Recently a friend asked me about the difference and/or benefits of soy milk versus cow's milk. I promised that I would elaborate on my immediate (and brief) answer...so here goes. Soy milk found in the grocery store are fortified--meaning many vitamins and nutrients are added to make it comparable to cow's milk. Most have 80-100 calories, 2-4 grams of fat (depending on full fat versus light versions), 7 grams of protein, 300-400 mg of calcium, 120 IU of vitamin D and no cholesterol per 8 oz cup . In comparison, nonfat cow's milk has 90 calories, 0-1 grams of fat, 300 mg of calcium, 5 mg of cholesterol. There is some question of whether or not the calcium in soy milk (which is added in) is absorbed as well as calcium in cow's milk, but recent research has found that the absorption is the same--and soy milk may even reduce calcium excretion which means stronger bones!
Soy products are made from the soy bean. Typically, soy is incorporated in a person's diet for one of three major reasons: 1. a milk or lactose allergy. 2. a vegetarian diet 3. taste or preference. Soy contains all 9 essential amino acids necessary for growth and good health making it the only complete plant protein that is equal to a meat protein. Soy contains isoflavones (antioxidants) that have been shown to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Read more about the latest research here. Soy is a great meat substitute because of its protein content. Try a few of my favorite soy products and I think you may be surprised at how good they are!
Morningstar Farms - this company makes fabulous soy products. I love their Black Bean Burger as a quick lunch or dinner and the Veggie Sausage Patties are yummy as a side to your pancakes or on an egg sandwich.
8th Continent - this is by far my favorite brand of soy milk. I really like the Light Vanilla and the Light Chocolate version. It only has 60 or 90 calories respectively per serving and actually tastes like a dessert. I like to make shakes or smoothies with soy milk, frozen fruit and a little Better 'n Peanut Butter.
Edamame - If you have ever been to a Japanese restaurant, you may have tried these yummy soy beans. They look similar to a pea pod when in their shell. You eat them by biting the pod and sucking out the bean. I like to buy them pre-shelled. You can find them in the frozen vegetable section of your grocery store. Usually they are served with a little salt--just follow the very simple directions on the bag. Edamame are loaded with protein (11 grams per 1/2 cup) and make a great appetizer or snack.
Hopefully this will encourage you to try something new!
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