So ya thought soya was good fo' ya?
I certainly do (did?). According to the Annie Appleseed Project
, the long term use of tempe at all stages of life, without recognised adverse effects, suggests it is relatively safe at the levels of intake seen in Central Java. Apparent health benefits are bowel health, protection against cardiovascular disease, certain cancers (e.g. breast and prostate) and menopausal health (including bone health).
But then I read in today's Observer
that my sperm count is probably down. Not that it particularly matters as at my age my child making days, and nights, are done with. Mind you, I could probably still benefit from the new reality sex show Sex Inspectors
on Britain's Channel 4, although the notion that "energy ... is more important than good looks
" probably let's me off the hook, so to speak.
(The series goes out at 11pm. And the footage is extraordinarily frank, even with clever cropping and pixellation. Couples draw their bodies on a blackboard and identify the bits they like stimulated. Then there's the jaw-dropping moment where one of the men admits he ejaculated so fast after a spot of spanking he temporarily blinded his partner. It sounds terrifying - and just occasionally it is - but actually the shows are redeemed by the good humour and bravery of the participants.
Now, where was I? Oh yes, soya beans. As a vegetarian, for a variety of reasons which I won't go into here, I'm pleased that Indonesia has a worthy meat substitute in tempe
in American English
). It can be eaten as a snack
and used in an amazing variety of recipes
that I could be partly responsible for the destruction of rain forests does not make good reading. Where only a few years ago thick native forests filled the landscape, now all that stands between Las Lajitas and the Andes shimmering on the horizon are green pastures sprouting soya.
"Why is the white man destroying our lands?
" asks one of the tribal chiefs. It is difficult to explain that it's to be used to feed animals in Europe and China.
Yes, folks, the soya bean industry, as lead by Monsanto, is wiping out indigenous tribes and causing massive unemployment and poverty due to smallholders losing their lands and migrating to cities.
I am not alone
in believing that corporate greed leads to hunger and malnutrition. And that is the essential paradox. The attempts to monopolise the food chain can only lead to its shortening. Fewer consumers will eventually ~ hopefully? ~ lead to the realisation that small really is beautiful. Empowering communities to feed themselves efficiently, through appropriate food technology programmes, as in the Tempe Project
, actually enhances local democracy, raises education levels through increased prosperity and enables villagers to remain a community. Is that so bad?
And here endeth today's sermon.
Now to research an environmentally aware way of boosting my sperm count. Any suggestions?