Cookbook author Mindy Toomay's blog about eating for health, cooking with spirit, and celebrating life in northern California. Here she dishes up food rants and raves, recipes, and plenty of kitchen wisdom.

By your own efforts, waken yourself, watch yourself, and live joyfully.
-- The Dhammapada

Why not make a daily pleasure out of a daily necessity?
-- Peter Mayle


Tempeh, ole!

There's a lot in the press these days about the downside of soy. After years of being told by nutritionists that it's good for us, we've been hearing lately that there are adverse health effects from eating soy products regularly.

Some of the "dangers" being reported have to do with thyroid problems and estrogen-driven cancers. If you have such health challenges, you should study up and make a truly informed decision about whether or not soy is good for you.

As for me, I plan to continue eating soy foods on a regular basis until the day I die at a ripe old age. Since I've been eating tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy sauce, and miso for decades with no ill effects, I feel perfectly comfortable keeping them in my diet.

Are there any tempeh virgins out there? This firm and chewy nutty-tasting soybean "patty" has Indonesian roots and pairs deliciously with all Asian seasonings. Sometimes, though, it's fun to bend the boundaries and take it in a different ethnic direction, like I did with the taco filling pictured here. It contains lots of different vegetables and seasonings from the Mexican flavor family: oregano, chili powder, and cumin. Also has a serrano chili chopped up in it and some cooked brown rice stirred in. The dish in the background is a chunky guacamole and some hot corn tortillas are wrapped in that towel. It was a delicious and, yes, health-enhancing repast.

Tempeh is a fermented product, meaning it contains live enzymes in abundance. That's always a good thing for our digestive systems, but other soy foods have their own claims to good-health fame.

Of course, folks who don't eat meat need good lowfat sources of protein, and soy fits the bill. That's one major reason to enjoy it in abundance.

My common sense tells me that the benefits of soy way outweigh the risks. I'm no doctor, but Andrew Weil is. So if you don't want to take my advice, here's some of his:

All told, based on the evidence to date, I see no reason to worry about eating soy foods, whether fermented or not. I still recommend consuming one to two servings of soy per day, an amount equivalent to one cup of soy milk, or one half cup of tofu, soy protein (tempeh) or soy nuts. -- Andrew Weil, M.D.

You can read lots more about the joy of soy at his website.

Blessings and bon appetit!


At 5:27 AM, Blogger Dori said...

I'm a tempeh virgin, but I bought some awhile ago hoping to do something with it someday. I'm storing it the freezer for now.

I'm a soy food eater too. I like it and I'm healthy. I think it helps me keep my female hormones balanced.

Nice post.

At 11:09 AM, Blogger christine said...

Hi Mindy. I'm enjoying reading your posts. They keep me tuned in to vegetarian and vegan life styles. Thanks for visiting my blog!

At 12:40 PM, Blogger Harmonia said...

I've tried it a few times with a feeling left wanting...but I am sure it's because I need to learn more! Any and all recipes and tips are appreciated! Thanks for this! Also, to each it's own on the soy! I'll continue to consume! I'm with ya!

At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Geraldine said...

There are always debates about foods, aren't there? I think any healthier food choice, in moderation is OK, we certainly aren't giving up soy foods, they've been around a long time and I don't think they are going to fall into disrepute because of a some studies that are questionable at times.

Your photo looks wonderful btw.


At 9:23 PM, Blogger Jennifer C. said...

Great post Mindy. I will continue to eat soy for now as well. I'm also a fan of Dr. Weil, he's so reasonable.

At 8:53 AM, Blogger Jennifer C. said...

Hi again Mindy! I tagged you over at my blog. Can't wait to see your picks!


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