Paleo teriyaki

Wakame seaweed & wilted kale salad with a paleo terriyaki dressing

The recipe is down below my little soy story. Enjoy!

When I work with people on food I prefer to focus on big principles that when followed tend to steer people in the right direction. Sometimes the details help though, especially when it’s about a topic that’s frustrating due to so much conflicting information. Soy is one of those. Along with other beans, it’s the darling child that RD’s point to making misguided comparisons with meat as a health(ier) protein source and the basis of the Asian diet inaccurately fingered for the mythical superb health of an entire people.

Soy, like other legumes, isn’t ‘paleo’ for good reason. Its addition to the ”Eliminate” list of foods is darkly comedic to me though. Asking the average person to avoid soy in the mainstream food system is, at first, like avoiding bacteria. I remember what it was like: I’d select a sauce or dressing at the store or a seemingly healthy product, or select something off or on the menu that seemed extremely paleo. After cracking open the bottle or asking the chef shyly what oil they use to cook, hope or wishful thinking, after naively letting it creep up, would turn to frustration.

It’s nearly inescapable: derivatives are in almost every processed food product and the health implications of most are unknown, many classified as GRAS. The real food principles exclude soy proteins for clear reasons pertaining to its common allergenic properties in people, its hormone-immitating and growth-promoting components, its gut-irritating lectins and its nutrient-absorbtion interfering antinutrient content. Its derivatives such as soybean oil and soy lecithin receive less coverage, however.

A little digging on how these items are manufactured made me want to eliminate them from my diet over time: high heat, chemical solvents, pesticide residues, unknown soy protein content. And then of course the economic, social and political issues related to soy subsidies, soy genetic modification, and the contribution of these to the state of top soil, eutrophication (run off resulting in dead aquatic ecosystems), labor use, and artifically depressed food prices that flood the market with disease-causing low-quality food products.

With all this, is it worth it to me to ferment properly and safely process my own organic non-GMO soy to make my own soy products with reduced antinutrient and lectin load? No. It’s also not worth it to me to eat mystery soy additives just for the sake of convenience. I’m lucky enough, though to no longer be exposed to awkward social and business restaurant situations that would leave me with little other choice than to select from a menu of foods likely guaranteed to contain or be smothered in some form of mystery soy (or other legume/seed oil).

Cooking for yourself obviously gives you as much control as you like. While I recommend (and personally do) stick to the whole food principle (eating stuff that was produced/looks closest to what it looked like pre-agriculture), I still like soy sauce and terriyaki flavor (I did grow up in Hawaii) and have come up with ways to avoid mystery soy thanks to some coconut product companies that are pretty transparent about their product and who have managed to create a soy sauce without soy that tastes (imo) way better than soy sauce. Coconut Aminos is what I’m referring to. It’s expensive, but it’s just a treat (and if you want to over do it, there’s always becoming a wholesaler).

Here’s the recipe for the teriyaki sauce!

Taste as you go and adjust ingredients to your taste:

  • ~1/3 c coconut cream concentrate (aka coconut butter) — you can buy this from me (please I need to get rid of some inventory!)
  • ~1/3 c coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp local honey
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil

Melt coconut cream for no more than 15-20 seconds in micro if it’s been in the cupboard (burns easily); mix by hand, add to wilted, de-stemmed kale and dried wakame. Mango and cucumber bits along with some toasted sesame seeds were delicious on top.

Leave a Reply