food of choice for veggies the world over
and forced down the throats of the rest of us?
More than 60% of all processed food in Britain today contains soya in some form. You find it in breakfast cereals, cereal bars and biscuits, cheeses, cakes, dairy desserts, gravies, noodles, pastries, soups, sausage casings, sauces and sandwich spreads.
Soy can appear on food labels as soya flour, hydrolysed vegetable protein, soy protein isolate, protein concentrate, textured vegetable protein, vegetable oil (simple, fully, or partially hydrogenated), plant sterols, or the emulsifier lecithin.
When you research 'soy' on the internet, you'll find thousands of pages stating it is wonderful; a similar amount claims the opposite. However, when you look more closely, you soon notice that many proponents have, directly or indirectly, a financial interest in the matter. Soy is a multi-billion dollar business.
There are several problems with soy.
1) Almost 85% of the EU's imported soy comes from South America. Most of the soy grown there is genetically modified, high-spray, intensively-farmed Roundup Ready soy. (Roundup is a herbicide - Roundup Ready soy is specially developed to be tolerant to it). Vast chunks of rainforest are cut down to grow it.
2) Soy beans contain toxins. Many are deactivated when the bean is fermented as is done traditionally in Asia: so tamari, miso, and tempeh give no problems. But unfermented soy has been linked to indigestion, immune system breakdown, PMS, endometriosis, reproductive problems, allergies, ADD and ADHD, risk of heart disease and cancer, malnutrition, and loss of libido. Babies having soy formula are most at risk, but so are vegetarians, and mid-life women thinking soy will help with the menopause.
3) Soy's phytoestrogens are strongly implicated in thyroid disorders, behavioural and developmental disorders and cancer.
4) Soy's trypsin inhibitors interfere with digestion; phytoestrogens disrupt hormone function and disturb the thyroid. Soy contains a large amount of aluminium, and it reduces assimilation of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. It increases the need for vitamins D and B12, which we are often short of anyway.
5) Processing denatures the proteins in soy and forms the potent neurotoxin MSG, lysinoalanine and highly carcinogenic nitrosamines.
So should we - and can we - avoid soy?
The only soy which is really good for you, is soy which has been fermented [a]. So tamari, miso, tempeh are all right. Whereas tofu has only been fermented if it says so on the wrapping, which is rare. It's a pity especially for vegetarians, who find much of their supply of meat substitutes cut off .....
Which is why next month there will be a VEGETARIAN issue.
See also http://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/2009/11/19/soy-is-not-a-health-food/ and http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/soy-milk-harmless-or-harmful/.
Veg: aubergines, french/runner/broad beans, calabrese, cauli, cucumbers, fennel, chard, spinach (beet), summer squash, sweetcorn, globe artichokes, beet, carrots, courgettes, cabbage, kohlrabi, lettuce, peas, peppers, radish, turnip, marrow, tomatoes, spring onions, salsify/scorzonera, samphire, rocket, watercress.
Cheap, free range good-for-you meat: rabbit and wood pigeon. Puffballs!
Fish is excellent at this time of year: mackerel, black bream, crab, grey mullet, trout, scallops, sea bass, flounder.
Chinese cabbage, spring cabbage, chicory, kohl rabi, lettuce for harvesting November/December, quick variety peas, winter-hardy spring onions, salad leaves, fast-maturing carrots (Adelaide), endive, red, white (= mooli) and black radish, spinach beet. Lamb's lettuce (corn salad), rocket and especially land cress will survive the winter.
Perpetual spinach, (spinach beet, or leaf beet) tastes as good as 'true' spinach, is more forgiving of soil and weather and doesn't go to seed so quickly. Sow now for winter/spring crop.
Early August only: chard, florence fennel, turnip.
Plant: cauliflowers (early in the month), winter cabbages, kale.
COURGETTE and CREAM CHEESE SOUP
600g courgettes, 250g potatoes, 2 crushed garlic cloves, 1 chopped onion, butter/olive oil, 150g soft cheese, herbs like thyme; (paprika powder), 1.5l water.
