If you have a sensitivity to soy it can feel like there is a whole world of culinary delights you can’t enjoy because they require soy sauce to provide that delicious, umami flavour.
However, thanks to the recent explosion in all things coconut, you can now indulge in delicious stir-fries, marinades, sushi dips, salad dressings, and sauces by swapping out soy sauce for coconut aminos without worrying about the effect on your body. But what about for those of you who don’t have a soy sensitivity? Is there still a reason to make the switch? Let’s take a look at some of the stellar health benefits of coconut aminos in comparison to the downsides of soy sauce.
How does Soy Measure Up?
Unfortunately, most soy sauce has upwards of 1000mg of sodium per serving, and it’s generally not coming from unrefined, mineral-rich sea salt. If you’re not purchasing organic products, then it is likely that your soy sauce is contaminated with GMO crops, which are heavily sprayed and whose health effects on the human population are yet to be fully determined. Soy sauces are often made using a combination of different grains and so are often not gluten-free or safe for those with celiac or non-celiac gluten sensitivity. Finally, during the fermentation process naturally occurring MSG is produced. This substance is an excitatory neurotoxin and can cause reactions in those with sensitivities, which include migraines, nausea, flushing, or numbness of the face.
Where do Coconut Aminos Come From?
First off I think it’s important to know where coconut aminos actually come from. You may be familiar with the alternative sweetener coconut syrup/sap, that is known for its caramelly deliciousness and low glycemic index. It is from this delightful nectar that coconut aminos are created. This sap is naturally aged, producing a liquid that is has a complex, umami flavour that rivals soy sauce and tamari, but which is 100% gluten free and usually much lower in sodium than its soy-based counterparts. Many of the best coconut aminos, such as Coconut Secret, use high quality, unrefined sea salt to enhance its flavour.
Rich in Vitamins, Minerals, and Amino Acids
Coconut aminos provide vitamin C, a potent antioxidant and necessary component of healthy, supple skin. It is also rich in B vitamins such as inositol, which is required for proper fat and carbohydrate metabolism as well as the creation of healthy cell membranes.
Thanks to the high mineral content of the coconut sap from which it is derived, this soy alternative is high in health promoting minerals such as potassium and natural sodium to help maintain proper electrolyte balance and blood pressure.
Finally, as the name suggests, coconut aminos are rich in 17 different amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein molecules in the body. There is 11x more aspartic acid, 8x more serine, and 2-3x more proline found in CA than in standard soy sauce. Glutamic acid can be converted into GABA, an amino acid that functions as a neurotransmitter that promotes mental calmness. Serine is required to produce tryptophan, the amino acid used to make serotonin, our mood modulating, happy neurotransmitter. Finally, proline is required to produce collagen, cartilage, and keep muscles and joints flexible.
If you have a sensitivity to soy or are just looking for a more health-promoting seasoning, I suggest giving coconut aminos a try. You can test out the recipe below as a great place to start or just swap it out for the soy sauce in your favourite recipes.
Sweet and Spicy Coconut Amino Sauce
- ¼ cup organic butter
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 4 tbsp. organic coconut aminos
- ¼ to ½ tsp. chili flakes
- ½ tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
- In a small saucepan combine all ingredients.
- Cook over low-med heat until butter is melted and everything is combined.
- Remove from heat and whip together until smooth using am immersion blender.
- Return to heat and allow to simmer until thick and sticky.
Can be used as a marinade, a dip for sushi, or as a sauce to be brushed on grilled fish, chicken, or tempeh.
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