Friday, November 4, 2011

Tofu. To Eat or Not to Eat.

In thinking about whether to include tofu in my healthy diet, my research has turned up a wealth of important information about the soybean, which is the "mother" of tofu. Here's the basics, starting with a bit of history. The Chinese began cultivating soybeans thousands of years ago, not to eat themselves, or as a livestock feed, but to fix nitrogen in the soil, which is an important  horticultural need.  It wasn't until much later that Asians discovered they could ferment soybeans into different products to make it edible and for centuries they have eaten small amounts of fermented soybean foods as condiments. It wasn't until modern American times that soy has become a foodstuff eaten in large quantities unfermented.

Soybeans contain some very potent naturally occurring sustances, referred to as anti-nutrients. Anti-nutrients cause serious problems for anyone eating them. They have the highest known quantity of phytic acid in any plant tested. Phytic acid blocks the uptake of essential minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc, which can be especially dangerous for infants and the elderly.

Soybeans also contain enzyme inhibitors that block the digestion of protein.  They also contain hemaglutanin, a clot promoting substance which causes red blood cells to clump together. These anti-nutrients have been shown to contribute to gastric distress, allergies, reduced protein digestion, chronic nutrtional deficiencies, carcinogenesis, thyroid disease, and reproductive & infertility problems.

So, for my body, I think I will stick to small amounts of organic/non GMO, traditionally fermented soybean products like miso, tempeh, soy sauce, and natto.... and avoid things like tofu, soymilk, etc.  If you would like more information about all of this, see Dr. Kaayla Daniel's book - The Whole Soy Story- The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food and the website.

Here's to your health!
Iva Tashlick
Krmel Mystery School