Many people choose to give up meat for a variety of reasons. Health, sustainability, cruelty to animals, the want to try new things. Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say that no one decides to go vegetarian or vegan with the goal of being unhealthy. This is exactly what may happen, however, without proper knowledge.
Once people give up on meat, the question becomes: where do I get my protein? Tofu has become a popular answer. It’s high in protein, has deep roots in Chinese cuisine, and can be prepared in a variety of ways similar to meat. But is it good for you?
Mark Sisson over at Mark’s Daily Apple wrote up a thoroughly informative article about tofu, soy beans, and processed foods in general. While tofu is a nice source of protein, it’s still a processed food and should be consumed as such: in moderation. The good news is that there are healthier alternatives to tofu which taste just as good, if not better.
You can check out Mark’s full article here and the highlights below:
- Whole soy beans are a great plant protein source and contain valuable phyto-nutrients. Though it is not a ‘miracle’ health food, it is not bad for you, either.
- Black beans are actually fermented soy beans. Fermented foods reduce cholesterol and improve digestion and immunity.
- Soybean oil is highly refined, contains dangerous trans fat and other chemically-modified fat molecules, and should be avoided!
- In considering soy nuts, chips, and snacks, beware of processed foods! Just because the base ingredient is healthy does not mean the end result is as well. Processing destroys valuable nutrients and enzymes and usually means added fat, sugar, and chemicals.
- Et tu, soy milk? Yep. It contains phytic acid, which inhibits the absorption of nutrients. Use sparingly.
- Tofu is a nice, occasional alternative protein source for those who want to avoid too much meat. However, it is still a processed food and should be treated as such.
- Don’t fret, though. Tempeh could be the answer to your tofu woes. It’s fermented, so it’s rich in isoflavones, which may prevent things like heat disease and cancer. Fermented soy milk and tofu also exists out there in the world, you just have to look for it.
- Miso is also fermented, is great for soups, and acts as a probiotic.
- Other aspects of soy must also be considered. Various studies have yielded positive and negatives, showing that soy is: dangerous for boys during puberty, can help with menopause symptoms, may inhibit fertility, and may help prevent cancer and heart disease.
The posts on this blog are for information only, and are not intended to substitute for a doctor-patient or other healthcare professional-patient relationship nor do they constitute medical or healthcare advice of any kind. Any information in these posts should not be acted upon without consideration of primary source material and professional input from one's own healthcare professionals.