Mushrooms haven’t always been a favorite food of mine. But, after learning about their many nutritional qualities I decided to give them another try. Turns out they are pretty awesome. Having run out of spinach and needing an additional side for dinner, I decided to do a combo of my two kitchen favorites. Favorite spice – sumac. Favorite cooking method – roasting and so this delicious recipe was created.

FUN FACT: Eating mushrooms or fungi is known as mycophagy

Before we get into the recipe, let’s take a moment and talk about the amazing qualities of mushrooms. Mushrooms are entrenched in human history as far back as the paleolithic age and have almost always been known for their medicinal qualities. The Egyptians of old believed they had powers of immortality and commoners weren’t even allowed to touch them(i). Mushrooms were also known as ‘sons of gods’ as there were no seeds and no one could figure out how they propagated.

The Dark Side of Mushrooms

Of course you cannot talk about mushrooms and leave out a very important point – some of them are deadly! Over the era’s there were many accounts of entire families succumbing to the poisons of incorrectly identified mushrooms being added to their meal. You would think we would be very hesitant to go out and pick wild mushrooms, think again. In the Czech Republic it is an unofficial sport and it’s estimated that around 70% of the population are annual mushroomers (pickers)(ii). If you aren’t from the Czech Republic mushroomed hall of fame, it is probably best that you leave picking wild mushrooms be done by someone in the know.

What Kind of Mushroom

Our ancestors may have attributed the mushrooms godly origins based on superstition and simplistic beliefs, but with modern science we have come to understand just how powerful they are. There are many different types of mushrooms and each have varying degrees of health benefits, however most of us are familiar with the small brown, white or cremini mushrooms commonly referred to as button mushrooms. These technically or botanically speaking are in the same family and because they are so common let’s focus on what they bring to the table nutritionally.

Minerals(iii)

Button mushrooms are an excellent source of minerals which are very important to our bodies. We use dietary minerals for the growth and maintenance of our bones, tissues and cells. Without healthy levels of minerals in our bodies we may not be able to utilise vitamins correctly. Some minerals are only required in small quantities known as trace minerals and others are required in larger quantities.
Button mushrooms have selenium, copper, potassium and zinc making them a very healthy choice.

Vitamins(iii)

Mushrooms in general are a good source of vitamin B which is good news. Vitamin B’s are linked to our levels of energy, brain and cell health. B Vitamins are water soluble and need to be replenished regularly, so adding a few mushrooms to your meals are a great boost. Button mushrooms in particular have Vitamin B1, B2, B3 & B5.

Phytochemicals

Plants use phytochemical to protect themselves against various elements and predators. You would think that phyto = fight, but it is actually Greek for plant. These plant’ chemicals are most notably known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help us fight free radicals that can cause cancer. There are a growing number of anticancer studies using mushrooms that are showing a great deal of promise(iv).

So, again, once I realized what a powerhouse the fungi family was I had no choice but to rethink my aversion to mushrooms. It took a little getting used to, but spicing and roasting them made them simply irresistible!

Salty Sumac Roasted Mushrooms

A deliciously meaty like dish that can be eaten on its own or added to salads, pasta or toast
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Side Dish
Author: Dawn

Equipment

  • Oven
  • Roasting Pan

Ingredients

  • 250 g portabellini mushrooms
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp sumac spice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil extra virgin

Instructions

  • heat oven to 180˚C
  • while oven is heating, wipe mushrooms (stem included) clean – do not wash with water as this will cause too much moisture
  • place in roasting tray and drizzle with oil, make sure the mushrooms are evenly coated, use extra if necessary, avoid drenching in oil
  • sprinkle with salt, pepper and sumac and mix with a spatula until mushrooms are roughly coated
  • place in oven and bake for 30 minutes
  • remove and serve

Notes

Serve with: pasta, as a topping on a salad, or as a side dish
Storage: best eaten straight away. As the mushrooms cool they will get soft, drain them on a paper towel stem side down, place in an airtight container and store in the fridge for a day 

References

  • (i) Abdel-Azeem, Ahmed & Abdel Azeem, Mohamed & Blanchette, Robert & Mohesien, Marwa & Salem, Fatma. (2016). The Conservation of Mushroom in Ancient Egypt through the Present.
  • (ii) 16, KytkaMarch, et al. “Edible Wild Mushrooms.” Everything Czech | by Tres Bohemes, 30 May 2018, www.tresbohemes.com/2016/03/edible-wild-mushrooms/.
  • (iii) “Mushrooms, Crimini.” Mushrooms, Crimini, www.whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=97.
  • (iv) Chen, Shiuan & Oh, Sei-Ryang & Phung, Sheryl & Hur, Gene & Ye, Jing & Kwok, Sum & Shrode, Gayle & Belury, Martha & Adams, Lynn & Williams, Dudley. (2007). Anti-Aromatase Activity of Phytochemicals in White Button Mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus). Cancer research. 66. 12026-34. 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-06-2206.
Personal Philosophy Workbook

Navigating your way through life can be difficult. None of us are spared from going through trying times. Heartache or mishaps and while we are in the middle of these experiences it may seem that we don’t have control or that there isn’t anything we can do to lessen or ease the experience. To some extent this is true. Big events like how your boss reacts to bad news, the passing of a loved one or changes in the economic climate are all external factors that can and will have a profound effect on our life’s trajectory, but we underestimate the effects of the smaller every day experiences.

