I’ve been up to my eyeballs in fungus!
What I mean by that is, I’ve been researching edible fungus (mushrooms) and the documented health benefits so that I am able to share this information with you.
What Are the Health Benefits of Mushrooms?
- Weight maintenance or loss when consumed in place of high fat meats
- Positive changes in the microbiota
- Glucose regulation
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Risk reduction for obesity, metabolic syndrome, colitis and cancer
Details and references can be found on my blog post called The Link Between Mushrooms and Immune Function.
This post is about finding and eating mushrooms! While I am usually adventurous when it comes to trying new foods, I must admit I was a little hesitant when it came to mushrooms. Maybe it was the thought of eating fungus, but after being swayed by the very compelling evidence-based research, I set out on my quest to find some immune boosting mushrooms.
In my search of produce stores and supermarkets, I was after the illusive Maitake mushroom. Like most mushrooms, Maitake has several names.
What are the other names for Maitake Mushrooms?
Maitake mushrooms also go by the names:
- Sheep’s head
- Ram’s head
- Dancing Mushroom
Its botanical name is Grifola frondosa and it’s one of the major culinary mushrooms used in Japan. Here is a super simple recipe that shows off the delicious flavour of the maitake mushroom.
Pan Fried Maitake Mushrooms
- fry pan
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1 large maitake mushrrom (about 1 cup) you can rinse under water but don't soak in water, otherwise just brush off any noticble dirt with your hands or a paper towel
- clean and slice mushroom(s)
- heat oil on medium heat
- add mushrooms and stir
- cook until desired doneness. I like the edges to get a little crispy.
Turns out, I am not alone in my interest in Maitake mushrooms. The Maitake mushroom is a top food trend in 2019. I suspect that Maitake’s popularity is not just based on a culinary trend but also because people are interested in Maitake mushrooms for the same reasons I was—immune boosting! and Cancer Risk Reduction!
Where do I Find Maitake Mushrooms in Toronto?
My first stop to find some Maitake was the Wychwood Barns farmers market. I did find two mushroom vendors. One had the usual cultivated mushrooms—button, Portobello, and oyster but there was no Maitake. The second had more exotic foraged mushrooms including chanterelles, lobster mushrooms, and shiitake. I tried the chanterelles, and they were delicious!
But, I was still in search of my maitakes! I struck it rich when I visited a local independent grocery store Fiesta Farms (Yeah! for the independents!) For those of you in Toronto, Fiesta Farms has the best mushroom selection I have seen in the downtown area.
Sure enough, Fiesta Farms had Maitake mushrooms, as well as several other exotic mushroom types. I selected some fresh looking Maitake and some other varieties I had never tried before.
Then, I went home and cooked the mushrooms! Yum!
The Maitake were delicious! I will be going back for more and won’t be afraid to try other new mushrooms in future. I must warn you though, that maitake and the other exotic mushrooms are not for the budget conscious shopper. I’ve seen them priced at $13-$18 per pound. I large maitake costs about $3.00
If you are fearful of your cancer coming back, remember there are incremental changes you can make in your diet and lifestyle to help yourself achieve The 3 Keys to Cancer Risk Reduction; 1) support your immune system, 2) reduce inflammation and 3) attack cancer cells directly.
I believe including a variety of mushrooms, which are known to support the immune system, is an excellent way to take control of your eating habits and diet, and in turn take back your power that your cancer has taken from you.
If you like this blog post on Maitake Mushrooms, then you might like my post on Chaga Mushrooms.
If you would like to read more about the research on mushrooms and cancer, check out my post called The Link Between Mushrooms and Immune Function