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Shipboard training

How soy protein could aid your diet

WHAT IS SOY? Soybeans – actually, beans in general

– are not much of a dietary staple in the western world. But traditional soy foods – like tofu, miso and tempeh – have formed the basis of the diet in East Asia for centuries, where they’re valued not only for their versatility, but also for the healthy nutrition they offer.

I HAVE been looking at how

shipboard training has evolved over recent years. The commercial ships I visit have training rooms in various shapes and sizes. There is a library of DVDs which have certain training modules ending in a question and answer exercise. Fine and all up to date!

When I went to Nautical College

back in the 1970s, training was steering away from the para military discipline that was a spillover from by gone eras. Some practices were outdated and

in the days of the early 1970s, marine training schools were in the process of becoming annexes to city polytechnic colleges.

Inevitably, the tide of change waits

for no one and marine schools were modernising to take into account the range of commercial ships that the British Mercantile Marine had under its flag. Specialist ships were being built for the carriage of LPG, with LNG still to be developed. Ships until the Oil crisis of 1973 were becoming bigger and faster. Offshore marine supply ships

were being developed, inkeeping with progressive oil exploration by the then oil majors. The industry was improving its image for young people and employment at sea was considered a professional career move. So, marine training schools

were required to provide modern, professional training for Seafarers. I was fortunate enough to sail with Seafarers that had survived the North Atlantic convoys of the 1940s. It is their passing on of basic shipboard awareness that remains with me even today.

Permit me to return to modern

shipboard training methods. These schemes provide fundamental training aboard but are not ship specific. I accept subjects like Rule of the Road lend themselves to modern shipboard techniques. However, what was wrong with a

magnetic board and coloured discs to put the subject over? Again, the subjects of cargo

handling and bulk operations training do have a place in a ship’s training library. However, if a trainee sees Officers taking shortcuts owing to ignorance, then what sort of example is that?

When I was a Junior Officer, the

Senior Officers would be looking for initiative, work ethic and competence. This is where Seamanship comes in. By all means have a port plan ready, but what measures are there aboard to monitor progress? A classic example I give is the

monitoring of ballast handling aboard ship. Yes, the Junior Officer has plans under his control and I ask to what level are ballast tanks to be filled. So I get an answer that the Junior Officer is satisfied with operational progress. I leave and come back some time later when I can estimate that a ballast tank is somewhere close to full. Again, I ask the Junior Officer if he is confident of his actions. I look out of the cargo control room port window and see ballast water running down the ship’s deck!. So, is the Junior Officer confident of his actions now? Perhaps he needs basic Seamanship lessons! What was wrong with conducting periodic deck rounds, for example? Marine training involves the

practical with theoretical, and I feel little is being passed on in basic

training. Another issue I note and is

applicable to vessels offshore at this time of year. Experience largely accounts for

the ship handling of vessels along our exposed coast to winter gales. Deck staff spend long hours drifting offshore and keeping ‘tricks’ on the ship’s wheel with the ship in manual steering. Whatever amount of training can

be given, it is the judgement of the Master to safely ride out bad weather. Again with his ship alongside, it is the Master who decides what extra moorings can be put out. I get asked my opinion and offer (I hope!) my professional view. It is the Master, however, that makes the final decision. So, computer-based training takes

this into account, does it? I’m told I want to know the ‘ins and outs’ of knowledge that is generally superficial. I believe that as Master of a ship or Skipper of a small craft that you are continually receiving knowledge that facilitates making decisions. Ignorance then cannot be the excuse for poor judgement. I close this week with an account

of an incident that happened to me in the North Sea. I was Chief Officer and was in conversation with the Master on the ship’s bridge. A passenger ferry was approaching on my starboard side which I had been monitoring. For some inexplicable reason, I stood on longer than I or the Master considered safe. The Master indicated that he was taking over and altered course around the ferry’s stern. I had some explaining to do later as the Master was not very impressed with my bridge watch- keeping performance! Be alert – stay safe!

SOY IS NUTRIENT-PACKED While all beans provide protein,

soybeans top the list when it comes to protein quality. Proteins are made up of small building blocks called amino acids. And some amino acids are termed essential – which means that we have to get them from foods, because our bodies can’t make them. A protein that contains all the essential amino acids is termed ‘complete’ – and soy is one of the few complete proteins in the plant world. Soybeans are also low in saturated

fat and, like all plant foods, are naturally cholesterol-free. Soybeans also offer up calcium,

magnesium, phosphorus, potassium and B-vitamins, along with omega-3 fats. If you’re trying to work more plant

protein into your diet, you might want to give soy a try. With so many soy products to choose from, it’s easier than ever.


• Edamame are fresh green soybeans. You can often find these in supermarket freezer either in the pod, or already shelled. After briefly cooking in salted water, they can be eaten as a snack, or added to soups and salads.

• Tempeh is made from soybeans that are partially cooked, allowed to ferment and then formed into a firm block. Since tempeh is fermented, it’s a source of ‘good bacteria‘, or probiotics. Tempeh has a meaty flavour and firm texture which holds its shape, so it’s great for salads and stir-fry dishes.

• Miso is a paste made from

fermented soybeans (which means it also contains probiotics) and it’s used as base for soup, as well as an ingredient in sauces, salad dressings and marinades. There are different varieties, and the colour can range from light yellow to very deep brown. In general, light miso is less salty and milder in flavour than dark miso.

• Soy milk is made from dried soybeans which are soaked in water until they’re rehydrated, then ground with water. The resulting milk is sold as a beverage or made into yogurt. Soy milk and soy yogurt each have about seven grams of protein per each 250ml serving. You can use soy milk as a beverage on its own, or you can substitute it for regular milk in most recipes or in protein shakes.

• Soy nuts are roasted whole soybeans. They make a nice snack on their own, and they’re also good in salads and on cereals. Soy nuts (and soy nut butter, which is made from ground soy nuts) have a bit more protein and a bit less fat than peanuts (or peanut butter).

• Soy protein powders and meat substitutes are made from soybean flour that’s had most of the fat removed. The powders can be added to smoothies or stirred into oatmeal and the soy meat substitutes can be used in all sorts of recipes in place of meat or poultry. Quorn is widely available locally.

• Tofu is essentially a cheese that’s made from soy milk. It ranges in texture from extra firm to extra soft and has a very mild flavour – which means it mixes well with anything from spicy sauces to naturally sweet fruits. The firmer type of tofu is good for grilling or stir-frying, while the softer, creamier style is good in smoothies or sweetened and topped with fruit as a dessert.

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