This morning, I made a piece of miso-smeared avocado toast for hubs. Halfway through, I told him it was chickpea miso. His reply?
“I never would have guessed. It tastes exactly the same to me.”
This Chickpea Miso is nearly the same color, texture, and flavor as our staple white (soybean-based) miso paste. So if you’re avoiding soy, allergic to it, or are just curious about a soy-free alternative, give this a try. Here at the home of Hypothyroid Chef, we were very pleasantly surprised.
Turns out soy and chickpeas are good understudies for one another. You can even use chickpeas to make your own tofu. Who knew?
Some words about soy and hypothyroidism:
By the time I decided to embark upon this journey and make some dietary commitments, I was ready. Ready to feel better. Ready to learn more about what a hypothyroidism-friendly diet might look like for me. Ready to give up some things, if I must.
But what would those “eliminated” foods be? There were two foods I was most afraid to say goodbye to: Tamari (a wheat-free soy sauce), and it’s other fermented soy cousin, miso paste (made from fermented soybeans).
Among the ingredients in my flavor arsenal, these two were MVP’s. Believe me, I wouldn’t be shedding any tears over reducing my intake of tofu, but the possibility of being asked to break up with my beloved soy-based flavorings had me shaking in my clogs.
I mean, how can you make a decent stir-fry without soy sauce? Seriously.
That fear, I think, is what stops us sometimes from addressing the underlying cause of our health issues. We don’t want to change. We don’t want to sacrifice. And darnit! We don’t want to give up our miso-avocado toast!
So with a deep breath, I began to research the overwhelming amount of facts and opinions out there on soy. There is indeed a Great Debate. Soy has many positives, and a few negatives, which are the cause of much disagreement. Are isoflavones good or bad for us? After reading too many contrary articles, and medical studies that essentially cancelled out each other’s hypotheses, I chose to cling to what generally seems agreed upon as fact:
- Soybeans contain goitrogens (thyroid-inhibiting substances) in the form of isoflavones.
- Both cooking and fermenting can minimize or neutralize the goitrogenic substances in soy-based foods.
“With soy foods, you may want to favor fermented, cultured, or otherwise “aged” soybean products such as tempeh, soy sauce, miso, and natto. These methods of processing soybeans alter the activity (goitrogenicity) of the phytochemicals they contain. If you do eat whole soybean foods such as edamame or tofu, eat them cooked or steamed.”
Easy. We can do that, right? I wouldn’t have to say goodbye to my beloved tamari or miso paste afterall (phew!). Even a little tofu or edamame now and then was probably just fine.
All that said, there are a whole lot of people out there who can’t eat soy. It’s on the list of the top 8 food allergens in the U.S., and some folks with hypothyroidism feel a lot better omitting it. Personally, I like having alternatives to soy, and variety in my diet, so I was excited to try– and like– this soy-free product.
Wishing you good health,