Chop courgettes and potatoes into small pieces. Gently sauté onion, garlic, thyme and potatoes for a few minutes, stir, cover, cook for a few more mins, then add water (and paprika), bring to the boil and cook until soft, stirring occasionally. Blitz or mash, season.
RUNNER BEAN SOUP
900g runner beans, 3 onions, 1 large potato, water, 50ml milk, sour cream, mint, olive oil.
Chop onions and fry in olive oil until they turn clear. Prepare beans and add to the onions. Chop potato into chunks, add, plus some mint torn into small pieces. Cook gently for a few mins. Add enough water to cover. Simmer for 20 mins, add milk. When the veg are cooked, blend. Add more liquid if the soup is too thick. Add sour cream to each bowl, some croutons and chopped mint.
STIR FRY LETTUCE and GARLIC
3 tbsp oil, 3 cloves garlic, chopped; 250g cos or iceberg lettuce leaves torn into quarters, soy sauce.
Heat oil on high heat. Sauté garlic till it starts to go golden. Add lettuce and soy, stir fry till just wilted. Serve immediately.
FRENCH SALAD NIÇOISE serves 4-6 as a side dish. Great for barbecues!
200g new potatoes; 2 handfuls halved French beans; 1/2 small red onion, cut into thin strips; 4 handfuls cut veg like carrots, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms; 1 handful black olives; 2 tblsp capers; 2 tblsp fresh basil or tarragon; 2 eggs, hard-boiled, quartered; 2 minced garlic cloves; 1 tsp Dijon or 1/2 tsp English mustard; 3 tblsp lemon juice or 1 cider vinegar; 2 tblsp olive oil.
Combine garlic, mustard and lemon/vinegar and gradually whisk in oil. Cook potatoes in salted water, drain, cut small. Cook beans until tender but still firm: drain. Put them both in the dressing while still warm. Leave to cool, season. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix.
COURGETTE PASTA in CREAM CHEESE SAUCE (with peas or green beans)
450g grated courgettes, 120g cream cheese, (any peas or green beans), 340g uncooked pasta (maybe a bit less if you add peas/beans), 2 finely chopped cloves garlic, 125ml milk, butter/oil, chopped basil, salt and pepper, some grated mature cheese, (thyme, cream).
Cook pasta in lightly salted water, along with the peas or beans. Drain. Sauté garlic and courgettes for 10 mins, until some of the moisture has evaporated. Pour milk into the frying pan and stir in cream cheese, warm through. Mix in basil. Season and sprinkle with cheese. Serve over the pasta. If you are going to freeze it leave the cheese out and stir in when reheating. I had it with sugarpeas cooked with the pasta: delicious. You can also add some cream at the last minute.
CHILLI RUNNER BEANS
450 g runner beans, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 sliced chilli, 2 chopped cloves garlic, salt.
Remove the bean strings. Slice, then tip into a pan of boiling salted water to blanch for a few minutes until they soften slightly, but still retain resistance to the bite. Warm olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the beans, add sliced chilli and leave to infuse the oil for a few minutes on a low heat. Stir in the warm beans and soy, serve at once.
FRENCH BEANS with SOUR CREAM and PAPRIKA
700g French beans, 25g butter, 1 small chopped onion, 1 tsp paprika, salt, pepper, 150ml water, 145ml sour cream.
Top and tail beans, cut into 2.5cm lengths. Melt butter, sauté onion gently for few mins until soft but not brown. Add half the paprika, the beans, stock, salt and pepper, bring to boil and cook for 10 mins until beans tender. Take off the heat, stir in sour cream, reheat without boiling. Dust top with rest paprika.
SAUTEED SPINACH with GARLIC and WHITE WINE
250g spinach, 3 minced garlic cloves, 2 tblsp olive oil, 130ml (cheap) white wine.
Heat oil: when hot but not smoking, toss in garlic and move it around constantly. Once it becomes fragrant (very quickly), drop all the spinach into the pan and stir. When this begins to wilt slightly, pour wine over it. Don't cook it for too long – you want the leaves to still be bright green when you take it off.
[a] See http://gundrymd.com/soy-good-bad/.
Next month: protein.