Tofu, fact or fiction? To eat or not to eat?

The other day I got a new vegan cookbook from the library and as I browsed through it, I saw that many of the recipes used the ultimate meat and dairy substitute: tofu. My uncle introduced me to tofu when I was around 14, a year before I became vegetarian, as he would put it in his veggie and rice dishes. I fell in love with how you could make it taste as good as any meat. So I inhaled tofu throughout high school and college when I was a full on vegetarian. Now that I am becoming a vegetarian again as a late 20’s adult, I’ve educated myself much more about nutrition and I have some things to say about tofu.

So many vegetarian and vegan cookbooks praise tofu, as does the book I am currently  reading titled, “The 30-day vegan challenge,” by Colleen Patrick Goudreau.

The first time I heard that tofu was bad for you and considered a filler food, I was pissed and skeptical because the person who said it sported a pot belly and didn’t seem to know anything about health. But after reading the same thing from Ani Phyo’s books, I thought twice about it. Was the pot belly girl right?

Ani Phyo references a book called “The Whole Soy story,” by Kaayla Daniel.

Apparently the difference in the way soy is made is fermentation vs. processing. In Asia, soy is fermented to eliminate anti-nutrients and soy toxins in raw soy beans. But in America, soy is processed and not fermented, failing to remove anti-nutrients and toxins that are naturally present in soy beans. Most American soy is genetically modified and the soy crop grown in the USA contains the highest levels of poisonous pesticide contaminants.

WHAT?!!

My precious soy and tofu are highly processed and bad for me?

Is that why food companies are advocating soy products? To kill us with our seemingly evolved knowledge of healthy food and eating? The same corporations that brought Agent Orange are now the driving forces behind the promotion of soy as food for humans.

I tried to find the book, “The Whole Soy Story,” at the library–two libraries. No dice.

But…I did find a bunch of reviews on the book that support the book as well as reviews that don’t support the book.

People seem to be really into soy due to research done that compared Asian diets to American diets and it was found that Asians have fewer heart attacks, less breast and prostate cancer, fewer hip fractures, and the women report fewer hot flashes and other symptoms of menopause, because they eat soy. But is that the only reason reason? Maybe it also has to do with the fact that the soy in Asia is good for you because it is fermented and the soy in America is not because it is processed.

All that aside, I don’t think there is one food product that is the magic solution to all the ailments our bodies may face here in America. Do people think that if they eat so much soy they will not get a heart attack? Of course if you have soy instead of dairy, it’s better. If you drink something other than pasteurized cow’s milk, your health will improve. If you stop eating hormone-injected animals, your health will improve. I don’t believe that soy is the answer or the only solution.

Hearing what I have about soy I’ve definitely thought twice about eating tofu. I look at soy and tofu like a protein. Finding other sources of protein is what my mission is. If American soy is bad, then I can eat other things to get my protein. And you can have a variety of nut or hemp mylks rather than soy milk.

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