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Not all soy is created equal
by Johanna Woodbury
Vegan/Kosher Dim Sum
I often wonder how some people, even reliable medical (Eastern and Western) folks will say something as "un-technical" as "Soy is evil and should never be consumed" when the Japanese have been eating it for thousands of years. The other day someone said that their sources of soy might be different. I have a feeling that for the most part soy is eaten "raw" in most cases in Japan, and not fried and "isolated." I'm also skeptical about how people can correlate to breast cancer in very simple terms rather than looking at what else the particular individual does/does not do in their life.
I had a "health practitioner" suggest that I give up soy for 90 days. I wasn't surprised that he said that soy might be bad for my body's constitution, because I have felt "yucky" if I ate too much tofu.
That was back in March. About 3-5 weeks in I found myself at a Thai restaurant forgetting to think about how much soy might be in my food. I had one item that was just a soy broth (not thick or gooey). I didn't feel great when I ate it, but I wondered if the sodium content was more of a factor than the soy. Regardless of what it was, I still avoided the soy up until last week when my husband and I were in Philadelphia for a little get-away.
We were at a vegan/kosher restaurant in Chinatown that was recommended to us. We had the all-you-can-eat dim sum. What I didn't know was that several courses came while the dim sum was steaming. The hot and sour soup (with some tofu), peanut sesame noodles, fried spring roll, and even the "chicken" drumsticks were fine.
The sesame "beef" was another story. First, mock meats are just a mystery to me. I've been pretty much vegetarian all of my life, and beef was the least eaten food for me. This "beef" had a very deep-brown, thick sauce that kind of raced my heart like the soy broth back at the Thai restaurant. I just let my husband finish it. The dim sum seem to not have any soy in it at all, and the only one that I didn't like was the one that had "shrimp" in it. Seafood is definitely one of the food groups that should never be a mock meat.
Now I'm still about 2 weeks away from when I was suppose stay away from soy before I tried to reintroduce it to see how I feel. I really haven't missed it, and I have just cooked other food in place of tofu or tempeh. I have kept away from soy protein isolate for a very long time, particular since a couple tofu pups gave me a lot of gas. I'm going to try tempeh again in a couple of weeks, and I'll see how it goes. It's just weird, because I haven't really felt different not eating soy. I didn't have any cramps in my last menstrual cycle, but I contributed that to reading about how a tablespoon of molasses once in a while can prevent that. So who really knows? I mean soy should be organic and not genetically modified. Too much of anything in one's diet is usually not a good idea.