A Guide to Eating Soy Product
Why you should eat soy
1. High protein and nutrition: Tofu contains 10 grams of protein for ½ cup, soymilk 7 grams per cup, 4 oz of temphe has 17 grams of protein! (4oz of chicken has 30 grams). It’s a great alternative to animal meat, with less environmental impact. It’s also low on the glycemic index, high in omega 3 fatty acids, high in antioxidants and helps to maintain healthy cholesterol levels while lowering blood pressure too!
2. Menopause: Soy contains phytoestrogenic isoflavones genistein and daidzen. They help to stimulate estrogenic receptors when estrogen levels are low, or de-activate estrogen receptors when estrogen levels are too high. A dose of about 40 mg of isoflavones per day offer the most support for hot flashes and night sweats. This dose will also protects bone density into old age. However, studies have shown that the highest benefit of soy comes from consumption during adolescence.
3. Breast Cancer: There’s lots of controversy regarding this topic. A leading Naturopathic Doctor Sat Dharam Kaur whom I’ve had the pleasure to train with, is a firm believer in soy for breast cancer prevention and treatment. A recent study done in China looked at the safety of soy in 5000+ breast cancer survivors and discovered that those women with the highest intake of soy protein had a 29% lower risk of death and 32% less likely to have recurrence as compared to women with the lowest intake of soy protein. This study highlighted that soy consumption performed better than tamoxifen in preventing recurrence!
Why you shouldn’t eat soy
1. GMO: Around 90% of all soy is now genetically modified. This means it’s been altered genetically so that it will be resistant to the pesticide Roundup. This also means soy is loaded with carcinogenic chemicals as well as genetic material never before consumed by humans leading to ill health effects and allergies.
2. Anti-Nutrients: Soy contains goitrogen causing compounds which block the assimilation of iodine (other foods which do the same are the broccoli family strawberries, spinach, millet, peaches). This is something to keep an eye on if you have thyroid problems. Couple up soy with seaweed to protect the thyroid. Soy also contains phytates, which decrease our absorption of minerals such as iron, zinc, manganese and calcium (phytates are found in all whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds). In a well balanced diet there is no evidence that phytates lead to mineral deficiencies, cooking, soaking, fermenting and sprouting decreases phytate content dramatically.
3. Food sensitivity: Soy is a common food sensitivity. It is important to identify all food sensitivities in your diet and remove them as it can be leading to symptoms reaching farther than the gut. The guidance of a registered naturopathic doctor can help you get to the root of your food sensitivities by doing elimination diets, intolerance testing or allergy blood testing.
Should you eat soy then?
1. Try fermented soy products: Fermentation of soy decreases goitrogens and phytates, includes healthy probiotic and is generally better tolerated in those who have soy sensitivities. Fermented soy also contains Vitamin K2 which increases the effectiveness of our sunshine vitamin D protecting us from osteoporosis, against cancers and cardiovascular disease. Fermented soy products include temphe, miso, soy sauce, and natto.
2. Eat a balanced whole foods diet: The problem with soy is that it’s being touted as a health food in unhealthy processed and packaged foods. Soy burgers, soy dogs, soy cheeses are generally filled with hydrogenated oils, high sodium and many unhealthy additives. Try eating soy in moderation if vegetarian, playing around with other beans, legumes, seeds and nuts for protein as well.
3. Purchase organic non-GMO products: As discussed above. If you are concern about your health, do pay attention to the type of soy you’re purchasing, make sure it is non-GMO and organic.
Eating soy products in moderation has not been shown to negatively affect testosterone levels in a recent meta-analyses. Soy also has no effect on sperm quality and has been shown to be protective against prostate cancer.
SOLUTION FOR SOY SENSITIVITIES
1. Menopausal? Try other phytoestrogens such as flax seeds, mung beans, pumpkin seeds and clover sprouts
2. Soy free and Dairy free cheese! Try Daiya a tapioca based cheese that melts and tastes better than any other cheese substitute I’ve ever tried. It can be found at planet organic or in the deli section of most Superstores.
3. Try Fermented Soy: I am sensitive to soy products, however I can tolerate fermented soy products just fine! If you’re like me try this recipe : )
Try This Simple Tempeh Stir fry Recipe
8 oz cubed Tempeh (available at Planet Organic)
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp agave
1 tbsp soy sauce/braggs/tamari
1 small onion
2 cloves garlic
1 red pepper
2 large bok choy
1 cup quinoa
Add coconut oil to a large skillet on medium heat, add onions and garlic for 5 minutes, then pop in the tempeh. Chop up veggies and add them into the skillet next. Add in the sesame oil, agave and soy sauce. Cover and allow to cook on med-low heat for 10-15 minutes. In another pan add the 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water over high heat until a boil. Reduce heat an simmer on medium heat for about 10 minutes until light and fluffy. On a plate add the stirfry to the quinoa and enjoy!
Why did tofu cross the road? To prove he wasn’t chicken!