It’s taken me 3 years to stop using soy sauce. It’s been used in my family for generations so I feel a little less Chinese saying this. Here is why I did it:
- Highly processed. I read this article by Kaayla T. Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America’s Favorite Health Food, to understand how soy sauce is made and it is scary. Traditional soy sauce is made with a fermentation process that can take as long as 18 months in the traditional manner and unpasteurized. Unfortunately, this is not the soy sauce that you buy in the grocery story or get at Chinese takeout restaurants. These soy sauces use soybean meal (not whole soy beans) and high-tech processes with chemicals to reduce the production process to 8 to 12 hours. Sugars, caramel colorings, and other chemical flavorings are added before it is pasteurized and bottled. Gross! The processing of commercial soy sauce alone produces so many undesirables like ethyl carbonate, compound linked to cancer, and totally destroys the beneficial and essential amino acid, tryptophan.
- Contains gluten. Knowing how commercial soy sauce is made, I cannot use it to cook food for my children. Traditional soy sauce would be an option but it contains gluten and I stopped cooking gluten a year ago because it triggers my eczema and my youngest daughter is gluten intolerant. Tamari is a gluten-free alternative that uses the traditional fermentation method. It is my secondary choice because it goes through pasteurization processing.
- Soy is not healthy. Soy has one of the highest levels of phytoestrogens, plant based estrogen that mimic estrogen in the body. This is bad because the leading cause of breast cancer, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, infertility is estrogen dominance, or too much estrogen in our body. This is just made worse by eating a food high in estrogen. Soy will destroy your thyroid by blocking the essential amounts of iodine it needs. Soy farming started to build soil fertility and feed farm animals. It was not considered fit for human consumption until the Chineselearned how to ferment it, which made it digestible. Most consumed soy products do not use the traditional methods of fermentation. Knowing what I know now about soy, I want to cry when I remember giving my oldest daughter organic soy milk formula thinking it was healthy.
Because soy sauce was ingrained in my life, it took time to figure out how to cook Chinese meals without it. Now I use a combination of Coconut Aminos, salt, and Red Boat Fish Sauce in place of soy sauce. Here are the proportions:
1 tablespoon Coconut Aminos
1/4 teaspoon salt (I like to use a high-mineral salt like Real Salt)
2 drops of Red Boat Fish Sauce
I hope this was helpful.
The Dumpling Mama xo