Soy & Cancer, what I have found

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In recent years I have talked to breast cancer survivors about getting them on a healthier life style and diet. As we spoke about diet, soy has always come to the surface as a hazardous food that they were told to avoid by their doctor.

I would ask why the doctor told them this and the reply was always something like this “Soy foods contain estrogen that could feed cancer cells in their body and thus start their cancer again.

The internet has not helped the issue either with anti-soy propaganda that is not scientific and lacks integrity.

Now, with that said I want to state that you should always follow your doctors treatment plan. I am not in anyway saying that you should ignore your doctor if they have told you not to consume soy products, but I am only presenting what I have found in my limited research about this subject.

I am seeing that this kind of prescription to stay away from soy foods is starting to go by the way side because there is a alot of scientific evidence now showing that whole soy foods are not only safe for cancer survivors but even healthful.

When eating soy it should always be eaten in its minimally processed forms like edamame, tempeh, tofu and unsweetened soy milk. Products containing unnaturally concentrated soy protein like protein powders and highly processed soy products lack the beneficial nutrients that are in the whole bean and in my opinion these products should be avoided. I also stay away from genetically modified soy (GMO). Choose “organic” soybean products, they are not genetically modified.

The research has overwhelmingly shown that the consumption of whole or minimally processed soy foods as discussed above is healthful and provides many nutritional benefits.

The research shows that these foods protect against breast cancer. A study done in 2009 meta-analysis on soy and prostate cancer found that a higher intake of soy was associated with a 26% reduction in risk.- (1)

Also it appears that isoflavones found in whole soy foods have anti-cancer effects that are not related to their ability to bind the estrogen receptor. Soy foods are not only associated with decreased risk of hormonal cancers, but also lung, stomach, and colorectal cancers. – (2-4) 

Here is a quote from Dr. McCullough who is strategic director of nutritional epidemiology for the American Cancer Society on soy:

 “More research is needed to understand the relationship between specific forms of soy and doses of isoflavones on cancer risk and recurrence. We also need to learn more about childhood exposure to isoflavones and risk of cancer. Until more is known, if you enjoy eating soy foods, the evidence indicates that this is safe, and may be beneficial (but note that miso, a fermented soy product, is high in sodium.)  It is prudent to avoid high doses of isolated soy compounds found specifically in supplements, as less is known about their health effects. As for other “hidden” sources of soy proteins, the evidence to date does not suggest harm or benefit. However, if you are concerned about these products, you can choose to avoid them.”  4/8/14 Link to complete and original quote

Here is a quote from the American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention:

Can soy-based foods reduce cancer risk? As with other beans or legumes, soy and foods derived from soy are an excellent source of protein and a good alternative to meat. Soy contains several phytochemicals, including isoflavones, which have weak estrogen-like activity and may help protect against hormone-dependent cancers. There is growing evidence that eating traditional soy foods such as tofu may lower the risk of cancers of the breast, prostate, or endometrium (lining of the uterus), and there is some evidence it may lower the risk of other cancers. Whether this applies to foods that contain soy protein isolates or textured vegetable protein derived from soy is not known. There is little data to support the use of supplements of isolated soy phytochemicals for reducing cancer risk.” Link to the entire document in PDF

They have observed many times the connection between minimally processed soy intake and the reduced risk of cancers.

This is not to say or do I promote eating a lot of soy foods in the detriment of leaving out other foods from your diet. All whole foods work together for our health and there is no magical super-food that on its own will be the “One”, but on the contrary, you need them all to be wholly healthy. (Here is a bonus tip at no extra charge. An outstanding book to read on the subject of how whole foods work together for optimal nutrition is the book “Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition” by T. Colin Campbell. PhD)

Not only are soy beans healthy but all beans eaten in variety, along with other fruits and vegetable are health promoting as they work together, not alone.

In conclusion, I am avoiding highly processed soy foods and I try to eat a variety of whole natural plant foods including all types of beans as well as some edamame, tofu and tempeh.

