Is Soy Sauce Bad For Your Health?

In 2012, I committed myself to a healthy, natural lifestyle. I gave birth to my kids naturally; switched to non-toxic personal care products; cut back on certain foods in my diet; spent more money on essential oils, health supplements and organic foods…you get the idea. This past week, I even bought an expensive, non-toxic sofa without flame retardants—it was designed with hardwood sourced from FSC-certified domestic forests, CertiPUR-US certified poly foam, and certified organic cotton interior lining. Before 2012, I never expected to care about the materials that were used to create our old, torn sofa.

But when a friend started talking about the dangers of soy, I kind of just looked the other way and pretended not to hear him. Because of my Asian background, I have eaten a lot of soy sauce in my life—and I love it. So, what’s the deal with soy sauce, anyway? If you love soy sauce like I do, you might be pleasantly surprised with some of the information that I found. Turns out, there’s what I like to call “Bad Soy Sauce” and “Good Soy Sauce.” I also found a tasty substitute for soy sauce!

Bad Soy Sauce

Bad soy sauce goes through acid hydrolysis and contains soybeans, caramel color, corn syrup and salt. The process to create bad soy sauce is complete in a few days.

I call this bad soy sauce because it contains artificial ingredients and GMOs. I would also like to note that 1 tablespoon of soy sauce usually contains about 38% of your daily value of sodium. That’s a whole lot of salt in one tablespoon!

Good Soy Sauce

Good soy sauce goes through a fermentation process and contains soybeans, salt, and enzymes. Wheat is often added as well. It takes approximately six months to create this type of soy sauce.

I call this good soy sauce because of the fermentation. Thanks to the fermentation process, this soy sauce may be beneficial for your gut. If you choose to eat soy sauce, try to find an organic brand (avoid the GMOs) that contains less sodium.

Soy Sauce Replacement: Coconut Aminos

This is what is listed under Ingredients on my Coconut Aminos bottle (I get mine at Thrive Market):

“Organic coconut tree sap aged and blended with sun-dried, mineral-rich sea salt.”

Coconut Aminos is a delicious replacement for soy sauce—and it contains only two healthy ingredients. If you are like me, you are probably wondering if it tastes like coconut. No; thankfully, it does not! Also, one tablespoon of coconut aminos contains only 12% of your daily value of sodium. I would say that this is a big improvement from 38% (the daily value of sodium for one tablespoon of soy sauce).

What do you think of soy sauce and coconut aminos?

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Reference

Soy Sauce. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/soy-sauce

This post was originally published on May 17, 2019; it was updated on September 29, 2020.

Coconut Oil Has Superpowers

I have come to realize that the simplest foods can be the most effective at combating health issues. If you are searching for a natural solution, I definitely recommend that you add coconut oil to your grocery list. Coconut oil has numerous health benefits—here are just three of my favorites!

Arthritis supporter

In an animal study, rats were injected with Freund’s adjuvant—mycobacterium that causes arthritis, ulcers, inflammation, and death of tissue. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of the coconut oil helped to decrease swelling and inflammation.

CANCER fighter

A study in Malaysia showed that coconut oil decreased the side effects of chemotherapy and it helped to improve the quality of life in patients undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Coconut oil has also been shown to prevent, stop, or slow the spread of colon, breast, and endometrial cancer cells.

germ killer

A study in Nigeria showed that coconut oil was active against Candida—a fungi that can be drug-resistant and can cause many health issues. An additional study showed that the growth of Clostridium difficile—an infection that can be severe and resistant to antibiotics—was inhibited when exposed to lipolyzed coconut oil. Another study showed that coconut oil was just as effective as chlorhexidine (a synthetic oral rinse) at reducing Streptococcus mutans—a common bacteria that can cause cavities.

Have I convinced you that coconut oil has superpowers? If so, go out and buy pure, organic, unrefined coconut oil and aim to consume 2 tablespoons of coconut oil per day (max). The list of ways that you can use coconut oil is just as long as the list of its benefits. You can spread some on your sprouted-grain toast, throw some in your smoothie, or add some to your baked goods. Swish a tablespoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes—do this three times per week, spit the coconut oil in the garbage after you are done, and brush your teeth afterwards—to help prevent cavities!

How do you use coconut oil?

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Aspartame: AKA Fake Food or Poison

Years ago, I remember talking to my friend about healthy eating and how he managed to lose a lot of weight. He said that avoiding junk foods became easier when he stopped seeing junk food as real food. He realized that most junk food is not real food—most of it has been processed so much that it contains little to no nutritional value. Unfortunately, a lot of this “food” contains dangerous chemicals or poison. I would categorize aspartame as poison.

