The Sunday Times Lifestyle reported on November 11th, 2001 that the people of Okinawa, an island off the coast of Japan, not only live very long lives, but are also extremely healthy. It was also noted that the use of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) in female menopause was virtually non-existent. Amongst other relevant things, these Okinawa residents eat plenty of soya foods, which are extremely rich in flavonoids, exceeding the levels in other plant foods by as much as 1000 times. They are powerful antioxidants, and have been proven to protect from cardiovascular disease and coronary heart disease. Soya foods are low in saturated fats and high in lecithin which aids emulsifying and lowering of harmful cholesterol in the blood-stream. Soya foods protect us from breast and prostate cancer by virtue of their Diadzein and Genistein content (fe/male hormone receptors will pick up the innocuous phyto hormones from soya as opposed to the abundantly available toxic xenestrogens from the environment). All soya foods, including tofu (in India known as soya paneer), tofuburgers, soyamilk and soyamilk powder are high in good quality plant protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids. Deriving our protein from plant sources as opposed to animal sources is of course part of an ecologically responsible path. Environmental degradation as the result of animal farming is a serious threat to the future of our planet’s health, and clearly, to our own health.
From time to time, soya is portrayed as a contentious and potentially dangerous food causing premature development in children and infertility in adults. We wish to clearly inform on the two different ‘lagers’. Commercial farming uses mass-produced genetically modified soya as animal feed. This yields numerous soya-isolates as by-products that have found their way insidiously into a large number of food items, from baby food to margarine, to shakes, cereals, non-dairy yoghurt, bird food and as cheap fillers and extenders. We are only just emerging out of an era where soya’s virtues, praised as the ultimate ‘miracle food’, inspired health-conscious consumers and new and old vegetarians alike to eat as much soya as possible - not difficult with the virtually inexhaustible range of items! We now ask, if soya is good for you, is having soya three times a day better or best? Soya is powerfully useful as a meat-replacement, but would you have meat three times a day? Contrast the unqualified over-consumption of inferior GM soya isolates with a moderate, gourmet approach to beneficial soya foods and you get a very different picture. Let’s lay down the criteria for calling soya a super health food:
- Soya needs to be non-genetically modified, ideally from organic sources.
- Same like other high-protein legumes (e.g. chickpeas) the trypsin-inhibitor, understood to interfere with protein absorption, needs to be deactivated. The great culinary arts have successfully done this through sprouting, cooking and fermenting. In fact, tofu and soyamilk are cooked for five minutes in an airless process at slightly above 100°C.
These culinary and health requirements again turn our attention to Japan where people regularly and moderately consume tofu as a staple, accompanied by Tamari, Shoyu and Miso (fermented foods) and sea vegetables (to provide a healthy mineral balance including iodine for balanced thyroid function).
Preparation Tips for Tofu
Tofu has 2 characteristics which need to be kept in mind when working with tofu: a very fine and silky smooth texture which makes tofu ideal for dips, dressings and sauces and even as a base for dairy-free ice-cream; a blandness of taste combined with the capacity to take on flavour. Tofu typically contains about 8% protein, and its amino acid analysis is rather similar to that of animal protein (including casein milk protein). It is an excellent food to use in combining proteins since it contains an abundance of lysine, an essential amino acid that is deficient in many grain products. Most grains, conversely, are rich in the sulphur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine, which soya is short in.
Thus Soya and grain proteins, having exactly opposite strengths and weaknesses, complement each other. By serving foods such as tofu and wholegrain bread or brown rice at the same meal and combining them in the correct ratios, we are able to “create” new protein at no extra cost. The Net Protein Utilisation of the resultant combination is considerably higher than that of either of the individual foods. By serving 100g tofu with 11/4 cups of brown rice, we obtain 32% more protein. Furthermore, the use of whole grains with soya foods creates a “protein-sparing effect”: the body uses the grain carbohydrates as its source of fuel or energy and allows the protein to fulfil its basic function of tissue growth and repair.
Earth Products brings you the following FINE SOYA FOODS:
tofu, smoked tofu and our special GLUTEN-FREE tofu burgers.
Tofu: our most versatile product is made from non-GMO or organically-grown soya beans, filtered water, and imported Japanese Nigari, which transforms creamy soyamilk into silky clouds of solids. When pressed, they turn into traditional firm Japanese country-style tofu! Its versatility makes this the choice for dips, stir-fries, cakes and bakes.
Smoked Tofu: A scrumptious delicatessen tofu marinated in our special soya sauce marinade overnight before being enveloped in the flavourful smoke of smouldering beechwood chips for some minutes (many hours short of the “smoking for cooking” methods which are reputedly carcinogenic). Smoked Tofu is so delectable it can be used straight from the packet and as the new-comer’s introduction to soyafoods!
Tofuburgers: Squeaky-clean and GLUTEN-FREE, these satisfying high protein patties are your gourmet relief when restricted by food intolerances. The simple yet tasty combination of tofu, herbs, sunflower seeds, flaxseed and sago starch can be baked, braaied and fried.
Our soyafoods are certified Kosher and Vegetarian.