Referencese
1. Hwang YW, Kim SY, Jee SH, et al: Soy food consumption and risk of prostate cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Nutr Cancer 2009;61:598-606.
2. Yang WS, Va P, Wong MY, et al: Soy intake is associated with lower lung cancer risk: results from a meta-analysis of epidemiologic studies. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:1575-1583.
3. Kim J, Kang M, Lee JS, et al: Fermented and non-fermented soy food consumption and gastric cancer in Japanese and Korean populations: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Cancer Sci 2011;102:231-244.
4. Yan L, Spitznagel EL, Bosland MC: Soy consumption and colorectal cancer risk in humans: a meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2010;19:148-158.

Photo Credit: Will Curran

Vegan “Chick’n” Piccata

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Here is a classic Italian entree that is made with Gardein chick’n and is outstanding.

4 4oz Gardein “Chicken” style breasts
2 cups all-purpose flour
8 tablespoons vegan butter I use Earth Balance
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup vegetable stock
1/2 cup dry white wine I use Chardonnay
1/4 cup capers rinsed and drained
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon chopped shallot
1/8 cup sugar, if needed

1. Defrost and season the Gardein breasts with salt and pepper. Dredge them in flour and shake off any extra being very careful because the breasts can crack and break very easily.

2. In a large skillet melt 3 tablespoons of the vegan butter with two tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat.

3. When you see the pan start to bubble, add the floured breast to the pan carefully, cook them until brown on both sides. Remove the breast onto a paper towel.

4. Lower the heat to low and add the lemon juice, stock,wine, capers, garlic, and shallots.

5. Bring heat up to med and bring sauce to a boil, be sure to scrape the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

6. Check the flavor of the sauce and add some salt or pepper if needed. If the sauce is too lemony or bitter add some sugar to mellow it.

7. Continue to cook the sauce and let it reduce and thicken a bit, about 3-4 minutes till garlic and shallots soften a bit.

8. When your ready to serve, add the breast back into the pan with the sauce and heat them back up.

9. Plate the breasts then spoon the sauce over the breasts and serve.

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Thai Black Pepper and Garlic Tofu

This recipes was created by Susan Voisin at Fat Free Vegan.com This site has hundreds of healthy vegan recipes. It’s a great resource. She also has a blog. I hope you enjoy this great recipe!

Black pepper provides a different kind of heat than chile peppers, but people who are sensitive to spices may still find this too hot. So start with the lesser amount of black pepper and add more to taste. Those of you who like fiery dishes may want to increase the chile sauce, but try not to overpower the black pepper.

TOFU AND SEASONING
1 14 oz package extra-firm tofu
1 Tbs soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
2 Tbs water
2 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
1 tsp rice vinegar
VEGETABLES
1 small onion, halved and sliced into thin wedges
1 large bell pepper, sliced
6 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
3 oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
8 oz kale (about 1 bunch), stems removed and leaves thinly sliced
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
additional broth or water, as needed
SAUCE
1 1/2 Tbs soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp sriracha or other chile sauce (or to taste)
1/2 to 1 tsp black pepper, freshly ground
2 tsp cornstarch

1. Cut the tofu into 1/2-inch slices. Gently press each slice between paper towels to remove some of the moisture. Then cut each slice into rectangles. Place into a ziplock bag. Combine tofu seasoning in a small bowl and pour over tofu. Seal bag and gently turn it over until tofu is completely covered in seasoning. (You can do this ahead of time and allow the tofu to marinate for a stronger flavor, but it’s not mandatory.)

2. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet or dish with parchment paper. (A silicon mat will also work, but parchment on a rimmed metal baking sheet yields the crispiest tofu with no sticking.) Place the tofu on the parchment in a single layer along with the marinade. Bake for 15 minutes. Turn gently and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven.

3. While the tofu is cooking, chop all the vegetables and combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl. About 10 minutes before tofu is done, preheat a large, deep non-stick skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Spray or rub it with oil if you wish, but this is optional. Have about a half cup of water or broth standing by. Add the onion and cook for a couple of minutes until it begins to become translucent. Add a tablespoon of water or broth if it starts to stick. Add the bell pepper and stir-fry for another minute. Then add the garlic and mushrooms and cook another two minutes, adding liquid by the tablespoon if needed.

4. Stir in the kale, add about 2 tablespoons of liquid, and cover quickly. After a minute, stir and add liquid if necessary. Cook covered for another minute and then add the asparagus and a little more liquid. Cover and cook until asparagus is tender-crisp, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and cook until it is heated through. Serve the vegetables with tofu on top, or stir the tofu into the vegetables and serve over rice or pasta.

