Much as been written on the pros and cons of soy in the diet. There is a very simple principle that cuts through much of the hype on both sides of the question. That is – for best health, consume whole, unprocessed foods. For example, if you are taking thyroid supplements/replacement medications, you will need to adjust your dose upward if you start adding things to your diet like tofu, soy milk, and soy-based veggie meats or soy analogs. These soy products will increase your body’s need for thyroid supplementation among other things. What I find very interesting is that if you add whole soy beans to your diet it won’t affect the amount of thyroid replacement medication that you need. Many doctors are not aware of this difference. In addition, if you look closely at the studies that purport to show that soy has negative effects on the body, I have yet to find one that used whole soy beans as the source of soy. In all the cases I have come across so far they are using some sort of soy isolate, soy isoflavones, or other partial soy product. We often don’t think about the fact that even tofu and soy milk are NOT whole foods – tofu concentrates the protein portion of the bean and milk removes most of the fiber. There are many things we don’t yet know about how this affects the body. We also know that many women experience relief from menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, when they increase the soy in their diet. It seems clear that the majority of soy in our diet should come from whole forms of this wonderfully rich bean.
That being said, I would like to suggest a great tasty way to add WHOLE soy to your diet (and no, I don’t recommend that you eat it every day to the exclusion of the dozens of other bean options out there!). Dry soy beans can be prepared to be very tasty, but take more work and time then some other beans. Green soy beans, also know as edamame, have a completely different flavor and cook up very quickly. They are often in the freezer section of your supermarket and can be purchased shelled or in the pods. As the pods are not edible, I prefer to buy them shelled.
Pour desired quantity of frozen green soy beans (edamame) in a pan with about 1/2 an inch of water in the bottom. Bring to a boil and add enough Chik-it Seasoning or other vegetarian chicken style seasoning to salt to taste. Allow to simmer until very soft with the pan covered tightly. Takes about 20 minutes. Check a couple of times to make sure it is not drying out. That’s it!
I like it served with a big tossed salad and perhaps a starch like rice, potato, or corn as part of my main noon meal. If you buy the edamame in the pod, it’s also fun to eat as you squeeze the pod after cooking and the beans just pop right out and into your mouth!