12.31.21 // mushrooms + healing depression + anxiety

So what is it about mushrooms, exactly, that makes them so helpful in the quest for improving our mental health? In general, culinary mushrooms are rich with nutrients that help support optimal mood, although certain specific benefits depend on the variety. White button mushrooms—the most common—are rich in potassium, which may help reduce anxiety. Mushrooms (especially lion’s mane) are also a good source of ergothioneine, an antioxidant that prevents cell and tissue damage which studies show may prevent mental illness and depression. Ergothioneine cannot be made in our bodies, so we have to consume it externally. Additionally, mushrooms are a great source of vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve mood.

Research has not yet shown how much we should be eating to reap these benefits, so a great place to start is just by including them in your diet regularly and seeing how you feel. A favorite way to eat mushrooms are a simple stir fry with onions and greens, or cooked up into an egg omelet for the ultimate powerhouse breakfast.

In addition to the benefits of the mushrooms we use in our kitchens, specific species of mushroom have been identified as adaptogenic, which means that they help to maintain the body’s homeostasis and prevent long-term damage by minimizing the effects of mental or physical stress. These adaptogenic mushrooms, which include varieties like ​​reishichagacordyceps, and lion’s mane, can help regulate hormones and lower stress, which has a ripple effect on our general mood and levels of depression and anxiety.

24 cups (6 quarts) water
4 large reishi mushroom slices // https://mountainroseherbs.com/reishi-mushroom-slices
1 cups dried shiitake mushrooms or 2 cups fresh shiitake mushrooms
1 cups dried maitake mushrooms or 2 cups fresh maitake mushrooms
1 red onion, roughly chopped
2 cups celery with tops (~ 3 stalks), roughly chopped
2 cups carrots, roughly chopped
1 cup kale stems (or chopped greens of any kind, I usually use scraps)
1 cup packed fresh parsley
1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes (I use dry packed as opposed to oil-packed)
3 inches fresh ginger, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano leaf
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp fennel seed
1 tbsp sea salt + more to taste
1 tbsp ground black pepper
4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp dulse flakes
2 tbsp wakame flakes
2-4 tbsp olive oil
5 tbsp red miso paste (white miso is also great)

– Add 12 cups water (3 quarts) to an 8 quart stock pot and set over medium-high heat. Add your reishi mushroom slices, shiitake mushrooms and maitake mushrooms. Simmer the liquid until reduced by half — the cook time here varies but it generally takes 45-60 minutes.
Note: to reserve the shiitake / maitake for eating (highly suggested!) strain off the mushrooms and remove the reishi slices from the cooked mushrooms. Reserve the mushroom tea, this is the base of your stock! Set the shiitake and maitake mushrooms aside for serving or adding to another meal later. Add the mushroom tea back into your stock pot and add the reishi slices back into the stock water.

– Add the onion, celery, carrots, kale stems, parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, ginger, garlic, oregano, thyme, cumin, fennel, sea salt, black pepper and apple cider vinegar to the mushroom tea. Add the rest of the water — 12 cups (3 quarts). Simmer covered for 30-60 mins. You want the liquid to reduce by at least 1/4 and the vegetables to be meltingly soft.

– Turn the burner off and let cool for 10 minutes (safety first!) before straining off the cooked plant-material into another large pot. Compost the used plant material.
Add the turmeric powder, dulse, wakame and a generous swirl of virgin olive oil to the broth. Once the broth is properly cooled to a palatable temperature, add the miso paste (this preserves vital nutrients and living bacteria in the miso).

– Taste and adjust salt and spices as you like. If the broth seems a little strong for your liking you can dilute it with more water.
Pour yourself a mugful, sip and sigh with delight at a job well done!
You can also make this into a fabulous soup by adding fresh sliced scallions, some of the reserved mushrooms and diced firm tofu. I like to add some millet ramen noodles as well. So delicious!

Note: Store in large mason jars up to 1 week. Broth can be frozen for 1 month.
**** This post is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site.