Cod Liver Oil

Body Ecology
Bauman College

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. Then water is added along with wheat and sea salt.

This mixture is left to ferment in cedar kegs for 6 to 8 months, and 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.

I could go on and on about the way that Nama Shoyu is made. I used to apprentice with a Japanese elder who made it in giant cedar kegs. My job was to check them regularly. Now that I’m a Holistic Nutritionist, I regularly advocate the use of traditionally made soy sauce unless you’re healing a yeast overgrowth issue (i.e. Candida) and/or on The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.).

Modern Soy Sauce

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

Note: Nama Shoyu is made with 40-60% wheat and must be strictly avoided by anyone with gluten sensitivity.

Nama Shoyu vs. Tamari

Nama Shoyu and tamari [tuh-MAHR-ee] are both made from fermented soybeans. Yet, they are processed differently. Check it out…

Tamari is a type of soy sauce that’s made without wheat. Tamari is safe for those with gluten sensitivities. Its unpasteurized and made with 100% non-GMO whole soybeans, pure water, sea salt, and organic alcohol (to preserve freshness). It has no wheat or artificial preservatives added. Tamari soy sauce is produced by aging fermented soy beans paste (miso) in brine solution for 6-18 months.

Here’s where it gets fun. Tamari means “to accumulate”. This word came about because tamari is literally the black liquid that seeps from those wooden barrels of fermenting miso. Tamari is what “accumulates” in a 2nd outer barrel. For this reason, it has a higher concentration of soy protein than Nama Shoyu. Also what makes it a bit thicker than regular soy sauce. And how it gets such a unique rich taste.

When buying tamari, look for one that’s organic and gluten-free. One that is certified by the Gluten-Free Certification Organization & Quality Assurance International (QAI). A great wheat-free and low-sodium tamari is made by a Japanese company called San-J. Most health food stores carry it.

In case you’re wondering…1 teaspoon of tamari contains an 1/8th of the sodium that’s found in the same amount of sea salt.

Nutritional highlights

Both Nama Shoyu and tamari are a type of naturally fermented soy sauce that:

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

Bottom Line: Buy the expensive soy sauce that says “naturally brewed” on its label.

Note: Nama Shoyu and tamari are not recommended during the initial stage of The Body Ecology Diet (B.E.D.). I am a Holistic Nutritionist and work with individuals who are ready to use B.E.D to heal a yeast, bacterial, or viral related health issue. I personally ate this way for many years and now lead others step-by-step through this diet with individualized support. All sessions are via phone/Skype. Contact me for more.

Why My Family Doesn’t Use Bragg’s Liquid Aminos

B.E.D. Support with Tara (via phone or Skype)

How We Use Fermented Cod Liver Oil


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

InnovateUs (2011). What is Tamari Soy Sauce? 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 comments to Meet Nama Shoyu: Traditional Soy Sauce

  • snlmarykatherine

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

  • Tara

    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.

  • Sherie Watkins

    Which miso do you recommend

  • Tara

    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.

  • TooAllergic

    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.

  • john

    Why do they all, including Tamari, have to have vast amounts of sodium!?

  • Shirley

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

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