FIRST, HERE’S WHAT WE LOVE ABOUT SOYBEANS…
- They are rich in nutrients and beneficial plant compounds. Soy can supply essential amino acids, B vitamins, healthy unsaturated fatty acids, and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron.
- It’s a great way to enjoy plant-based protein. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, half a cup of tofu provides 21.8 grams of protein with 181 calories.
- Diets rich in minimally processed soy foods can offer health benefits. This article from the New York Times, Is Tofu Good for You, shares what the latest research and the experts say about the benefits.
- And they can taste delicious if they’re prepared right! See below for a few of our favorite, flavor-filled recipes.
BUT AREN’T SOY FOODS LINKED WITH CANCER?
One of the concerns about soy is the fact that it has relatively high levels of isoflavones, plant-based compounds that are structurally similar to the hormone estrogen. This has led some to worry that it might promote breast cancer. However, as reported in the New York Times article, many studies show women who eat higher amounts of soy foods have no greater risk, and sometimes an even lower risk, of developing breast cancer than those who eat little or no soy.
According to a recent article by the American Cancer Society, “So far, the evidence does not point to any dangers from eating soy in people, and the health benefits appear to outweigh any potential risk. In fact, there is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, miso, and soymilk may lower the risk of breast cancer, especially among Asian women.”
WHY ARE TOFU AND SOY HEALTHY CHOICES FOR OUR HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT?
The benefits for our health include improved heart health, fewer menopause symptoms for some, and even a lower risk of certain cancers. Dr. Qi Sun, from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, led a study published in 2020 that found that consuming more soy isoflavones, especially from tofu, was associated with a moderately lower risk of coronary heart disease. It makes sense to choose tofu and other plant-based proteins when possible since animal-source proteins are associated with a higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and earlier death.
The environment benefits from plant-forward eating as well. Sadly, according to earthday.org, “Our food system accounts for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, making animal agriculture one of the largest contributors to climate change.” At Toby’s, we’re big proponents of plant-forward eating. You don’t need to be a vegan or even a vegetarian to be a plant-forward eater. It’s simply getting more plants on your plate.
A quick caveat, not all soy foods are equally nutritious and beneficial. Heavily processed soy food products often contain more salt, sugar, fat, and unnecessary additives and fillers. Today many products contain soy protein isolate, a concentrated form of plant-based protein originating from soybeans. However, consumers should know that according to the FDA, the majority of soy grown in the US comes from GMO crops.
HOW TO INCORPORATE SOY INTO YOUR DIET
Back to the story of our founder… Toby was a busy working mom looking for an easy way to get some protein into her diet. Ideally, a delicious spread she could eat on the go with just about anything. The result was a protein-rich concoction known as Toby’s Tofu Paté. This first tofu spread was so popular, large supermarkets kept calling to request it. Today, Toby’s Tofu Paté is known as the Original Plant Based Dip & Spread, and it’s still flying off grocery shelves around the PNW and Northern California.
Here are a few other recipes that highlight tofu, but don’t skimp on flavor. Even the pickiest eaters usually devour these recipes!
Are you bored of your same old breakfast? Do you struggle to eat protein in the morning? This breakfast toast recipe gives you three ways to bring protein and loads of sunny flavor to your morning.
Does tofu seem rather ho-hum to you? You won’t feel that way after you try this recipe! The combination of Toby’s Seasoning Mix with Toby’s Yogurt Ranch Dressing & Dip provides delicious flavor without a lot of effort.
Yum! We love rice and veggie bowls. Such a great way to enjoy spring veggies. But what about the protein…? This recipe integrates Toby’s Plant Based Dip & Spread for protein and a delicious flavor boost.
If you’re looking for even more inspiration on plant-forward eating, join our family! Stay up-to-date with Toby’s fun new recipes, product savings, and news for food lovers by signing up for our newsletter!