Eating mushrooms for fitness + immunity

Among all the health fads that come and go, I think you should really consider this one: medicinal mushrooms.

Lets talk mushrooms and all the amazing energetic qualities that come along with ingesting mycelium. I FINALLY just finished reading "The Omnivores Dilemma" by Michael Pollan. Slow and steady wins the race. . . . . and i can't express enough how ingenious this man is. The way he lays out issues within our food world so clearly gives me hope that one day everyone will HEAR how much our country needs to reassess our food choices and end this national eating disorder.  The subtle ripple effect happening before us within the Clean Food Movement is about to blow up and I commend this man for putting both feet in!

If you haven't already read any of Michael Pollans' books or watched any of his videos, I highly encourage you to change that right now. The way you view nutrition and all that mother earth has given us will take a 180 for the better, the wiser. Prepare for your mind to open and tunnel vision to become so 2010. Maybe you're not as interested in food awareness as moi, but he goes beyond talking of what is healthy and what is not and doesn't even come close to mentioning anything about petty calories and weight loss. Again.....so 2010. His intellect is far from anything you might see on popular health websites/forums/newsletters, etc. Pollan gets down to the root (literally) of the issue, and touches on subjects such as soil quality, air quality, animal cruelty, and the harsh reality of our national eating disorder. Mother Nature doesn't give us anything that is not perfect.The convoluted, intricate, and healing kingdom of Fungi being one of  them. 

Certain plants exhibit colors, smells, qualities, textures, tastes, and properties in order to survive in the natural world. Take fruit, for example, so brightly colored, so sweet, so sugary. Fruit is the perfect example of a plant that is just begging to be eaten and pretty hard to resist if you ask me. Its colors excite us and the sweet, sugary taste makes us keep coming back for more. Its also loaded with vitamins and minerals making both parties succeed!  Nature makes it clear  to us that we need fruits and vegetables to survive for this very reason. Mushrooms, on the other hand, go a little bit under the radar. They only grow in certain climates of the world, are very dull in color comparison, and really don't taste all that great. This leaves us wondering should or should we not be consuming mushrooms, and if so what sort of effect do they have on our health? Well, Ive come to find that nothing worth having ever comes easy, which is why Ive been lead to believe we absolutely, 100%, without a doubt should take into consideration the healing powers of medicinal mushrooms and their effects on immunity and longevity.

Asian cultures have recognized the importance of including protein rich mycelium into ones diet for thousands of years. Teas, powders, tinctures, and extracts are all ways they have been ingesting this essential nutrient treasure chest we call fungi long before any reputable medical text was even written. 

Finally, mushrooms are gaining headway within our health world, thanks to folks such as Paul Stamets, and becoming notably recognized as a powerful functional food. Touted for their miraculous effect on tumor growth, longevity, immunity, and anti-bacterial properties this is one kingdom you should consider befriending, for life.

I first stumbled upon the topic of mushrooms a couple years back, when I visited my local farmers market in Richmond, Virginia. I bought a student-rate bag of Shiitake mushrooms and some Shiitake vinaigrette to up the fungal properties of my plant-based meal and it was rainbows and butterflies from there. I began researching how mushrooms were a valuable plant-based protein source and found that I could instantly turn any meal into an earthy, B-vitamin loaded dish with just a few slivers of mycelium. This led to my discovery of the even more powerful powdered forms of Chaga, Cordyceps, and Reishi.  In time, I have slowly began to incorporate these power houses into my daily array of smoothies, salads, superfood lattes, dressings, raw treats, beauty bowls and so much more. What has happened? Increased stamina, immunity, strength, endurance, sustained energy levels, better yoga sessions, skin protection, the list goes on! Although I can't really put into words much more than that, I will say that I can feel the difference on a conscious level. My connection to the earth has truly grown so much stronger over the past few months as Ive made it a point to incorporate as wide variety of mycelium as my little body and bank account can afford! Eventually I would like to hunt for my own, but i can't get too ahead of myself and am surely not there yet.

For now, Im going to give you a brief overview of a few of the kings and queens of the Fungi kingdom and which ones you should use for sleep, endurance, post-workout, skin health, and anti-tumor purposes to name a few.

Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus)

eliminates toxins

supports immune system

improves skin elasticity and color

anti-cancer, anti-tumor qualities

gives you a youthful glow

higher level of antioxidant than the acai berry, preventing cell damage from free radicals

an adaptogen- helps body adapt to stress, fatigue, anxiety, inflammation, and all situations that could lead to stress within the nervous system

Cordyceps

great for athletic endurance, performance, and post-workout muscle recovery

improves sleep patterns

improves delivery of oxygen to the blood (think speedy recovery)

Reishi (Ganoderna Lucidum)

an adaptogen

improves blood circulation

lowers cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure

natural antidepressant and anti-anxiety food

enhances athletic performance

*Reishi, Chaga, and Cordyceps work synergistically..... meaning they are that much more powerful when taken together as opposed to individually!*

Other kinds of mushrooms, such as Turkey Tail and Maitake, should not be overlooked as they harness equally nutritious properties such as reducing tumor growth, improving ones immunity, and lowering bad cholesterol.

The next time you reach for that glass of of orange juice for a vitamin-c and immunity boost, remember there are other powerful players in this game! 

Cheers to getting fungal, my friends!

ELI KEATON