Soy is one of those foods that divides people into two camps: those who love it and those who do not.
Some say soy is a gift of nature, brimming with health benefits.
While others are convinced that it is dangerous and should be avoided.
As discussed in past articles, soy may be a nice addition to your whole food, plant-based diet, provided you follow some guidelines.
And what better time to review what we know about soy than during April, which is National Soy Foods Month.
Let’s get started.
The Many Uses for Soy
The soybean is a relatively tasteless legume native to East Asia.
It is highly versatile and often enjoyed as a plant-based alternative to animal-based foods.
To illustrate, here are six ways that soybeans are commonly consumed:
- Soy Sauce: Made from fermented soybeans and wheat, soy sauce is used to season recipes from stir fry to soup. A gluten-free version of soy sauce is called tamari.
- Soy Milk: This dairy-free milk is made by soaking, grinding and straining soybeans.
- Tofu: Is probably one of the best-known forms of soy foods and is created by curdling hot soy milk. Tofu can be added to entrees, dressings, and desserts.
- Edamame: These are fresh green soybeans, which can be bought in the pod or shelled, frozen or fresh. They are often eaten as a side dish or snack.
- Soy Nuts: Soybeans that are roasted and enjoyed as a crunchy snack.
- Tempeh: An alternative to tofu, tempeh is made from a combination of fermented soybeans and grains. Compared to the smoother tofu, tempeh has a nuttier, earthier flavor and a ‘burger’-like texture.
Soy: Is It Good or Bad for You?
The controversy rages on–is soy good or bad for you?
On the negative side of the ledger, some argue that soy is dangerous to your health.
It has been blamed for both breast and prostate cancer, and many claim that all soy is genetically modified. In our article The Startling Truth About Soy, we carefully tackle all three of those myths and explain in detail why they are untrue.
On the positive side, soybeans—which are high in protein, antioxidants, nutrients, and fiber—seem to be linked to unique health benefits.
In fact, people who eat legumes, including soybeans, tend to live longer.
Just remember that, when it comes to soy, there are a couple useful rules to follow:
Keep your soy consumption below 3-5 servings daily and stick to whole or minimally processed forms of soy.
How to Celebrate National Soy Foods Month
The best way to celebrate National Soy Foods Month is to eat it!
Here are a few recipes for you to try this month:
- Breakfast: Tofu is a great alternative to traditional egg breakfasts. You will love our Southwestern Tofu Scramble or Brunch ‘Omelet.’ You could even add a slice of Tempeh Bacon to your plate.
- Lunch: Our Spicy Peanut Tofu Lettuce Wraps celebrate soy in the form of tofu and soy sauce. Or you may want to try our Pepper Picnic Salad, which is made with a creamy silken tofu dressing.
- Dinner: Bring some Asian influence to your meal with our Vietnamese-Style Spring Rolls With Smoked Tofu, or Nori Maki With Tempeh and Vegetables.
- Dessert: Our Chocolate Mousse recipe is prepared using silken tofu and dairy-free milk.
And if you would like to incorporate edamame into your diet, you are in luck. Here is our recipe for Edamame Stir Fry that is guaranteed to become a new family favorite.
Happy National Soy Foods Month!