Note: Use whatever green vegetables you like instead of the kale and asparagus. Bok choy and broccoli or green beans are a delicious combination.

Servings: 4

Fully Raw Cherry Cheesecake Recipe

With cherries in season, I saw this video online and just had to share it with you.

Fully Raw Kristina has really hit a home run with this one.

It looks soooo good!

Enjoy the video.

 

Man Pans – Healthy, Eco Friendly, Stick Resistant Cookware Made in the USA

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Eating healthy can be tricky, but finding healthy cookware with all the great qualities you would want in cookware can be down right frustrating.

I know.., it took me quite a while to finally decide on cookware. I had five requirements; it had to be stick resistant, tough (I wanted to be able to use metal utensils) as well as being healthy to cook in and eco friendly and oh ya.. I wanted it to be made in the good old USA.

It was quite a list and I did not find any cookware that meet all my requirements for quite a while until I found Man Pans.

You see, the problem with most other non-stick cookware is that they are coated with a non-stick surface that contains PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) the best known brand name of PTFE-based formulas is Teflon. Some also contain PFOA (Perfluorooctanoic Acid) both of which leach their toxins into your food.

They also scratched easily so you had to use plastic or wood utensils when cooking with them.

I also found that if they weren’t Teflon or something close to that, everything would stick.

Notice that Man Pans don’t claim to be “non-stick” but “stick resistant”. The stick resistance of the pans surface is like a well seasoned cast iron skillet. Its not an oily petroleum feeling like Teflon is. It’s their Gem-X2 coating, a two layer sapphire/quartz-like natural mineral finish.

I have had food stick to the pan in some instances, usually because I had the heat too high or I did not wipe the pan down with a little oil first. There is a slight learning curve to cooking with these pans, they heat up quick and stay hotter longer.

Here is what makes Man Pans different:

I have been cooking with my Man Pans for about 10 months or so now (at the time of this post) and I just love them! I first bought the Asian Wok and tried it out with a great big batch of fried rice then some stir fry and it preformed so well that I went online and bought a complete set. I also eventually bought their bakeware as well.

Check Out This Promo Video From Their Site

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I just love my 12″ fry pan skillet. It’s great for frying or sauteing up most anything.

It’s very durable and darn near impossible to scratch, check out this video!

Watch as the wok is used in a commercial kitchen.

Watch as an omelet is cooked in one of their Man Pans (sorry about the egg thing)

Watch as the 10″ saute pan is used to sear and then make a sauce (sorry about the meat thing)

Be sure to check out all their videos on their video page.

There is however one drawback to Man Pans, you have to hand wash them. They can not be put in the dishwasher because the dishwashers harsh detergents will damage the coating. It is possible to have them recoated if necessary.

Here are the need to knows right from their website. (Red font added by me)

Need-To-Knows

Beauty Marks: We believe the Gem-X2 finish quality of our pans gives you the most beautiful cooking results imaginable. Our exclusive manufacturing process leaves an occasional harmless streak, smudge or rack mark on the cookware and we don’t over finish them with unnecessary pretty coatings. We call these our “Beauty Marks”.

These pans conduct heat extremely well: Start by turning your burner down to about 50% of the heat setting you would normally cook with and change if needed. If you turn the heat up too high, food will burn and stick to the pans.

Make sure you do not wash the pans in a dishwasher..hand wash only: Dish-washing detergent contains caustic acid that will harm the finish over time, and does void the warranty. If you do get some food residue, try boiling an inch of water in the pan to loosen the residue. If any remains, you can vigorously rub dry salt in a dry pan with a cloth to remove it. Be sure to wipe a light coat of oil on the pan after cleaning and prior to the next use.

Use a light wipe or spray of oil when cooking: These pans are not completely non-stick, but do have a release finish and provide a release similar to a well-seasoned cast iron pan. We don’t recommend soy-based oil as that tends to get sticky. If your bottle of vegetable oil from the store doesn’t list a source on the front, check the label-it’s likely soy.

There is so much more that could be said about Man Pans so go to their site, cruise around and learn all about the company and their products.

 

(NOTICE: I have no connections to and receive no benefits, monetary or otherwise from Man Pans for this review.)

