I wanted to speak breifly about the recent research that Paul Stamet's (mycologist and founder of Host Defense) has done with mushrooms. We know that mushrooms are vital for good health. They contain beta-glucans which boost the immune system, minerals that alkalize the blood, chemicals that decrease inflammation, and detoxification properties that clean up accumalted wastes in the body - specifically waste from excess meat consumption. Recently, Paul Stamet's has discovered yet another amazing ability that these mushrooms are capable of. The discovery may be revolutionary from vegans and vegetarians.
Paul has discovered that mushrooms have the ability to absorb Vitamin D from the Sun and transform it into D2. When one eats mushrooms full of D2, the body synthesizes it into usable D3 in the kidneys and allows the body to use it for multiple functions: everything from hormone production to mineral absorption. His study involved exposing mushrooms into the Sun for six hours each day for two days in a row. He found that the mushrooms went from 100 IUs to 45,000 IUs - that's huge!
Furthermore, he discovered that dried mushrooms that are exposed to the Sun retain their vitamin D levels for up to one year. Adding these dried mushrooms in soups can almost ensure proper vitamin D3 levels throughout the Fall and Winter. This makes them a treasure for vegans in the Northeast!
To boost your mushroom's bvitamin D levels simply lay out store-bought, or homegrown, mushrooms in the Sun for six hours. Only do this for two days, since his studies found that the levels began to drop when exposed longer than that. To dry, thinly slice mushrooms and bake them on a cookie sheet at 150 degrees for one hour, flip each mushroom and bake for another hour at 150 degrees. Make sure they're completely dried, then remove to cool. Store them in a glass, air-tight container for up to one year.
Sun-soaked, dried mushrooms just may be the most food-effective means of retaining Vitamin D stores throughout the Winter. Seasonal eating also plays a huge role. Since Vitamin D3 is stored in the kidneys, saltier foods actually prompt the kidneys to release D3 for the body to use. So eating soups, stir-fries, and porridges throughout the Winter all help the body use vitamin D that has been stored from the summer. To utilize the sun-soaked mushrooms, simply add 1/4-1//2C to soup stocks. You can also add them to your smoothies or even to your grains as they boil on the stove. Brown rice and millet taste delicious when infused with dried mushrooms.
Research like this makes me so happy because it proves time and time again that the Earth and, in this case, our solar Sun provide us with all that we need.