Medicine, like any other field of human activity, is subject to fashion. Once upon a time, powder from bats and lizards was considered a universal medicine, centuries later, everything was treated with penicillin, right down to the birthmark. Today, medical scientists have a new panacea for all ills – soy. In the second half of the twentieth century, after wars, epidemics, nuclear poisoning and environmental uncleanliness, which brought the most developed races to the brink of physical and genetic exhaustion, scientists could not fail to notice a significant difference between East and West. The overpopulated, eternally starving third world, which became a dumping ground for toxic waste for “civilized” countries and a testing ground for their nuclear tests, nevertheless lived on. And not just existed, but restored and developed at an extraordinary speed, breaking all records of fertility and longevity, while the population of the West, surrounded by luxury, fell and degenerated before our eyes.
It is the extraordinary resilience of the Japanese and Chinese, who during periods of general famine survive only with plain and tasteless stew, their inexplicably long life expectancy in such “barbaric” conditions, and the “health of the nation” indestructible by any social cataclysms, forced scientists to pay attention to soybeans, the staple food of the poor in the East. . It happened in the mid seventies.
Since then, it has been difficult to convince them that there is a food that is healthier than soy. Amazing discoveries of the beneficial effects of soy on the human body followed one after another. The highest content of valuable vegetable protein, with which even meat cannot compete, a set of essential vitamins and essential fatty acids, the optimal fiber content, and, to top it off, the excellent digestibility of this whole “bouquet” by the body – all this delighted scientists. Not a single natural product contained such a successful combination of substances necessary and useful to a person.
In addition, soy proved to be an effective fighter against the most hyped “horror story” of modern man – with cholesterol. Few people really understand the mechanism of action of cholesterol on the body and the action of soy on cholesterol. Few people know that vegetable fiber of any origin also successfully removes it. But soybeans have taken the lead in this fight. Partly – because it is so in fact, partly – because it is profitable.
Firstly, soybeans are just a raw material for cooking healthy food. In their raw form, they are completely unsuitable – they contain harmful substances that are incompatible with the normal function of the digestive tract. Heat treatment completely removes all these unpleasant phenomena, in other words – cooking beans. But even here, lovers of natural food, as they say, from the garden, will have a hard time. The coveted beans must be soaked for at least 12 hours, and then boiled for another 2-3 hours. (This is why the preparation of natural soy stew for the peasants took almost around the clock). It turns out, willy-nilly, look for other ways. And they certainly did not fail to appear for the convenience of consumers and for the benefit of soy food producers.
Therefore, all soy products today are helpfully sold either completely ready-to-eat, or as semi-finished products that require cooking in just a few minutes. Willy-nilly, you have to pay for the simple, but long-term bringing the beans “to mind” and for small and colorful packaging.
Secondly, soybeans themselves have absolutely no flavor, but are very susceptible to additives – other products, seasonings, spices, flavor simulants, etc. Add sugar and flavor – there will be a cake, brew with broth – there will be meat, mix with juice – there will be mousse, with milk sourdough – sour cream, with cocoa – chocolate, etc. Absolutely everything is made from soy today: flour, milk, cottage cheese, cheese , mayonnaise, nuts, vegetable oil, sauce. And what an assortment of pseudo-meat products! Soy meat is the latest culinary achievement. In its “raw” form, it resembles freeze-dried meat, and when ready, it is able to imitate its most diverse variants. The “meat” variety warms the gourmet’s soul: cabbage rolls, ham, goulash, soy steaks look and smell as good as the prototypes. Taste, however, is different. Some cannot distinguish “soy meat” from natural, others admit that meat (still meat!) Seems boiled and tasteless, but everyone agrees on its extraordinary softness and satiety.
Needless to say, it is very convenient: an absolutely useful product at least three times a day will not get bored. But how profitable: now cheap aromatic and flavoring “chemistry”, and at best inexpensive natural seasonings plus a cheap base goes under the brand of “healthy food”, desired by every modern person.
“Having eaten through” soybeans, Europeans and Americans, indeed, did not spend their money on someone else’s goods (in fact, this is not accepted by smart people). In 1990, almost half a million American farmers, having previously uprooted corn, grew 52 million tons of soybeans in their fields. Which, believe me, was lying around in warehouses.
Today, when well-being in Russia is still measured by the ratio of wages to the cost of a kilogram of sausage, the whole world is going crazy for soybeans. In armies and kindergartens, at the direction of high-ranking nutritionists, it has become a daily dish. Orthodox believers with a clear conscience eat lenten steaks and schnitzels. Shops and cafes that specialize in selling only soy products and dishes multiply at the same rate as our pharmacies. And the real opportunity to lose weight, “deceiving” the insatiable stomach with soy delicacies, gave rise to a real tsunami in the muddy waters of the super-profitable business of a thousand and one weight loss recipes.
However, universal soy is ready to serve both those who want to lose weight and those who need every extra calorie. Comparison tables of valuable nutrients and calories in soy products and pork put the latter on the level of straw compared to normal human food.
And what about us during the global soy boom? Soy infant formula somehow entered our lives along with the general allergy of “artificial” children to cow’s milk protein. But this is only a small part of the universal benefits of soy, by the way, recognized by both the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and the Research Institute of Nutrition. However, in our country, soy has become known only among a certain circle of people, whose concern for their own health is still contrary to generally accepted traditions among the people.
How soon will age-old traditions break, the need to eat from our own garden, and not from a “health food” store, a biased distrust of advertising and a generally disregard for our own health in us? Perhaps not before world medicine picks up a new idea of saving humanity.
consultant Alexander BELYAEV, nutritionist