Soy and Fermented Soy Foods
Soy is a species of legumes, widely grown for its edible bean, which has numerous uses. Soy has traditionally been used in Asian and Japanese cultures as a condiment. Soy is added to many commercial products — including milk, cheese, and other packaged products — as a stabilizer or enhancer. Soy is loaded with protein, fat, and immune-enhancing properties. Nowadays, people include soy as the main part of their meal.
As a result of the health craze regarding soy foods being good, consumers are purchasing anything and everything containing soy, thinking they’re on the path to health. The issue with this overconsumption of soy-based products is that the soy used in the commercial industry is nonorganic, genetically modified, and so fractionated from its original form that it’s no longer a food. Soy isn’t bad for you, but you need to choose the right kinds of soy and eat it in moderation.
Here’s a list of the top fermented forms of soy that you can include in your diet. These are the types of soy that are traditionally used in ancient cultures. You typically enjoy them in moderation and use them as a condiment, garnish, or accent to a meal. And, guess what, some of these you can even make at home!
Miso: A fermented soybean paste with a salty, almond butter–like texture. Make miso soup or put miso in a salad dressing or marinade.
Natto: Fermented soybeans with a sticky texture and a strong, cheese-like flavor.
Tamari or nama shoyu: Traditionally made by fermenting soybeans, salt, and enzymes, tamari is the modern, healthy version of soy sauce. It is pure and has great flavor. You can also get it as low-sodium and wheat-free. It’s great in salad dressings, sauces, and marinades.
Tempeh: A fermented soybean cake with a firm texture and a nutty, mushroom-like flavor. Enjoy tempeh in a stir-fry, on sandwiches, ground up into “burgers,” or just as is!