There lived an enlightened master in ancient Korea, around the period of ancient Chosun (A.D. 1392 - A.D. 1910). He always pondered about how people might commit less sin. He concluded that people committed sins because their minds were not at ease. With this realization, he wondered if there was any food that could calm the minds of people and help them realize the grace of the Heaven, so that they would commit less sin just by their habit of eating. Through his devoted prayers and meditation, he realized that he should use soybeans to create this special food since soybeans were very nutritious. He first soaked the soybeans in water for about day and a half and let the soybeans simmer at low heat for roughly twelve hours. He then ground the soybeans and shaped them into blocks. These soybean blocks were hung from the eaves to be dried with sun light and wind. By letting them receive the sun light, he let the bean blocks absorb the energy from heaven. By letting them dry in the autumn wind, he meant to expose the bean blocks to the breath of Buddha. After the blocks were dried, they were then fermented. When the fermentation was complete, they were put into water. By soaking them in water, he meant to soak them in the mind of Buddha. Finally, salt was added to the whole thing, which added the energy of the sea.
Doenjang was created with the enlightened master’s compassionate and selfless wish to help people commit less sin. Because Doenjang contains the energy of the earth, heaven, sea, and Buddha, it fills people with these energies and puts their internal organs at ease. When the internal organs are at ease, people’s minds are at ease. That is why Doenjang is such wonderful and complete food.
Anti-cancer function of Doenjang:
Soybeans are often called the “meat from the field.” Meat proteins can leave toxins such as ammonia, uric acid and fat in our blood. However, the protein and fat in soybeans are known to prevent such diseases such as stroke and lung cancer. Soybeans are abundant in nucleic acid and lecithin which slows down the aging process. Also, soybeans have plant sterol that blocks the small intestine from absorbing cholesterol. Soybeans, themselves, have no Vitamin C, but soybean sprouts are abundant in Vitamin C and aspartic acid.
Recently researchers have learned that beans such as soybeans have abundant anti-cancer nutrients that can reduce the chances of getting cancer such as breast cancer, colon cancer and uterine cancer. Cancer is very much related to one’s diet and eating habits. Recently, Dr. Paul Terry at Albert Einstein Cancer Center wrote in International Journal of Cancer that folic acid from beans could reduce the chance of contracting colon cancer. In a separate study, Dr. Stefan Burners at University of Alabama stated that a mouse fed with beans had a 70% lower incidence of lung cancer than a mouse fed with just grains.
Doenjang is made by fermenting soybeans. Its nutritional value is, therefore, much higher than plain soybeans. In November 1994, Professor Gun Young Park of Busan University, Korea, wrote based on his experiments that the potent anti-cancer properties of Doenjang could prevent and, to some extent, fight cancer. He also demonstrated that Doenjang could revive the liver functions even when the patient has cancer. In addition, Professor Park reported that extracts from Doenjang could eradicate carcinogenic substances from one’s body. People who eat Doenjang soup everyday could reduce their chances of getting cancer by 30 %. Even for those who have Doenjang soup occasionally, their chances of getting cancer can be lowered by 17% to 19 %.