The Body Ecology Diet

Meet Nama Shoyu: Traditional Soy Sauce

Nama Shoyu is a traditional soy sauce that is unpasteurized; nama means “raw” and shoyu means “soy”. This soy sauce is made by fermenting non-GMO soybeans with a probiotic fungi called Aspergillus oryzae plus the addition of water, wheat, and sea salt.

This mixture is left to ferment in cedar kegs for 6 to 8 months; sometimes as long as 4 years.

This long, careful procedure creates a mixture of phenolic compounds. Inc. a natural form of glutamic acid that adds taste and aroma. Nama Shoyu is produced with a double-brew process. This allows it to be made with less salt with a full bodied flavor.

Many years ago, I apprenticed with a Japanese elder who made namu shoyu in giant cedar kegs; my job was to check them regularly. Now that I’m a Holistic Nutritionist, I understand the nutritional benefit of namu shoyu and advocate its use. Some exceptions are if you’re correcting a bacterial, yeast, or viral related health issue such as group B strep or Candida or are on the Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.).

If you are unable to process gluten I suggest you try this tamari, which is gluten-free and made with traditional methods. If you need to also avoid soy, South River Miso Company makes tamari using chickpeas or adzuki beans instead of soybeans. 

Modern Soy Sauce

Nowadays, most soy sauce contains sugar, preservatives and even coloring. It’s often made with machine-assisted fermentation and if not organic, it may be made with genetically modified (GMO) soybeans. The soy sauce packets at Chinese restaurants are often from hydrolyzed soy protein instead of traditional culture. If you’re sensitive to Chinese food this soy sauce may be why.

Nutritional highlights

Nama Shoyu is a type of naturally fermented soy sauce that:

  • Contains vitamin B2, B3, and B6
  • Contains minerals (i.e. iron, phosphorous, manganese, copper)
  • Contains free amino acids
  • Contains beneficial bacteria (i.e. lactobacillus, lacto-bacilli)
  • Contains live enzymes (i.e. amylase)
  • Contains amino acids
  • Decreases triglyceride levels
  • Increase HDL levels
  • Has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties
  • Has a similar amino acid profile as Bragg’s Liquid Aminos but more bio-available (assimilates/absorbs easily into the body)

Bottom Line: Buy the expensive soy sauce with “naturally brewed” on the label or make your own 🙂

Tara Tips: Nama Shoyu is made with 40-60% wheat and should be avoided by those with a gluten sensitivity. Also, Nama Shoyu or tamari are not recommended during the initial stage of The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.). 

I Don’t Use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

How My Family Uses Fermented Cod Liver Oil

Nutritional Support with Tara, NC.



Fallon, S. (2001).  Nourishing Traditions.  Washington, DC: New Trends Publishing, Inc.

Murray, M. N.D. (2005). The Healing Power of Legumes. Healing Foods.  New York, NY.: Atria Books.

Sue, A. (2011). Soy Sauce/Salt Substitutions. Retrieved online at

(2010). What Fermented Food Helps Prevent Cancer and Heart Attacks? Retrieved online at

May all bellies be happy!

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7 replies on “Meet Nama Shoyu: Traditional Soy Sauce”

Too Allergic, try coconut aminos. Low salt, no soy, no fermentation. I avoid soy, and I love it.

We are spoiled as we live right next door to some traditional miso makers and that’s where we get a variety of kinds. They are a family-owned and operated company here in Vermont called Rhapsody. You can find them now in many small health food stores on the east coast and I believe even in Whole Foods here. Not sure though where you are. I also recommend South River Miso which can be found more easily. We like their azuki bean miso which is a 1 year old miso but they have richer ones aged longer if you prefer. Either of these brands are great and both are unpasteurized.

When I was healing systemic Candida I did not eat tamari either. I found salt and Herbamore to be my daily seasonings. Now I am able to eat tamari but still prefer plain salt! I did get fun salts like Celtic and gray/pink salts to keep things fun and variety.

What does someone who can not have fermented anything or gluten do? Die. There is no soy sauce alternative for someone like me because ALL non-Bragg’s is fermented because we humans are addicted to alcohol and need it in everything! I’m over it. I will just keep using my Bragg’s as I have no alternative and want flavour.

Very helpful. You even answered my question regarding timing of use within the B.E.D. Thank you!

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