I received an ad in my google web clip today for a Tofu Bear. Seriously, is this for real? The soy drama is almost overwhelming to me. Perhaps I need to gain some perspective, but I am almost bitter about it. First it was good for you, then too much was bad for you, then only in small amounts and mixed with certain other foods, then only eaten on its own, and now they are making freakin' teddy bears out of it! Give a girl a break - what is one supposed to do with all this confusion around soy? In order to turner my angst into enlightenment, I set out on my quest to understand soy in all its dimensions. So I thought I would start with the basics including what is soy and what are the various sources of it?
The FDA explains the most common sources of soy protein:
1. Tofu is made from cooked puréed soybeans processed into a custard-like cake. It has a neutral flavor and can be stir-fried, mixed into "smoothies," or blended into a cream cheese texture for use in dips or as a cheese substitute. It comes in firm, soft and silken textures.
2. Soymilk, the name some marketers use for a soy beverage, is produced by grinding dehulled soybeans and mixing them with water to form a milk-like liquid. It can be consumed as a beverage or used in recipes as a substitute for cow's milk. Soymilk, sometimes fortified with calcium, comes plain or in flavors such as vanilla, chocolate and coffee. For lactose-intolerant individuals, it can be a good replacement for dairy products.
3. Soy flour is created by grinding roasted soybeans into a fine powder. The flour adds protein to baked goods, and, because it adds moisture, it can be used as an egg substitute in these products. It also can be found in cereals, pancake mixes, frozen desserts, and other common foods.
4. Textured soy protein is made from defatted soy flour, which is compressed and dehydrated. It can be used as a meat substitute or as filler in dishes such as meatloaf.
5. Tempeh is made from whole, cooked soybeans formed into a chewy cake and used as a meat substitute.
6. Miso is a fermented soybean paste used for seasoning and in soup stock.
To better understand the benefits of soy, check out Susan Calvert Finn Phd on Disocvery Health. And to confuse everything you just read, check out Dr. Joseph Mercola.
It is my guess, that the answer with soy most likely exists with ALL THINGS IN MODERATION. However, I encounter enough questions and debate from people that I will continue my quest to turn my bitterness around soy into a better understanding so ultimately I can make the appropriate food choices and educate others as well.
For now I feel a bit more peaceful. And upon further research of Tofu Bear, he is quite cute and evidently has the softness and smoothness of cashmere but isn’t hazardous to the environment. SOLD!