Whether it’s the pressure of bathing suit season or all the beautiful tropical fruits out at the grocery store right now, we like to think of this as Smoothie Season! Strawberries, bananas and some ice cubes will get you there but why stop with the basics when the internet has so much more adventurous recipes to offer? Here are some of our favorite smoothies on the internet today! Continue reading
I came across an article this week, written by Barry Boyd, MD, a board certified oncologist and hematologist, that does an excellent job of summing up, once and for all, the myths and facts around soy as it relates to breast cancer. Fortunately, I think we’ve finally gotten to a point in science that we can confidently stand on one side of the fence when it comes to soy and this issue. If you’re at all confused about soy and breast cancer, I recommend you give his article a read.
But, before you go and grill up your next soy veggie burger, you should know that there’s another cautionary tale to be told about this plump little legume. It turns out much of the soy we eat today is not plump or even all that soy-like. Thanks (or not) to advances in food technology, much of the soy we eat today is either genetically modified, washed and extracted with a neurotoxic petro-chemical, or both. So, with Dr. Boyd’s talents for history telling as inspiration, allow me to tell you a bit of a story…
Soy is actually quite a deserved celebrity when it comes to beans. It’s an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, contains heart healthy unsaturated fats, and is a rare vegetarian source of complete protein (a protein is considered complete when it matches the composition of the protein found in an egg). If you’re a vegetarian, finding complete sources of protein is a big deal. It’s also planet friendly as it’s grown domestically and has a much smaller carbon footprint than eating an equivalent amount of protein from an animal source (thus the veggie burger reference). Maybe it’s because of all these positive attributes that soy has been such a point of focus for food scientists. The fact that it’s a subsidized crop that US farmers are heavily incentivized to grow in mass quantities doesn’t hurt either.
Although all the aspects of a soybean are compelling, it’s really the protein that’s become a focus for the packaged food industry. High protein diets are a bit of a nutrition fad if you haven’t noticed. Although most of us have stepped back in recent years from the extremes of the Atkins Diet, more still seems to be better and what better ingredient to bump up protein levels in food than inexpensive and abundant soybeans?
So then, it should be no surprise that soy can be found in almost every packaged foods category. From crackers to energy bars, ice cream to frozen waffles, soy boosts the protein levels of an incredible number of foods and can be found in more than 60% of processed foods in the marketplace today.
But here’s the thing: just as protein is an established fad, fat is an equally established phobia. Mother Nature rarely creates food without a balanced mix of nutrients – some fat, some protein, some fiber and likely some antioxidants thrown in for good measure. Ten grams of protein and zero grams of fat? Nope, not found in nature and certainly not in a soybean. So, to meet our demands for protein without all the scary fat, scientists developed a method to separate the two. Hexane is a petro-chemical that is drilled out from deep down in the earth. When washed over soybeans it causes the fat to separate from the protein. It’s incredibly efficient at what it does, much more so than mechanically pressing out the oil (the way expeller-pressed oils are extracted). What you get at the end of the hexane washing process are two new ingredients, isolated soy protein and soybean oil.
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 14-ounce package extra firm tofu, drained well
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
- 3 tablespoons dried shredded coconut
- 2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or chile powder, optional
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- ¼ cup flour
- ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon safflower oil
- 1 ½ cups onion, half moon slices
- 1 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 4 teaspoons garlic, minced
- 2 ½ cups water or veggie stock
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup wheat-free tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried or fresh sage, minced
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- sea salt – to taste
I love me my tofu. I love to cut up into little cubes in my morning miso soup. On a hot summer day, few things are as fabulous as a cold block of tofu drizzled in soy sauce, green onions, and bonito flakes (it’s a Japanese thing…). I also love using tofu for a gajillion other ways, too: dessert, appetizers, burritos, you name it!
When I decided to cut out animal meat completely from my diet, my eyes were opened to even more creative cooking possibilities for eating tofu. My kitchen is not complete without at least one or two containers of firm tofu chilling in the refrigerator at all times.
What are your favorite ways to eat tofu? If you have other innovative uses for tofu, share them in the comments below!
15 Ways to Eat Tofu
1. Marinate and bake it for tofu "steak." If you are not a big fan of the tofu taste in its natural form, marinate it in your favorite sauce overnight and then bake it or deep-fry it. The spongy texture of the tofu makes it great for absorbing the different flavors of the sauces. Check out marinated tofu steak recipe here.
2. Use it as a ricotta cheese substitution. The next time you make lasagna, use smashed-up medium-firm tofu instead of ricotta cheese. You ca impress your friends by telling them the lasagna you made is vegan. Check out vegan lasagna recipe here.
3. Add it to a fruit smoothie. Add 1 cup of tofu to the ingredients you usually use when you make a fruit smoothie at home. Your fruit smoothies will have a creamier texture and have a yum soy tang to them. Check out tofu fruit breakfast smoothie recipes here.
4. Make vegetarian wontons with it. One of my favorite ways to eat tofu! Get some Asian wonton wrappers and add some tofu and chopped up veggies. Seal them and then pan-fry, steam, or deep-fry them. Check out delicious spinach-tofu wonton recipe with dipping sauce here.
