Heads up, I'm not looking for a debate, just sharing my views with you all as I always feel comfortable doing.
I have a weird relationship with soy. I went through that whole "soy is bad" phase, then it bothered my stomach when I was still suffering from IBD and now, I don't buy into the fear around it and it no longer effects my stomach. Back to the whole "fear" thing. So, awhile back, there were some "studies" saying that too much soy is bad for you and hormones and cancer.. (eye roll). Now they say that not all soy is the same (duh) and that isolates are the bad guy (found in some fake meats, soy protein powder, bars and other stuff). Isolates are bad (in any form, not just soy).
"Soy protein isolate is a dry powder food ingredient that has been separated or isolated from the other components of the soybean, making it 90 to 95 percent protein and nearly carbohydrate and fat-free."
Our bodies have a hard time assembling isolates.
They have been processed with heat and acid to remove fat which then removes healthy properties such as phospholipids, phosphatidylserine, and cortisol are deficient in key amino acids.
Besides that, we have to be careful of GMO's. ALWAYS CHOOSE ORGANIC SOY! Soy is a highly genetically modifed crop, so I always stick to organic and sprouted or fermented when available. Sprouted tofu is easier to digest and made from sprouted soybeans so it is also more nutritious. Fermented soy such as miso and tempeh are also easier to digest.
When we look at countries like Japan, we see that their woman have much lower rates of breast cancer and they enjoy soy often (mostly fermented). Soy is actually said to reduce the risk of these diseases.
For me, I feel good when I eat the right kind of soy. Tofu and tempeh (sprouted and fermented) are my way of getting soy in my diet. Tofu is high in calcium, contains all 8 amino acids, excellent source of iron and calcium and the minerals manganese, selenium and phosphorous. In addition, tofu is a good source of magnesium, copper, zinc and vitamin B1. A great food for vegetarians and vegans alike.
So how about all those "hormones" and will men grow boobs? This always makes me laugh. Yes, soy contains Phytoestrogens. Phytoestrogen is not estrogen. Estrogen and testosterone are steroid hormones, and occur naturally in both sexes of humans, as well as in animals used for food. They help regulate sexual function and secondary sexual characteristics, in addition to nonsexual cellular functions. You are most likely getting more hormones from your steak and milk (that contain actual estrogens) than you will in soy.
I am not a doctor, I write this stuff based on my own personal research. I always suggest you follow what your body feels good with.
Now onto my favorite baked tofu recipe. Little A takes tofu to school a couple times a week. I usually buy a packages pre-made sprouted one at Whole Foods but when we have it with dinner, I bake my own.
Extra firm tofu drained (sprouted of possible. Trader Joe's carries one) and sliced into "steaks" or strips
1/4 cup Coconut Aminos or any soy or Tamari sauce
Himalayan Sea Salt
Marinate tofu in all ingredients except corn starch for 3-5 hours. You can sprinkle seasonings on to cover tofu. I don't measure them (sorry). After marinated, cover again with a drizzle of Coconut Aminos and then sprinkle corn starch on top. Bake in oven at 350 for 30 minutes, flipping half way.
Keep an eye to make sure it doesn't crisp too much. The coating will add a nice crunch. Enjoy!