Umami Paleo?

The first time I heard the word, Umami, it was in the context of a burger joint that was across from my hair salon, in Santa Monica.

The word, though, goes back much further than the restaurant.

According to Wikipedia, Umami is a savory taste which is one of the five basic tastes, together with sweet, sour, bitter, and salty;  a loanword from the Japanese umami meaning “pleasant savory taste”. 

So can something be considered Paleo that’s also a rich Umami food?

Yes; but proceed with caution.

Because soy sauce is a rich source of glutamate, which is used all too often as a meat tenderizer and flavoring, if the Umami recipe you’re considering calls for it, you’ll have to nix the soy as it’s a legume and it’s not Paleo.  In addition, this is the very same sneaky little devil you’ll find in MSG, which is known to be a trigger for Migraine Headaches.

Not to worry, though, as you can experience Umami in other foods that are soy-free.

The Umami Information Center lists the following Paleo-friendly foods as being rich in Umami- so enjoy!



・Katsuobush/Driedbonito flakes

・Niboshi/Small dried sardines



・Sea bream








・Shiitake mushrooms

・Enokitake mushrooms

・Truffles  (we’re not talking chocolate truffles here: )

・Sweet potatoes (for endurance athletes- completely fair game on Paleo,  just nix the skin)

・Chinese cabbage