I cook a lot of mushrooms!
Benefits of well cooked white button mushrooms:
A great alternative to carrot salad. They lower excess estrogen, endotoxin and nitric oxide; when well cooked, mushrooms help move along in the intestine anything that will not be properly digested that could therefore potentially increase endotoxin and estrogen. Their fibers absorb toxins and disinfect the bowels in much the same way as those in bamboo shoots and raw carrots. And by this means they are very helpful in treating small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO).
They help lower excess serotonin (some symptoms of elevated serotonin include: loose bowels, profuse sweating, IBS, nausea, irritability, depression, aggression, tinnitus) and reduce intestinal irritation.
They work as an antihistamine.
Mushrooms are also a source of high quality protein (especially important for vegans).
Why you don’t want to eat them raw or undercooked:
The things to caution about mushrooms are the toxic compounds that they contain; namely hydrazine and agaritine. Hydrazine especially is hepatotoxic (see here), so you never want to eat mushrooms raw or undercooked, especially not in such quantities. Cooking mushrooms very well (for 1-3 hours) removes virtually all of the hydrazine and most of the agaritine.
A collection of quotes from Dr Ray Peat regarding Mushrooms:
“I’ve been experimenting with white button mushrooms (sautéed in butter and coconut oil) at bedtime, and they work almost like the antihistamines.”
“Well cooked button mushrooms contain an effective amount of aromatase inhibitors, and can improve digestion, and are very nutritious, similar to meat.” (2015)
“Raw carrots, cooked bamboo shoots, and cooked mushrooms contain antibiotics that are safe to use everyday. Like tetracycline and the macrolide antibiotics, they (especially mushrooms) are also antiinflammatory.”
“The hydrazine-containing toxins that Toth and others wrote about are destroyed by heat. Since extracts made by boiling the mushrooms for three hours were very active, I think it’s good to boil them from one to three hours.” – Ray Peat newsletter
“A safe bowel disinfectant that can help with hormone balance is cooked white button mushrooms, a few ounces per day.”
“Mushrooms have very high quality protein that is easily assimilated, in association with a good balance of other nutrients.” “The fungal sterol, lanosterol, which is very similar in structure to cholesterol…”
“…some of the mushrooms’ protective effects result from inhibiting aromatase, the enzyme that synthesizes estrogen…”
“I think it’s good to alternate carrots and mushrooms, for example carrots two or three days per week, mushrooms (or bamboo shoots) on the other days.” (Thank you Katia!)
Ray chatting to Danny Roddy on his podcast ‘Safe Supplements; Generative Energy #31‘:
DR: “can you replace the carrot if you eat mushrooms everyday?”
RP: “yeah I’ve done that; I got tired of carrots after eating one a day for 20 years!”
DR: “would it be risky to replace eggs with mushrooms?”
RP: “mushrooms have really a good broad spectrum nutritional value, but you just have to eat an awful lot of them.”
DR: “how much have you been averaging Ray?”
RP: “sometimes ridiculous amounts … once every week or two we’ll have a big bowl of mushroom soup which is almost like porridge; I think we must eat 8oz (225g) at least each in the soup days, other days much less … like tonight when we’re having liver with mushrooms, probably 4oz (110g) of each.”
Listen to Ray Peat on KMUD here discussing white button mushrooms, Chinese study, containing aromatase inhibitors – women who had at least 10g a day on average, 88% lower incidence of cancer mortality.
And from Rob Turner: “If carrots makes you worse, try mushrooms or boiled bamboo shoots. If your metabolism isn’t optimised (which is the barometer for how well you’re doing with his suggestions), then the “healing” has yet to commence because the bowel will continue to be slow and even traditionally very-friendly foods can continue to promote the intestinal overgrowth.”
How to prepare them:
I cook up no less than 1kg of white button mushrooms at a time to make the effort worthwhile.
Throw into a sink full of water and give them a rub to remove any dirt. Drain in a colander.
Get out your blender or food processor (or if you don’t have one, start chopping). A lot of my clients report that they have better effects from mushrooms when they’re completely ground up, otherwise slice them finely with a food processor or knife.
If you’re blending them into oblivion, pop them in your blender with half to 1 liter of water (depending on the capacity of your blender). Blend til it becomes brown mush then pour into a heavy based pot.
If sliced, put into a big enough pot and cover with water (filling it no higher than an inch from the rim).
Bring to a boil, then keep at medium-high heat. Turn your range hood exhaust fan on and leave it on (to whisk away the hydrazine that’s released in the steam). Boil uncovered for at least 1, or up to 3 hours. I cook mine for at least 2. Check the water level every now and then and top up if necessary so they don’t dry up and burn. If there’s some residual ‘broth’, keep this, or cook until most of the water is gone, but they’re still wet. Just don’t let them dry up, brown or burn.
For storage, allow to cool off then keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. If your batch is more than you’ll get through in 5 days, portion it and freeze.
To eat, scoop out about a cup per person as needed, reheat in a pan with butter or coconut oil and salt, and flavour with sprigs of herbs like thyme if you like. Have on an empty stomach or as an accompaniment with a meal. Nice with grated parmesan and a fried egg on top. *Or try my mushroom soup recipe below…
For best results, you want to have these at least twice a week, or as much as daily. Having them right before bed can maximise their antihistamine action.
My Mushroom Soup Recipe
(based on Jamie Oliver’s The Real Mushroom Soup)
This is a great way to get in a lot in one go. Although you could just eat a bowl of blended and cooked mushroom mush, I personally don’t find that appetising (and food should be delicious, otherwise why bother?!) But when I’ve flavoured the mushrooms up like this, I can’t get enough.
1 kilo (2.2lb) white button mushrooms, washed
1 litre (2 and a bit pints) of water
2 tbsp coconut oil or butter
500ml of homemade / quality gelatinous beef or chicken broth
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
small handful each of thyme and parsley, chopped
1-2 tsp salt
the zest (finely zested with a microplane) and juice of 1 lemon
1 rounded tbsp of mascarpone (or sour cream), and more to serve
white pepper (optional)
Blend the mushrooms and water in a high powered blender (in 2 batches if necessary).
Pour into a heavy based pot, bring to the boil then reduce heat to about medium (turn your range hood fan on).
After at least an hour (stirring occasionally) add 500ml broth. Bring back to the boil and then simmer for another 30 minutes to 1 hour. Add more liquid if it gets too thick for your liking.
Heat coconut oil in a frying pan, add the onion, garlic and a sprinkle of salt. Sauté until softened, add the herbs. Tip all of this into the pot. Add the lemon zest and juice, mascarpone, pepper and a tsp of salt. Stir over low heat for a couple more minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt to taste.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with another dollop of mascarpone. Nice with buttered sourdough toast if that’s your thing.
Disclaimer: My posts are not meant to be individualised treatment plans, protocols, etc. I share what I research and use, and that is it. They are meant to spark thought based on the normal anatomy, physiology and biochemistry of the body. The information contained in this blog should not be used to treat or diagnose disease or health problems and is provided for your information only.