Saturday, October 2, 2010

Soyanara? Should We Be Saying Goodbye to Bonsoy (aka One Very Biased Opinion)...

Sine ira et studio

Every sitcom worth it's salt, and, let's face it, not many are even worth that, usually do at least one episode from that awful, agonising genre: the comedy of error. God, Have Bloody Mercy. The Brady Bunch did one, Happy Days too, Frasier's done a few, Seinfeld's done many. Paint me Green and call me Grumpy. I simply can't stand them. Even if I love the show, I am anatomically incapable of enjoying anything that involves misunderstanding, my cells reject it. I hate misunderstandings, especially when people enjoy them. The sick bastards. The second I realise something is a comedy of errors, it simply gets switched off. When people get confused, I get anxious. Can't help it, can't control it. It's this part of me, and also my lactose intolerant digestive system that have gotten together today and decided to address something that people have been coming up to me and asking me about: Bonsoy's rather soy'led reputation as of late. Talking it through with people has made realise that soy products and their consumption aren't really as well grasped as they should be. So, that's going to be the preachy lesson for today, from my own self righteousness, and for the sake of your souls.

Those of us who say Land A'Soy, Matey, come from two philosophical schools, and sometimes both (like yours truly). There's the genuinely lactose intolerant schmo's, who, through no choice of their own, possess alimentary canals that start bleating like a tipped cow at the mere hint of any dairy or dairy related product. Poor buggers. You can usually see them prowling around the Sorbet section at Gelatissimo. The other school is made up of the Health/Ass conscious among us, who simply wouldn't fit into our skinny's if we guzzled dairy regularly. This school is made up of a varied, often vapid bunch, that are known to frequent the cafes of Bondi and Surry Hills. They're good fodder for teasing, this last lot, I mean, it's really lucky for them that cocaine sheds kilos and doesn't contain any dairy at all. But let's give them something, dairy is highly mucous forming, people who stop eating it generally find after a few weeks they feel much better, much lighter and much more energetic. It makes most of the metabolic processes in your body noticeably slower, like a guy's train of thought when he's faced with some prominent cleavage. In TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine, you yobbo) , it's frowned upon to have dairy beyond the age of 7 - it's not quite as bad for you a full blown heroin addiction, or anything, but deemed undesirable nonetheless. Now, if you don't fall into one of these two schools, stop reading, make yourself a cuppa, laugh at how political milk (of all things) has become and cruise easy, just try and make your dairy as organic as possible, it's one area where the extra dollars are well spent. For the rest of you, please read on.

Soy products, especially unfermented soy products like tofu and soy milk, are much more reactive for the body than fermented soy products like miso or tempeh, which can generally be eaten often without too much concern. In the East, they don't consume soy milk the way that we do. They're much more Green Tea than Triple Soy Latte. They might have it from time to time in the form of puddings or desserts or mixed as a bubble beverage, but it's just not used as a staple the way we use milk in the West. If you decide to switch to soy, you can't just consume it the way you used to consume milk. Naturopaths don't advise having more than about 200ml of soy milk a day, it can compromise female hormone patterns (a bit like Daniel Craig topless) and is generally disruptive to the body (a bit like Daniel Craig topless). This means you can't schlup it on your weetbix, have 2 lattes and maybe some soy yoghurt and ice cream. You have to start consuming less of the products that require milk traditionally and have an entirely new conception about the way you eat. For an otherwise healthy person, this might involve limiting yourself to maybe a cup of coffee's worth of soy a day (or a macchiato or long black with a splash of cold soy), or a little in tea, or a little in a smoothie. Rice milk is a thinner and generally much more crappy tasting substitute you can have more often, and goat's milk, although containing dairy, is generally easier to digest than cow's. Now, with that proviso, there a soys, and then there are soys.

