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Enjoy Your Soy!

Baked TofuOne of my best friends is a breast cancer survivor who went vegan after her mastectomy 17 years ago. So you can imagine how happy I was to read about all the research showing that soy is not only safe for women who’ve had breast cancer but also beneficial to them. As Dr. Neal Barnard, the president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, points out, women who eat soy—especially early in life—are 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer compared with women who eat few or no soy products. For women who’ve already been diagnosed with breast cancer, eating soy may actually help reduce the risk of a recurrence.

It’s no big surprise, really. Soy is known to be a healthy food. It has cardiovascular benefits, helps prevent prostate and colon cancers, lessens hot flashes in menopausal women, and protects against osteoporosis. The antioxidants in soy may even benefit asthma sufferers.

I’m convinced that soy is nutritious and valuable, not to mention delicious and versatile. It can be found in everything from veggie burgers and veggie dogs to soy milk and soy ice cream—so there’s no need to go overboard and start drinking soy-infused water or brushing your teeth with soy paste or anything like that.

The healthiest forms of soy are edamame, tofu, tempeh, and other whole (nonprocessed) foods. Of course, a balanced vegan diet should also include plenty of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and other plant-based foods. Check out our vegan recipes.

You know, I’ve noticed that the people who usually tell me that they’re concerned about soy are the ones who frequently kick back Big Macs, chicken sandwiches, cheese pizza, sodas, and other unhealthy, energy-sapping, artery-clogging, or cancer-inducing foods. It’s as if they’re looking for an excuse not to eat better. They won’t find it here!

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  • Sarah says:

    Estrogen and soy consumption:

    I have been consumming soymilk everyday for almost two months with my morning ceral. I also enjoy my occasional boca burgers and tofu in it’s orginal form or as edame. I also have been taking birthcontrtol the entire time I’ve been veg and estrogen in soy does not pose any problems for me. You don’t want to consume too much, but balance is the key.

  • Tanja says:

    I am a vegetarian for 4 years now but everyone tells me to watch my soy so I stopped drinking soy milk and watch how much tofu i eat I am 30 years old what do you think?

  • Ashley says:

    Wow! I had a conversation with someone about this at my office only 2 days ago! She was pulling a carton of Rice Dream out of the mini-fridge and I mentioned to her how I really enjoyed that brand of rice milk. She also pulled out a dairy-yogurt. I don’t judge by nature, but she proceeded to tell me how horrible Soy is for you. I’ve been Vegan for nearly a decade and love soy! I asked her curiously, why she doesn’t consume soy… and she COULD NOT give me an intelligent answer! As she stumbled over her words, she mentioned something about how “soy is intended for animal consumption…” and how “soy had little nutritional value.”
    Needless to say, I was stunned by her lack of argument to back up her claim. The conversation ended when I asked her if she consumed dairy from cows, and she said yes… I asked her didn’t she think that was intended for baby cows?
    Meanwhile… In the last two days I’ve seen her partake in sugary birthday-cake and donuts and other office-junk foods! It suprises me that one would consume something as horrible for the human body as a fatty-lardy donut, but knock-down on wonderful soy!
    Interesting post!

  • pjpeace says:

    The research I have come across says 1-2 servings a day for past breast cancer survivors is ok. I have heard of breast cancer survivors with certain types of specific genes that need to completely stay away from soy (due to the estrogen in the soy). Soy is great but there is never one cure all or preventative for cancer. Studies have shown that recurrence rates for breast cancer survivors have come down but they always say not to over do it…everything in moderation! =)

  • some thoughts says:

    soy is not a problem, GM soy is.

  • CCF says:

    For what it’s worth: I love tofu. I love it cooked thoroughly or in Asian food. I’ve been on a strict food plan for many years and was having alot of trouble losing weight. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was because I was eating all the right foods and practicing contant portion control. I read somewhere that too much tofu can cause hormonal problems and possibly weight gain. Anyway, I gave up the block tofu (still eating veggie burgers and other types of soy) about 6 weeks ago and have dropped 7 lbs already. I’m convinced that eating so much tofu was my problem. I was consuming up to 16 oz of cooked tofu per day. As a few others have noted…I have to eat it in moderation. Even though a dietician said 16 oz is fine, it didn’t work with my metabolism. Now I am not buying, but will allow myself to indulge if I eat out, which is rare.

  • Brenda says:

    Soy is awesome. We drink alot of soy milk. I also use alot of tofu in my dishes for cheese. It’s great tasting. Go soy!

  • rachelle says:

    that is great to hear 🙂

  • Mandiee says:

    I’m vegan and I’ve heard arguments for the benefits of soy and why to stay away from it. Going with the saying that moderation is key, I have little bits here and there but try to avoid it when I can. Since you obviously support its health benefits, how much soy do you think is a safe and beneficial amount and how much do you think is too much? I have found very little direction on this and hope that you can help.