There’s a lot of conflicting information going around about soy: Is it healthy? Is it dangerous? And if it’s OK to eat, why do some people say it isn’t?

Some of the misunderstandings come from the fact that studies in people and studies in animals may show different results. In some animal studies, rodents that were exposed to high doses of compounds found in soy called isoflavones showed an increased risk of breast cancer. This is thought to be because the isoflavones in soy can act like estrogen in the body, and increased estrogen has been linked to certain types of breast cancer.

But rodents process soy differently from people, and the same results have not been seen in people. Also, doses of isoflavones in the animal studies are much higher than in humans. In fact, in human studies, the estrogen effects of soy seem to either have no effect at all, or to reduce breast cancer risk (especially in Asian countries, where lifelong intake is higher than the US). This may be because the isoflavones can actually block the more potent natural estrogens in the blood.

So far, the evidence does not point to any dangers from eating soy in people, and the health benefits appear to outweigh any potential risk. In fact, there is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso, and soymilk may lower the risk of breast cancer, especially among Asian women. Soy foods are excellent sources of protein, especially when they replace other, less healthy foods such as animal fats and red or processed meats. Soy foods have been linked to lower rates of heart disease and may even help lower cholesterol.

According to Marji McCullough, ScD, RD, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society, soy foods are healthy and safe. But she advises against taking soy supplements – which contain much higher isoflavone concentrations than food – until more research is done.

How can I make soy foods kid-friendly?

Edamame (whole soybeans either shelled or in the pod) are probably the most kid-friendly form of soy around. Pack them in lunchboxes or serve them as a snack. You can also use soy crumbles or tempeh in place of some or all of the meat in taco and lasagna filling. Or try tossing chunks of extra firm tofu with a yummy sauce and then stir-frying or baking. Like all flavored milk, soy milk is fine in moderation but does contain a few teaspoons of added sugar per glass.

Homemade Soy Milk

Soya milk or soy milk is no alien term for people anymore. It is easily available in your neighbourhood grocery store or supermarket. Not only that its popularity has been increasing in the last few years. With more and more people opting for vegetarian and vegan lifestyle, soy milk is fast becoming a good source of protein for those who can’t take dairy.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup soybean
  • 5 cups water
  • Salt – 1 pinch
  • cheesecloth or muslin cloth to strain
  • A large saucepan
  • Optional flavourings
  • Sugar to taste
  • Plain chocolate powder
  • Pure vanilla extract

Directions

  • Wash the beans nicely in running water and keep in a large bowl for soaking
  • Soak the beans for 10-12 hours or overnight in water.
  • In morning, rub between hands to remove as much hulls or shells as possible. Discard the hulls.
  • Now put the dal in blender with 2 spoons of water.
  • Grind it to a fine paste.
  • Add 2-3 spoons of water as needed to make paste as smooth as possible. This will take anywhere between 3-5 minutes.
  • Place the muslin cloth over a large strainer an a large bowl.
  • Strain the ground soybean and squeeze out all the milk through the muslin cloth.
  • Add the remaining water and mix well.
  • Transfer the milk to a saucepan big enough to hold all the milk with enough room for boiling.
  • Place the pan on medium heat bring to a boil while stirring off and on. Do not leave it to boil as it will bubble over just like regular milk.
  • If you see any foam forming on top, skim it using a spoon.
  • Once it boils, add a pinch of salt to it.
  • You may also add any flavourings to this at this point.
  • Let it simmer for about 15 minutes while keeping an eye.
  • Let the milk cool down. You may store this for 2-3 days in fridge.

Peanut Butter Chickpea Cookie Pie

This cookie pie is fudgy, chocolatey, crispy on the edges, gooey in the middle and just perfect all around.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (60 g) oat flour certified gluten-free if needed *, or use regular flour
  • 1 cup (164 g) cooked chickpeas drained if using canned
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil refined if you dont want the coconut flavor
  • 1/3 cup (83.33 g) nut butter such as peanut almond or cashew, or use sunbutter to make nut-free
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 to 4 tbsp coconut sugar or other sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp salt depends on if the nut butter and chickpeas are already salted
  • 1/2 tsp (0.5 tsp) baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp (0.25 tsp) ground cinnamon optional
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) vegan chocolate chips or chunks

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180ºc.
  • Add all the ingredients except chocolate chips to a food processor. Process for half a minute, scrape sides and process again until smooth. Taste and adjust sweet if needed. (If the mixture is too stiff, add a tbsp or more aquafaba or non dairy milk and blend in. See pictures for texture).
  • Reserve a tbsp of chocolate chips for garnish. Fold in the rest of the chocolate chips into the thick batter in the processor.
  • Grease or line an 8 inch or smaller cake pan. Transfer the batter onto the pan and spread it out using a spatula. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.
  • Bake for 22 to 26 minutes or until the center looks set.

Bake and cool for 10 mins. The pie is fudgy and soft in the middle, so it is easier to slice it in the pan and and pick up each slice. Serve with dollop of vegan vanilla ice cream or whipped coconut cream, and melted chocolate or vegan caramel.

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