Mushroom Mania is taking over 2018! As much as I tend to avoid marketing campaigns based on the latest fad, this seemed to have perfect timing to help out a client, myself and possibly many others (like you😀).
A client was seeking an alternative to coffee but truly enjoyed the flavor and aroma of a good cup of smooth Joe. Struggling with the acidity, they had tried decaf and "low acid" brews to no avail.
Later that week, I was perusing a friend's vlog (Positive Impact Club) and came across an interesting product he has been using for a while, Mushroom Coffee. I was intrigued.
Todd mentioned he had used it to replace coffee but as I dug into it, I was sad to learn, mushroom coffee is a blend of specific mushrooms and coffee. Still, I wanted to learn more. It didn't seem to be the answer I needed for my client but, I was already hooked on this new product. I had to have more information.
There are many wonderful health benefits to mushrooms as one of the only plants that can contain Vitamin D once exposed to sunlight. They also contain selenium, a powerful antioxidant, potassium and fiber.
As expected, mushrooms have been used in cooking and in medicine since forever. I learned it is important that they be grown in specific climates and on specific mediums to maximize their nutrients. I don't think many of them could be called pretty but, they are all unique and interesting.
Personally, I love cooking with them for a "meaty" texture and an Earthy flavor. I'll be honest, I have only acquainted myself with the classic button and the sandwich-loving Shiitake varieties. I knew there was a whole bunch of varieties but, I figured they were all pretty much the same flavor and benefit. Thanks to this latest health craze, I have been given a whole new education on fungi.
After a little bit of research, I decided on a trial. All the benefits seemed lovely but, if these new concoctions tasted like dirt, it would all be moot.
I fell into a FB advertisement offered by Four Sigmatic. Their website was very helpful with a number of short educational videos (my preferred method of learning). They break down the varieties of mushrooms and talk about the value and flavor of each. There is a whole world of Fungi benefits ripe for the picking or drinking (in this case).
When Four Sigmatic offered a bundle sale plus an additional discount coupon code, I couldn't wait to taste this stuff. I ordered the Mushroom Starter Kit . It included a wake-me -up brew, a pick-me-up brew and a chill-me -out brew. Three days later, it arrives.
Mushroom Hot Cocoa
Mail comes in the evening so, the first product I tried was the mushroom hot cacao mix. It is blended with Reishi Mushrooms.
Reishi mushrooms have been used in eastern medicine to boost the immune system, cleanse the liver and even fight cancer. It has a bitter taste and therefore, cacao makes for a good cover flavor.
I was nervous the chocolate would give me heartburn having it before bed and actually keep me up rather than put me to bed. I was so wrong! The warm hot cacao chilled me right out. My eyes grew heavy and I slept like a baby. I got into bed late that night so, I worried I would be groggy the next morning with less than 6 hours of sleep but, I felt good.
The next morning, I woke up excited to finally taste Mushroom Coffee. I learned the mushroom actually provides an alkaline compliment to coffee beans (naturally acidic) which balances the pH of the drink. Four Sigmatic blend organic Arabica coffee with lion's mane and chaga mushroom extracts. Lion's Mane mushrooms are actually kinda fun to see. They are a white furry looking mushroom. Other names are "bearded tooth" and "hedgehog mushroom". Chaga is another story. If I came across this black fungus growing on some birch trees, I would not think to grab a bunch and eat it. It looks like coal and truly fungal with its lumpy texture and rugged growing pattern.
The benefits of these mushrooms are sustainable energy and endurance, brain health, improved immune function, focus and concentration. All the features we really want from coffee with only 50mg of caffeine per cup. I fell in love instantly!!
This cup of coffee is smooth and rich in flavor. I didn't feel any caffeine jitters at all. For me, the best part was the ability to focus for several hours even with distractions around me. I have struggled with that since having kids - can't imagine why...LOL. But seriously, this is one magical blend!!
Finally, the bundle included a matcha blended with Lion's Mane and Ginger. This blend was directly marketed for focus. I will directly quote the website here and just add that I 100% agree!
"While matcha contains caffeine, it also contains L-theanine, a relaxing amino acid, resulting in a feeling of balanced energy for your whole body. There aren’t many drinks out there that can make you feel energetic, calm, and focused all at the same time but our Mushroom Matcha is pretty much everyday magic."
It was very "Matcha" aka grassy tasting. For me, I liked it. Generally, my rule is to follow the directions for new recipes as intended for a first try, no matter what the recipe.
Now I will confess, I have had a long-time Starbucks habit that I really needed to tame. My usual order was "Grande Soy Green Tea Latte, no sweet". I wanted to figure out how to make this at home. Previously, I had found a Matcha Drink Blend at Trader Joe's that was "Ok" but it was too sweet and was a cool 130 calories per serving - that's before the nut milk. When I saw this Matcha Mushroom blend had ZERO calories, I immediately knew how I would enjoy the second cup.
I have since added the matcha blend to my breakfast smoothie, coconut milk, almond milk and most often blended it with the other matcha drink mix in water.
So today, I head over to the farmer's market and muster up the courage to talk to the mushroom vendor. I was always intimidated to ask about mushrooms since they were pretty much outside my comfort zone. As I got close up, I excitedly pointed out to my seven year old, "Look! That's Lion's Mane!! Isn't it furry looking?" She is clearly getting to the "I-am-too-cool-for-you" stage but did look interested as she side-eyed those fungi.
I asked him about this mushroom fad going on right now and admitted I had just bought some blends. He was happy people were finally opening their eyes to the dark world of fungi since he has been in the business basically his whole life. He showed me his homegrown mushrooms, elixirs and coffee blends. He actually dries his own mushrooms and grinds fresh beans to make a French Press brew. He tells me his blends have lasting effects for over 6 hours from just one cup. SOLD! I love buying local!
Food is Good! I am grateful to continue to search the Earth for natural approaches to increased energy, focus, longevity and vitality. Thank you for joining me while I continue to learn and teach others about the real magic of mushrooms and many other foods! Real Food for Real Life