By Rose Marie Feagin
MANSFIELD -- Don Mossman of Norwalk doesn't need to be told April is National Soyfoods Month -- touted by soy supporters as an ideal time to remind cooks how easy it is to add soy to their diets. He changed his eating habits a long time ago.
Mossman, owner of Mossman Music in Norwalk, has been a vegan for about 15 years. As the main cook for the family, he has learned many ways to incorporate soy products into the meals he prepares.
From a soy form of mayonnaise to tofu, including a tofu-based ice cream, soy often is found in the family's diet.
We like that soy, Mossman said.
Thursday, he attended a class on Indonesian vegetarian cooking at the Norwalk Seventh-day Adventist Church. The class was taught by Registered Nurse Joyce Sihotang.
It was like going to an Indonesian restaurant, Mossman said. It was totally vegan and included lots of soy. That's an ancient culture, they've been using soy forever.
Sihotang cooked a variety of dishes including a concoction of pea pod leaves sautéed in dark sesame oil, a porridge and a couple of sticky rice dishes.
It's the best five bucks you could spend and still be in Norwalk, said Mossman, who is a member of the Vegetarian Society of Northern Ohio.
I liked the porridge that she made. I like the tofu, I kind of liked it all.
Asked if he would try any of the recipes, Mossman said he probably would make something with a peanut sauce.
The Ohio Soybean Council also would like to introduce cooks to the speed scratch method of cooking. That style is when consumers combine mixes and other convenience foods with their own special touches. According to the council, it is a quick and easy way to incorporate soy ingredients increase the nutrition in foods prepared at home.
For example, blueberry muffin mix becomes more nutritious when vanilla soy milk is used instead of water, soft silken tofu replaces the egg and chopped roasted soy nuts are part of the crunchy streusel topping.
According to Connie Cahill, consumer spokeswoman for the Ohio Soybean Council, the protein in soy has been linked to a decrease in the risk factors for coronary heart disease, and is being studied for its effect on reducing osteoporosis and some cancers.
As consumers understand more about the relationship between diet and disease prevention, they want to incorporate soy into what they eat as a strategy for wellness and good health. We call soy foods 'The Flavor of Health' because they are important sources of calcium, potassium and fiber as well as protein, Cahill said.
A Food and Drug Administration ruling that allows products to carry labels identifying soy protein's benefits has extended soy items from health food stores and aisles into the main traffic areas of major supermarkets, said soybean council executive director Susie Calhoon Turner.
People want to see and use soy ingredients in the products they normally eat -- breads, muffins, cereals, pasta and other foods that make up the typical American diet, Turner said.
Mossman agreed. He said people have access to a lot of information that can help them live wonderful and healthy lives and soy can be a part of that.
Soybeans contain all three of the macro-nutrients required for good nutrition: Complete protein, carbohydrates and fats, as well as vitamins and minerals, including calcium, folic acid and iron.
Soybeans are the only vegetables that contain complete protein. Soybean protein provides all eight amino acids in the amounts needed for human health. The amino-acid pattern of soy is virtually identical to that of meat, milk and egg products.
Soybeans are most valued nutritionally for their unsaturated fatty acids, protein and fiber content.
Source: United Soybean Board
Originally published Wednesday, April 23, 2003