Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cheffy Talks About Soy

Cheffy talks about Soy

In this issue I am mainly going to offer some opinions, both pro and 
con about Soy and the Soy Industry as a whole. This is due to an 
increasing number of emails and letters I have received on soy 
consumption, soy vs. cancer, soy as a meat substitute etc. I have 
been an active consumer, cook and chef of soy products and an 
investigative source into soy for the better part of 15 years. Some 
of the information provided here is based on conversations with a 
couple of friends of mine that own and operate their own soy 
companies. Bruce Rose from ChinaRose Soyfoods in Ann Arbor, Michigan 
and Jon Kessler from Sunergia Soyfoods in Charlottesville, Virginia. 
Although the opinions voiced here are scientifically based, please 
keep in mind they are still opinions, please talk to a physician or 
contact one of the websites at the end of the newsletter for more 
specific information.

Soy Versus Bad Food

I am taking the stance in defending soy and soy products as a dietary 
supplement. Soy along with some other pulses, vegetables and grains 
have gotten a bad reputation primarily due to the practice of a 
growing number of companies that rely on genetically engineering 
their products. The tests and the long-term studies of genetically 
engineered products are inconclusive therefore I do not support their 

I have read these different articles "Soy is this…" and "Soy is 
that…". My argument is simple. "Food Allergies Exist!" Not all foods 
agree with all people, there are kajillions of different allergies, 
mal-absorption syndromes and anomalies associated with all different 
kinds of foods. If you have concerns over any of these please consult 
a physician. A food allergy is no laughing matter and can quite 
possibly become fatal.

As far as Soy being a bad food, I could inform you lima beans, apple 
seeds, and the pits of apricots and peaches contain cyanide or the 
sprouts from potatoes contain the toxin solanine, that parsley 
contains apiole and myristicin, poke salad and rhubarb leaves are 
lethal or chewing on a few nutmeg seeds can make you hallucinate. So…
taking the food allergies out of the equation, I say that soy 
products are not bad foods. The truth of the matter is that most soy 
products are high in protein, contain no cholesterol and contribute a 
moderate balance of the three major fatty acids our body demands 

What is Soy? (Information and History)

OK. Soy. Soya. The Soya Bean. Fake meat. Whatever you want to call it…

The soya bean is classified as a pulse which is a leguminous plant 
whose seeds are used as a vegetable food. Pulses contain a high-
energy value containing a large amount of protein and carbohydrates 
and are relatively low in water content. Because of the high source 
of protein and carbs it is an important part of the vegetarian diet. 
Unfortified soy products lack the amino acids that constitute it as 
a "complete" food, thus it is often served with meats, seafood, 
vegetables, pastas or grains to supplement and fortify the dish 

Soybeans contains compounds called isoflavones (natural estrogens), 
which have many health benefits to our health and nutrition. Study 
after study has shown that soy is an amazing natural remedy that 
prevents and fights cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, 
menopausal symptoms and other chronic diseases.

The Chinese "dadou" is said to have originated in Manchuria as early 
as the 2nd Century BCE and was introduced to Japan (called "daizu") 
somewhere around the 6th Century. Although its popularity was limited 
to its uses with the Chinese and Japanese cultural cuisines it was 
known in Europe by the 1600's. It was not until the early 1900's that 
its was a popular staple throughout Europe and the United States.

Raw Soybeans as well as other legumes and pulses contain certain 
enzyme prohibitors that prevent the digestion of protein. They create 
chemical changing in the lining of the intestines that make it 
impossible for the intestines to absorb nutrients. Once the pulse is 
cooked these protease inhibitors are eliminated and make the beans 
safe and nutritious.

Dried Soybeans come in a variety of colors that make for colorful and 
attractive dishes. Soybean Flour can easily be made using dried 
soybeans by grinding them in your coffee mill or spice grinder and 
then sifting out the larger pieces.

Soy Flour contains twice the protein as regular flour and can easily 
be used as a substitute for wheat flour with the exception of baking 
and as a thickening agent. More about this later…

Miso- I could write a book about Miso. For those of us that have had 
the opportunity to travel the Far East, we know that miso has a sort 
of cult following from village to village and country to country. 
Some even refer to some of the producers of miso as "the Miso 
Sensei", because not only are they masters of what they do but 
because they use methods of preparing this "magical" substance using 
techniques that are thousands of years old. Miso is a paste made by 
cooking soybeans and then fermenting the beans with salt in wooden 
tubs for one to three years. There are several forms of miso 
depending upon what grain added to the product (e.g., barley, brown 
rice, white rice, wheat to name a few). In general, the longer the 
miso is aged, the darker the color and stronger the flavor.

Miso contains a large amount of beneficial bacteria and enzymes. 
However, unpasturized miso must be purchased in order to get the 
beneficial bacteria. Miso is particularly useful as an aid to 
improving digestion and the health of the intestinal tract. There is 
some scientific evidence that fermented products with beneficial 
bacteria can help to prevent some forms of cancer. Many people who 
are sensitive to fermented products can tolerate the use of miso 
without any problem.

Miso is used in soups, sauces, dressings, stir fries, and spreads 
where only a small amount is necessary. Cheffy's latest culinary 
influence, Chef Bento, makes a killer Miso-based Demi-Glace used as a 
sauce for meats and poultry….mmmm

Tempeh -- A cake of soybeans that is made by removing the hull of 
cooked, organic soybeans, mixing with a culture, such as the 
coagulant nigari and aging for a day or two. The culture helps hold 
the soybeans together in a cake form. It is common to find tempeh 
made with added ingredients such as vegetables, grains and various 
seasonings. Tempeh is high in protein and rich in calcium

Tofu -- A white soybean cake made from cooked soybeans and nigari 
(magnesium chloride). Tofu contains a significant amount of protein 
and is rich in calcium. It is an easily digestable form of soy. Tofu 
is used in soups, stir fries, sauces, dressings, burgers, and many 
other types of dishes. One of the things I love about tofu is its 
neutrality of flavor, its absorbancy adheres to any of the 
flavors/seasonings added to the dish

Nigari-Natural calcium sulfate (gypsum) and magnesium chloride 
(nigari) are the most common tofu coagulant used. They have been used 
for hundreds years in Japan and China. Nigari is composed mainly of 
magnesium chloride, but also contains other minerals found in sea 
water except most of the sodium chloride (sea salt). Gypsum is a 
naturally occurring calcium sulfate.

Soy Milk- Soy milk is a liquid form of soy. It comes in Vanilla, 
Carob, Plain and other flavors. It is a great substitute for dairy 
milk, when substituting for regular milk I use equal proportions and 
when subbing for buttermilk I add a teaspoon of lemon juice per 2 
cups. Officially, soymilk cannot be called soy milk due to the lack 
of dairy so they use soymilk as one word, call it soy drink among 
other things. Please consult a physician before supplementing a 
child's diet with soy milk, there is a good amount of conflicting 
information on the use of formulas etc. that are soy based so please 
ask your doctor. 

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