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I am a fan of all types of cuisine, including Chinese, Japanese, and Thai.  Many of these cultural recipes include soy sauce.   Soy sauce is an ingredient that is not PALEO & WHOLE30 compliant.

Those living low sodium and/or gluten-free lifestyle or taking part in a Paleo or Whole30 diet, usually refrain from using soy sauce.  Soy sauce typically contains wheat (grain) and is super high in sodium.

We are addicted to soy sauce as it is high in the 5th taste sensation called umami.  Umami is the Japanese word for “yummy.”  Umami is what we refer to as roundness and depth of flavour. This 5th taste sensation is not a combination of any of the other taste sensations of sweet, sour, bitter, salty.  That is often a misconception.  Umami is a sensation all its own, providing us with that comfort food feeling.  It gives us that feeling of satisfaction after eating spaghetti, Chinese food (with soy sauce), ripe tomatoes, cooked potatoes, and aged cheeses like Parmesan.  Umami hits the back of our palate, leaving us with a craving for more.  Remember years ago Chinese food always contained MSG?  That’s the acronym for Monosodium Glutamate.  MSG is a flavour enhancer.  The “Monosodium” contains the sodium salt of glutamate acid.  The Glutamate (a naturally occurring amino acid found in many foods) is the umami, that savoury experience!  When found naturally, the umami is simplistic.  If the food is slow-cooked in some form or aged the umami becomes synergistic and many times more flavourful.  MSG has for a long time been linked to headaches and other side effects.  Now take-out Chinese food is made without MSG.

In North America, we are addicted to Ketchup.  Ketchup is slow-roasted tomatoes high in synergistic umami.  That’s one of the many reasons we love ketchup so much.  It is our “go-to” condiment loaded in synergistic umami. 

Asian cuisine also includes an umami-rich condiment called soy sauce.  Soy sauce contains large amounts of free glutamic acid, which is the source of that umami taste. 

If we are committed to eating in a healthy way, it’s important to watch our sodium intake.  Consuming soy sauce freely can blow this commitment you have to a low-sodium diet right out of the bottle!

As I’ve written about in the past, consuming too much sodium can possibly lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and cause calcium loss. We should consume no more than 700 milligrams or less per meal.  If we eat three meals per day, that’s 2100 grams of sodium consumed in moderation. 

When enjoying dishes and foods containing soy sauce, our sodium intake can dramatically increase if we are not diligent about keeping it low.  Did you know that one tablespoon of light soy sauce used in Cantonese cuisine contains 1190 milligrams of sodium?  That’s almost half of the recommended daily requirement in one tablespoon!  Dark soy sauce used in Chinese and Taiwanese dishes is also high in sodium, over 900 milligrams per tablespoon.  Japanese Kikkoman soy sauce contains 920 milligrams of sodium per tablespoon.  Kikkoman’s low sodium soy sauce contains 580 milligrams per tablespoon.  This means that consuming just two tablespoons of this condiment almost uses up your daily recommended requirement.

When do we ever stick to just one tablespoon of soy sauce when splashing this condiment on Chinese fried rice?  Do you keep track of how many tablespoons of soy sauce you actually consume with your sushi? 

I discovered a fabulous soy sauce substitute called Coconut Aminos or Coconut Sauce.  Coconut Aminos is a salty, savory seasoning sauce made from the fermented sap of coconut palm and sea salt.  It is soy-free, wheat-free, and gluten-free, lower in sodium, and loaded with umami.  One tablespoon of coconut Aminos is 360 milligrams of sodium. 

Coconut Aminos is lighter in colour than Kikkoman soy sauce with a slightly sweeter tone and far less saltiness.  I actually prefer this condiment to my once favourite Kikkoman brand. 

Use coconut amino is all the same ways you would normally use soy sauce and at the same 1 to 1 ratio.  It can be found in bulk food stores, health food stores, and now in many supermarkets. 


Ground turkey is an excellent source of niacin and selenium and a decent source of vitamin B6, phosphorus, and zinc.  Ground breast meat is 150 calories, 1.5 grams of fat, and 0 grams of saturated fat.  It is also a good source of protein, 100 grams of meat offering 27 grams of protein.


The predominant taste sensation of the sauce and slow is saltiness, due to the Coconut Aminos.  


Ground turkey is white meat, calling for white wine.  The predominant taste sensation of the burger sauce and the salad is saltiness due to the Coconut Aminos.  So choose a white wine with a zinging backbone of acidity.  The acidity will offset the saltiness bringing harmony to your palate.  Good examples are Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Gris, Vinho Verde, dry Riesling.

  • Author: FRESHDOH
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 35
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: PALEO & WHOLE30
  • Method: SAUTING
  • Cuisine: DINNER
  • Diet: Gluten Free


1 pound ground turkey

½ cup matchstick carrots, finely chopped

1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

1 green onion, chopped

½ teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger

1 tablespoon olive oil or avocado oil 

Nut Sauce:

2 tablespoons almond butter

1 tablespoon coconut aminos

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

Broccoli Slaw:

2 tablespoons almond butter

¼ cup of rice vinegar

2 tablespoon Coconut Aminos

2 cloves fresh ginger, minced

2 teaspoon sesame oil

10 oz bag of broccoli coleslaw mix

1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil


In a bowl combine turkey, shredded carrots, cilantro, green onion, garlic, and ginger. Mix together. Make 4 patties.  

Turn on your grill or iron skillet.  Add oil.  Place patties on the skillet and fry for about 5 minutes per side, until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF. Remove and set aside.

To make nut sauce, in a small bowl combine all of the ingredients and set aside.

To make the slaw, in another large bowl combine almond butter, rice vinegar, Coconut Aminos, ginger, and sesame oil.  Whisk to fully combine.  Add slaw, cilantro, mint, and basil.  Toss together until well coated.  Set in the refrigerator, covered, until needed.

Serve Buddha burgers with slaw.



You can. make these burgers with any ground meat, including beef, chicken, and buffalo.

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