Mint & Lime Edamame Snack and What’s the deal with Soy?

by Julie on April 20, 2011

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home!  Dorothy had it right.  The sun shone today, my kids smiles warmed my heart and I could enjoy a home cooked meal prepared with my hubby!  As wonderful as it is to explore the world, it’s a delight to return to your own roost.  I have lots to share and photos to post and will most certainly do so for next week once I regain my energy from the crazy jet lag that is making me weary!  I’m almost thru it but still awoke in the wee hours this morning making my day start much sooner than usual.  If you have any great tips for overcoming an 8 hour time change, please share!  I’m not complaining since I am ever so grateful for the wonderful trip that took me to Orlando and then to London, I just need to regain my energetic self!  I think a bit of a juice feast is in order!

In the meantime I have an easy peasy snack for you that I know you’ll love.  My kids enjoyed it as an afternoon treat.  If you are lucky, you might even find the edamame fresh in your local markets depending on the season.  I nearly flipped when I came across them at a Santa Barbara farmers market one summer as I had never ever seen them before.  Typically, you will only find frozen organic soy beans in the pod or shelled at your local grocer or health food store.  They are becoming common place now.  For this recipe I use the beans in the pod as it’s nice finger food to nibble them out of their shell.  But most certainly you could do a simple dish with the shelled beans and the same ingredients, that would be delish!  However, as yummy as they are, please read my notes on soy after the recipe so you can decide how much of a yummy thing is too much.

Below is a mood board of the ingredients you will need!  Fun hey? This is such a simple recipe, that I felt I had to some how jazz this post for you.  I rather liked the concept of laying out the necessary elements in a more artistic way.  Watch for more of this as I play with my food!  If you love mood boards and collage layouts you must, I repeat, must, check out my close friend Leslie Shewring’s blog, A Creative Mint, as she’s the Queen of inspiring mood boards!  It’s my happy place when I need a visually delightful pick me up!  She’s just launched a new look for her 2 year bloggerversary and it’s quite stunning!

Mint & Lime Edamame Snack
Yield: serves 4-6 people
frozen whole edamame bean pods
juice and zest of one whole lime
3 tbsp fresh mint, finely snipped
a drizzled of extra virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tbsp course sea salt, 1/2 tbsp reserved
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, adding sea salt and add one bag of edamame.  Cook for approx 3 mins til bright green. Remove from heat, placing in strainer and run a little cool water over beans to stop the cooking and then drain well.  Transfer to a bowl and toss with a drizzle of olive oil, lime juice, lime zest, fresh mint and sprinkle with reserved 1/2 tbsp course sea salt.  Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Soy certainly has become a controversial subject.  Good, bad or ugly, it can be all three!  From the research I have read I’d like to share my take on it.  Certainly there are lots of perspectives but this is what I’ve come up with.  It is very confusing as there are promoters of soy, the folks that make enormous profits from soy and then those that study it and have first hand measures contradicting it’s touted benefits. In the world market, soy has become an enormous crop that generates massive worldwide profits since there are many health benefits reported, but it has been completely adulterated becoming a crop that can help but can also do a lot of harm.

With a product like soy, or even coconut water, coffee or wine, as soon as someone defines a health benefit it gets completely stretched to the limit and out of control.  I would say that in general we all know that unprocessed foods are the most ideal for us to consume.  Mildly processed with little or no additives or fermentation are next.  After that you are playing with fire when you start making soy into faux chicken fingers and weiners and food additives or oils!  It’s our crazy, but wonderful world and our ability to make anything possible with a little creativity in a factory, that yields all these miracle products that are overly processed with little or no nutritional value left and can be incredibly harmful to our health, contrary to the claims.

Maybe some soy products can be a helpful crutch for someone transitioning from omnivore to vegetarian in small doses but very short term is all I would suggest.  Too much of this processed stuff is a bad thing.

