Miso is a Japanese paste traditionally made from fermented soybeans, salt and koji (koji being the fungus ‘starter culture’ for the fermentation process). It has a complex savoury umami flavour that adds depth, earthiness and saltiness to dishes.
WHY WE NORMALLY AVOID SOY?
On the Paleo path, we would tend to avoid processed soy products like tofu and soy milk due to the lectins and phytates they contain. Lectins can effect your leptin sensitivity which can mess with your hunger and energy expenditure signals. Phytates on the other hand can cling to minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc rendering them unavailable for your body to use.
Soy also contains high levels of goitrogens which can inhibit the thyroids ability to use iodine correctly which can lead to hypothyroid issues.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE
There are some soy-based products like miso, natto and tempeh that differ from your run-of-the-mill soy stuff as they are naturally fermented. As we know fermented food are awesome for gut health and a healthy microbiome. Fermented foods are easier to digest and the fermentation process greatly reduces the antinutrients present such as lectins and phytates. These foods are also full of probiotics, a decent amount of protein, vitamin K and B12. So if you don’t have any major reactions, I see no issue with adding a wee bit of miso flavour-bombage to your diet. Just always look for non-GMO, gluten-free, unpasteurised versions, and refs read the label to make sure they haven’t snuck any MSG in there.
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