What is aspartame?

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener (fake food) with many names.

Aspartame is an artificial sweetener, also referred to as Acesulfame potassium (K), AminoSweet®, Neotame®, Equal®, NutraSweet®, Blue Zero Calorie Sweetener Packets™, Advantame®, NutraSweet New Pink, Canderel®, Pal Sweet Diet® and AminoSweet®. It’s used in a variety of food and wellness products like diet soda, gum, candy and vitamins.

-Draxe.com

What are some of the possible dangers of aspartame?

Systemic Inflammation

Inflammation is the cause of many diseases. A study suggested that aspartame causes systemic inflammation—even when dosages did not exceed the recommended safety dosages.

Cancer

One study showed that aspartame produced carcinogenic effects in rats and mice.

“Metabolic Derangements”

Evidence suggests that people that consume artificial sweeteners regularly may have an increased risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, weight gain, and metabolic syndrome. Another study with animals showed that animals were more prone to develop obesity and metabolic syndrome if they had long-term exposure to aspartame in the womb.

Neurobehavioral Effects

In one study, a high-aspartame diet resulted in irritable mood, depression, and a worsened performance on spatial orientation tests. What is disturbing to me is that the dosage of aspartame given to the subjects was well below the maximum recommended daily level. I wonder what would have happened if the subjects were given the maximum recommended daily level.

Early Puberty

In a study done with nine and ten-year old girls, it was found that consumption of aspartame (from artificially sweetened soft drinks) was positively associated with a risk of early puberty. According to draxe.com, “long-term risks of early puberty include breast cancer, HPV, heart disease, diabetes and all-cause mortality.”

Almost Every Health Issue Known to Man

Aspartame interference in these functions may directly or indirectly evoke the development of many adverse symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, seizures, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, rashes, depression, fatigue, irritability, insomnia, vision problems, hearing loss, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, slurred speech, tinnitus, memory loss, learning disabilities and joint pain.

-Folia Neuropathologica

What are some natural sweet alternatives to aspartame?

Stevia, honey, coconut sugar, and dates are delicious and healthy in moderation.

I used to be an avid junk food eater that hated cooking and baking. When I started to have health issues, I cut sweet foods and other unhealthy foods out of my diet. Once my health began to improve, I started baking desserts with natural sweeteners. They taste incredible! I know that it is hard to avoid aspartame and other fake foods, but if I can do it, anyone can do it!

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References

Araujo JR, Martel F, Keating E. Exposure to non-nutritive sweeteners during pregnancy and lactation: impact in programming of metabolic diseases in the progeny later in life. Reprod Toxicol. 2014; 49, 196-201. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25263228/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Choudhary AK, Pretorius E. Revisiting the safety of aspartame. Nutr Rev. 2017; 75 (9), 718-730. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28938797/?from_term=aspartame&from_pos=1. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Edwards, Rebekah. Aspartame: 11 Dangers of This All-Too-Common Food Additive. Draxe.com. https://draxe.com/nutrition/aspartame/. Published May 13, 2019. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Lindseth GN, Coolahan SE, Petros TV, et al. Neurobehavioral effects of aspartame consumption. Res Nurs Health. 2014; 37(3): 185-193. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24700203/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Mueller NT, Jacobs DR, MacLehose, RF, et al. Consumption of caffeinated and artificially sweetened soft drinks is associated with risk of early menarche. Am J Clin Nutr. 2015; 102 (3): 648-654. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26178725/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Rycerz K, Jaworska-Adamu JE. Review paper effects of aspartame metabolites on astrocytes and neurons. Folia Neuropathologica. 2013; 51(1): 10-17. https://www.termedia.pl/Review-paper-Effects-of-aspartame-metabolites-on-astrocytes-and-neurons,20,20489,1,1.html. Published March 28, 2013. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Soffritti M, Belpoggi F, Manservigi M, et al. Aspartame administered in feed, beginning prenatally through life span, induces cancers of the liver and lung in male Swiss mice. American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2010; 53 (12). https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajim.20896. Published September 30, 2010. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Swithers, SE. Artificial sweeteners produce the counterintuitive effect of inducing metabolic derangements. Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2013;24(9):431-441. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23850261/. Accessed June 5, 2020.

Tasty Superfood Smoothie

I used to make super healthy smoothies for my skin and gut. Unfortunately, these smoothies required a lot of time to prepare and the taste made my kids want to gag. I started making this smoothie a couple of weeks ago. It’s basically a superfood smoothie that tastes delicious—all three of my kids love it!

