Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The vegan tofu reliance myth

Not all vegans eat tofu (public domain photo)
The vegan diet is sometimes misunderstood by those who don't follow it. For instance, I've been told quite often that this friend or that could never be vegan because they don't like tofu or can't eat soy. Not all vegans make a connection with soy. In fact, some just don't care for it. Some have heard that soy is bad for them. Some simply feel it's very bland. No matter. Eating a vegan diet does not require the consumption of soy. That's a myth. So why not connect with the truth, rather than a rumor?

Tofu is not the ultimate vegan protein.

While soy does contain protein, there are other vegan sources. Beans are one. They're high in fiber, low in calories and have an enormous amount of easily digestible protein. Nuts and seeds are a great source of Omega 3. Unlike fish, they contain no risk of ingesting mercury. In fact, you can get all the protein you need on a vegan diet without touching a single bite of tofu.

Tofu does not have to be bland.

If you do eat tofu as part of your vegan diet, there are ways to spice it up. Some vegans do like it bland. Others marinate it before cooking. Some saute it in high antioxidant herbs and spices. It's a “to each his own” kind of thing. So, if you prefer spicy foods to bland foods, simply learn to pep your tofu up a notch.

Soy is only bad for you in large quantity.

Too much of a good thing is always bad where food is concerned. Soy and other goitrogens
should be eaten in moderation. If, as a vegan you choose to eat soy every day, several times a day, you may indeed have some negative consequences. This is really no different than if you eat too much of anything else, is it? Consuming too much protein in any form is bad for your internal organs.

Some vegans don't eat soy at all.

Speaking personally, I eat a little, here and there. I certainly don't eat enough to be cause for concern. As for tofu, I can take it or leave it. For instance, when I go to a certain big burrito restaurant, I skip the spiced tofu. The beans in the burrito provide all the protein I need in one meal. Plus, to be honest, I've never liked the taste or texture of meat, so soy protein really holds no appeal for me.

Soy milk is not the only milk substitute

Thank goodness! Soy milk is OK in tea or coffee. By itself, it hasn't many redeeming qualities. That's OK. Going vegan doesn't mean you have to drink boring old soy milk. Actually, most vegans opt for almond or coconut milk. They are both tastier and just as nutritious. Almond milk even has more calcium than cow's milk.

Vegan cheese can be nut based too.

In fact, nut based cheeses are often better tasting than their soy counterparts. Most of the vegans I know don't even like soy cheese. They make their own from cashews or other nuts. If you're missing cheese as a vegan, soy is not the only option. It's not even the best option. So, you see, vegans don't have to rely on tofu or soy. In fact, they don't have to eat it at all. It's just another silly myth.

This article was previously published by this author on Yahoo!

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