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Mushroom Digestion Issues & Recipes: How do you cook mushrooms (and why)?

 
Posts: 31
Location: Urban, Zone:6b, Rainfall:49in
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I have trouble digesting mushrooms and would like to explore different cooking/preparation methods that might aid in the process. I imagine a combination of chitin and poor chewing habits creates a disagreeable preface to digestion; though even when I am determined in chewing, I find undigested bits in my stool. Perhaps this will be a good platform for a broader discussion of mushrooms and digestion, too!

There seem to be certain types of mushrooms I digest better than others. An example is yellow oyster mushrooms versus shiitake, the oysters being digested more thoroughly. I love mushrooms for their flavor, versatility, and medicinal qualities. I want to regularly incorporate many varieties into my diet, but I am concerned it may exacerbate some preexisting issues (leaky gut).

Below is the process I used recently, boiling the mushrooms in a skillet for an extended amount of time (45 minutes – 1 hour total) and adding water as needed. This is a sort of kitchari recipe, something I often make. My thought is that heating and softening the mushrooms in this way helps break down their physical composition. Is there anything in my process that I can improve upon? What if I fermented the mushrooms before cooking?

My question to follow is, how do you cook/prepare your mushrooms and why? Additionally, do you have issues with digesting mushrooms and has anything particularly helped?


Mushroom_Kitchari_01.jpg
Chopped yellow oyster mushrooms
Chopped yellow oyster mushrooms
Mushroom_Kitchari_02.jpg
Into the cast iron with water
Into the cast iron with water
Mushroom_Kitchari_03.jpg
After cooking covered for 5 minutes, added dill
After cooking covered for 5 minutes, added dill
Mushroom_Kitchari_04.jpg
Chopped onion and zucchini
Chopped onion and zucchini
Mushroom_Kitchari_05.jpg
20 minutes in, adding water as needed
20 minutes in, adding water as needed
Mushroom_Kitchari_06.jpg
Added zucchini
Added zucchini
Mushroom_Kitchari_07.jpg
Chopped ginger, garlic, and parsley
Chopped ginger, garlic, and parsley
Mushroom_Kitchari_08.jpg
30 minutes in
30 minutes in
Mushroom_Kitchari_09.jpg
Added onions and water
Added onions and water
Mushroom_Kitchari_10.jpg
Glob of ghee in a small skillet
Glob of ghee in a small skillet
Mushroom_Kitchari_11.jpg
Ginger, garlic, chives, herbs, and spice extraction
Ginger, garlic, chives, herbs, and spice extraction
Mushroom_Kitchari_12.jpg
40 minutes in, with ghee blend
40 minutes in, with ghee blend
Mushroom_Kitchari_13.jpg
Added parsley, rice and lentils: previously soaked with apple cider vinegar for 24 hours, boiled, then seasoned
Added parsley, rice and lentils: previously soaked with apple cider vinegar for 24 hours, boiled, then seasoned
Mushroom_Kitchari_14.jpg
Voilà!
Voilà!
 
pollinator
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I know that fungi perfecti says that they steam at super high heat and then powderize all the mushrooms for their supplements. As I understand it the issue is that the proteins are too complex to digest when raw. I would think the boiling chopped.mushrooms would help. Maybe try steaming in place of boiling? How did the boiled ones work out?
 
Joshua Tarantino
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s. lowe wrote:I know that fungi perfecti says that they steam at super high heat and then powderize all the mushrooms for their supplements. As I understand it the issue is that the proteins are too complex to digest when raw. I would think the boiling chopped.mushrooms would help. Maybe try steaming in place of boiling? How did the boiled ones work out?



Could you link to the place where this process is described on Fungi Perfecti? I dug through the site and was unable to locate this information. That process makes sense to me though; I imagine steaming makes the nutritional benefits and medicinal qualities accessible, while powderizing makes the mushrooms as digestible as possible. I will try it and post the results! I wonder if boiling then processing in a food processor would be comparable — I think I will try this too.

Does anyone have some reliable comparisons of the nutritional results/differences between steaming and boiling methods? How would this translate to digestion? It would be ideal if the comparison was particularly for mushrooms, rather than vegetables. In my recipe above, I "boiled" the mushrooms with small amounts of water in a covered skillet — was I both boiling and steaming the mushrooms? They were never fully submerged and made contact with the bottom of the skillet as well, so the heat must have been higher than if the mushrooms were rolling in a pot of boiling water. Perhaps I am just quibbling over semantics...

It seems I digested the chopped and boiled mushrooms better than when I have cooked for less time. They were delicious in this meal, but many of the pieces remained large and difficult to chew thoroughly, due to their innate toughness. If I were to cook this or a similar meal again, I would chop the mushrooms into much smaller pieces as I prefer not to find perfectly good pieces of mushroom in the toilet bowl.
 
master steward
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Joshua. those are beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

To my knowledge, I don't have any issue with eating mushrooms.

