat unconsciously since there are plenty of videos on the web showing adorable and lovable animals. So many of us feel guilty eating on these precious living beings. But not everybody is ready to become a full-fledged vegetarian.
Personally, I never cared much for your taste of soy or any of the variations of 打酱油. However I became conscious of the reputed health advantages. In the end, the study revealed, Asian women located in Asian countries had much fewer cases of breast cancer or other cancers. They attributed this towards the Asian diet which included a lot of soy, plus rice and vegetables and was low on meat types of protein.
In the beginning all I recall seeing was this strange food called tofu being served in Chinese restaurants. At that point soon enough I recall just one single Thai restaurant on the other end, entirely on the west side of Manhattan. And then there were no Vietnamese restaurants. As I became increasingly aware of the benefits of brown rice, I recall being one of the first people to request it inside my local Chinese restaurant. Eventually, that restaurant and others begun to provide brown rice to have an extra dollar.
But tofu, and also the business of selling tofu, did not remain a hidden, special ingredient in local Asian restaurants. As America became more and more conscious of health and the dietary effects upon health and some great benefits of a healthier lifestyle, soy and all of its subsidiary products became big business.
For awhile, many of us stopped drinking milk in support of soy milk. Stopped eating peas and lima beans in favor of edamame and started using soybean oil in order to cook products containing soy protein. The only real possible negative effect of soy, in my mind, was the truth that it was purported to increase the output of estrogen. I recall wondering, but nobody could produce a direct answer, “What happens if a woman takes estrogen replacement and in addition eats lots of soy?”
It appears, that soy actually has several negative effects, most certainly not all beneficial for our health and wellbeing.
Chemically processed soy products, like soymilk, soy protein and soybean oil, are the least desirable. One glass of soymilk may change estrogen levels and hormonal function. Soy protein is often processed with a neurotoxin, hexane, As well as the processing of soybean oil often mixes it with that same neurotoxin.
Unprocessed and minimally processed soy, including tofu, edamame and soy sauce, are less toxic than the chemically processed variety, yet still can be somewhat damaging to our bodies. Tofu, contains “anti-nutrients,” substances that block the absoprtion on some essential minerals. Whole, unprocessed edamame, even though often boiled while still inside the pod, may contain anti-nutrients and can be hard on our digestion, causing stomach problems and the familiar bloating. Some soy sauces combine soybeans with some type of grain, often wheat and some contain acid-hydolyzed soy protein as opposed to brewed using its culture. A healthier options are gluten free Tamari or fermented unpasteurized soy sauce.
Fermented soy, such as miso, tempeh and natto, preserve the traditional health advantages of soy while avoiding the harmful negative effects. Miso, often used in soups, is filled with probiotics, the good bacteria that helps to aid ykstzj digestion. Tempeh, often employed to simulate chicken and meat in vegetarian recipes, is rich in B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Natto, a regular Japanese breakfast food, features a sticky texture and pungent smell but contains vitamin K and a good amount of probiotics.
The key to maintaining a balanced diet is to discover as much as you can about all the food you are eating, specially the food you take in regularly, even every day. You want the benefits of 打酱油 that is abundant in probiotics and natural vitamins but fails to cause digestive problems, bloating or something that will affect vitamin absorption.
Should you replace chicken, meat, fish and eggs with tofu to maintain your body strong and healthy? The answer is probably “Yes without any.” Yes, if you balance your daily diet and make certain you receive an adequate level of healthy vitamins, minerals and oils. No, should you be depriving your body of essential vitamins and minerals and probiotics. Soy is a wonderful addition to the western diet when we learn what we have to know about this and then use it wisely.