When it comes to eating good food, we are always looking for healthy substitutions that’ll give us that indulgent feel without all the guilt.
One healthy swap you may not know much about is liquid aminos.
Liquid aminos and coconut aminos are ingredients that have been gaining popularity over the past few years. You may have seen liquid aminos or coconut aminos swapped out for soy sauce, but its quite versatile for everyday cooking.
Liquid aminos add a rich, salty, umami flavor profile to dishes (similarly to soy), but its significantly healthier.
In this article we will explain the health benefits of liquid aminos and give you 3 simple recipes with liquid aminos as an ingredient.
What are liquid aminos?
Liquid aminos are made from soybeans which are one of the few plant sources that have complete proteins. This means they contain all the essential amino acids your body can only get from its food.
What are amino acids?
Amino acids are organic molecules that are essential in making proteins in the body. The body needs and uses protein for many processes and functions like muscle repairing & building, DNA repair, providing energy, making hormones and more.
There are 20 amino acids our body uses to make proteins, however 9 out of the 20 our bodies cannot make and must get from diet – these are the 9 essential amino acids.
The 9 essential amino acids include:
How are liquid aminos made?
To make liquid aminos soybeans are treated with hydrochloric acid which breaks down their proteins and release amino acids. This is the same process that would generally happen in your stomach.
Once they have been broken down, sodium bicarbonate (aka baking soda), is added to the soybeans to neutralize the remaining acids. This is also what makes the liquid aminos taste salty.
In their final form, the soy bean based solution turns into a dark amber-brown liquid [made of concentrated amino acids] that looks and tastes quite similar to soy sauce. However, they are not quite as strong or harsh, and generally taste a little sweeter. (1)
Health benefits of liquid aminos vs soy sauce
You might find yourself asking ‘why do people use liquid aminos?’ Does making the swap really make a difference in the big picture of overall health? And the answer can depend on a persons place in their personal health journey but its the small steps that help get your towards a greater goal.
Liquid aminos naturally contain the natural amino acids that you need to survive.
However, to get any significant nutrition from liquid aminos you would have to ingest large amounts. This means liquid aminos are not a great source or supplementation for amino acids, but they make a great ingredient swap compared to the empty calories of soy sauce.
Generally, they are best for adding a bit of healthy flavor when you want salty & savory dishes.
Liquid aminos make for a great healthy swap because…
- Liquid aminos contains lower sodium levels than your standard soy sauce
- Both liquid amino and coconut aminos are vegan
- Naturally, liquid aminos and coconut aminos are gluten-free
- They generally are low-carb & low-calorie
- Liquid and coconut aminos are very similar and can even be used in place of soy sauce though a bit less intense, less salty, and slightly more sweet tasting.
Toss out the soy sauce for liquid aminos
On the other hand soy sauce generally contains high levels of sodium. It also includes histamine and tyramine. Consuming too much histamine can cause toxic effects that lead to headaches, rashes, stomach problems, and even changes in blood pressure.
3 easy recipes with liquid aminos
1) Spicy Mustard Scallops with Chard
- 3.5 oz scallops
- 3 tbsp stone ground mustard
- 2 tbsp braggs liquid aminos
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic sliced
- 1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- 8 oz chard shredded, chopped
- Combine braggs liquid aminos, vinegar, lemon juice and mustard in saute pan.
- Add scallops, onion, & garlic and cook about 10 minutes or until almost all the liquid is gone.
- Remove the scallops and add the vegetable broth-scrape up any tasty bits in the pan (this is called deglazing).
- Add chard to the broth and cook stirring occasionally until chard is tender, adding a little water if needed.
- Top with mustard scallops and enjoy!
Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 3739mg | Potassium: 1167mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 14120IU | Vitamin C: 83.6mg | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 5.1mg
2) Sweet & Sour Shrimp
- 3.5 oz shrimp
- 1 c water
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 orange with rind
- 3 tsp liquid aminos
- 1 tbsp onion minced
- 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
- cayenne to taste
- pink salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- stevia to taste
- Boil 1 cup of water with lemon juice and orange with rind until pulp comes out of the center.
- Scrape out remaining pulp and discard the rind.
- Add onion, garlic, Bragg’s, and spices and reduce liquid by half.
- Add the shrimp to the sauce and sauté for 5-7 minutes until shrimp is cooked.
Calories: 182kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0g | Cholesterol: 250mg | Sodium: 1744mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 295IU | Vitamin C: 80.5mg | Calcium: 196mg | Iron: 2.1mg
3) Crispy Dry Fry Tofu
- 5 oz extra firm tofu
- 2 tbsp liquid aminos
- Very thinly slice the tofu
- Spread around with lots of space over low-medium heat
- Heat the moisture out of the tofu until it’s golden-brown on one side
- Flip & repeat
- Be patient – dry-frying takes awhile but the tofu will be worth it
- Enjoy dry-fried tofu by dipping in liquid aminos as a soy sauce swap!
*DO NOT marinate the tofu beforehand but you can dip in sauces or marinade after
Calories: 78kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 89mg | Potassium: 218mg | Sugar: 1g | Calcium: 44mg | Iron: 1.7mg
While not every “swap” is ideal and you may not always love it… replacing your favorite high carb, high fat, high sugar ingredients or treats can become a new journey that will ultimately make you not only feel better but improve your health and quality of life.
Swapping out soy sauce for liquid aminos or coconut aminos is just as satisfying. Liquid aminos for weight loss is a benefit in addition to it being an overall healthier choice.
When it comes to liquid aminos, you can use them wherever you would use soy, tamari, or even Worcestershire sauce.
- Dipping sauce for sushi or dim sum
- Adding salt and savoriness to soups, hummus, salad dressings
It can be fun to experiment with what works best for you and your taste buds! All it takes is a simple google search and you can find tons of different healthy swaps to try in your diet this year.
In addition to swapping out liquid aminos for soy sauce and cutting down on your sodium… be sure to experiment and have fun with your food.
Tag @weightlossdirect on Facebook and Instagram to share your swap results!