Vegan Gourmand’s Lasagna Recipe

This is my go to lasagna recipe, I just love it.

I brought this once to a friends house that had three teen age children, one a 15 year old boy.

None of them where Vegetarian, let alone Vegan.

After the second huge piece I heard him say “This is the best lasagna I have ever had.” in which I replied “You know its vegan there is no meat or cheese in it at all” which he bantered back, taking the last bite of that second piece ” I don’t care, it tastes great!” He then continued on to eat another huge piece. All three teens had at least seconds & the family said that they really enjoyed it!

I hold this story up as a badge of honor, that a picky 15 year old teen had no problem eating three huge pieces of this lasagna. I think that says something for this recipe.

I hope you enjoy it as much as they did.

Bon apoteto!

Ingredients for Lasagna

2 ea    24 oz Jars of your favorite pasta sauce. (I use Francesco Rinaldi Tomato, Garlic & Onion)

1 ea   Large box of dried lasagna noodles (18 dried noodles) (I use Barilla Brand Dry Lasagna)

1 bunch   4 oz of fresh basil

1 bag       14 or 16 oz of your favorite vegan crumbles

1 ea         small sweet onion diced

12 ea      garlic cloves

Ingredients for Vegan Basil Ricotta “Cheese”

2 lbs firm organic tofu, excess water pressed out
4 tsp lemon juice
2 garlic clove, Garlic pressed
1/2 tsp Sea salt
2 dashes fresh ground black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, Chiffonade
4 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Vegan Cheese

To make Ricotta “Cheese”

1. In large bowl, crush tofu with hands until crumbly.

2. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper.

3. Mash with hands or potato masher until mixture reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese.

4. Add olive oil; stir with fork.

5. Add nutritional yeast and mix all ingredients well with fork.

6. Stir in Daiya Cheese and basil.

7. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

To build the lasagna

 Make the Ricotta, cover with plastic wrap and put it aside in the refrigerator.

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Pour both pasta sauces into a sauce pan, turn on low heat.

Add two or 3 pressed cloves of garlic to sauce then add a hand full of whole or cut in half cloves of garlic to sauce and stir.

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Chiffonade 10 or so fresh basil leafs and add them to the sauce continue to simmer.

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In a separate fry pan add some olive oil, get pan warm and add 2 minced garlic cloves and cook for 15 seconds then add the diced onion, cook on med heat. Add fresh ground pepper and some salt to pan and cook until onion has sweated.

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Add Veggie meat to pan stirring until browned

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Add browned veggie meat to sauce

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 Lightly Olive oil a large 10″ x 15″ baking pan and then add a bit of the sauce on the bottom and thinly cover the bottom of the pan with it.

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Take a dry lasagna noodle and spread a thin layer of the prepared Ricotta “cheese” onto the dry noodle being careful not to break the noodle. Place the noodle in the pan.

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Continue this until the bottom of the pan has a layer of Ricotta spread noodles covering it. Then add a layer of sauce.

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At this point I like to add a layer of fresh basil leafs on top of this layer. Then I start another layer just like the first until I have built three layers.

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Finish with the remaining Daiya Cheese.

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 Bake in a 350 deg oven for 1 hour uncovered.

Finished

Enjoy!

This freezes well and I think it is even better the next day.

Endangered Species Chocolate

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Do you enjoy good chocolate? I know I do and I must admit that I am a bit of a chocolate snob. I guess that goes along with the title of “Vegan Gourmand” now doesn’t it?

Well I had some of this Endangered Species Chocolate the other day. Ok I had quite a bit of this chocolate the other day and I have been so impressed with the flavor and high quality that I just had to share it with all of you.

They offer many different chocolate bar flavors / ingredient combinations here are their 3oz natural Vegan dark chocolate combinations.

72% with Sea Salt & Almonds (This is my personal favorite) 

72% with Mint

72% with Cranberries & Almonds

72% with Blueberries & Almonds

72% with Raspberries

72% with Cherries

72% with Espresso Beans

72% with Cacao Nibs

They also have the plain 72% & 88% dark for those chocolate purest out there.

And during the holidays they come out with some special flavors like 72% with vanilla chai, peppermint and pumpkin spice with almonds.

Although this chocolate is outstanding in quality and taste it is also much much more, let me explain. Its not everyday that you find a product that is outstanding and a company who is just as outstanding behind it.

