Question: What do these delicious foods have in common?
Awesome, right? So, here’s the deal: Soy products come from soybeans—unbelievably versatile, protein-packed legumes that have some serious magical powers. Soy products can replace dairy products (soy milk!), eggs (tofu scramble!), AND meat (veggie burgers!), making it easier than EVER to kick cruelty off your menu and go vegan! 😀
One big reason we ❤ soy? It’s super-healthy. Check it out:
- It’s heart-healthy: Soy can help lower cholesterol, as well as reduce the risk of heart attack and developing diabetes.
- It’s good for ladies: Women who eat soy (especially in their younger years) are 30 percent less likely to develop breast cancer than those who eat few or no soy products.
- It’s good for dudes: Research shows that eating more soy can lower a man’s risk of developing prostate cancer by 26 percent.
- It’s good for your skeleton: Soy is known to improve bone health and protect against osteoporosis.
- It’s nutrient-packed: Products like tofu and tempeh are full of nutrients and essential minerals, including calcium and iron.
- It’s all-around kick-ass: Soy is known to improve brain function and help prevent the development of a number of cancers, and the antioxidants found in soy may even benefit those who suffer from asthma.
So, it’s no surprise that people have been eating soy for literally THOUSANDS of years. And in some Asian countries, where tofu and soy milk are dietary staples, heart disease and cancer are much less common.
Now, like I said, soy is SUPER-versatile—let me introduce you to some of its familiar faces:
For all you purists out there, these are soybeans in their natural state! You might recognize these pods full of yummy green soybeans as a common appetizer at Japanese restaurants. You can also add shelled edamame to stir-fries for a protein punch or dry roast the beans for a crunchy and healthy snack!
Yes, soybeans can be made into milk, too—no cows harmed! And you can use it in all the same ways that you would use cow’s milk. Soy products are perfect replacements for cruel dairy products. It’s easy to find soy-based cheese, yogurt, ice cream, coffee creamer, nog, and more at most grocery stores. And many coffee shops now carry soy milk, too! (Anyone ready for a Starbucks run?)
Duh! One of our fave soy babies—also known as “bean curd” (um, I’ll stick with “tofu”)—is made by coagulating fresh soy milk and then forming it into a block. Sounds gross, but it turns out awesome. You can bake it, fry it, bread it, marinate it, steam it—whatever your heart desires! AND it absorbs the flavor of whatever you cook it with. You can even scramble it instead of using eggs for brunch. 🙂 Some expert advice: Tofu isn’t just for savory dishes—silken tofu is great for making vegan pie, mousse, smoothies, and more.
Tempeh may not be as popular as tofu, but it’s definitely got it goin’ on. This super-healthy food is made from whole, cooked, slightly fermented soybeans to form a firm and nutty-tasting patty. Because it’s less processed than tofu and soy “meats,” it retains a ton of nutrients and is PACKED with protein! Try using tempeh in your next recipe—like a vegan BLAT sandwich (tempeh bacon is EVERYTHING) or a spicy tempeh taco salad or on top of a pizza!
As if the awful cruelty to animals weren’t enough, you now DEFINITELY have no reason ever to eat meat again. Soy is responsible for some of the tastiest, juciest, meatiest vegan meats ever. Think soy chorizo, veggie burger patties, soy hot dogs, textured soy protein (instead of ground beef!), faux-chicken strips, vegan sausages, and SO much more. These aren’t quite as healthy as the previously mentioned, less-processed soy foods, but unlike meat, they’re free of bad cholesterol, lower in saturated fat, and, of course, cruelty-free. 🙂
Aren’t you *soy* excited to go chug a soy latte and cook up some tofu now? 😉 Share this with your friends so they know just how awesome, healthy, and versatile soy is, too!
Want more ways to help animals while enjoying that delicious soy milk? Download the peta2 iPhone app!