I love them sauteed with a butter sauce to go with a steak.  And I love them on pizza, in spaghetti sauce, and of course in a soup.
 
pollinator
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You are right about the chiten.  You can buy chitenase (sp?) enzymes to help with digestion, they are sold to help with Candida issues.  But heat works.

I remember Trad Cotter mentioning it took high heat to break down the chiten, he suggested sauteeing until well done to release the most nutrients.  He said butter was best because of synergistic nutrients, but a high temp veg oil like avocado or coconut worked.  Yes, that much heat did break down some nutrients, but mostly ones that are easier to get in other foods, the unique nutrients survived.

One trick that I have used when I had an abundance is to dehydrate them and then grind into a flour. You can add the flour to soups and gravy and breads.  I do a low heat dehydration and then toast in the oven to crack the chiten before grinding in the food processor.
 
Joshua Tarantino
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Anne Miller wrote:Joshua. those are beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing.

To my knowledge, I don't have any issue with eating mushrooms.

I love them sauteed with a butter sauce to go with a steak.  And I love them on pizza, in spaghetti sauce, and of course in a soup.



Thank you! I wanted to illustrate my process and provide a visual recipe, but especially show the size of mushrooms I typically consume. Unfortunately, my digestive system was significantly damaged a few years ago and it is now sensitive to factors that might be otherwise unnecessary to consider. I'm happy to hear you digest mushrooms well and enjoy them in so many ways; pizza with mushrooms is a favorite of mine!
 
Joshua Tarantino
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R Scott wrote:You are right about the chiten.  You can buy chitenase (sp?) enzymes to help with digestion, they are sold to help with Candida issues.  But heat works.

I remember Trad Cotter mentioning it took high heat to break down the chiten, he suggested sauteeing until well done to release the most nutrients.  He said butter was best because of synergistic nutrients, but a high temp veg oil like avocado or coconut worked.  Yes, that much heat did break down some nutrients, but mostly ones that are easier to get in other foods, the unique nutrients survived.

One trick that I have used when I had an abundance is to dehydrate them and then grind into a flour. You can add the flour to soups and gravy and breads.  I do a low heat dehydration and then toast in the oven to crack the chiten before grinding in the food processor.



I appreciate your response, this information is great! The idea of incorporating chitinase enzymes is an interesting one. I am wondering which bacteria might produce these enzymes and how they might be cultivated in the gut naturally. Here is an article I found after a quick search: "Chitinases from Bacteria to Human: Properties, Applications, and Future Perspectives." I hope it is useful to others as well!

I will try sautéing with butter as suggested, thank you for the summary. And I have never thought of creating a mushroom flour — that is brilliant! So much of the joy in eating mushrooms comes from the textural qualities and flavor for me, but if maintaining these qualities does not work for my body right now then so be it. Do you find the mushroom flour still holds the central flavors of the mushrooms you are using? It would certainly enable many applications that I have not considered!
 
pollinator
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I consider it normal to see 'undigested bits in my stool' (as you said it). Not only when I eat mushrooms. Of course I never looked at other people's 'stool', so I don't know if this really is normal. It might have to do with my bad way of chewing (because I miss some molars).
 
R Scott
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Mushroom flour gives you all the earthy flavor, it makes the best gravy.
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Sautéed in butter, that is the only way I know to prepare mushrooms (all different edible species of mushrooms). I never knew any other way of preparing them. My mother taught me that way. She added a little flour and water at the end, to make it into a sauce. I don't.
 
Joshua Tarantino
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Inge Leonora-den Ouden wrote:I consider it normal to see 'undigested bits in my stool' (as you said it). Not only when I eat mushrooms. Of course I never looked at other people's 'stool', so I don't know if this really is normal. It might have to do with my bad way of chewing (because I miss some molars).



I think in most common cases, undigested food in stool is not a cause for concern. For myself in particular, it tends to correlate with abdominal pain, which may be an indicator of some issue. I imagine there are others that have this issue with mushrooms too, since their physical structure is unusual in comparison to other foods we eat. Thorough chewing makes a big difference, but mushroom pieces—regardless of how they are cooked—can only be chewed so much (prepared through pulverizing into flour or processing with mechanical aid are obvious exceptions). I have a funny visual in mind for a graph of mushroom-chewability and a corresponding threshold, thinking about this so intently...

