More about soy, manufactured food, and food trends
Just in case you missed it, this article about soy that plume linked to in the comments to the previous entry about the anti-soy article in the Guardian is excellent. (Thanks plume!) Also, here is the link to the article cited: Soy Alert - Tragedy and Hype, and the Wikipedia article on the Weston A. Price Foundation. I have to say that I far prefer the "What About Soy" article because the Soy Alert article is full of hyperbole and drama, of the PETA kind. Regardless of what my views are on an issue, I personally have a deep dislike of over-hyped, over-dramatic posing or prose.
It's really hard to sort through the waves of information we get about this or that food. Is soy a miracle product? Is green tea a miracle product? Is low carb the miracle cure to obesity? We may think one way or another on each issue, but I think we always have to remember that when a certain way of eating or a particular food becomes trendy, the food manufacturing corporations are bound to jump on it and overdo it in a major way in the attempt to capture our attention and money. So we always have to be careful and go slowly. Remember when the low-fat craze was on, and people thought they could lose weight by eating all the Snack Wells they wanted? Eating and nutrition are not like fashion; our bodies don't want us to change our eating habits drastically just because whatever we were feeding ourselves isn't trendy any more.
If there is one thing I've been trying to do, albeit very slowly and inconsistently, over the last few years is to get rid of as much manufactured or processed food from my diet as possible. I rarely eat TV dinners or prepared frozen food - the only frozen food I buy is stuff with just the basic ingredients listed on the label (peas, carrots, berries). I try to stay away from manufactured snacks too, though that's mainly as part of my feeble attempts to keep my weight under control. This is really hard to do though, especially when work gets too busy or stress levels rise. (And I have to admit that staying with 'natural' food is rather easier when one lives in a small village in Switzerland, rather than a big city like New York. When I lived in New York I existed on junk food and takeout. There is a big correlation between stress and what we eat, I think.)
The one part I did like in the Guardian article is when one of the researchers says that he stays away from food that hasn't been eaten for at least 200 years. 200 might be a stretch since there has been so much food innovation in that time, but the idea behind it makes sense.
Anyway, I've strayed quite a lot into the territory of food as politics and nutrition lately...this is mainly because I've been having a hard time with real food. The heat has really zapped my appetite! The most I've been able to stomach is very simple food like green salad with maybe some (dolphin-free) tuna on top, bread spread with easy things (like tapenade) and things like that. Oh, and lots of (organic if I can find it) fresh fruit. Not much cooking! I think I'm going to make another batch of tofu though, because hiyayakko (cold tofu) is a perfect thing for a summer meal.