I’m incredibly excited to share this ‘mushrooms’ episode with you today.
Here’s what you’ll learn about mushrooms:
– health benefits including immunology so that you can boost your immune system
– Jeff’s biggest secret to cooking mushrooms so that you can avoid watery mushrooms
– why my mushroom supplements weren’t high quality (I’m now switching to a higher quality brand because I want those juicy brain benefits!)
Links to our conversation on Youtube, and on iTunes are available here. You can also scroll to the bottom of the post where I’ve embedded both video and podcast player to start listening/watching now.
I learned so much that I am changing my behaviors immediately as result of this conversation.
Specifically I am switching away from one brand of mushroom supplements and trying a new brand because of the quality issues I discovered via Jeff.
Right now I’m just thankful for Jeff. Jeff was quickly able to show me that my previous brand of mushroom tea didn’t have high levels of this magical ingredient ‘beta glucan’.
And, I’m talking about regular mushrooms here.
I use the term magical because of the absolutely incredible brain and immune system benefits mushrooms can confer to you.
(although I also believe psychedelic mushrooms have an important role to play in revolutionizing our society’s ideas about nutrition)
It turns out that regular mushrooms do have a ‘magical’ ingredient and that magical ingredient is call ‘beta glucan’.
Beta glucan is a chemical that basically enhances your immune system.
When you absorb beta glucan into your stomach, your body is able to produce more white blood cells and can fight off disease better.
Now some other plants foods have beta glucan as well:
- barley fiber
- oats and whole grains
However, what makes the mushrooms and their magical beta glucan so cool …
Mushrooms are super cool because they are fungi. Being fungi, mushroom beta-glucans activate the immune system, whereas plant beta-glucans do not have this activity and are beneficial for their fiber content.
Why I Switched Mushroom Brands
As Jeff explained, mushrooms are neither a plant, nor an animal. They are somewhere in between.
There are three parts to what we call a mushroom and each part is used for medicinal purposes
The three parts are the network of root-like cells called mycelium, the actual mushroom, and spores.
Before I talked to Jeff, I was a fan of a different mushroom supplement company.
This other mushroom company marketed their as a powdered blend of mushrooms you can mix into your tea.
They had has slick packaging and I was sold on them. However, Jeff was able to point out some slick marketing language used by said company.
Specifically, Jeff was able to highlight language used in their ingredients. Their ingredients say their products are ‘biomass cultured on organic oats‘.
Essentially, this other company was only using one part of the mushroom, and , to make mushroom powder.
Here’s the mushroom breakdown:
- Mushrooms are hard to grow and sell at scale. You have to have rotting wood for true mushrooms to grow.
- Some businesses found that they could grow mycelium on oats, instead of growing mushrooms. This saved production costs and allowed for easier expansion.
- Yet growing mycelium on oats means you are not growing the mushroom part and the oats become the major part of the product. Most medicinal mushrooms grow on wood, which has the precursors to make the medicinal compounds.
- Growing mycelium on grain yields low levels of beta-glucans and high levels of grain starch (more on that below)
I’m Switching To RealMushrooms.com
The key for me is the quality control standards that I learned about while talking with Jeff.
Jeff was able to point out that brands like the one I was using didn’t specifically mention their levels of beta glucans.
As you can see in the below image down to the right there are levels of beta glucans listed.
Now, how in the heck does Jeff know so much about mushrooms?
Well, let me give you a brief highlight reel of Jeff’s career.
Jeff’s Interesting 30 Year Career In The Mushroom Field
From Jeff’s website (link down below), “It all began in 1973, when Jeff Chilton went to work at Ostrom Mushroom Farms in Olympia Washington.
Jeff quickly worked his way up to Grower and ultimately Production Manager. At that time Ostroms was producing over 2 million pounds of fresh Agaricus mushrooms per year and was at the cutting edge of new technologies, including what were then known as specialty mushrooms.
A Japanese scientist on staff, Dr. Takashi Urayama, implemented an R+D program which grew Shiitake, Oyster and Enoki mushrooms. Shiitake production was scaled up and fresh shiitake were introduced to the local market in 1978. This was the first fresh shiitake sold on a large scale in the U.S.
Exposure to these new mushroom species as well as a Fellowship to the Dutch School for Mushroom Growers in 1976 gave Jeff a much broader outlook on the mushroom industry and influenced his future path.
In 1983, after 10 years of commercial mushroom growing experience, Jeff co-authored and published the classic, bestselling book on small-scale mushroom cultivation, The Mushroom Cultivator. That same year he moved his family to British Columbia to start a mushroom spawn laboratory and small speciality mushroom growing facility. By 1989, after much research, it became clear that many of the specialty mushrooms had beneficial properties and this was the wave of the future.
In 1989 Jeff made his first trip to China to attend the International Society for Mushroom Science’s (ISMS) conference in Nanjing and he discovered the depth of mushroom knowledge and production capacity that China offered. The relationships Jeff built over the next 10 years laid the foundation that made Nammex a leader in the new category of health promoting mushrooms. This same year, 1989, Nammex was founded.”