Bonsoy is still the best soy milk there is, as far as I am consoyned. I know it's a contentious time to be saying it, but it's still my mouth felt belief. It is made by a wonderful company, Spiral Foods, responsible for introducing many great Japanese products in a non threatening way for Australian consumers - such as dashi and umeboshi plums - with approachable packaging and English directions. It is a macrobiotic product using the whole bean. Other brands, which I won't rant about here, use only the isolated shell of the bean, giving you a vile beany taste and a concentrated version of a concentrated product, rather than the wholefood, which is much better for you. Because soy is known to lower thyroid activity, one of the products added to Bonsoy was seaweed, a product which speeds up the thyroid, the addition of this made Bonsoy a complete product, balanced, that wouldn't be hugely disruptive to the body's homeostasis. That said, you should still limit how much of it you take in, and you certainly shouldn't be feeding it to babies or children. I don't think Bonsoy contained more seaweed than you would you have in your average sushi meal - I am not working off statistics, only impressions. But people who have in excess of a whole carton of it a day would be consuming far too much iodine (when the product contained it). I would still rather have Bonsoy than any other product on the market, because I know how to use it in a balanced diet. Other brands carry similar but different dangers, you can't guzzle huge amounts of any soy milk brand whatsoever. The other brands are likely to be disruptive to hormones as well and need to be used to with caution, as well. They also have a strong ick taste, I mean really, they're honestly vile.

Please let anyone you know who's into soy know about the proper way to consume it. I've had the benefit of a lot of naturopathic advice over the years which is why I know a bit about this, i'm continually surprised how few people actually know the limitations of soy. It's a great substitute, but within reason. As a society we're very educated about wine and how it is really good for you in certain amounts, but always in moderation, the same applies for soy - it's just not something we've got good, accessible information on.

Just in case you're wondering, i'm not affiliated with Spiral in anyway, I still love Bonsoy, I still drink it - it's beautiful stuff, I just don't ever drink too much. Feel very sorry for the people who got sick and am upset that this kind of information isn't available easily. I hope the class action gets compensation to people who need it and that Spiral conducts themselves as ethically in relation to the victims as i've known them to be up until now.

And on a much more personal note, to all my friends who are having the time of their smart ass lives sharing all the bad Bonsoy press with me, I really think it's time you all moo-ved on. I'm like, soy over it, man.

8 comments:

Kewpie said...

Yeah to bonsoy being back! Thank you for the insights too! Good to bust the myths and state some facts

amanda said...

here, here brother.

Karen @ Citrus and Candy said...

I now have the image of a topless Daniel Craig seared in my head. Not a bad thing at all, mind you, but it's awfully distracting.

Look at me, I can't even comment properly on your awesome post...

amanda said...

hey karen! who doesnt have that bloody image. thanks for the kind words eh, we should do something yummy with fouad soon.

somewhere else said...

Good advice, but there's more kilojoules in bonsoy than skim milk! It's not the option that will help with the jeans.

Fouad @ The Food Blog said...

Amanda. Your latest comment might make your readers believe Daniel Craig and I share similarities...

Somewhere else, i too picked up on the fact that skim milk is lighter than bonsoy, but hey, bonsoy has a great flavour that doesn't make me want to throw up :) Or maybe throwing up is the low kilojoule option?

OohLookBel said...

So the upshot is: no more than a small soy latte per day, and be prepared for more KJs than skim? I can live with that. Thanks for the info.

amanda said...

you and DC share quite a few similarities, foo, ill try figure out what they are before I see you next!

re skim, skim milk is pretty awful for the metabolism. milk has fat in it because its needed for the body to take in all the other things in milk. i used to drink skim for years and the naturopaths got me off it, said it dries the intestines out and slows down your metabolism generally, its also much harder to digest, if thats compelling enough for you, don't worry about the extra calories if youre having a wholefood, just have a small instead of a large, or something. when i worked as a waitress i noticed that the chubby ones out of us are usually getting large skim somethings with an equal. slimmer people tended to just get a regular coffee and drink it slowly - and enjoy it. which is the key after all right! that's a generalisation, but it was true in a lot of cases.

But, Bel, i really do think i couldnt raise a more compelling argument than The Foo Vom Theory.