Tasty Superfood Smoothie

(approximately 2 servings)

1 and 1/4 cup raw yogurt, raw milk, coconut milk, or almond milk

1 cup blueberries

1 teaspoon raw almond butter

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 scoop vegetable supplement mix or 1-2 cups spinach

1 scoop multi-collagen protein (optional)

1 teaspoon coconut sugar (optional)

1 teaspoon cacao powder (optional)

Place all ingredients into a blender. Blend for two minutes. Savor the taste and enjoy a pleasant boost in mood and energy!

Raw Yogurt, Raw Milk, Almond Milk, or Coconut Milk

Raw dairy is controversial in the U.S., but did you know that other countries have Raw Milk vending machines? Raw milk—known as the “perfect food”—is packed with nutrients, healthy fat, and probiotics. If you are not a raw dairy fan, coconut milk is helpful for just about everything in your body. Almond milk is a good source of vitamins E, D, and calcium. Almonds provide healthy fat for the heart, brain, and gut. They can also help to regulate blood sugar and can act as a weight loss aid because they make you feel full.

Blueberries

This is another superfood that is beneficial for just about everything in the body, especially the brain, gut, and heart. Blueberries can help fight cancer and they can reduce inflammation.

Chia Seeds

Because chia seeds are high in fiber and omega 3s, the consumption of chia seeds can help regulate bowel movements and can help with inflammation and mood disorders. Chia seeds also contain a lot of protein.

Vegetable Supplement Mix or Spinach

I started making these smoothies because I wanted to find an easy way for my kids to get more vegetables in their diet. Some of the ingredients in my current vegetable supplement mix contain kale, dandelion greens, collard greens, broccoli, cabbage, wheat grass, alfalfa, oat grass, barley grass, and goji berries. It’s always best to get nutrients from whole foods, but the vegetable supplement mix helps fill in some of the nutritional gaps in their diet. If you don’t want to use a vegetable supplement, spinach is a good substitute because it has a mild taste that will not make the smoothie taste bitter.

Multi-Collagen Protein

I started using this in 2016 and stopped using it after one container because I didn’t believe that it was helpful for anything. I started using it again this past year. Guess what happened? The dry, hard, thick reptile-like skin on my heels now has a normal appearance and texture! Multi-collagen protein is beneficial for the gut, skin, nails, and joints.

Coconut Sugar

I wish I had known about coconut sugar sooner! Coconut sugar is a good alternative to regular sugar because it is good for the gut. Just keep in mind to consume coconut sugar in moderation. Also, due to the carbohydrate content, coconut sugar is not keto-friendly. If you don’t have coconut sugar but want to add a little more sweetness to your smoothie, you can add a banana, 1-2 dates, or 1 teaspoon of pure, raw honey.

Cacao Powder

Cacao is good for your muscles, gut, heart, and mood. This one is definitely a mood booster for me. The mere smell of cacao powder makes me happy!

What’s your favorite smoothie recipe?

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Apple Cider Vinegar for Amazing Health

Whenever the skin on my hands becomes overly dry and irritated, I can tell that my gut needs a little help. In addition to increasing my water intake, I have started drinking apple cider vinegar again. I drink one tablespoon of Bragg apple cider vinegar—organic, raw, and made with “mother” enzymes”—in one cup of water before breakfast and lunch. Apple Cider Vinegar has many amazing uses—below are three of my favorites!

Bacteria Killer

In the time of Hippocrates and The Old Testament, apple cider vinegar and honey were used to fight infection and to clean skin wounds. According to one clinical study, apple cider vinegar has antimicrobial effects on E-coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans. It can help the body get rid of bad bacteria in the gut. A healthier gut leads to a healthier you!

Diabetes Fighter

Vinegar helps to lower blood glucose in people that have type 2 diabetes or people that are at-risk of developing type 2 diabetes. One study showed that a change in diet and one tablespoon of vinegar twice per day led to a greater decrease in fasting blood glucose than daily rosiglitazone or metformin use.

Weight Loss Helper

In one study, researchers concluded that apple cider vinegar reduced the risk of obesity in rats. In another study that lasted for 12 weeks, obese human subjects that consumed 15 mL or 30 mL of vinegar had significantly lower weight, body mass index, visceral fat, waist circumference, and triglyceride levels than subjects that did not consume vinegar.

Before you decide to consume apple cider vinegar, you might want to consult with your healthcare professional. Also, be sure to dilute it in water and do not overdo it. Over-consumption can lead to stomach upset, erosion of the enamel of your teeth, a decrease in your potassium level, and other unwanted effects.

What do you think of this natural remedy?

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