In Japan, we eat soy all the time. For breakfast we have rice with natto
and miso soup with tofu; for dinner we pop edamame
into our mouths in between chopsticks-full of vegetables sauteed in soy sauce. I always assumed it was good for you, until I came to California and my health-conscious American friend told me that soy was actually really bad for you. So which is it?
Ingredients: packet of natto, soy sauce, butter, chopped scallions, nori seaweed, spaghetti
Boil the spaghetti in a pot. Open the natto packet and mix the ingredients (it usually comes with some mustard and a soy-based sauce) together. Once the spaghetti is cooked and drained, toss it in butter and soy sauce, then place the natto, scallions, and seaweed on top.
Here's what we know about soy: unprocessed, it's a great source of digestible protein and has tons of vitamin B, calcium, and folate — all things that are good for you. It also contains isoflavones, and here's where things get tricky. Some studies prove that isoflavones are beneficial, while others have shown that it promotes breast and prostate cancer. Soy has also been called out as an agent of brain cell aging and thyroid dysfunction, too.
In her recent book The Jungle Effect
, San Francisco-based physician Daphne Miller — who studied low cancer rates in Okinawa extensively — writes:
While Okinawans take in over 80 percent of their soy in a relatively unprocessed form as tofu, edamame, soy flour, soy milk, or miso, people in the United States eat a similiar percentage of their soy in a processed form. Our soy foods are heated, mashed, and denatured to create a vast array of substances ranging from Tofurky to fillers for tuna fish to ice-cream sandwiches... while whole foods offer valuable protection, concentrated or denatured derivatives of these foods are having the opposite effect.
The bottom line, at least for now, seems to be that good soy prevent cancer and bad soy might promote cancer. Good soy = tofu, soy sauce, miso, natto, edamame. Bad soy = soy protein powder, energy bars made with soy, fake hot dogs, tofurky.
A lot of Western people think natto — fermented soy bean — is gross because of it's gooey texture and stinky smell, but it's one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast. It's filled with protein and great for a post-workout snack, too. If you're still iffy about it, why not combine the foreign with the familiar and cook some natto spaghetti? The slippery texture of the pasta cuts the gooeyness a little, and in my opinion this is a gentle way to ease natto into your culinary life.
Every installment of Taste Test will explore recipes, the science, and some history behind a specific food item.
Images via Jasja Dekker's Flickr and Gaku's Flickr
As U.S. headlines bombard us with proof of how low humanity can go, here’s a look at a happy, peaceful, and prosperous country — The Netherlands — to remind us that it is actually possible for the human race to get it right. If people want to change present circumstances through liberal ideals, it’s helpful to look […]
Hi Kid,On Election Night, you went to bed crying, and this time, I couldn’t fix it. Like half the country, you thought you would be going to bed with your candidate as the president-elect. I wiped away a big, globby tear from the end of your nose, proud of you for caring so deeply about your […]
A few weeks ago my good friend John Park created a video demonstration of how to hack the famous Happy Chewbacca mask to trigger your very own audio files. And when my sister Christina told me she was building a Chewbacca-Pinata costume for her son, I naturally shared John’s video with her.What my sister ended up creating was […]
The Pocket Tripod PRO had massive Kickstarter success in 2013, raising almost $85,000 in a single month. But this isn’t just another case of pre-release product hype. This ingenious little device folds out from a credit-card-shaped plastic slab into a sturdy stand with a surprisingly wide range of motion. In portrait orientation, your phone slides […]
Loot Crate is a totally different kind of subscription service that mails subscribers monthly boxes filled with curated geek, pop culture, and gamer paraphernalia. Its cult following awaits a box every month filled with everything from bobble heads to T-shirts to special edition collectibles. But nothing gets Loot Crate fans as excited as the limited […]
The ARMOR-X Mini Flexible Phone Tripod is a smartphone tripod that is designed with flexible legs to rest on virtually any type of surface. Other tripods have proved useless unless I conveniently have a flat surface in front of me, which is why this particular tripod was appealing enough to try out. The ARMOR-X is compact and easy […]