Vegetarian and Vegan FAQ - About soy and soy products

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02-07-2005, 05:08 PM

Soybeans belong to the legume family and are native to East Asia. They have been an important protein source in the Orient for millions of people for over five thousand years.

Soybeans are good source of protein, fiber and minerals as well as unsaturated fat. As soybeans mature in the pod, they ripen into a hard, dry bean. Although most soybeans are yellow, there are also rare varieties which are black, brown or green. Soy beans or edamame can be found in some
grocery stores and most often in health food stores.

Green soybeans (edamame) should be refrigerated and used within two days. Frozen edamame keep for several months. Dried soybeans may be kept in an airtight container for a long period of

Soybeans can be cooked and used in soups, sauces and stews. To prepare two cups of soybeans for cooking, soak in about six cups of water for six to eight hours. (Soaking shortens the cooking time and improves the texture and appearance of the beans.)

Drain, rinse and cook soaked soybeans in about six cups of fresh water. Don't add salt at this point or it will delay the softening of the soybeans. Pressure cook for about 40 min., then the beans should have become tender.

When you cook soybeans, make it worth your while by cooking two or three times what you need and freezing the rest for later use.

02-07-2005, 05:16 PM

Soy milk is made by soaking soybeans and then grinding them with water. The fluid which result after straining is called soy milk. Plain soy milk is a source of high quality proteins, isoflavones and B-vitamins.

Soy milk is free of the milk sugar (lactose) and is a good choice for people who
are lactose intolerant. Also, soy milk is a good alternative for those who are allergic to cow's milk.

Most of the soy milk available in the market is flavored and fortified with extra calcium or vitamins. The most popular flavors for soy milk are vanilla and chocolate.

It is great on it's own in a tall cool glass, can be used in cereal and also as a substitute for regular milk in most recipes.

02-07-2005, 05:19 PM

A staple in Asia for thousands of years, tofu is known for its extraordinary nutritional benefits, as well as its versatility. Tofu, also known as soya curd, is a soft cheese-like food made by curdling soya milk with a coagulant.

Tofu is rich in both high quality protein and B-vitamins and is, therefore, an excellent substitute for meat in many vegetarian recipes. As opposed to soya milk, tofu contains a lot of calcium. This calcium originates from the coagulant (nigari). When making tofu, the soy proteins are precipitated with calcium, providing tofu with a ready source of calcium. Calicum in tofu contributes to the prevention of osteoporosis.

Tofu is a rather bland tasting product that easily absorbs the flavours of the
other ingredients. Tofu is sold in water-filled packs or in aseptic cartons.
Fresh tofu is usually packaged in water and should be refrigerated and kept
in water until used. If the water is drained and changed daily, the tofu should last for one week. Tofu can be frozen for up to three months. Freezing will change its texture however and will make the tofu slightly chewier.

Types of tofu

Firm tofu - Firm tofu is dense and can be cubed and stir-fried, grilled, scrambled, pickled, smoked, baked, barbecued or served in soups. Firm tofu is higher in protein, fats and calcium than othertypes of tofu.

Soft tofu - Soft tofu is more suited for recipes in which tofu needs to be blended.

Silken tofu - Silken tofu has a creamy structure and is also used in blended dishes. In Japan, silken tofu is consumed as such with some soy sauce.

Please see the vegetarian/vegan recipe thread in this forum for tips on pressing tofu and for tofu recipes :chef:

02-07-2005, 05:30 PM

Miso is a rich, salty condiment that characterises the essence of Japanese cooking. To make miso, soy beans and sometimes a grain such as rice, are
combined with salt and a mould culture, and then aged in cedar vats for one to three years. The addition of different ingredients and variations in length of ageing produce different types of miso that vary greatly in flavour, texture, colour and aroma.

There are many variations of miso, which are basically all made from koji mixed with either rice, barley, and/or soy beans. The ingredients are fermented and aged in wooden kegs. Some of the lighter sweet miso is aged for only one to two months, while the darker miso may be aged for up to 2 years. Miso comes in many colours, ranging from creamy white, red and cocoa-brown. The
texture and taste of these variations are just as diverse.


Shoyu is a dark brown liquid made from soya beans that have undergone a fermentation process. Natural shoyu employs the use of a centuries-old method of fermentation involving a special koji (Aspergillus oryzae), which converts hard-to-digest soy proteins, starches and fats into easily absorbed amino acids, simple sugars and fatty acids. Most commercial shoyu is made
by a chemical process in which cereals and soybeans are mixed with acids.

