Mushrooms & bee pollen

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At every class or food coaching session, I am faced with at least one question to take away. I have been asked two such questions recently, in relation to mushrooms and bee pollen.

bee pollen: up close & personal

Let’s start with bee pollen. The question I was asked: what is so good about bee pollen?

Bee pollen is considered by some to be nature’s complete food and it boasts all sorts of wonderful health benefits due to its concentrations of phytochemicals, carotenoids, flavonoids and phytosterols. It reputedly has a stabilising effect on metabolism, making it a great food for weight loss. I really like the Bee-Pollen-Health.com site because it is backed up with references to scientific studies.

I am heartened to read that the pollen harvesting process is also kind to bees, involving a pollen trap at the hive entrance that gently coaxes the pollen sacs from the bees’ hind legs.

My favourite ways to enjoy bee pollen? There are three ways I like bee pollen best, for its crunch and mild sweetness as well as its health benefits: (1) as a thick layer in raw chocolate; (2) in chia porridge; or (3) sprinkled over superfood smoothies.

yummy raw chocolate, some with bee pollen & some with raw cacao nibs

Now to the mushrooms.

Mushrooms are such a diverse fungi group that I feel the need to defer to Australian Fungi – A Blog by Gaye, who is something of an expert, for identification of the various species you may find in the Australian bush.

Mushrooms are often touted as ‘meat for vegetarians’, and the reason for that could be their iron and mineral content. mushroominfo.com reports that mushrooms provide essential nutrients such as selenium, potassium, B vitamins and vitamin D, and they have various medicinal properties – not the least of which are antioxidant and cancer-fighting.

awesome mushrooms
Photo credit: Two mushrooms growing from the ground from 4freephotos.com.

At an uncooking class, I was asked specifically about the link between mushroom ingestion and candidiasis. Although I have heard that some people have alleviated or totally eradicated candidiasis symptoms by cutting mushrooms from their diet, I tend to subscribe to evidence that tells us the opposite is true, and I have heard that medicinal mushrooms (eg. reishi, shiitake and maitake) can actually combat the illness. That said, health and dis-ease are highly personal, and we react individually (and sometimes uncharacteristically) to different foods and treatments.

How do I like my mushrooms? I am a huge fan of tearing strips from mushrooms (I usually use Swiss brown, portobello or button), then marinating them in a mix of tamari and macadamia oil, and dehydrating them on low heat for several hours. The end result is warm and moreish; full of umami, these strips are destined never to see a plate. You can marinate whole field mushrooms the same way and, after dehydrating them for ~2 hours, you have tender and tasty mushroom steaks.

I hope this post answers a few of your questions and gives you some yummy ideas. Have an awesome rest-of-week, and I’ll see you back here soon!

H 🙂

PS. As an aside, I am very excited about June! I have two fun uncooking classes coming up in two of my favourite venues – Winter Savouries at Club Zing, Midland (14th) and Chocolate Cravings at Rochelle Adonis’s Studio, Northbridge (21st). Stay tuned to A Foodly Affair for more details.

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