Small things like choosing the kind of diet you follow; how you choose to spend your off time; TV shows you watch and social media you follow all have an impact on how you live your life. At this point you might be thinking “Wait a minute! What does my weekend G.o.T binge sessions have to do with my life trajectory – that’s a bit extreme?’ and while you might be right, you should consider this…

What Informs Us Influences Us

We live in a world where almost everything that we see, hear, eat or consume comes through the filter of marketing and sales. Now this is not a post about anti-corporate or anti-anything, it is simply a fact of life that every facet of our decision making has been studied and capitalized on. Everything, (colors, text, images, placement etc.), is carefully thought out to ensure we’re influenced into buying, watching or changing our habits. Social media has only intensified the effects of this. We would be very naïve if we thought all of this targeted influence and manipulation did not affect us or that we are immune to it

If you want to know more about marketing methods and how they are developed see my book review on The Culture Code by Coltaire Rapaille

The irony is, much of what gets marketed to us is really just a one size fits all solution. There is very little profit in individuality. Whether it is a new diet, range of clothing or way of working, just about every aspect of our lives has been reduced to an average. Averages are a great benchmark for many things, and you cannot fault this logic from a business perspective.

Averages Keep Us Average

The problem we’re faced with is so many mixed messages that mostly center on conformity. It becomes difficult to step outside of the norm, even when the norm is detrimental to us.  Take single use plastic for example. This is not a new issue; plastic has been on the table as a global issue for many years, yet industry are very slow to change – why? Industry makes changes when the masses demand it. The average consumer remains either unaware, uninterested or there simply aren’t enough consumers demanding change. But, it is an ethical issue so why don’t they just make the change without being pressured into it? This is where the crux of the matter lies. Their philosophy is about making profit.

PHILOSOPHY – a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.

We Need a Compass

Stepping outside of average or at least the perceived average can be a difficult process. For example when you decide you want to eat healthier. Suddenly your friends and family start offering you all the food you said you weren’t going to eat. Or, when you start going to gym and you get mocked by your buddy that doesn’t want to do gym. It makes people uncomfortable and their reactions can sometimes be less than supportive.

This can either make us more determined or wear us out and we eventually go back to the way things were. But, there is a way to make things a little easier and that is by creating your own philosophy. Having a philosophy that becomes your ‘guiding principle for behaviour’ is like having a compass and always knowing where North is. To carry on with that analogy, even when we lose our way a bit, we can always realign with ourselves and get back on course.

When we allow ourselves to exist truly and fully, we sting the world with our vision and challenge it with our own ways of being. – Thomas Moore

Creating a Personal Philosophy

Creating your own personal philosophy can seem intimidating. There is nothing like a blank page to shut down inspiration, so don’t try to do it all in one day. This is something that takes time to put together. You might want to build up to this, but there are some guiding principles that you can follow:

1. What are your core beliefs

Most of us have a similar belief system like being kind to others, living with integrity, but as life goes by there are things that begin to stand out. In my case it is helping others on their healing journey, living a plastic & waste free life and leaving the world a better place. For someone else it could be the welfare of animals, the list is endless and the beauty is that there is no right or wrong here, it is a personal and core belief that belongs to you.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Aristotle

2. Do you feel a calling

Another way of saying this is – If you don’t feel as though you are being pulled toward something is there perhaps something that is troubling you. Things that make us uncomfortable are often inspiration for change or action.

3. Break it down

Writing an all-encompassing philosophy straight off the bat may seem like a bit much. To ease into it, try selecting areas in your life that you are very determined or passionate about at present.

Be decisive about your intentions and consider using words like “I am” or “I will” and avoid “I could’s” and “should’s”.

Remember this is just the first draft, you can revise and fine tune as you become more certain of yourself.

4. Make it happen

Unlike a goal that we set for the future our philosophies are more like intentions. Intentions are about how we get to the goal. A life philosophy is all about how it influences what we do on a day to day basis.

As you embark on this process keep in mind that your philosophy is like walking a trail, one step at a time. Remember to look ahead every now and then, stop and assess where you are currently, (enjoy the scenery if you can) and then get back to putting one step in front of the other. You will notice I chose the tortoise as my logo and this was on purpose. It is a constant reminder to me that life is not a race and we will inevitably reach our destinations, the true value comes in how we get there.