Depending on the ingredients there are different types of soya sauce:

- shoyu: mixture of soyabeans and wheat
- tamari: is only made from soya beans

Shoyu is the foundation of Japanese cuisine, it is the essential ingredient. Shoyu is the most important condiment used to flavour food and also used to cook with. Shoyu can be found in most grocery stores (Asion food section) or in health stores. Shoyu can be stored at room temperature for up to one year.

Shoyu also contains a lot of salt and should be used sparingly to flavor dishes.

02-07-2005, 05:35 PM

Soybean oil is widely and is commonly called ‘vegetable oil’. Soybean oil is a very healthy food ingredient despite the bad publicity regarding fats and oils in general. Soybean oil does not contain much saturated fat.

Saturated fat causes heart diseases and is mainly found in products
from animal origin. Soybean oil is also used by the food industry in a variety of food products including salad dressings, sandwich spreads, margarine, bread, mayonnaise, non-dairy coffee creamers and and snack foods.

Soybean oil contains natural antioxidants which remain in the oil even after extraction.

Soybean oil has normally a shelf life of 1 year but its better to store the soybean oil for a few months at room temperature. Soybean oil should be stored in a dry and dark place and away from heat. Refrigerating soybean oil will help keep it for a longer period of time.

02-07-2005, 05:54 PM

Textured soy protein is made from defatted soy flour that is compressed and processed into granules or chunks. During this process, the structure of the soy proteins changes in fibres.

Textured soy protein has a shelflife of more than a year when stored dry at room temperature. After rehydration, it should be used at once or stored for a max 3 days in the refrigerator. To use textured soy protein read the instruction on the packages. Normally it says to rehydrate the protein in cold or hot water and to let it rehydrate for a few minutes. When you add a bit of
vinegar or lemon juice the textured soy protein rehydrates quicklier.

Textured soy protein can replace, completely or partly, ground beef in most recipes and is great in lasagna, spaghetti sauce, chilli and soups and is used by by the food industry in many foods products, mainly foods that resemble meat products such as beef, pork or chicken. Textured soy protein is also available in health stores.

02-07-2005, 05:58 PM

Tempeh is cake-like soy product that is made by removing the hull of cooked, soya beans, mixing with a culture, and ageing for a day or two. The culture helps hold the soya beans together in a cake form. It is common to find tempeh made with added ingredients such as vegetables or grains.

Since tempeh is made from whole soybeans, it is a fibre-rich food. It is also a generous source of many nutrients such as calcium, B-vitamins and iron.

Tempeh can be found at almost all health food stores and in the refrigerated section of many grocery stores.

Tempeh cakes are cut up and added to stir fries, vegetable dishes, and casseroles. Tempeh has a tender chewy consistency that makes it an excellent addition to a variety of foods. The easiest way to prepare tempeh is to bake the sliced tempeh in a pan with a lot of oil, until it becomes crisp.

It's also delicious on the grill: first steam cubes of tempeh and marinate them in a barbecue sauce. Then grill until browned. Chunks of tempeh can be added to spaghetti sauce, or chilli mix, or to soups and casseroles.

12-28-2005, 10:28 PM
look into how soy affects the thyroid. I wont use it becuase i have a underactive thyroid.

01-03-2006, 08:54 PM
Totally, it is something than can help improve some people's health but can have an adverse affect on people with thyroid problems - if you do have PCOS or thyroid problems it would be best to consult a doctor or dietician before you get into tofu.

11-16-2006, 11:41 AM
I love soy milk because I used to drink a lot of milk but can't have calcium now. Can it harm you in some way?

07-20-2008, 01:28 AM
I always buy soy milk. You can always get good deals at Sam's Club. They usually sell it in packs of 3.

My family likes it too. At first they were all like, "Ewwww!!!", but now they love it. I keep low-fat and soy milk in the house for variety sake.

09-04-2008, 11:28 PM
whats your fav brand of soy milk?

06-24-2011, 06:07 AM
One of the important things about soya is quantity. When people talk about adverse effects (hormonal, mainly), they're talking about the typical American diet, where people are eating a lot of processed foods which have had soya added in one form or another. That sort of diet can add up to unhealthy levels of soya, and the fact that it's so processed doesn't help.

On the other hand, look at the traditional Japanese diet. Modest amounts of soya and also small amounts of seaweed are typical, and it's an incredibly healthy diet, which results in a low incidence of breast cancer, menopausal symptoms and so forth. The form of the soya isn't as processed, it'll typically be tofu and a bit of miso for instance.

So it's generally good for you as long as you eat the right amount of it.

11-02-2011, 02:10 PM
I love soy products in general, when I drink soy milk for example it doesn't make me feel so puffed up as regular milk would do. Soy products seem to have a lightness that dairy products don't have.