Ideally, fresh soy beans in serious moderation, to minimize the estrogen uptake, is my recommendation.  Too much estrogen from fresh or mildly processed soy has been proven to cause a myriad of problems.  Understandably, there are some beneficial affects of moderate consumption visible in the Asian culture where they consume daily meals accompanied by soy products, fresh and lightly processed.  The difference is the amount and the kind of soy.  They are known to nibble a couple bites of tempeh or other fermented soy products along side stir fries, rice and other side dishes versus the overload that North Americans are dousing their systems with from big slabs of tofu, to soy cheese, soy sour cream, soy burgers, soy milk, soy ice cream & yogurt, soy everything!  Add all this adds up and it’s bound to cause a problem.  Soy is such big business that you will find it as the only non-dairy option in most every single coffee shop.  What about rice milk, hemp milk, almond milk, coconut milk?  We’ve been lead to believe that it’s the end all, be all, product.  It’s a political thing and I won’t even go there.

The good things about unprocessed soy are that it is high in protein without the fats found in meats, is loaded with vitamins, minerals, fiber, isoflavones and essential fatty acids as well as being a good source of easily absorbed iron.

The bad things about any soy, fresh or processed are that too much can cause malnutrition via phytates which are enzyme-inhibitors that block mineral absorption in the human digestive tract.  It is also very high in estrogen and can cause a multitude of problems in children, and in adults, possibly leading to breast and prostate cancers.  It can also be thyroid suppressing which is very dangerous.  So moderation is definitely key here.  Some believe that very small amounts of fermented soy are thought to be best as the fermentation process neutralizes the phytic acid that soybeans are very high in, that causes malnutrition.  Some say not to eat soy at all, others say small amounts are completely fine.  But I certainly wouldn’t believe those that say that it is a wonder food.  There is enough evidence on the contrary to believe this.

The ugly things about all soy products are that most of the crops are GMO and are believed to increase the risk of estrogen-responsive cancers and other diseases.  Highly processed sources of soy lecithin, soy protein isolates, soy bean oils etc. are found on many, many labels of processed foods and are NOT good for you.  Buying organic beans and organic fermented soy products will ensure that you don’t end up with a genetically modified product.  It doesn’t stop here.  Although I suggest unprocessed soy beans as those in this recipe, it is also noted that these beans are believed to contain anti-nutrients and that can block the digestion of proteins, by interfering with digestive enzymes like trypsin, causing gastric distress and deficiencies in amino acid absorption.

So take this all as you may with a grain of salt or two and decide for  yourself with a little more research, how much you feel comfortable ingesting and what degree of processing is right for you.  Be conscious of your choice and know the facts so you don’t fall victim to the ghastly side effects of extreme soy consumption.  Only you know best.

A couple sites I found while researching are here;

Livestrong, Food Renegade, Whole Foods, Associated Content, Dr Mercola

Phew, who knew that the simple soy bean could be so complex and so controversial.  My rule of thumb is avoid it most of the time and enjoy a simple snack of edamame now and again.  We seldom ever cook with any other soy product, save Braggs Liquid Aminos, firstly cuz we’ve never enjoyed them and secondly for all the above contradicting reasons.

Cheers for a happy, healthy week.  Challenge yourself to eat some extra raw greens everyday and increase your water intake and see how you feel by Sunday!  I’m going to, so I can knock this jet lag thing!

See you next week!

ps.  We’ve added a “Like” button to our posts so if you feel inclined to share any post you can do so very easily by clicking the thumbs up icon and it will be shared to your Facebook followers.  I would be ever so grateful as I am determined to inspire the world with the alkaline lifestyle and you can easily help me do this!  Also I am just setting up an Alkaline Sisters Facebook Fan page that you can share with others as well that will have weekly updates or more.  Thanks kindly for your support:)

Psssst. Don’t forget to show your support for Earth Day, Friday April 16th!

Styling Props

Fabrics: Purl Soho

Chemistry beakers as flower vases: my own collection

Doily Luncheon Plate: Pier One Imports

Bamboo Steamer: any Asian market shop

Stainless Steel Strainer: Home Hardware selection varies store to store

Mini Square Side Plates: Maxwell & Williams

Rasp or grater and Lemon Squeezer: try your local kitchen store as these are very popular now

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gretchen Goel April 20, 2011 at 5:02 pm

Hi Julie, beautiful post and great meeting you in Orlando at the Food Blog Forum! Sorry I had to leave early for a 2 week trip to San Diego. Lots of great veggie and raw food restaurants out here. I’m booking my hotel for NYC in July so I’m going to go and look at your post from NYC again. I love love love your blog! Keep up the amazing work :)

Leslie April 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Beautiful Julie! I love how you shot that photo with all the ingredients! Very very cool.
Thank you for mentioning me!!!

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