5. Stuff ravioli with it. While we’re on the topic of Asian wonton wrappers, you can also use those same wrappers to make your own tofu ravioli. Stuff the wrappers with tofu, boil them in hot water, and once you’re done, spread some Italian tomato sauce and cheese over them. Check out easy vegan tofu ravioli recipe here.
5. Dice it up and add it to hot soup. Hot tofu soup is ultimate comfort food, especially for a cold or cloudy day when you need a pick-me-up. You can add it to some miso soup. Or some hot Chinese vegetable soup. Check out Japanese miso soup recipe here.
6. Blend it into a creamy hot soup. You can also mix tofu directly into the main soup broth for a creamy texture to imitate soups that contain cream or milk, but healthier. Check out cream of tomato tofu soup recipe here.
7. Eat it as part of a decadent pie. With all the chocolate covering the silky texture of the tofu, who’s going to notice that they’re eating a healthier version of a decadent dessert? Check out chocolate mousse tofu pie recipe here. You can also eat tofu in a cheesecake, same logic applies: Check out tofu cheesecake recipe here.
8. Eat it as part of a vegetarian quiche. Oh, the endless things you can do with a pie crust and a block of tofu. Check out vegan tofu quiche recipe here.
9. Sneak it into some macaroni and cheese. The great thing about tofu is that its neutral flavor lends itself to being sneaked into many popular recipes. Here is a super-sneaky yet delicious way to sneak some soy into your kids’ meals. Check out macaroni and cheese with secret Silken tofu sauce recipe here.
10. Stuff vegetables with it. Use tofu as as stuffing for vegetables you would normally stuff with meat. Like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants and more. Check out tofu-stuffed tomato recipe here.
11. Stick it between two slices of bread. Make a tofu sandwich or burger. Load it with your favorite sandwich toppings, and you will forget that you are missing out on the usual meaty stuff.Check out quick easy veggie tofu burger recipe here.
12. Deep-fry it, baby! What doesn’t taste good deep-fried? Deep-fried tofu tastes great when added to pho, Thai noodles and other Asian noodle dishes. Or you can eat them as is with dipping sauce–like tofu chicken nuggets.Check out easy deep-fried tofu recipe here.
13. Spice up salad with it. I love adding tofu to salads because it adds an interesting new texture as a complement to the crunchiness of vegetables. I like tossing a quick cucumber-tofu salad flavored with some soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame seeds and lemon juice. Check out lemon cucumber tofu salad recipe here.
14. Roll it up in a corn tortilla. I’ve had a few tofu tacos here and there throughout Los Angeles. When they are done well and sprinkled with a dash of lime juice and hot sauce, they taste SO GOOOOD.Check out tofu tacos recipe here.
15. Eat it for breakfast. You can eat tofu for your most important meal of the day, too. Enjoy a breakfast of the champions with a vegan tofu scramble. Even healthier than an egg white omelette! Check out tofu scramble recipe here.
PHOTO: Flickr / Lemon_solo
Originally posted at Vitality Health Hub.
I have decided to write this Blog about soy because there is a lot of controversy and myths out there in the health and fitness industry as to how beneficial soy is for your health. I am going to tell you quite the opposite and how you should most definitely AVOID SOY!
- Phytic Acid. Soy contains high levels of phytic acid. In soy this reduces the assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. High phytate diets have caused growth problems in children. It is possible to neutralise phytic acid in soy through methods such as soaking, sprouting and long, slow cooking. However most soy in modern times is not prepared through these methods.
- Protein Digestion. Trypsin inhibitors in soy interfere with protein digestion and may cause pancreatic disorders. In test animals soy containing trypsin inhibitors caused stunted growth.
- Phytoestrogens. Soy phytoestrogens disrupt endocrine function and have the potential to cause infertility and to promote breast cancer in adult women.
- Hypothyroidism. To add to the point above, soy phytoestrogens are potent antithyroid agents that cause hypothyroidism and may cause thyroid cancer. In infants, consumption of soy formula has been linked to autoimmune thyroid disease.
- Vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 analogs in soy are not absorbed and actually increase the body’s requirement for B12.
- Vitamin D. Rather than satisfying the body’s needs for vitamin D, soy foods increase the body’s requirement for this vital vitamin.
- Denatured proteins. Fragile proteins are denatured during high temperature processing to make soy protein isolate and textured vegetable protein.
- Processing. Processing of soy protein results in the formation of toxic lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
- MSG. When soy is processed with typical food processing methods, free glutamic acid or MSG is formed. MSG is a potent neuro-toxin. Often additional amounts of MSG are added to many soy foods.
- Heavy metal toxins. Soy foods contain high levels of aluminum which is toxic to the nervous system and the kidneys.
As you can see, these 10 reasons to avoid soy are rather damaging to the reputation of this "health food". I suggest you review these points and then have a think whether you would like to continue using soy in your diet.
I personally do not eat soy and will avoid it at all costs.
For more information on soy: