En route home from an awesome weekend in sunny San Francisco, I passed the standard airport Starbucks. I stopped in to grab a bottle of water before my flight and couldn’t help but overhear the conversation in front of me. A woman ordered a Cafe Mocha, she smiled at the barista and said “Soy milk please, gotta stay healthy.” Less than 2 minutes later in the newsstand across the aisle, I glanced at a headline from Shape magazine: 20 Soy-Free Recipes to Keep You Healthy!
What gives??? There is a ton of confusion out there about whether or not soy is good for you- so much in fact that a few years ago I stopped eating soy altogether. Complete avoidance seemed easier than digging through the maddening maze of information. When I really started looking for it, I found that soy (or soy protein isolate) is used in a LOT of “foods”:
– soy milk (duh)
– most protein bars
– salad dressings
– frozen desserts
– prep-packaged dinners
– meat substitutes (tofurkey, soyrizo, etc.)
Nutrition experts refer to this processed, packaged, unrecognizable, concentrated soy supplement food as Frankensoy. I’ve seen a ton of contradictory claims out there about the dangers versus benefits of soy products. Everyone from Dr. Oz to Dr. Weil has an opinion and, lately, every health and fitness magazine has featured an article on this controversial little bean.
So what is the reason for such opposing views, you ask? The answer is the KIND of soy! The leading authorities in nutrition and health agree:
you have to choose the right kind of soy to reap soy’s true benefits
Like most foods, the real health advantages come from the WHOLE food. Asian cultures, including some of the longest living people in the world, have been eating whole soy foods (in reasonable amounts) on a regular basis for centuries. Since soy is one of the most genetically engineered crop on the planet, make sure you choose whole soy foods including organic AND non-GMO
– Soy nuts
– Soy milk (without carrageenan, a thickening agent)
These whole forms of unrefined soy are the ones providing the amazing health benefits. Several hundred studies have linked phytochemicals present in whole soy foods to prevent heart disease and several forms of cancer. Soy is also a complete protein, which means our body can readily use it. This magic bean has been shown to reduce menopausal symptoms and is associated with increased longevity. The experts recommend eating soy in moderation and avoid the overly-processed “Frankensoy” products.
The bottom line: Don’t believe everything you hear + when choosing soy products make sure you go for:
3) WHOLE soy (avoid soy protein isolate)
4) Moderation (3 servings/week or less)
Let us know how your body responds! Note that breastfeeding mothers, adolescent boys, or those with thyroid disease should consult a doctor before increasing their intake of soy.
Try our simple Parmesan Garlic Roasted Soy Nut recipe below (and if you have a sensitivity, just swap soy beans for chickpeas) to reap all the benefits of a WHOLE soy food.
Live your WHOLE Life,
Shannon and Meg
Garlic Parmesan Roasted Soy Nuts or Chickpeas
1 can Organic black soy beans or Chickpeas
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. EVOO (use sparingly)
2 tsp. Garlic powder (adjust quantity to your desired taste)
Sea salt to taste
STEP 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (If using chickpeas, preheat oven to 400 degrees.)
STEP 2: Rinse & drain the soybeans and dry thoroughly with a towel.
STEP 3: Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spread the soy beans out. Drizzle with olive oil, freshly grated parmesan, and garlic powder as desired. Season with sea salt and pop in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
STEP 4: Every 5 minutes, be sure to check on the beans and stir as necessary to prevent burning
STEP 5: After about 25 minutes, or when they look crunchy, take out, let cool and enjoy!