I suppose my concern lies in how these undigested pieces are affecting my digestive tract as they pass through at various stages. Again, I have a sensitive system due to increased intestinal permeability (leaky gut) and general imbalances in gut flora. My body does not extract nutrients well, which results in malnutrition. So when I see undigested food, I want to work out the cause then determine the best ways to improve digestion and nutrient intake.
 
s. lowe
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Joshua, I looked for a source for my thoughts about fungi perfecti's process and couldn't find one. I think it may have been told to me by a friend who has done two trainings with Paul Stamets in mushroom production. I will text him and ask if he's my source and if he knows of anywhere that they publiscize their process
 
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mushrooms chopped and put in water with onion, celery, carrot, split peas, barley and maybe a couple chicken pieces, simmered for hours to make soup/stew.
sauted with onions in butter, maybe with some chopped garlic and mixed with chopped broccoli, cauliflower, cheddar cheese, provolone and motzorella and several beaten eggs, some salt and pepper in pie shell baked in oven for about an hour
I like sliced mushrooms along with some broccoli baked on pizza too I don't make pizza dough so usually add stuff to Red Baron brick oven frozen pies

just a couple ways I use mushrooms
as far as why, I dunno, its just a couple recipes I know that use mushrooms, the more flavorful the better.
 
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Thanks for bringing this up!
I get a lot of undigested stuff showing up on the other end,  but not mushrooms.
I worry about it some,  but I get surfeit  of nutrition,  so no big deal?
I think I would saute them in butter  then hit them with an immersion blender.
This is much easier than transferring them to and from a food processor.
Works great to reduce most cooked veggies to a saucelike consistency.
Using an acid like vinegar or citrus might help as well, but it might stomp all over the taste.

I actually watched a Paul Stamets video today where he advised to not eat winecap mushrooms more than three days in a row because of digestion issues.
 
Joshua Tarantino
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William Bronson wrote:
I think I would saute them in butter  then hit them with an immersion blender.
This is much easier than transferring them to and from a food processor.
Works great to reduce most cooked veggies to a saucelike consistency.
Using an acid like vinegar or citrus might help as well, but it might stomp all over the taste.

I actually watched a Paul Stamets video today where he advised to not eat winecap mushrooms more than three days in a row because of digestion issues.



The immersion blender is a great idea; I do not currently have one, but it would certainly simplify the process. I had considered using an acid, but thought the same of taste. Cooking or pickling mushrooms in vinegar/lemon might be worth a shot anyway — I wonder how it might help break down the chitin and other structural qualities to a more digestible form. Perhaps there is also a way of fermenting that promotes the growth of chitinases. Many fruits and vegetables contain significant amounts of chitinases; does anyone know if pairing these foods with mushrooms might help? I have only a small understanding of these sorts of things.

Something must be said for the benefits of consuming chitin. With prebiotic properties, it can promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut; though we cannot "digest" it, our flora might be having a chitin-fueled party. As an insoluble fiber, it can also help with constipation.

Trying many different ways of consuming mushrooms will help identify the issue I am having. At this point, it is unclear what exactly is causing the discomfort, but it definitely correlates in part with mushroom consumption.

It will do me some good to watch more Paul Stamets videos! I should note that I am not consuming mushrooms often, maybe once a week. They are a treasure trove for healing and I would certainly like to be consuming them more if I can work out the digestion issue.
 
Joshua Tarantino
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I tried sautéing a maitake in butter and processing it into sauce. It worked wonders; I digested this meal with no discomfort and it was as delicious as it was nourishing.

Here is the general recipe with photos attached:

Break up / chop mushrooms into small pieces and sauté with butter, covering the pan between mixes.
After ten minutes or so, add onion and seasoning.
Once the onion is translucent and soft, add garlic to brown until golden.
Add a bit of bone broth and simmer covered until all ingredients are tender and melty.
Using a food processor or immersion blender, pulse until all ingredients are fully incorporated and smooth.

While all of this is happening, prepare quinoa (or another grain) and chickpeas.
Once ready, transfer to the pan with a glob of ghee.
Add chard and herbs, and eventually the saucy mushroom goodness.
Incorporate until pleased with mush.



I felt the quinoa was a good choice for this meal because it absorbed the liquids and distributed the flavors. I have yet to research how sautéing mushrooms with butter affects digestion, but I believe the combination of high heat, fats, and processing did wonders for my tum. I hope someone out there enjoys this recipe!
Processed_Maitake_01.jpg
Beautiful maitake
Beautiful maitake
Processed_Maitake_02.jpg
Sautéing with butter
Sautéing with butter
Processed_Maitake_03.jpg
With onions, garlic, and bone broth
With onions, garlic, and bone broth
Processed_Maitake_04.jpg
Into the food processor
Into the food processor
Processed_Maitake_05.jpg
Ideal state of mush
Ideal state of mush
 
pollinator
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All that onion would leave me with painful stomach cramps, but the mushrooms look lovely!
 
Joshua Tarantino
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Michael Cox wrote:All that onion would leave me with painful stomach cramps, but the mushrooms look lovely!



You know, I never considered onions as a contributor to my digestive issues, but now that I think of it... I eat onions at least once a day, and sometimes more! They are always cooked and generally for a long time. I do not necessarily have pain associated with meals containing onions, but I do have consistent digestive issues. This is certainly something that I will be looking into, thanks!
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