Endangered Species Chocolate Company has taken action and money put it where their mouth is.

Most all of their dark chocolate selections are Certified Vegan by Vegan Action. This certification provides vegans an easy-to-recognize symbol signifying that an item contains no animal products and is not tested on animals.

The company gives 10% of net profits to organizations that support species conservation, habitat preservation and humanitarian efforts.

Here is a list of some of the organizations they give or have given too.

The African Wildlife Foundation

The Xerces Society

SEE Turtles

Chimp Haven

The Ocean Conservancy

The National Wildlife Federation

Their selection process happens every three years. Here is how they select their 10% GiveBack partners. this is a quote from their website.

“Endangered Species Chocolate commits to a three year partnership with each 10% GiveBack Partner. At the end of each three year period, we begin a search for new conservation nonprofits to support. Applications are accepted from June – August during each search year. Our Marketing team carefully reviews all applications and determines the top 8- 10 that best fit our mission. The entire staff of Endangered Species Chocolate then gets involved! The top 8-10 applications are passed along to our staff for extensive review, evaluation, and discussion. A company-wide vote is then held to determine the next 10% GiveBack Partners. New partnerships are usually announced in October of each search year.”

ingre

Wow, if that is not enough they have gotten their products certified on many levels.

All of their products are certified by the following:

Certified USDA Organic

Certified by the NON GMO Project

Certified gluten free from the Gluten-Free Certification Organization

Rain Forest Alliance certified

OTCO Oregon Tilth certified

Certified Kosher by OU Kosher

Did I mention that their office, warehouse and production facility is powered by 100% wind power. The wind energy is purchased through Indianapolis Power & Light’s Green Power Option, which enables them to purchase power harvested from local wind farms.

Another thing they do that I think is outstanding is they use the inside of their outside wrapper of each bar to tell you about the endangered animal on the front of the wrapper.

Inside Wrapper

Endangered Species also runs a blog by the name of “Involved” to promote the discussion on species, habitat, humanity and chocolate.

For the same price as any other premium chocolate bar of the same size you can enjoy great, healthy, ethical chocolate and feel great knowing that 10% of the money you just spent will help another living creature. It’s a win win if you ask me!

Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing or Dip

It is very simple but yet is so flavorful, I just love it on salads or as a vegetable dip. So I said to myself I should share this with my friends. So here you go!

I use OMG brand Balsamic Vinegars which are thick and sweet, the best balsamic I have ever eaten. The name is fitting OMG! You can also change up this recipe by using the flavored balsamic like Fig or Black Berry. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup of good quality extra virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup of Balsamic vinegar (I use OMG brand)

1 teaspoon of Bee Free Vegan Honey

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1 Shallot, minced

1 large clove of garlic, minced

fresh ground Black pepper to taste

Directions:

Blend the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, Bee Free Honey, Dijon mustard, shallot, garlic and black pepper in a Vita Mix or blender until completely combined and emulsified. Then Enjoy on a salad or dip your favorite veggie in it.

“Food Choices” A New Documentary Coming Out Soon!

“Food Choices” is a new Documentary that is in production right now and will be out soon.

Please check out the trailer.

 

Vegan Basil Ricotta Cheese

I remember as a child smelling the freshly made lasagna baking in the oven. As I looked upon my plate I remember cutting into it with my fork to see the white layers of ricotta cheese holding up each noodle like a fluffy cloud on a summer day. As I became a Vegan this was one of the foods I missed.

Well now I can have that same experience again as a vegan using this recipe to help build my vegan lasagna with “meat” sauce. (a recipe I will have to share sometime) Just spread this Ricotta on every noodle then cover with “meat” sauce and build it three or four layers thick switching between “meat” sauce and noodles spread with Ricotta, its that simple. Buon appetito !!

2 lbs firm tofu, pressed
4 tsp lemon juice
2 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp Sea salt
2 dashes fresh black pepper
20 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
4 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup Daiya Mozzarella Style Vegan Cheese

1. In large bowl, mash tofu with hands until crumbly.

2. Add lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, and basil. Mash with hands until mixture reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese.

3. Add olive oil; stir with fork.

4. Add nutritional yeast and mix all ingredients well with fork.

5. Stir in Daiya Cheese

6. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

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