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.

DIY: How To Get Rid of Ants Naturally

What do you get when you have small kids and a small amount of time to clean? Well, I’ll tell you what I get. I get ANTS! Luckily, I found a cheap, natural, effective way to get rid of ants!

Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup of warm water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Borax
  • Cotton balls
  • Plastic bag

Please note that Borax is a natural powder. However, it is toxic if it is ingested by kids. Therefore, keep these “ant traps” away from small children and pets.

Here’s what you do:

  1. Cut the plastic bag into approximately seven small squares. The plastic acts as a disposable, waterproof plate for the cotton. In the past, I used a plastic container; later, I switched to a plastic bag so that the ants could get to the mixture faster. If you don’t want to use a plastic bag, you can use any small, shallow container or plate.
  2. Mix the water, sugar and Borax in a small bowl.
  3. Submerge a cotton ball in the mixture and place the cotton onto the plastic. Repeat until you have enough ant traps or until the mixture is gone.
  4. Place the plastic in the path of the ants. Keep the ant traps away from children and pets as the Borax is toxic if it is ingested.
  5. Throw the cotton and plastic away in approximately 48 hours.

These ant traps worked for odorous house ants (ants that like sugar). The ants will carry the mixture back to their home and the whole colony will die from the exposure to the Borax. Vinegar and essential oils are also great for repelling insects, but the ant traps and Borax were more effective because they wiped out the entire ant colony. This recipe came from DIY Natural. Mommypotamus also has some great ideas. 

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My Physician Missed A Lump On My Armpit

When searching for a new healthcare provider, it’s difficult to know which providers are competent, kind, and professional. Sometimes, we just have to hope for the best. When I have to visit a new healthcare provider, this is what I hope for.

I hope for someone that will not miss the small things—or even the big things.

When I was in college, I had a big lump on my armpit that was the size of a kiwi. It was so noticeable that my usually calm and laid-back mom sent me to the doctor right away. When I showed it to my doctor, she said, “I don’t see anything.” She didn’t acknowledge it until I pointed at it.

To this day, I am still scratching my head about this incident. Did she think that I was a hypochondriac and assume that I was being paranoid? Did she forget to put her contacts on? Was she tired? Did she even look the first time?  

I hope for someone that knows who I am—or at least doesn’t confuse my chart with someone else’s chart.

When I was pregnant, I saw an endocrinologist because my thyroid was out of whack. His office seemed to be busy because it took them three or more days to answer questions like, “Does the doctor want me to keep my appointment?” When I finally got a call from a nurse, this is what she said to me: “The doctor says that your thyroid levels look good. Keep taking Synthroid.”

I had never taken Synthroid in my life.

I hope for someone that is kind, humble and open to complementary therapies.

A couple of years ago, I was admitted to the hospital because my arm blew up (I had a crazy allergic reaction on my skin). With chin held high, squinty eyes peering down at me, and an expression on her face that said “I am God,” the Attending Physician snidely asked me questions like, “Why didn’t you see a skin doctor? Why are you taking fish oil?”

Due to my burning eyes (my contacts were old and I was not able to get my glasses from home) and lack of sleep from being monitored throughout the night, I was too much of a mess to explain to her that my insurance would probably not pay for dermatological services. I was also too tired to explain to her how beneficial fish oil was for me, so I just responded, “I read that fish oil is good.” With a condescending chuckle, she looked back down at her computer keyboard.

I hope for someone that will spend just a tiny bit of extra time with me if I have questions.

Our first pediatrician was very cordial and pleasant. Unfortunately, she spent most of our appointment typing on her computer and a minute or so examining our child. After the minute or so was up, she said, “Thank you, your papers will be at the desk, take care!” She was almost out the door before I stopped her to ask her a question. She scribbled something on my paper and basically ran out of the room.

I don’t have firsthand experience as a physician, but I know that they are forced to have quick appointments. I also know that some physicians feel as if they have to work so fast that they eventually start to see their patients as products on an out-of-control assembly line. Therefore, I don’t really fault this physician for her behavior. Unfortunately, this might just be an example of our broken healthcare system in the U.S.

I hope for someone with compassion.

I personally know two mothers that recently lost their babies in the second or third trimester. So, when I started having abnormal bleeding in my third trimester, I was very fearful for my baby and almost started crying in the midwife’s office. I was embarrassed of being overly emotional and was (unreasonably) ashamed of being a burden on the midwife.

Instead of impatience or lack of compassion, the midwife took my hand and tenderly said to me, “It’s okay. We are going to figure this out. That’s what we are here for.”

I hope for someone that goes above and beyond my expectations.

When my daughter was sick and our regular pediatrician was on vacation, we visited another doctor with his own practice. When I entered the office, the “receptionist” was on the phone. When it was time for the doctor to see my daughter, the same “receptionist” ushered us into the exam room, took my daughter’s vital signs, examined her and called an outside vendor to order lab tests. A few days later, the same “receptionist” called me to see if my daughter was feeling better.

When I visited the office again, the same “receptionist” was talking to one of the dads in the waiting room. At this point, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and asked, “Why are you doing everything? Is everyone on vacation for the holiday?” He told me that he could not afford his staff anymore. “In the same way that insurance rates are rising for patients, they are rising for us as well.” He went on to say that physicians will probably not be able to afford to have their own practices in the future.

This broke my heart. This kind physician took the time to call me to see if my daughter was okay, even though he had to be the receptionist, medical assistant and physician for his whole private practice.

Do you have a healthcare provider that goes above and beyond your expectations?

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This post was originally published on April 12, 2019. It was updated on August 7, 2020.