Whether or not you are vegetarian you may be consuming soy without realising it. So is it good for us, neutral or harmful?
The bottom line is that soy that is prepared, cooked and/or fermented properly is a good source of protein, minerals and vitamins. However soy that is not properly prepared can be very harsh on the digestive tract as it contains high levels of phytates which may inflame the intestinal lining and inhibit absorption of minerals such as zinc and iron from the meal.
1. Only eat soy that has been prepared and cooked properly. Fermented is best, this includes Tempeh, Miso, Natto and traditionally brewed soy sauce. Tofu is also fine but not as good for us as Tempeh.
2. Choose soy that is certified organic or specifically states non-genetically modified (non-GM). If it is certified organic it is not allowed to be GM.
3. Avoid soy milk (unless you have made it yourself and fermented or prepared and cooked the soybeans properly). Click here for a recipe for Almond Milk as an alternative.
4. Avoid other soy products such as soy yoghurt, soy cheese, faux/fake meats made with soy protein and soy flour.
5. Avoid TVP (textured vegetable protein) and hydrolysed vegetable protein as these are usually made from soy.
You might be surprised to learn that cheaply made soy protein and soy flour can be found in a lot of everyday foods. Here are some ingredient lists from very common foods:
Standard loaf of bread:
Beef & Pork Meatballs:
So read the ingredient lists to check for soy, you might be surprised what you find!