They're fine, OK. Just fine.
EC: What Are Coconut Aminos and Why Am I Eating Them?
Credit: photo by fcafotodigital via getty images

I hate that I know what coconut aminos are. Less than a month ago, I was pleasantly ignorant of their existence. Just flipping through an Instant Pot cookbook that had manifested on my desk (I really do love my Instant Pot) and was suddenly all huh? at the mention of avocado oil and coconut aminos in a recipe with no explanation. Like those were things that actual humans just happened to have at the ready in their pantry. I tweeted, mystified and indignant, to see if everyone else in my particular sphere was was frolicking about in kiddie pools fulla coconut aminos and slathering themselves in avocado oil at soirees to which I was not invited, or if that was a genuinely weird assumption for a cookbook author to make.

A little bit of both, it seemed. Those who didn't know were just as baffled as I was, but anyone who'd muscled through a Whole 30 or Paleo plan was well acquainted. Coconut aminos, it seems, make a passable (if slightly sweeter and less salty) substitute for soy sauce, which is disallowed in those diets. This condiment consists of aged coconut tree sap and sea salt, and that's it. No gluten, animal products, genetically modified ingredients–all that healthy jazz. Good to know, I thought. Have fun, ya hippies and Crossfitters.

I bought a bottle of coconut aminos yesterday. And yeah, some avocado oil. What a difference a few weeks makes—and a mysterious gut ailment, too. Whatever's going on in there is making me useless and squirming in pain pretty much constantly, so while I await a diagnosis, my doctor has me on a food regimen that eliminates gluten, grains, soy, legumes, dairy (except butter, weirdly and happily), sugar, booze, spicy food, hopes, and joy in an attempt to see if any of these is exacerbating the situation.

Know what's in soy sauce? Soy. So coconut aminos it is for now. I poured some on my scrambled eggs (allowed if pasture-raised, organic and whatnot) and it was fine. Just fine. I'm sure that by the end of this lab experiment—and I desperately hope there is an end—I'll be newly diagnosed with Stockholm syndrome and preaching the glory and power of coconut aminos to anyone who can still stand to be around me. Soy un perdedor, sure—but hopefully one whose stomach doesn't totally suck all the time.