Originally discovered in Southeast Asia, soy is a subtropical plant that can be found in many shapes and sizes. A member of the pea family, soy has played a major role in Asian countries.
Introduced to the United States in the 1800s, soy has become widely cultivated and produces large-scale food products. In fact, Mid-western states produce almost half of the world’s supply of soybeans.
Low in fat and cholesterol, soy is a rich protein source that can be very beneficial to one’s health. Soy protein contains iron, fiber, magnesium, vitamin K, and omega-3 fatty acids.
Due to its healthy nutrients, soy protein is often used as an alternative for animal protein.
Eating raw and vegan foods that do not contain soy is the healthiest option. Soy protein is a healthier alternative to animal protein, but should not be consumed excessively.
Soy, along with corn, is the most genetically engineered crop on the planet. It has been genetically modified for financial reasons, rather than nutritional reasons. Always make sure that the soy is not genetically modified. Modifying the genes of a food creates proteins that are not naturally found in its chemical structure. If the product is an organic certified food, it has not been genetically modified. Choosing an organic certified food is always the healthiest option.
Soy’s phyto-estrogen is also suspect. Many companies promote soy for its phyto-estrogen content. Plants and herbs are more natural alternatives to soy. These plants and herbs are also high in phyto-estrogens:
- Red clover tops
- Red raspberry leaf
- Black Cohosh root
Fermented Soy Products
Like most health products, soy can be very beneficial to one’s health if it is organic and properly treated. During the fermentation process, the “anti-nutrients” are reduced and its benefits become easily digestible.
Soy fermentation techniques were discovered over 5,000 years ago in China. Fermentation allows for easy digestion and can produce many varieties of soy. These are the primary fermented soy products that are commonly found:
- Tempeh: a soybean cake that has firm, nutty texture and tastes like mushrooms
- Miso: a soybean paste with a buttery texture and salty taste.
- Natto: soybeans with a sticky texture and a cheese-like taste.
- Soy Sauce: soybeans mixed with salt and enzymes.
One of the great benefits of fermented soy products is that it contains high sources of vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 helps prevent cardiovascular disease, dementia, osteoporosis and a variety of cancers. As a natural food source, fermented soy is particularly rich in vitamin K2.
Many people are substituting their meat for soy products. If a person decides to stop eating meat, they may need a transitional product that gives them the feeling and taste of eating meat without actually doing so.
Transitional foods are not permanent. They are used during a period of change from one phase to another.
Transitional foods are great for changing the state of being a meat-eater to the state of being a vegan or raw foodist. It is easier to adapt to a vegan lifestyle if the transition is done gradually. It’s a process, sometimes fast and sometimes slow depending on the person and their circumstances. During the transition, they may need something to help them and this is where artificial meats, usually made from soy, may be helpful.
Most mock meat products are made predominantly from soy. Ultimately, the goal is to sparingly eat fake meat products made with soy and eat mainly raw and vegan foods.
Vegan food has become very accessible and is offered in many grocery stores, health stores, and specialty restaurants. There is a wide variety of vegan food so the consumer has many options. Especially in large cities, there are many vegan and raw food restaurants that make great tasting food. In fact, many people who are not vegans attend these restaurants or their tasty dishes.
It may be difficult to make informed food choices under difficult or inconvenient circumstances, but there are usually many alternatives available. When someone becomes committed to the vegan lifestyle, soy products may be necessary if there are limited options available, especially while traveling.
Thank you for reading!