Soy is one those very controversial topics! There’s a plethora of articles published on the pros, the cons, and the undecided to take a side. Most often, the fear of soy has to do with estrogen and “man boobs” and thyroid health. These concerns seem to be expressed primarily from non-vegetarians. Vegetarians, and especially vegans, on the other hand, depend on soy products for protein. So I have compiled a list of references below for your perusal. If you have already made up your mind about how you feel about eating soy products, please act according to your personal convictions. If you just don’t know, feel free to browse the articles (in the References section below) and any others you find and become an informed food shopper.
In 1994, Monsanto starts its pivot into biotechnology. It genetically engineers a plant cell in 1982, commercializes the first genetically engineered product, recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) in 1994, and brings its first genetically engineered seeds, Roundup soybeans, onto the market in 1996.
Before that time, soy products were essentially very safe. In the 1970s, our family made tofu at home from soybeans. It can still be done, but you have to have a source of non-GMO soybeans. You can find them if you look! Here’s a video-recipe:
I will have to confess that I prefer the convenience of buying organic, non-GMO sprouted tofu (from Trader Joe’s where I live). However, for many years I used the following procedure with tofu:
To make firm tofu have a texture more like meat, put it in the freezer when you first bring it home from the store. When you’re ready to use it, thaw it out in the refrigerator, then open the package and gently squeeze out the liquid. Then you can cube it or slice it. I cook mine in coconut oil and toasted sesame oil, sprinkled with tamari and minced garlic. I frequently use it in veggie stir-frys or with cooked greens.
PRODUCT REVIEW: TRADER JOE’S SPROUTED TOFU
Regular tofu is made from cooked soybeans while sprouted tofu is made from sprouted soybeans. Sprouted tofu is easier to digest (sprouting softens the beans and releases troublesome phytates), and is richer in protein, calcium, and iron.
I use firm or extra firm tofu for use in cooking, but use a soft silken tofu to make vegan sour cream and other “creamy” vegan recipes.
A Vegan Doctor Addresses Soy Myths and Misinformation
Antidiabetic effects of fermented soybean products on type 2 diabetes
Are Phytoestrogens Good or Bad for You? Separating Fact from Fiction
Are Soy Beans Good for Diabetes?
If you’re interested in adding soybeans to your diet, fermented soybeans appear more beneficial for type 2 diabetes than nonfermented varieties, according to a review published in “Nutrition Research” in January 2010.
Can You Eat Soy If You Have a Thyroid Condition?
Do soy foods increase cancer risk?
Effects of soy protein and soybean isoflavones on thyroid function in healthy adults and hypothyroid patients: a review of the relevant literature.
How Soy Can Kill You and Save Your Life
“From the studies available, I can tell you that soy is neither as good as the proponents say, nor as evil as the critics claim. I wish we had more convincing science to report, but we don’t. The key is to take all the available evidence together and see what shakes out.”
How Soy Reduces Diabetes Risk
Is Soy Bad For You, or Good? The Shocking Truth
Is Soy Safe?
Busting the Myths of a Nutritional Powerhouse
Tofu, soymilk, miso, tempeh, edamame—these and other soy products, including the soybeans themselves. This article is from a strict dietary vegan perspective.
SOY: A HEALTHY SOURCE OF PROTEIN OR A HARMFUL DOSE OF HORMONES?
Soy Is NOT a Health Food
Soy Part 2—Research
Summary: The vast majority of the evidence is that soy is either neutral or protective against breast cancer, including for women previously diagnosed with estrogen receptor positive breast cancer (tumors stimulated by estrogen contact). This evidence is mostly limited to amounts of two servings per day or less.
Soy protein may improve symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease
What About Soy?
The Health Benefits of Soy