Ten years ago you had to go to health food stores if you were interested in soybeans or soybean products. The selection was limited and some of them tasted pretty awful. Now larger supermarkets carry a variety of soy products, and they're much easier to use.

My favorite soy products are veggie burgers, veggie ground "beef", tofu and soy milk. Veggie burgers come in a huge array of flavors and brands; they can be prepared quickly in a microwave and served with the condiments you'd use on a conventional burger. The ground soy "meats", found either in the produce section or the frozen food section, can be used any way you used to use ground beef: in chili, sloppy joes or your favorite tomato sauce – great for topping whole grains.

Soy "milk" is labeled "soy beverage" and is never displayed in the dairy section; ask where your store keeps it. It's ideal for people who are lactose-intolerant, and a good cooking ingredient since it doesn't curdle when heated. Try it in creamy soup recipes.

If you'd like to try a delicious salad dressing made with tofu, look in the Recipe Section for my Tofu Caesar Salad Dressing. You won't believe it's not the real thing.

A favorite Japanese snack, edamame, or green soy beans, is showing up in Asian restaurants and specialty food stores, usually in the frozen food section. Cook them briefly in salted water, strip them out of their pods with your teeth, and enjoy their crispy, nutty flavor. Roasted soy nuts are widely available.

All dried beans are good sources of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Soybeans have the added attraction of phytoestrogens, and they are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. A diet that includes soy products may reduce the symptoms of PMS and menopause (see report #1013). However, too much soy, like any other excess, is unwise (see report #8424). Try to incorporate soy products into your diet frequently, but not three meals a day.

K Nilausen, H Meinertz. Lipoprotein(A) and dietary proteins: casein lowers lipoprotein(A) concentrations as compared with soy protein. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 69: 3 (March 1999): 419-425.

Checked 5/3/07

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