Soy Fantastic – How Healthy is Soy?
This recipe is one of my favourites to create when I arrive home ravenous, wanting to make something quick and easy to eat that’s healthy and balanced as well. When I say ‘balanced’ I mean food that is filling and satisfying enough to keep me full and not craving spoonfuls of my home made nut butter after dinner.
I’ve been cooking and eating fresh edamame (young soy beans) for quite some time – I’m also a fan of tofu (boiled adult soybean that’s been strained and curdled with a natural solidifier like nigari), but during the period of time when my body stopped cooperating and my health took a turn for the worse, I cut it out of my diet in fear it was doing me harm.
Such a silly thing to do really…cutting out natural, healthy whole food without proper research about the negatives and positives of doing such a thing. It’s a mistake I have made time and time again in the past, but as with everything in my life, it’s onwards and upwards! I’m all about learning from my mistakes and putting my credible studies and newfound knowledge into practice.
Ever since I began studying nutrition, human anatomy and health – and now, becoming a Natural Foods Chef at the number one school in the world promoting health supportive cooking, I can honestly say I’ve had SO many lightbulb moments. It’s why I decided to start this blog to be honest – I want to share as much as I know, including what I’m learning right now so you don’t end up where I was a few years back: uneducated, super thin, tired and afraid of food.
My hope is that you take everything I share with you as great ‘food for thought’. I will always write about food, yoga and life from my perspective, and I never want you to feel like you must agree with me, or adopt my way of living and eating. I encourage you to absorb the information I present and decide for yourself. Try new things, incorporate what you know already (remembering to base your knowledge on credible, factual information as opposed to the latest diet trend, celebrity trainer or blogger who tells you what to do) and you’ll be well on your way to becoming the best version of yourself.
Now back to the bit about soy…
Part of the lovely legume (bean) family, soy beans remain one of the best sources of protein and dietary fibre we have available to us. The thing that interests me is the fact it’s one of the richest sources of isoflavones in the human diet. Isoflavo-wha? Put simply, isoflavones are compounds capable of having estrogen-like effects in the body, also know as ‘phytoestrogens‘. Now this is where it gets really fascinating…more and more research is beginning to indicate phytoestrogens may be quite powerful in the protection against health issues including breast, bowel and prostate cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and high (bad) cholesterol.
Contradictory to what’s been reported about soy right? So why are there still people ‘out there’ who condemn soy? Well, just like gluten, dairy and eggs, some people are intolerant to soy due to its phytates and oxylates – also known as anti-nutrients. But before you dismiss all the positives I’ve just shared with you, it’s important to remember no two bodies are the same! Some people may react badly to soy and others may experience no adverse reactions at all. My approach to this issue? You don’t know until you try.
Quick side note for any soy sufferers out there…. Unlike gluten, eggs and most dairy, soy can be consumed a LOT easier when it’s fermented. Success!
So there you go! Plain ol’ soybeans are wonderfully affordable and incredibly versatile. Unfermented or fermented, they create unique flavours that really highlight and elevate meals. Unfermented soy can be silken, firm, or extra firm tofu. If you boil and strain them, you’ve got yourself some delish homemade soy milk. For soy-sufferers (or lovers!) you can get a little more adventurous in your kitchen and invest in fermented soy products to add more complexity to your meals. Types of fermented soy products include soy sauce, miso, natto, and tempeh.
Over the coming weeks I will share some of my favourite, simple, natural soy recipes – starting right now with the unfermented, young kind: edamame. Next week, I’ll share a scrumptious creation featuring a fermented type of soy called miso. It’s time to get your tastebuds dancing 🙂
For now: make, eat, enjoy…
Easy Edamame (adapted from a Natural Gourmet Institute recipe)
- 1 kilo (2 pounds) frozen edamame, thawed and shelled
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil if you prefer)
- 2 tbs lemon juice
- 2 large (or 4 small) cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tbs chopped cilantro (coriander)
- 1 tbs ground cumin
- In a sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium-high flame
- Add edamame, cumin, garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes
- Remove from heat, add lemon juice and cilantro (coriander)
- Serve warm or cold, both taste all kinds of YUM!