A friend asked me, What do I think about soy? As I was giving her my opinion, she said “You need to blog about this.” I just read a great article from MindBodyGreen that summarizes what you need to know about soy.
First, some background history. Soybeans were a crucial crop in eastern Asia long before written records. They remain a major crop in China, Japan, and Korea. The Chinese recognized the unfitness of soybeans for human consumption in their natural form. Now 5000 years later, we are once again catching on to the anti-nutritive qualities of the soybean, and realizing that the only soybean worth eating is one that has been fermented.
The key to releasing the nutrients of the soybean has been known for thousands of years. About 1000 B.C. in China, it was discovered that a mold, when allowed to grow on soybeans, destroyed the toxins present and made the nutrients in the beans available to the body. This process became known as fermentation and led to the creation of the still popular foods tempeh, miso, and natto.
The incredibly high demand for soy started with the invention of vegetable oil and trans fat, and led to the advent of industrialized genetically modified production. And as the story goes for most industrialized food, there is a byproduct! With all the oil extracted, the food manufacturers were left with a lot of soy protein that they started adding to processed foods. So, while Asian cultures eat only whole and fermented soybean products, we in the western world tend to split the beans into two different food products; soybean oil and soy protein (often called soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate, textured vegetable protein or hydrolyzed vegetable protein).
One or both of these food-like substances are pretty much found in all processed and fast foods. Read more…